Backyard Chickens as Homegrown Bug Control: True or False?

October 9, 2015By

Due to the never-ending calls for the preservation of our natural resources, more and more people are practicing sustainability right in their own backyards by growing their own vegetables and herb gardens. The more you focus on growing your own food, the more sustainable your life will become.

Urban homesteading is a great way to help the environment, but unfortunately, having a sustainable garden right in your own backyard also increases your risk of having a bug infestation. The good news is that if you are raising livestock in your own backyard, you can very well use it to control these bugs.

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Overview of Using Chickens as Bug Control

Pests can destroy a well-tended garden. More often than not, you will find out that the crops you have been growing all summer have already been eaten by these pests. You might also find yourself picking off ticks, fleas, and bugs off of your domestic pets. Instead of tolerating these pests that are all over your small organic farm, you can try an unconventional approach in order to get rid of these garden pests with the use of poultry as insecticide. Aside from using their meat and eggs for food, you can also put the birds on your farm to good use by using them to keep the pests at bay.

Chickens are a great alternative to control pests. It is but their natural instinct as predators to seek out bugs and eat them. Once outdoors, they immediately roam and begin to eat any live insects they can get their hands on. Using their springy chicken feet, they manage to scratch away at the soil to attack the bugs that are buried deep down.

If you are planning to use chickens as a natural pest control, remember that you should never give them free reign over your backyard because they can easily destroy your garden. What you can do instead is to build a chicken wire fence around your garden to keep them out. Allow the chickens to roam inside the fence for about 30 to 40 minutes each day before dusk—enough time for them to eat the bugs in your garden, but not enough time to do some serious damage to your crops!

Benefits:

  • Chickens can be raised as pets. They can be the perfect animal companion aside from cats and dogs. They are easy to raise, and are low maintenance. Their needs are quite simple: a wide enough space to roam, access to shade and water, and vegetation that they can rummage into as food.
  • Chickens are an all-natural and organic way to implement pest control. If you are into organic farming, then these animals are a great alternative to chemical pesticides and herbicides.
  • Chickens can aerate your lawn. It is part of their natural instinct to scratch, peck, and dig down deep into the soft soil. At the beginning of each spring, just before you begin planting seeds on your new garden bed, put chicken feed on top of it. Soon, the chickens will scratch away at the soil, causing it to loosen up.
  • Chickens will provide you a never-ending supply of eggs. And we’re not talking about ordinary eggs here. You can have your fill of free-range eggs which are better than store-bought ones.
  • Chickens are a good source of fertilizer. You also get free, organic fertilizer for your crops in the form of chicken manure.

Drawbacks:

  • Chickens may attract raccoons or mice, so you might end up watching out for other pests other than bugs.
  • Chickens can cause diseases. The usual carriers of salmonella are chicks and ducklings. So always wash your hands thoroughly after tending to these animals. Salmonella poisoning occurs frequently during the summer months. Bird flu, on the other hand, is a much rarer occurrence. People can contract bird flu from contact with infected chickens and their infected droppings, as well as through consumption of an infected bird.
  • Chickens can tear down your garden beds, kill young plants, and sample any growing crops within their reach if they have been left unsupervised.

When it comes to caring for your garden and crops, remember that using chickens is just an option. Consider the pros and cons of using chickens as a form of pest control. If these do not work for you, remember that there are a number of other pest control methods available. There will be times when you encounter a bug problem that requires the skills and expertise of a professional bug control technician. A professional bug control contract would still be your best defense against bugs. And with the potential diseases that these pests may carry, it would be best to leave these to the hands of a professional, rather than attempting to go down the DIY route.

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