Will my chickens eat squash bugs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ducks4you, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My beds with squashes were LOADED with squash bugs in 2011. Can't use chemical insecticides bc my horses graze closeby and I'll be using chicken tractors next year--would they eat them? Not sure, since they like the fruit, too. I'm considering planting extras to sacrifice to the chickens and decrease the surplus bugs. I've cleaned my 2011 beds and moved the dirt a couple of acres away that might hold bug eggs. Anybody had any experience with eliminating them? I understand that I can squish the squash bug eggs bc they lay under the leaves of the squashes. I had hardly ANY zuccini in 2011, and NO acorn squashes. TOTALLY BAH!!!
    Interested in your ideas, thanks!
    Moderators, feel free to move this thread--couldn't decide where to post it. =b
    (Duplicate thread on TEG.)
     
  2. kmenchicks

    kmenchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I tried feeding them to my chickens last year and they wouldn't touch them.
     
  3. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if the chickens will eat them but I found this info that may help:

    Although you will need to experiment to see what works best in your climate, in your soil, generally Radishes and Marigold will repel Squash Bugs, while Squash Vine Borers do not like to be near cloves, onion and garlic. Similarly, planting strong smelling herbs like Valerian, Angelica, Cilantro, Lemongrass and Sage may deter adult moths from laying eggs that hatch into Melon and Pickle Worms.
     
  4. GardenWeasel

    GardenWeasel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens won't touch them or Tarnished Plant Bugs they both smell real bad. I too have armies of them. I go out everyday and bug patrol every leaf and maybe get a squash ot two before somebody hatche and the end is then near. My chicken do eat Japanese beetles. Sounds like they are eating popcorn!
     
  5. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GW, I got the same responses from TEG post. I think I'll just have to use EVERY solution I've heard of bc several years ago I grew scads of Hubbard Squash, Yellow Squash, and I had over 40 cucumbers without these bugs. I think I've homegrown them bc I didn't bother to clean up my beds. It's just good to ask if chickens are the solution bc they DO eats lots of different garden bugs.
     
  6. meowteri2

    meowteri2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have the same problem . They start on the pumpkins and move to the squash. I used a spray bottle with a little dish washing liquid in it and it killed them. That helps but I dont think it will ever get rid of all of them. I had to put a mesh over my garden fencing because the chickens started eating the pumpkin plants from their run on the other side. I think the older they get the more different things they will try to eat.
    I seen my first bugs a few years ago. When I squashed one I remembered the smell from when I was a kid. To me it smells like rotten cherry cough drops.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  7. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens like squash bugs as little as we do. However, squash bugs overwinter in the garden soil and in areas with dead leaves, and if you let your hens in there, they'll dig them up and disturb the life cycle a bit.
     
  8. ducks4you

    ducks4you Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the great ideas, everyone. I kinda think I brought them to my place with plants I've bought bc I NEVER saw them until 2010. I've been saving seeds and I started planting flowers and herbs in my beds last year. I have saved thousands of marigold seeds, and you can buy radish seed packets for 10/$1.00 if you catch the right sale. I've grown garlic before--really pretty flowers Plus the flowers attract polinators.
    I'll get my girls to go scratching in my beds. I'm also cleaning our the dirt and moving the "floors" of my 2 outside chicken turnouts into the beds that had cucumbers and melons in 2011. The last chicken poop in those was deposited in December/January, so it won't be hot by May.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  9. old1953

    old1953 Out Of The Brooder

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    Given the size of the bugs, I'd think a shop vacuum would bag them all in a hurry. A quick soak with boiling water, and it's off to the compost heap.
     

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