the mosquitoes are terrible in my coop and brooder bow, but only at night. First off is this gonna hurt my chicks as far as diseases or anythibg, and second whats the best way to get some control over them?
Here in Mississippi there is not much we can do. Forget the zapper. They are not attracted to it at all, and any deaths would be co-incidental. You can spray, but that is only
a temporary measure, as the next wind will bring in another cloud of the buggers. I have not had much luck with the candle thing (Citronella?) but some people swear by them.
I think that perhaps chickens are protected to a large extent by their feathers. I don't know of any bird diseases that mosquitoes spread, and certainly wild birds don't seem
to have been affected by them.
Rest assured in this: There have been farmers, chickens and mosquitoes in Mississippi for more than 200 years. The only answer may be co-existence.
Mosquitos can transmit fowl pox. I do not offhand remember whether any other chicken diseases are transmitted that way, you could look it up I suppose. Certainly they can make chickens pretty miserable-looking.
Making a screened enclosure would seem like the logical thing to do, IMO, if possible. Bug zappers do very very little at all against mosquitoes.
Some mosquito species are very attracted to light and some not much at all. We have over 50 different species of mosquitoes in Wisconsin. The zapper here works on most of them. We usually get one species in particular in July that isn't and it makes it a lot more miserable here then. That species hurts when it bites. Some are larger or smaller, fly faster or slower. One is larger and kind of striped. Whether a zapper helps you depends on what species you have at any given time. Zapped bugs do make a tasty chicken snack and they run over to eat them every morning.
Our coop has window screen over the window openings, in addition to the 1/2" hardware cloth. It makes it so much nicer in there, for us and for them. We have lots of ventilation and also clear the dust off the screens as needed.
Don't know if you have these problems up north, but here in Florida our mosquitos carry West Nile virus, malaria (it is making a come back I read) and encephalitis. The State uses chickens to test for the prevalence in regions across the state, so although I don't know if it makes the chickens sick, obviously they can harbor the viruses which could then be more easily transmitted to you...
The pesky mosquitoes can reproduce even in the bit of water held in a curled leaf on the ground: run a mulching mower under your trees and shrubs. Do make sure you get rid of water that accumulates in stuff in your yard. The tray under a planter can even be a breeding habitat. Take a good look around after you have rain to look for accumulation spots and standing water, then take measures to get rid of them. If your chicken watered is open, put screen over the top.
Also, the mature mosquitoes like to hide in dark places protected from wind--like in shrubbery. (This is why they are attracted to your coop, too.) Encouraging natural predators in that type of area in your yard is good, especially if it is where you chickens don't go: harmless spiders, or a bird box for your local species of mosquito-eating bird, for example, can serve as natural controls to keep the population down.
I have a dog run off my patio--I hung screen down from both edges of the 2x4 over the opening. Took a day to get the dogs used to it using treats, so I expect the same would go for the chickens. A few bugs get lucky and find their way in by chance, but it is the difference between 2 or 3 and dozens...
If you leave the human door of the run opn a long time you can also hang screen, but it will get blown by wind a lot so you might want to weight it or use Velcro to keep it more secure. Velcro will need to be replaced over time.
I am in the process of building my coop, and the entire run and coop will be screened in: I'm using aluminum screen down low, and the cheaper nylon screen up high.
Since I want to let the chickens free range in the day, I'm making a chicken door in it so I can leave the human door shut. It will have 2x4's all around (on edge) separated by 3/4" shims with a slot for a slide-in 1/2 plywood door to shut at night, with screen hung off both outside edges.
Yeah but if the chickens got any of those things then obviously they were already floating around in the mosquito population. Having a few chickens is not going to meaningfully raise your OWN risk of getting them.
And while it does make sense not to give the skeeters breeding habitat on your property, IME (living in some very very mosquitoey areas, including the current property) if there are THAT many mosquitoes, it simply utterly does not matter whether you have any standing water of your own, since there are so many hordes of mosquitoes hanging around that were bred elsewhere. So I would not expect that management strategy to do much good, although at least it does constitute "doing your bit"
Most you can do is get rid of any standing water on your property to try and reduce the cloud of mosquitoes. Anything that can hold a bit of water, like the saucer of plant pots, a bucket, or tire. Empty and/or turn over anything that can catch water.