Chickens for grasshopper controll.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cwalsh2, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. cwalsh2

    cwalsh2 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2011
    Hermosa South Dakota
    When I had my game chickens, they roamed the farm and I had no problems with grasshoppers in my garden. Now I have no chickens and the hoppers are destroying my garden. Since fighting roosters is now Illegal everywhere, I will raise some other type. Does anyone have experience with what breeds would eat the most bugs and do the least damage in the garden? I am considering Dominiques. Maybe Leghorn roosters. They are built and behave a lot like a game. The hatcheries used to have really cheap prices on the roosters. I am planning for the 2012 season. I won't let my initial brood stock run loose, till I have plenty extra. The plan is to buy 25 or 50 roosters to raise free range next year, and butcher them in the fall. Hard decision between Brown Leghorns, New Hampshire Reds, Barred Plymouth rocks, or roosters from one of the brown egg production crosses. The heavies would be better on the dinner table, but may not catch as many hoppers and may dig holes in the garden. I really have no experience with the heavier breeds.
    For my hobby flock I am planning on the Doms,and Phoenix. I am hoping the Doms will eventually take care of the hoppers, once I have enough to allow them free range of the farm.
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    My ducks are sudden death on grasshoppers, but they also gobble down any broad leaf plant they can find, including the leaves on the fruit trees. I'll see them standing under the trees with their necks stretched as high as possible and jumping trying to reach a leaf that is just out of reach. But at least they don't scratch the ground up.

    I think that all chickens will eat veggie plants.

    I would not waste my time and money raising leghorns for meat. They are good at what they do, which is to lay eggs. They are not good at producing meat.

    Guinea hens are supposed to be the very best bug eaters. I've heard that they will also eat the veggie plants, but maybe not as badly as the chickens do.

    The ducks follow a scorched earth policy. They'll be in my veggie garden to clean up after I am all finished with harvesting all the veggies I want.
  3. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    I am considering Dominiques.

    IMHO I don't think you could do better.​
  4. the-bird-man

    the-bird-man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 24, 2010
    land of the sun
    of all my chickens my black stars are my best hunters!
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I still have games although American dominiques repressent most of my free ranging flock. I do not think former is illegal just to have. My free ranging front yard flock appears to control grasshopper numbers pretty well. Presently they forage about 1.5 acres of mowed mixed grasses and clovers. The 1.5 acres is surrounded by taller mixed pasture which the birds do not at this time venture into very far. They are fed feed once in morning in amount that is all cleaned up my noon. The balance of eats they must get themselves which is a good part grasshoppers. The number of grasshopper is much lower in yard than would be without the chickens. The number of grasshoppers in pasture is pretty high. I have about 30 birds in this flock. If I were to stop or reduce the amount of feed applied, then they would range much farther and likely go after more grasshoppers. You gotta figure out how many birds required to control grasshoppers and then have a few more.
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I have to fence off my garden to keep the chooks out because they will eat the vegies in addition to the grasshoppers. However the fact that they free-range the backyard and the vegie garden is IN the backyard, the grasshoppers get eaten before they have a chance to get into the vegie garden. No advice on breeds - I have a very mixed flock and each seems as good as the next at catching and eating bugs.
  7. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Lakenvelders, Buttercups,Hamburgs, Brown and Silver leghorns and Campines are all great foragers.

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