Skeeter-dactyls

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by suburbanhomesteader, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. suburbanhomesteader

    suburbanhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    I posted this question once before and didn't get any answers, so I'll try again.

    Do you think it's possible that my pullets (about 4 months old) could be in danger of anemia from mosquito bites?

    It has been a VERY rainy spring here in North Central Texas, and there are CLOUDS of mosquitoes outside in the evenings. They especially seem to love hanging out in the chicken tractors, where the air is slightly more still (because of the tarps overhead?).

    Do I need to worry about West Nile Virus? It is prevalent in the native bird population.
    Should I build a coop and put Bo and the Production Reds in a screened area with a fan running?

    At a certain point of the evening, I just have to go inside and then feel guilty for leaving my girls out.
     
  2. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2007
    Maine
    Hmm.. that's a scary thought!

    I really don't know, but I will tell you my girls LOVE to eat them. If I am sitting in the run with them, they will circle 'round and 'round me, trying to catch the mosquitos and black flies. I guess.. I didn't really think they would get much in the way of mosquito bites (my kids and I get them awful, but they've never really bothered my cats and dogs). I thought the feathers would give them pretty good protection.

    Hmm. I hope someone has an answer to this!

    -Meghan
     
  3. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    There was a link earlier in the Spring that showed chickens were immune to West Nile Virus...thank goodness. I don't think mosquitos can get to the flesh of chickens very easily. The feathers do a good job of protecting them.
     
  4. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Last year I would open the coop door in early morning before the sun was up and it was filled with mosquitoes. The birds would peck at them but had bumps, I assume bites, all over their combs and wattles. I feel so bad for them and took steps to rid the area of water holding things and put larvae donuts in the only swampy area in the yard, but it didn't help. I never did find a solution. If you do, please post. My poor birds need help, too.
     
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    I have 1/2" hardware cloth over the windows on our coop and then put window screen on the inside of that. I don't usually admit to people that I screened the windows on our coop for the chickens, but you did ask! [​IMG]

    My DH thought that was totally unnecessary, but the mosquitoes are really bad here most years and I didn't want the girls to suffer. It's never been buggy in the coop.
     
  6. suburbanhomesteader

    suburbanhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    My pullets are not very good bug catchers. They will eat grasshoppers if I catch them, but they don't seem to catch many on their own, and they sure as heck don't even seem to see anything as small as a 'skeeter or a fly. I've never seen my game hens go for 'skeeters or flies either. They are great with grasshoppers, though.

    I have no idea where the standing water is; perhaps in the neighborhood? Certainly not on my property, and the nearest creek is 1/4 mile away. With all the rain we've had, I haven't seen the creek look staqnant yet.

    I guess I will have to build a coop and screen them in. I agree that in their feathered areas, they are probably protected, but I see 'skeeters on their exposed areas all the time. Also, my dogs get eaten alive on their face; the other day, I counted over a dozen on my white dog's face, especially around her eyes.

    Thanks for some feedback. I'll have to check into the immunity against West Nile; that's hard to believe, but it would be great if it was true.
     
  7. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

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    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
  8. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    "Immunity" would mean they cannot get it, period. That is not the case with West Nile Virus and chickens- the chickens get it and their body is very good at fighting the infection. In fact, chickens are specifically used to detect the presence of West Nile Virus because of this fact. They get West Nile, develop antibodies, and get better within about a week! Good birds!

    The fact sheet that MayberrySaint posted is very informative- and explains that chickens are highly resistant to West Nile, and that chickens are not thought to be possible transmitters of West Nile back to mosquitos or people.

    Back on topic though- getting rid of mosquitos. I know that skeeters hate wind so I think the fan idea is a really good idea.

    -MTchick
     
  9. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    We use a "mosquito magnet" up here in Alaska and I swear by them. mine cost around $300 but its worth its weight in gold. It burns propane to create CO2 then when the little buggers get near it it has a vacume that sucks them up into a net holding tank so you can kill them all at you leasure. the model we have says it'll protect up to 1/2 acre. I move it around the house every week or so to get the most out of it.
     
  10. suburbanhomesteader

    suburbanhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mayberry, I hope you didn't think I was doubting you; I didn't mean it that way at all. But thank you for the backup; that was very interesting reading, and if my neighbors ever complain about the possibility of the chickens spreading it, I will have that info on hand to counter their concerns.

    Birdbrain, I have always wondered if those worked. I would never use the ones that use permethrins or other poisons, but if the CO2 is just a lure, and there's nothing to harm beneficial insects, I will definitely investigate it. What brand is yours?

    Thanks to everyone for their response on this!

    On a related note, we have had horrendous rains here in N. Central Texas lately. I could never figure out how the skeeters could be so thick, but today I was helping someone clean out their gutters and even though they had been overflowing (not going down the downspout, but overflowing in the middle of the gutter), there were what looked to be HUNDREDS of skeeter larvae in the GUTTER!!!! I never thought about that, but I would bet big money that the folks around here who have gutters don't clean them, and have standing water in them (I guess 6" weeds growing in your gutter are a sign that they aren't draining very well!!). Also, with the rains today came a migration of tiny toadlets, heading out into the big world, so I guess there have been standing pools of water somewhere, or the tadpoles would not have been able to mature.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2007

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