Are you concerned about the number of Lyme’s disease carrying ticks in your backyard? Although a flock of chickens will probably never eliminate all ticks in an area, chickens have been known to reduce the number of ticks in a yard. Guinea Fowl are known to be even more effective than chickens at controlling ticks. Researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of Guinea Fowl at reducing the tick population with this study conducted in 1992.
A chicken coop on wheels can be used to reduce the pests in your garden organically. By moving the coop every few hours around the perimeter of your garden, you can reduce the number of pests that feast on your hard-earned vegetables. Another solution is to build a 5’ wide area using chicken wire fence around the perimeter of the garden for your chickens to run in during the day. Your chickens should still be locked securely in the coop at night.
Below is a testimony from a farmer with a pill bug problem. Thanks to Mother Earth News for allowing us to use this story.
After numerous failed attempts to get rid of the pill bugs, George said,
“Finally I remembered a book about using portable coops to let chickens feast in garden beds. Before we replanted the lettuce beds, we penned a half-dozen hens in a bed. The minute they spotted the first pill bug, garden soil flew, hens’ feet became yellow blurs, and the chickens’ heads bobbed up and down like runaway sewing machines. After about an hour, things calmed down and the chickens were napping on the freshly fluffed soil. There wasn’t a pill bug to be found.”
In 2016 NPR published an article about farmers who enlisted chickens to fight against pests in an effort to stay away from chemical pesticides. In the article, Gary Wennig purchased a plot of farmland that was full of weeds and insects. Wanting to stay away from pesticides, he decided to experiment with organic pest control by planting “trap” crops that attracted the harmful insects around the perimeter of his field. He then used a chicken tractor with a few chickens inside to allow the chickens to feed on the pests in his “trap” crop patch. This arrangement has worked well for Gary on his small crop farm.
Reduce Chicken Feed Consumption
In addition to reducing the local pest population, allowing chickens to scratch and forage in the yard also adds a valuable source of protein to their diet. Although the amount of feed that a chicken needs every day will vary depending on a number of factors, a single chicken may eat as much as 1.5 pounds of feed per week.
Since chicken feed is one of the largest regular expenses related to keeping a flock of chickens, finding ways to reduce that expense is an important part of making chickens pay for themselves. Small-scale chicken farmers have found that giving chickens even a half-day of foraging time can significantly reduce the amount of feed that is consumed.
Fertilize and Weed Your Lawn
Another benefit of a chicken coop on wheels is that it allows your chickens to fertilize your lawn naturally. Chicken droppings contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus and can effectively enrich the soil.
If your chickens are foraging in your lawn, you’ll want to avoid using chemical weed killers and fertilizers to treat your lawn. Foraging chickens will easily ingest the chemicals which could cause health issues for the chickens and temporarily ruin your prospects for organic eggs.
Instead of using a chemical treatment for you lawn, allow your chickens to fertilize and weed your lawn naturally. The trick is to use a chicken coop on wheels so that your entire lawn can be covered without creating a “dead spot” from overgrazing.
Chicken Coop Wheel Options
We offer five wheel options for turning your chicken coop into a bug eating, chicken feeding, lawn fertilizing machine. The wheel option that works best for you is largely determined by the size of your coop.