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Thread: Chickens for Tick Control

  1. #1
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    Default Chickens for Tick Control

    Just wondering if anyone has any pointers in raising and housing chickens to roam about your property to keep ticks in control. I just moved into central pa and in a quick 30 min walk around the property we had 3 ticks, one of which was a deer tick.....and it's only February. I've come across a few recommendations to get chickens or guinnea hens and I'm seriously considering it. Between kids and future pets, I'd like to keep them as tick free as possible.

    I've never had chickens so this is all new to me.
    Will Neide (pronounced Nighty, like the thing worn to bed)

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.......

    What are going to use/raise to keep your chickens safe from predators....unless you are going to make the whole yard a coop

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    guinea fowl are far superior for this application, but they are noisy and their eggs don't taste as good. id recommend a mix of barnyard birds and guineas. get on Craigslist andd look for someones random barn breed chickens, they survive free range better. then get 3-4 guinea fowl to protect your flock and up the tick eating.

    i have no ticks inside my fenced area, and plenty anywhere else.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Our neighbors have 4 chickens. They rented them from a farmer who supplies everything. It's pretty painless and we get eggs :)

    The birds are really pleasant, the make comfortable sounds and don't mind being picked up.

    Too bad Peacocks don't eat ticks.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Guinea hens work well and look funny.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    a nice spray of a pyrethroid insecticide on the property is a better solution. Also, shooting the deer around your area will help too.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Will a friend of mine out past Yorklyn in Hockessin has a chicken coop, he would probably be more than happy to talk to you for a bit regarding setup. I will put you two in contact if you'd like.

    Their eggs are far better than anything bought in the supermarket.

    Doesn't Nao Tomii have a little bird (chicken) coop also? His looks like a cool little setup from the few pictures I've seen.
    justin rogers.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    In the east, white-footed mouse is a primary vector for ticks and tick borne diseases. So getting a cat or two might be a better alternative, though domestic cats outdoors are second to cars in annual numbers of songbird deaths. So maybe not.

    There are several general classes of chickens. On one end of the temperament spectrum, spur-legged or Leghorn-type chickens, which more closely resemble the original jungle fowl, are typically a bit higher strung, roosters are more likely to be combative and hens a bit crazier. Their body type is typically long legged, and Leghorn roosters get noticeably extended leg spurs. Some of these breeds are used in fighting. Leghorn hens are actually some of the best laying chickens though, so they aren't necessarily to be avoided, just know their temperaments before you pick a breed. A good Leghorn rooster can protect a flock of hens from predators very well, but a bad one can slice them up. On the other end of the spectrum are the heavy breeds, like Rhode Islands, Barred Rocks, Orpingtons. These are the stoner chickens. They just hang out and tend to the garden, dust bathe and generally take it easy. Buff Orpingtons are so placid, they are pretty easy to tame down. My sister-in-law has one that will sit in her lap and snooze. The heavy breeds look a bit like the Queen Mum or a tea cozy - big puffy chickens with feather bloomers as opposed to the Leghorn-types that are taller, longer legged, skittish and speedy.

    Buff Orpington hens



    For catching ticks, I'd get a squad of Leghorn hens and a Leghorn rooster. You need at most one rooster, and you can get along without one if there are few predators. Hens lay no matter what. Leghorns will scour your yard and eat whatever they find. If you want a more interactive arrangement, find a heavy breed you like and use them. They won't catch as many things, but the yard won't be populated by maniacs.

    Ameraucana hen - one of the chickens that lay blue-green shelled eggs.



    Warning: hens dig more than woodchucks, Leghorns especially. The Leghorn hen we had would dig a hole so deep she'd disappear. Also roosters crow whenever they feel like it, not just at sunrise. 3AM for example.

    I think the best design for a coop is one you can pull around and station anywhere on the property. Once the chickens are acclimated to the coop, they'll come back to it on the feeding schedule or in the evening when the light dims. Roosters help gather the flock. Let them out in the morning, lock them up at night.

    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    One of our neighbors has a small team of Guinea fowl that swing by once a week or so in the summer. Even with that infrequent visit schedule they make a dent in the tic population... I wish we were around enough to give them the care they need or I'd have a team of them myself...
    Guy Washburn

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    we recently got a leghorn and an americauna/leghorn cross, they are great layers and they are also aggressive eaters. good for your desire to have them kill yr tick population.
    the leghorn eggs are quite large. also the birds aren't very fond of humans but that could be because they weren't raised with much human interaction (hand feeding and being held). the leghorn/americauna eggs are normal size.

    we also have an americauna, she is more chilled out in all ways, including hunting.

    another advantage to roosters is they basically sacrifice themselves for the flock if a predator comes around...so that's cool. yes, they will crow all the time...all day and all night basically.

    the coop is no big deal, anything that you can close up so it's not easy for a predator to get in will be fine. you will have to clean it out so keep that in mind when you are designing it.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    IF you decide that you really want to do this (and there should be better reasons than just dealing with ticks) then I would stick with the friendly, docile heavy breeds and I would NOT get a rooster.
    The rooster will piss off your new neighbors in no time, may be aggressive towards your children, and in certain towns you may also be breaking the law by having one.
    If a fox or a raccoon gets to your flock, the rooster isn't going to change the course of history. And your hens will lay just the same without one.
    We have had good luck with Buff Orpingtons, Australorps (my personal favorite) and Brahmas. They are all good layers and they play very nicely with the children.

    Get yourself a pretty catalogue of the breeds from these folks: Murray McMurray Hatchery

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Quote Originally Posted by cny rider View Post
    IF you decide that you really want to do this (and there should be better reasons than just dealing with ticks)
    ^^^^^^^ I completely agree with this. Dealing with ticks alone is IMO not enough of a justification. Chickens (or guinea hens) are way more work than just dealing with the ticks when you get back inside. And I have tons of ticks around. Once before showering I took over 12 deer ticks off my arms and legs. And given time, they will get into some quite private places...

    However, I love chickens and guinea hens. I grew up on a chicken farm and we also had guinea hens roaming the yard. The guinea hens are cool, but will make a racket.


    Quote Originally Posted by cny rider View Post
    I would NOT get a rooster.
    ^^^^^^^ I disagree with this. Due to what I said above, I like all chickens, and hearing roosters crowing in the distance (at any hour of the day, including as I was drifting off to sleep) were part of my childhood. My current next-door neighbors have chickens, including a rooster, and I love hearing it crow, but I think the coop is probably 1/8 of a mile from my house, so they aren't right on top of me. But even if they were, I wouldn't mind.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    I've just got to say the depth of chicken knowledge here at Vsalon has me completely floored.
    You people are amazing.

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Lots of good guinea hen videos on Youtube. guinea hen - YouTube

    This takes me back 45 years :)

    Here's a good one (with a bonus rooster)


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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    I've just got to say the depth of chicken knowledge here at Vsalon has me completely floored.
    You people are amazing.
    V-Salon...we know our cock...

    No ticks here, but three chickens.

    The first two (Rhode Island Red cross) came after our oldest boy become very obsessed with chickens. They laid like troopers until Mr Fox came to visit. Fortunately I was able to intervene with a shovel and managed to get the chickens out of harm's way and trap the fox in their chicken run. The chickens were fine, but laid sporadically after that. And have stopped laying all together after a Christmas vacation to someone else's place. So, they are not keeping up their end of the bargain on the egg front, but are perfectly endearing and do good things to weeds and bugs. The cure to the egg problem was apparently to get a third chicken (a Sussex, named Adilla the Hen). Wouldn't you know it, but that put the fox amongst the chickens (so to speak). She's bigger, but the other two have the numerical advantage and are older. They are still working out the pecking order and we have to do odd things like take a roosting chicken out of a rosemary bush and lock it in the coup as chicken bed time has proven to be confounding to all concerned.

    They are good for kids, although the oldest is now into whale sharks and we do not have space for an aquarium big enough for a whale shark...

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Re: roosters. Neighbor's pitbull got into my sister-in-law's chickens (let's just say their neighbors are not very cerebral) and killed 8 hens in about 12 seconds flat. It would have killed more (they have about 25 chickens) but the rest of the hens were in the coop and the rooster would not let the dog in. He slashed the dog's face pretty nicely, and the dog was reduced to barking madly which alerted my sister-in-law and her husband, who got a shovel and went after the dog.

    So roosters are good for something more than noise.

    My sister-in-law says that guineas eat way more ticks than chickens do, so they really are the most efficient service. They are a lot weirder than chickens, can fly pretty well, aren't natural coop users (though they can be trained evidently) and males like to wander & females will follow the males so good neighbor relations are key. Which is why she doesn't have any. Plus coyotes.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    We're letting the wild chicken population around here do the work.




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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    If ever a thread needed to be a sticky, this is it.

    I had chickens in Connecticut many years ago, but the ratio of tick to chicken was about 2.37 million to one. If you have ticks bad, I'd spray once to knock them back and worry, as pointed out above, about the mice. Get rid of small rodents and you get rid of the ticks. It's really that simple. If you try to kill ticks without dealing with the rodents, you'll never win.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    This place is awesome! Much better info than I expected.

    To touch on a few things asked or noted:

    We initially were thinking of chickens for the eggs, and for the experience for the kids. Then after a couple conversations and some math, we decided it wouldn't be worth it. However, after a stroll around the property, 5.5 acres and roughly half of it is wooded, we decided the chickens would be worth it if they could help keep the tick population in check.

    I'm not quite sure how bad the rodent situation is. There's a large field, and the hawks seem to be frequent visitors, so I'm guessing enough to keep the hawks happy. Also, lots of deer activity. The neighbor has his tree stand right at the end of my property.

    For the coop.....I'm still unsure of what to do. I'm fine with the chickens roaming about most of the time, and I've been told they do pretty well evading predators on their own.

    Now I need to research all the breed recommendations!! So much good info (and pics) here.

    ......after the chickens comes a pair of pygmy goats. :)
    Will Neide (pronounced Nighty, like the thing worn to bed)

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    Default Re: Chickens for Tick Control

    Guinea Fowl seem to be pretty common around me. They do a good job with ticks and insects, but apparently can be loud and like to roam.

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