Best breed to free range for tick control.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by jeff532003, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. jeff532003

    jeff532003 New Egg

    Mar 17, 2012
    Hi All I'm new to the forum and the world of chickens. I live out in the woods on 10 acres but I don't really have many neighbors just lots of woods. My yard is probably 2 acres cleared and up behind me are a couple big fields. The ticks are just relentless here. My poor dog has 10-15 on him whenever he goes out even with advantage 2 on him.
    I've been considering guineas but worry a bit about the noise level with them as I sleep days, (work third shift), what other breeds are really good at eating ticks? I've been researching the net and there seems to be a wide array of opinion on this. I'd also enjoy fresh eggs but that's a secondary thought. I'm more interested in pest control. Ideally I'd like a breed that is good at going free range but roosts well at night and who's at least somewhat intelligent at avoiding predators.
    What breeds do you guys recomend and why? Also how big of a flock do you suggest for that breed?
    Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jeff
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I would say guineas by far! But since you sleep during the day and may have the guineas close to your window, that may not work for you.
    I'm not aware of any one particular chicken breed that would eat ticks very well. They all like to eat bugs.
    I have 7 guineas and, although they're loud, when they're not near my window I don;t really notice the noise.
    I got the guineas for bug control, but they do such a great job, I was even contemplating BUYING some bugs from the petstore (crickets) so my chickens can have some bugs. [​IMG]
    I have eight dogs so getting rid of ticks was my primary concern!
    We have a lot of deer and ticks, and I hated picking ticks off my dogs.
    I think I've seen ONE tick since I've gotten the guineas (and I've had them a year).

    You can try getting some chickens that are good foragers (maybe barred rocks or something) and see how well that keeps the ticks away.
    I would also suggest getting about three guineas to see if they are too loud for you.
    If they are, you can always sell them.

    I hope someone else can chime in about chicken breeds that are good tick eaters.
  3. jeff532003

    jeff532003 New Egg

    Mar 17, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. Perhaps I will stick with guineas. How do they do living with your chickens? Maybe I'll get a mix like you have.
  4. novanod1966

    novanod1966 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2012
    western North Carolina
    if you get guineas then note that if you have guinea (hens) they will stay around your place. if you have a guinea cock with no hens, he may leave to find some hens. the only time they're noisy is when they are bothered, or when strangers come around.
  5. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    Our guineas not only eat ticks but they did an awesome job on fleas too. When we first moved here a few years ago, we had almost 4 acres just hopping with fleas. I got 5 guineas and turned them loose and now we have none -ever! The key west chickens are awesome foragers and will eat any bug they see too.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  6. big medicine

    big medicine custom Brahmas

    Mar 6, 2009
    I keep a small group of guineas with my chickens, mostly for their watch dog talents. I have found it much more pleasant to only keep female guineas, as the males were much too aggressive and terrorizing my Brahmas. A females only group blends well with my birds. They do range more and do a great job of bugging, but I think trying to sleep during the day with windows open would get tested a few times per typical around here. Likely keeping free range roosters near the house will test as well.

    We got adopted by a what I suspect is an American Game hen that traveled from the neighboring farm. This old gal comes as close to fending for her self as any chicken I have ever experienced, ranges and bugs nearly as well as the guineas, very alert and aware of her suroundings.
  7. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    My guineas get along fine with my chickens. Raise them together when you get your flock.
    Because they're less domesticated than your average chicken, the guineas can be a bit more aggressive at times.
    (Especially the males and especually around food.)
    It's not a big deal at all; just something to understand when mixing the flocks.
    For your situation you may want to start off with ONLY female guineas.
    They are also great watch dogs!
    I've witnessed my guineas cornering a stray dog on our property.
    The dog ran from the guineas and tried to hide in the hay bale feeder.
    The guineas surrounded the dog all the while sqawking very LOUD.
    The dog finally made a run for the woods with all guineas in hot pursuit.
    It was hilarious!
  8. laughingdog

    laughingdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2011
    Newport Tennessee
    My muscovy ducks dida great job last year when smaller, but have been spoiled and hang just close around the house now. gf founfound a tick trying to eat her brain as she said, so guess our feather babies will have to be patroling for meals some again. the scovy are a perching duck mix of tree wood ducks, are not like mallards at all, actually more like geese crosses lol but affectionet and quiet mostly except females chirp and males hiss. they have a crest of feathers on their head, fleshy facial mask, and longer waggly tail. our scovy last year before spoiling (and eating some delicious males that were hassling females ect too much), were best flying swimming and crawling insect catchers and grass mowers I've seen, decimating the slugs so bad that I've only found one this year when last year befpre scovy the slugs would fill the five dog bowls and eradicate anything i tried growing overnight. guinea, and peafoul i hear better but loud and fragile until fledged out completely those i knew who had say. my late scovy clutch of dozen scovy ducklings. raised selves in early winter (young first time mother), outside in three sided tin "pen" as only protection.
  9. pigsflyacres

    pigsflyacres Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2014
    You could run some guinea hens and some Sumatra chickens. Yes, you'll hear the rooster in the morning, but unless there is a threat, not much at other times of day. I've not had Sumatras but those that do, say that if allowed they basically go feral. You might not find many eggs to eat, but they will fend for them selves. Mixed in with some guineas I'd say you'd be set for pest control. The challenge is getting them to the age when they can fend for themselves.

    If you do have an interested, check in with the Sumatra thread. Some one on there can give you a better idea if they will work and where to get a strain that can do the job you need them to do.

    Guineas did not work for me. Too wet. My tick problem is pretty negligible. Fleas is a different problem.


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