I live in Costa Rica and have been gleaning info. from BYC for almost a year now. We acquired 8 hens and a rooster almost a year ago to control our tick population on our farm. We started out with a red/buff Frizzle, 3 Australorp, 2 red longhorns and a Rhode island Red and a beautiful rooster which I have no idea what the breed is. The Frizzle and RIR went broody and hatched 3 chicks each, only 1 each were female, we got rid of the roosters....we also recently lost the rooster and all the hens are happier without him around! The two new hens have just started laying eggs! Our tick population is now in 'check' and we are gathering eggs every day. Some days we have 3, some days we have 5. I have yet to figure out who isn't laying.
We are originally from Canada and have retired down here. We have never owned chickens but have always been around our grandparent's farms which had chickens. It certainly has been a learning curve! Our tick problem on our property is out of this world! We used to have to check for ticks every time we walked out of the house and our dogs were constantly getting sick from tick disease called Ehrlichia, we were told we didn't have a tick problem, we had a chicken problem....so we got chickens and within a week, the ticks were down to a dull roar (none on us, and maybe 12/dog/day) and now non-existent (maybe a couple/dog every few days). Plus the bonus is we get eggs! They have been a blast to watch. We did have a problem introducing the dogs to the chickens, but we bought shock collars for the dogs in anticipation of problems. The shock collars only had to be used once and only on the vibrate mode. Now one of our dogs actually hangs out with the chickens most of the day. We just introduced 2 Siamese cats to the family. One is a 1 yr. old rescue cat and he could care less about the chickens. The other is a 5 month old import from Canada and she spends all day, every day tormenting the chickens. She even bothers them in the coop and while on the nesting boxes. I am beside myself as to what to do with her. I have taken the garden hose to her, scolded her, smacked her and she still continues to torment them. Two of the chickens are so stressed, they haven't laid an egg in a week. If the dog shock collars were not so large, I would put one on her!! I'm hoping this is just a stage she is going through and she will get tired of the chase and give up eventually..... or am I being hopeful? It was funny at first, now it isn't funny, especially as she lays in wait to ambush on a perch inside the coop. The chickens are free range and don't have a 'run'. They have use of the entire property, so I can't isolate anyone.