Chickens for Pest Control

Cheryl Long shares reader suggestions about using chickens for pest control around the homestead, including methods to keep away mice and rats, grasshoppers and other common pests.

| February/March 2003

Readers share how they use chickens for pest control around the homestead.

There are lots of grasshoppers around here, but my hens patrol the garden perimeter fence and really reduce the numbers of insects in the garden. Before I got the hens, some crops were totally destroyed by the 'hoppers. The hens also have helped control scorpions — they peck off the stinger and then work on the rest.

The chickens also have reduced the fire ant population by eating the bugs and seeds the ants would have sustained themselves on. I have no ticks here, but the chickens have reduced one nasty pest that had been around everywhere — termites.

— M. Wade
New Braunfels, Texas

We have a 40-acre horse farm. Unfortunately, where there are horse barns there also are rats and mice. The horses leave bits of grain on the ground after they eat, and some undigested grain shows up in their manure. With all of this food, we had a serious rat and mouse problem.

My grandfather set out rat poison, and a trip to the veterinarian and $500 later, I found out that my Jack Russell terrier really likes the taste of it. She is fine, but I refuse to allow any more poison on our farm.

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