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Ticks and tent moth caters

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by oldbear, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. oldbear

    oldbear New Egg

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Hello - I am new here and need some advice. I am in the process over this year and the next few in setting up my 22 acres as a pre-retirement investment in the form of an orchard. A few apple trees but have a 1000 wild plum trees on order for next year. Other plum types will be added also. I am also raising honey bees on site to help with the pollination of course plus honey sales.

    Here is the thing. I have those dang tent moth catepillars and they will destroy fruit trees. I will be adding bat houses this spring but want to know what chicken breed would be best for free range to devour those caters as they hit the ground. No caters, no moths, reduced tents the following year. etc. I am not worried about eating the chickens. Just want a good self defending breed that will stick around and do the job. I figure I would end up with a coop of some sort out in the middle of the acreage. The next door neighbor does have a dog. But if they can't avoid the dog then the local coyotes would have a field day.

    I don't really want to raise them from chicks, nor hold them over winter. Would chicks be mature enuf to free range anyway when those caters are crawling around?

    I live in central wisconsin. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  2. Iowa Roo Mom

    Iowa Roo Mom Resistance Is Futile

    Apr 30, 2009
    Keokuk County
    There is no such thing as a self "defending" chicken...


    Oh and by the way, [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  3. Princess Amri

    Princess Amri Is Mostly Harmless

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    Yikes. Are you sure you want chickens?!
     
  4. oldbear

    oldbear New Egg

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Well I guess I meant just not a pushover breed. There has to be some that range better than others right?
     
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:Ditto

    And about the tent caterpillars; they must be different then the ones we get around here. The ones here never leave the tree. I go out in the dark and cut out the nest. Then either burn or seal in a garbage bag and toss. They seem kinda cyclical. They only show up every few years.

    Oh and a big [​IMG]

    Imp

    I guess if you want the biggest baddest chickens you could take in mean roosters.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  6. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My free range flock won't touch tent caterpillars. I've put at tent of them on the ground and they checked it out but didn't eat a thing, so I removed some of the caterpillars. My chickens eat all kinds of critters, and each has their own particular taste; some eat earthworms, others won't, etc. Not a one of any breed wanted anything to do with the tent caterpillars. Any other type of bug or grub and it would've been gone. I noticed the birds don't eat them either, I wonder if they have bad taste as a defense. Anyhow, my chicken breeds are silver laced wyandotte, black australorp, speckled sussex, barred rock, welsummer, brown & white leghorn, salmon favorelle, auraucana and mixes of the aforementioned.
    I wonder if guineas would eat them?

    btw, good luck...your plan sounds awesome!
     
  7. oldbear

    oldbear New Egg

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Ok - why wouldn't I want chickens? In the bee forum I go to I got a few answers to the question on do chickens eat these caters and it was a resounding YES. And they hit the ground after eating their fill in leaves and crawl everywhere to find a location for their cocoon to change to a moth. They have been in the area for years and only getting worse.

    So is there much supply of adult chickens in say the month of may to throw in a coop for a week to get them used to a new home then let them range? Butcher in the fall. I was thinking like 20 or so. Do they naturally tend to stay a certain distance from the coop and water supply?
     
  8. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    WELCOME!!!! Yes you can buy what is called started birds. They are probably pretty young - 10 to 12 weeks, and you want to stay away from bantam breed such as silkies. Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, White Leghorns, Easter Eggers are all hearty breeds. ALL chickens love bugs. But if you don't want high maintenance birds, stay away from the bantams.

    Please remember that they still need to be taken care of - shelter from the cold, roosts to sleep on, feed such as lay mash or pellets, water 24/7. And chickens have to have others around. No buying one chicken. It will die from loneliness. Chickens are flock animals so there always needs to be a very minimum of 2 - the more the better for them.

    They need care the same as any other animal does and if you aren't willing to care for them, find another solution. Though once you get chickens, you WILL want more.
     
  9. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Quote:Chickens always go home at night - "home" being their roost and coop area. I am under the impression that you know very little about chickens? I would suggest that you visit the learning center, there is a ton of information there. But, yes, chickens would most defintely help with the bugs. If you are planning on butchering them, visit the meat birds forum for information on what breed is best for that purpose - though you may not find started birds that are meat birds.
     
  10. Princess Amri

    Princess Amri Is Mostly Harmless

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    Quote:[​IMG] As always, wisdom pours from your keyboard!
     

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