If you have a flock of chickens and you are worried about securing it from predators and pests, here are some important things you need to know. Most people do not like to keep chickens because they are afraid of these enemies but there are things you can do to prevent pests and predators from attacking your flock.
How to Keep Pests Away from your Farm
Once you have a flock, the first problem you may face would be from pests. This is because they are mostly drawn to livestock. They are an expected nuisance and so measures have to be taken to decrease the number of pests so that the chickens can be healthy. In other words, you have to start thinking of chicken pest control.
Once you start livestock farming, flies begin to visit your flock. They are attracted to the smell of manure and decomposing food. Chickens are known for pooping a lot and making a mess of their food, treats and water. This draws flies to them because the environment becomes a breeding area for them. The litters mixed with the water and other treats becomes a breeding ground for flies. Once there are flies, the next thing you start seeing is maggots in the chicken coop.The problem we usually face isfrom houseflies. Houseflyinfestation pushes us to look for chicken pest control. Once you seemaggots in the chicken coop,it means there has been some house fly infestation. This is becauseit is the beginning phase of thelife cycle of a fly. Therefore, steps have to be taken to reduce the overall fly population so as to limit the spread of diseases to the flock. Flies as small as they are can wipe out the whole flock. So learning how to avoid flies would be of help to you and your flock. The focus should be on killing members of the other stages of the fly and not only the mature fly. You have to take into consideration the life cycle of a fly before taking any chicken pest control against them. You need to get rid of the maggots in the chicken coop, or they will metamorphose and become flies and the battle will continue. Now let’s look at some ways you can employ to avoid house fly infestation or that of other pests.
Clean the coop. If you noticemaggots in the chicken coop,take it out for cleaning. It is usually advisable to keep it always clean. There must not be maggots in the chicken coop before you do this. It is usually said that prevention is better than cure. It is good to always clean the coop so as to avoid house fly infestation. Clean out leftover feed or treats, egg shells and old eggs. Scrub down the inside of the coop with vinegar and keep the place dry. When the environment is dry, it is difficult to find maggots in the chicken coop. This will mean that the area is not a favorable ground for breeding to the flies. This is because as we earlier said, the maggot phase is the early phase of metamorphosis of the life cycle of a fly.
Remove chicken poop. As soon as you wake up in the morning, make sure you remove chicken poop. Chickens poop a lot and this poop attracts house fly infestation. So you should remove these droppings from the coop. You can decide to use a dropping board. A dropping board is usually easy to clean because it takes less than a minute daily to scrape drown and add manure to the compost pile. Chicken poop in the coop serve as breeding ground for flies as far as the life cycle of a fly is concern.
Get some fly traps. To learn how to avoid flies, you need to get a trap for them. Most people prefer using the Captivator Fly Trap to get rid of flies. The good news is that it is not toxic and so it does no harm to your livestock. When you get the trap, always follow on to know how the trap works. Fill it with attractant and water and pace it on the ground or you can leave it hanging. What is important is that the flies should get into the holes of the trap. The idea is to draw flies away from the coop, so put the trap away from the coop. Put it where the flies ought to be and not where they are. This is good chicken pest control practice.
The Captivator Fly Trap attracts a lot of flies. When the traps are filled with flies, it is good to empty them because they tend to smell. Are you worried about how to get rid of the trapped flies? If you are, you just need to dig a whole about a foot deep and pour the contents of the trap into the hole and fill it back as fast as you can. You have to fast in covering back the earth because some flies which may try to fly away. When you are done, the process has to continue. Fill the trap with attractant and water for further use. It is easy to learn how to avoid flies. Get some traps and keep them far away from your flock.
Fill the coop with sand. Sand coats droppings and dries them up immediately. This helps in reducing odors and moisture. Moisture attracts the breeding of flies. Wet area is just what all the stages of the life cycle of a fly need. The sure way on how to avoid flies is to fill the coop with sand to keep it dry
Employ house fly predators. Fly predators eat fly larva and give it no other chance of hatching to become an adult pest. The funniest thing is that your flock may turn to eat the predators you have brought in to destroy their enemy.
Get rid of stagnant water around. Remove warm, stagnant and pooling water around the coop. This is because they serve as breeding ground for flies. Knowing how to avoid flies is an easy thing to do. You just have to start by eliminating stagnant water around where your livestock is. Make sure you remove every poop in the water for safety purposes.
Place fan in the coop. Funny right? Fans can be used to promote airflow inside the coop and stop flies from flying around.
Apart from flies, mites are pests that one needs to keep away from the poultry. They can be brought in by wild birds or got picked the moment you took your flock for sales or auctions where they got in contact with other chickens. Mites are in different types. Their infestation can cause a drop in egg laying, pale combs, wattles, anemia and sometimes death. The chicken’s body starts irritating it and then gets red. Some chickens lose feathers in an attempt to get these mites off their bodies. The red mites are nocturnal. At night, they suck blood from the chickens while they are asleep and during the day, they hide in cracks and cervices in the coop. The Northern fowl mite on the other hand feeds on the chicken itself.
The focus here is not to discuss about mites but to know the chicken pest control method that would help us get rid of these pests. The methods are not different from those for flies listed above. You can apply the some of the tricks with mites. To add, ensure regular health checks for mites on the body of your chicken. This may not be a chicken pest control method but is necessary to ensure that your flock is healthy. It keeps you happy and contented.
Lice infest the skins and feathers of chickens. Lice would spend their entire life on a single host. You can trace the louse as it moves on the skin putting the feathers apart. They do not suck blood but feed on dry skin scales and feathers. They cause irritation to the chickens and reduce egg laying in them. Try applying the chicken pest control methods above used for flies. Though all may not work but most will. Just try them out. Ensure regular health checks for any lice on the body of your chicken.
Keeping Away predators from poultry farms
Predators are those creatures which prey on your flock. They drastically reduce the chicken population. In the following steps, learn how to keep them away from your flock.
Know what you are up against
You need to know the kind of predators that are in the area where you live. If you know which predators are likely to attack your flock, then you will know how to get rid of them easily. They may be hawks, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, owls, and even possums. It is important to know the predators that you are up against so that you would know how to build the coop for your chickens. Let’s take a look at some of these predators which attack the flock.
Dogs. These animals are needed to scare away predators away from your chickens but they themselves can be an enemy to the chickens. Dogs can prey on chickens. If you have dogs around, make sure they are in good terms with your chickens. Once you discover that a whole chicken has gone missing, then the dog might have carried it away. If you discover that your dog does not like your chickens, then keep a watchful eye on them and do not bring them close to your coop.
Raccoons. Sometimes you meet your chicken dead with no heads. Raccoons always try to get the chickens out of the fence or coop. When this seems impossible, they eat the heads and leave the bodies behind. Most times, they go for the chicks because they are smaller and so can be easily carried away.
Coyotes. Chickens go missing when coyotes are around. They have the ability to carry off a whole grown chicken.
Foxes. Chickens go missing when a fox is around. You may also see bones or feathers around because the fox finds it difficult chewing these parts. Foxes are very wasteful. They kill more than they can eat just in one setting. They even go as far as burying the rest of the food in the ground. How wasteful! Foxes need to be kept far away from the chickens.
Opossums. When you see wet feathers and a big mushy mess behind the nesting place, then an opossum has visited your chickens. They suck the eggs and get away with chicks because they are smaller.
Owls. Keeping owls away from your coop may be a challenge because they usually attack at night. They are similar to hawks. They are able to take the chickens away leaving behind little or no sign to prove that they had been around. Once they get into the coop, they get away with a whole chicken.
Snakes. Just like a skunk, they go for the eggs. Unlike a skunk, they eat the whole egg without leaving any egg shell. This makes it very difficult to know if a snake has attacked your flock. All you discover is that the eggs are reducing one by one.
Knowing which predator you are up against would be a first step in knowing how to deal with them. They have different sizes and ways in attacking the chickens. This means that that the methods in keeping them away can differ from predator to predator.
Build a coop for your flock.
Some predators claim to be very smart but you can play smarter by building a coop in a way that would keep them away. Now let’s see how to go about that.
When you are done building a coop for your chickens or even if you have bought one, ensure that it is covered. Hawks and owls are common predators which swoop down and attack chickens. This will mean that you need to cover the coop to keep them away. You may decide to use chicken wire. The good news is that it does not only keep these predators away but it as well provides visibility for flock. Most people prefer using a tarp sheet to a chicken wire because they want their chickens to have some shade. However, what is important is that the coop should be covered.
Keep the environment where your coop is, clear from tall grasses, bush or any hide outs for predators. Most predators are afraid of being seen and so they would not dare these dear ones if there is no hiding place for them. Keeping the coop visible to you would thwart less confident predators.
Your coop should be built in a way that you can lock your chickens up at night. Though there are some predators which can open simple locks and bolts like the raccoons, you can employ a mechanism that cannot be opened by these predators no matter how smart they may pretend to be. There are some locks which require thumbs to open. Predators will find it difficult opening these ones, but you just have to play wise because man is the ultimate predator. He or she can break the lock and steal your chicken for his meal. It is advisable to use a more complicated lock that man himself cannot break open except by using the keys.
It is a good feeling to have your flock put in a coop. You feel contented that they are secured from any predator. However, having your coop checked regularly for any access hole would not cause you anything. You may see these holes as being so insignificant but you should know that there are some predators who can gain access into the coop through small gaps or holes like the case of the weasel. A weasel once in the coop can kill a significant number of your chickens. They just kill for fun. No one would want a weasel in his or her coop. So, checking the coop weekly for any access holes and reinforcing those areas would be of help to both and your flock.
Flock may be too large that keeping them indoors at night may be so impossible. When left outdoors, they are sometimes attacked by snakes. Snakes pilfer eggs and small chicks, so you should be alert for them.
Take out time to clean the coop. There may be food and scraps lying around. Rats are mostly attracted by leftover food. So be careful not to leave such food in the coop. These rats may come and eat the eggs and small chicks instead of the leftover food.
The chicken is sometimes too big for some predators to eat. Most of them only go for the eggs. So, make sure to collect the eggs daily and discourage these predators.
When Your Chickens Are Free Ranging
Many people consider keeping free ranging chickens a difficult thing to do. This is because it is much easier to take care of a chicken that is in a coop than when it is free. Keeping it away from predators and pests tends to be a challenge to them. This is because the chicken may move around and contact the predators itself. Do not be discouraged. This article is for you. Here, learn how to keep your free ranging chickens secured from predators or pests.
Have you ever thought of using electric fences? If not, then you should now. If your chickens are free, you can plant an electric fence around the perimeter to drive away predators. This is good because it is not expensive and it is also very easy to erect.
You can get a rooster to protect your chickens. Many people tend not to like it because it is very noisy especially in the morning. Not everyone would like being woken up by a rooster. However, there are some countries which see nothing wrong with people keeping roosters. If you are in such an area, then consider getting a rooster to protect your hens and it would risk his life to protect them.
Keep safety shelters for your chickens. Birds of prey like the hawks only swoop to get chickens. This therefore means that your chickens can hide under these safety shelters when they see these predators coming to get them. Just as you are aware of the existence of these enemies, the chickens are also aware of them and they would want to hide away from them. A safety shelter can save their lives.
Many experts would advise you to get your old CDs and hang them on trees or anything around that makes hanging possible. The light from the sun reflecting on the CDs will drive the birds of prey away from your chickens. From here, you start discovering how easy it is to keep predators away from your flock.
Guard dogs can be so helpful. They can bark predators away but be careful not to leave them alone with your chickens. You have to make sure the dog is in good terms with your flock before taking such a risk. Some predators hate the smell from dogs and this smell scares them away. Having just a guard dog at your farm can do the job for you. Dogs do the same job as roosters but they are more effective.
We discover from this article that keeping predators or pests cannot be an impossible thing to do and there are even some home measures that can be taken which are not even expensive. For example, getting old CDs and hanging them on trees beside your flock can drive away predators like hawks because of the radiating light from these CDs. Another example is the keeping of guard dogs. Dogs are very common pets and you can easily have them at your house. Cleaning the coops on the other hand cannot be a challenge. You do not need to spend money on that. All you may need is your vinegar to clean the coop with. From here you can start proving to those predators and pests that you are smarter than them.
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