My "Pest Control Squad"

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by redpennies15, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. I love to garden. Squash (yellow and zucchini), arugula, okra, and radishes grow great out here (near Dallas, TX)! But the green beans, tomatoes, broccoli, califlower, peaches, etc. are a food buffet for grasshoppers. The population of grasshoppers seems to go on forever, especially in the hot summer months. It's like a plague from the days of Moses! They eat til it's gone (or in the case of the peaches - until there's no leaves, no peaches, and no bark!) I decided it was time to get some chickens again - even if it was a big flock of roosters - just to eat grasshoppers to their heart's delight! A generous person from our local Freecycle chapter (very cool movement about rehoming items instead of burying them in the landfill) gave me 10 amber sex link roosters. They are so pretty with gold neck feathers, white bodies, and brown splotches on the wings.

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    I kept them in a large fenced-in area right next to the garden. They ate grasshoppers and loved it! Then, the grasshoppers got smart and stayed just out of reach of the roosters (including in the garden). Here begins my dilemma. I let the roosters into the garden. They discovered that greens are easier to catch and equally tasty. Decided to let them free-range our 16 acres. Maybe the grasshoppers wouldn't come near our property....eventually grasshoppers figured out they better stay in the tops of the Johnson grass and in the sun where it was too hot for chickens (100+ degrees in the summer sun). Next, comes the classic question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" - To eat grasshoppers that were still hiding in the shade. Lost two of my precious roos to cars on the county road. Put them back in the fenced-in pen...sigh...

    Dad wanted eggs, so we bought 10 gold sex links pullets at Atwoods.

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    8 roosters for 10 hens were too many. 5 roos were passed on to a neighbor. Hens were brought up in the fenced-in area and have never free-ranged. It's winter now, and so far, only two of the roosters fly over the fence, but stay close. The dominant rooster and the hens are living happily within the fence. I pick bucketfuls of grass for them to chow down on. Everyone comes back into the coop each night to roost. By the time summer rolls back around, I'm sure the hens will love to eat the grasshoppers until they get wise enough not to come near the fence. I could really use suggestions for how to satisfy the chickens and keep my garden pest free at the same time!
     
  2. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    maybe you would want to learn about guinea fowl.
     
  3. I have been reading about guineas since this comment, and it is common for people to use them in their gardens because they prefer bugs, weeds, and seeds to garden plants and vegetables. We bought 4 guinea keets this month, along with 6 female chicks (because mom couldn't resist, I think they are red sex links). So, in the spring/summer, the chickens can patrol outside the garden and the guineas can patrol inside and outside the garden. The chickens are going to be so jealous!

    I just read an article about letting chickens turn your compost. While scratching and searching for bugs, they will turn a large pile of compost for you! This sounds great! (although they eat quite a bit of the table scraps before they can turn into compost). I guess I also need to look into how much nitrogen/phosphorous is in chicken litter.

    Here's hoping that my new flock can keep up with the large population of grasshoppers this year!
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Love all the colors of your flock!! [​IMG]
     
  5. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Those roos are gorgeous! [​IMG] I'm sorry you lost some. [​IMG] Enjoy those new ones too. Yes, I've too heard that guinea fowl are great at keeping bugs at bay. [​IMG]
     
  6. Need suggestions for releasing my four new guinea chicks (unknown genders) and six female red sex link chicks to the flock. They are all 6 weeks old today. It's a pretty day and I was thinking of letting them out of the coop to join the adults.

    Questions are: are they gonna get badly beat up by the adults? They are less than half the size of the adults. Odds are 10 young chicks vs 10 adult chickens. Only one rooster in the fenced area to worry about - he seems to only get aggressive if you make one of the hens squak for help.

    Also, can they chicks starting eating the adult layer feed?

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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014

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