Starting new flock for tick control

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mikiwiki, May 16, 2011.

  1. mikiwiki

    mikiwiki Hatching

    May 15, 2011
    First of all - this is an awesome forum. I'm learning lots, most of all, that I won't learn everything before I start to make my own mistakes, but I want to minimize them as much as possible.

    I've got 5 acres, and seemingly billions of ticks. Every time a cats comes it, it's time for the screening. After any time in the fields, even after riding the tractor and mowing, full body check. The population has really exploded over the past five years. The way the development is in our area, we're one of the last patches of rural between 2 cities adjacent to a mountain, so all the wildlife naturally funnels to us. And so do the parasites.

    I heard that guineas are great at eating ticks, but also that chickens will do just fine as well in that occupation. So chickens it is!

    Usually I'm a hyper-planner, but in this case the ticks are crawling everywhere and I need chicken SOS right away. I'm hoping to build the coop over the next two weekends and get me some birds. Without free-ranging, I won't get the tick control I need. The stuff I'm reading about free ranging is for production, and I'm not too concerned about eggs with my first group of helpers.

    Hoping to glean some guidance in a few areas. Wondering how many hens I should get - I mean some sort of range. Should it be 6-10? Will I need more? Do I need to start with babies to get them happy with coming back to the coop? Any breed seem better suited for my purpose?

    I have no fences - with all this delicious tickiness here, and the great coop they will have, can I reasonably expect them to come home? Should I get an electrified poultry fence and move it around the ranch as needed? I read about these on BYC

    a tractor doesn't seem practical since I have so much area to have them forage in.

    I have so many questions, and I'm so anxious to get a move on before summer heat brings even more ticks to me. Thanks for any help or guidance in my quest.

  2. the3ofus+oursixchicks

    the3ofus+oursixchicks Songster

    Apr 22, 2011
    do chickens get ticks on them?
  3. mikiwiki

    mikiwiki Hatching

    May 15, 2011
    Gosh I hope not!
  4. mikiwiki

    mikiwiki Hatching

    May 15, 2011
    I really like the Cluckingham Palace design - especially since I may want to relocate the coop after I make other improvements. Also will make a dedicated run for those times I don't want the birds out and about. That will have a wire lid on it because we also have tons of red-tail hawks.

  5. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    [​IMG] If the ticks are that bad in your 5 acres - I'm not sure 6 - 10 chickens alone will take care of your problem? You could treat your place with Grub Ex to get Ticks under some control now. I use it on my dogs large yard, around the house and in the garden before we plant and we don't have a problem with fleas or ticks, though I have heard from friends that they are really really bad this spring in our area too. If you do use it, spread it just before you are going to have a hard rain so it will be safe for pets to walk on. I have bought other products in the past that say takes care of grubs, ticks, fleas etc for 3 months but they didn't work as well or as long.
  6. mikiwiki

    mikiwiki Hatching

    May 15, 2011
    Yeah, I really have no idea how many birds I would need to help me out. All the reference material I can find is for egg or meat production (of course keeping pets too!). Hoping to avoid the blunder of building too small of a coop.

    I've read a bunch about training the guineas to come home, is it the same for chickens? I could go straight for the guineas, since I'm not worried about noise as my neighbors raise pea fowl, but since I have some experience with chickens, I thought I'd start there.
  7. NYRIR

    NYRIR Songster

    May 13, 2010
    Well I can tell you..5 acres is a lot.I have 1 acre and 40 free-range chickens...they have pretty much demolished my bug problems.I rarely see a japanese beetle anymore.Ticks are not a problem...spiders do not live long in my backyard either.So for numbers,I think you may need to go higher.It may prove to be more than you want at first,but it's going to take time for them to get the ticks that are already established there.I know it sounds like a lot,but in my limited experience I would say at least that many (40)to start...and you could go from there with numbers.If you think you end up with too can always use them for meat as well.It did take mine about 1 season to get the bugs it may not prove to be a "quick" fix like you want.They will use the coop so long as you leave them in it long enough to let them realize that this is "home".I leave mine in at least a week before letting them out.Of course you know they need to be brooded until they are fully feathered? It takes roughly 5 weeks or so.I hope this info helps you some....good luck with it [​IMG]
    ETA: I would locate the coop in a place as close to your house as you can stand...that way they eat the closest bugs to the house first [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 17, 2011

  8. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I *HATE* ticks!!! [​IMG]

    If I see ANY this year, I'm getting myself some adult guineas pronto!!

    Right now I have 23 chickens out there keeping things in order . . . so far, so good.


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