Poultry Pest Patrol: Control Insects With Barnyard Fowl

Our readers share reports of the very favorable results they've seen from putting their chickens, guineas, and ducks to work on pest patrol.

  • chicken mealworm
    Chickens have a knack for scratching up food and seeing tiny bugs to eat.
  • poultry pest patrol -foraging chickens
    Release your chickens to roam freely on pest patrol and you might be surprised how many bugs they find and eat(Chickens are not vegetarians!). 
  • poultry pest patrol - duckling
    Ducklings are irresistible! They’re easy to care for and consume lots of creepy critters you don’t want in your backyard. 
  • poultry pest patrol - foraging ducks
    Along with chickens, ducks are also avid foragers. Both love to sift through compost piles to search for insects and worms. 
  • guineas
    Guineas are very alert and may be the first to warn ranging chickens of hawks overhead. 
  • Three Chickens
    Chickens are beautiful and entertaining to watch as they peck and scratch for bugs and weed seeds. 

  • chicken mealworm
  • poultry pest patrol -foraging chickens
  • poultry pest patrol - duckling
  • poultry pest patrol - foraging ducks
  • guineas
  • Three Chickens

Chickens and other poultry are a wonderful addition to any backyard or homestead. They’re entertaining, easy-to-care-for pets, and they provide flavorful, nutritious eggs. Plus, the nitrogen-rich droppings they produce will help your garden flourish (after some time composting). But poultry have another advantage that’s often overlooked — they can provide outstanding tick and mosquito control and have voracious appetites for slugs, snails and other pests. They even eat mice and snakes sometimes!

We’ve been collecting readers’ Poultry Pest Patrol reports for several years, and your latest reports are presented below. Read more amazing accounts about how poultry can control ticks, mosquitoes and many other pests, or share your own experiences at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Poultry Pest Patrol Page.

Chickens & Etc. to the Rescue

Farewell to Ticks and Flies

Last summer, I pulled at least a dozen ticks every night when I took my dog in the house. Then I got 200 chicks in two batches: the meat birds first, then the egg breeds. Within two weeks of letting the chicks out of the brooder, the ticks were gone, and we had few flies or any other type of bug.

The first set of birds did swimmingly. I trained them to come when called by throwing scratch on the ground. I started using the feed to lead them out to the woods, where I knew there was a lot to eat.

4/20/2012 7:30:20 PM

I purchase some adult guinea chickens to help with tick control and they go all over eating bugs...more than my 5 acres. My neighbor called yesterday threatening to call the police on me because they are too loud. Is there any way to keep them on my land? Will I get in trouble with the law for my birds? I tried catching them last night but could only get 4 the rest went up higher in the trees than my ladder and the bucket on the tractor could go. I hate to get rid of them but he also said he is going to shoot them. He gets really nasty when he drinks.

Aamir Ghanchi
3/28/2012 5:50:55 PM

Any luck with scorpions? what kind of bird do I need to have to eradicate them.

9/21/2009 4:36:34 AM

I didn't know that ducks would eat snakes and mice etc. I want to have just a few around the house more or less as pets, but I'm afraid the will eat my goldfish in my very small pond. Do ducks eat fish too? Thanks for any help.



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