The answer is YES. Chickens eat ticks but they do not intentionally search for ticks to consume. Chickens are omnivores and eat anything from tiny organisms to large insects. They even preen on themselves and other chickens to be free from insects or anything stuck on them. Chickens can be a valuable asset in the fight against ticks around your surroundings and help you protect yourself from tick diseases like Lyme disease, Alpha Gal Syndrome, etc. This blog will clarify your doubts on whether you can use chicken as the best defender in your backyard.
Do Chicken Eat Ticks?
It’s well known that chickens eat anything from small to large insects like ants, bees, wasps, etc. So, it is obvious that they eat ticks. Many farmers allow chickens to roam freely in their fields to control the tick population.
Some studies have shown that chickens can reduce the number of ticks in an area by up to 90%, while other studies have found much lower levels of success. In addition, it’s worth noting that not all ticks carry disease, so even if chickens reduce the overall tick population, they may not reduce the risk of disease transmission. Ultimately, more research is needed to analyze the effectiveness of using chickens as a means of tick control.
How Many Ticks Does The Chicken Eat?
In a single day, a single chicken can consume dozens of ticks (approximately 50 to 80 ticks). While it would seem like a lot, it is a relatively small number compared to an area’s total population of ticks.
According to a study, it is also found that chickens preferentially target adult ticks, which are more likely to carry diseases. It is likely because adult ticks are larger and easier to spot than juveniles. However, by eating ticks, chickens help reduce the number of these parasitic creatures. It can help to prevent the spread of diseases that are carried by ticks, such as Lyme disease. In addition, by reducing the number of ticks in an area, chickens can also help to protect other animals from being parasitized.
Given the potential for tick-borne disease, keeping an eye on your flock and ensuring they stay healthy is important. If you find any unusual behavior or excessive scratching, it may be worth having your chickens checked by a vet.
What Are The Best Chicken Breeds For Tick Control?
Chickens are excellent foragers and can help to control ticks in your yard. They will search for insects and other small creatures to eat, and their body temperature helps to keep ticks from surviving.
Consider purchasing breeds of hens that are inherently better at foraging when getting chickens expressly to eradicate ticks from your property. Some of the best chickens for tick control include:
- Guinea Hens
- Brown Leghorn
- Golden Comet
- Old English Game
- Jersey Giant
- Rhode Island Red
- Plymouth Rock
Many different chicken breeds can be effective when it comes to tick control. The most popular ones are Guinea fowls, Ameraucana, Brown Leghorn, Dominique, Hamburg, Rhode Island Red, Australorp, Orpington, Plymouth Rock, and Andalusian. These chicken breeds are known for being good foragers and have strong immune system. Additionally, they are less likely to contract diseases from ticks. If you reside in an area with a high tick population, consider adding some of these chicken breeds to your flock.
Guinea Fowl: For controlling ticks, guinea hens are a fantastic option. They are adept at locating and consuming ticks. They also consume other pests like mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. They have a reputation for lowering the risk of Lyme disease.
Ameraucana Chickens: Ticks can be effectively repelled by Ameraucana hens. They are renowned for consuming ticks, among other insects. They also resist several prevalent chicken illnesses, making them a strong tick management option.
Brown Leghorn: Tick prevention is also effective with Brown Leghorn. This Italian-bred chicken has a strong physical build and produces many white eggs annually. Your grass will be grateful for their help in warding off ticks whether you choose to use one kind, a combination of them, or neither.
Rhode Island Red Chicken: This breed is known for its hardiness and ability to forage effectively. It also has better popularity for being especially docile.
Orpington and Plymouth Rock: These breeds are relatively easy to care for and tend to lay large, brown eggs.
Any of these breeds is a wonderful choice if you’re searching for a chicken kind that does a good job of keeping ticks under control. When choosing a breed of chicken for tick control, it is important to consider the climate in which you live. Some breeds are ideally suited for warm climates, while others do better in cooler weather. Ultimately, the best breed of chicken for tick control is the one that best suits your individual needs and preferences.
Implications Of Ticks On Your Chicken
Chickens are increasingly being recognized as a potential source of human infection with tick-borne pathogens. In the United States, cases of human infection with tick-borne diseases have increased in recent years, and chickens have been identified as a potential source of these infections.
Chickens are susceptible to several diseases, many of which can be transmitted by ticks. Ticks can attach themselves to chickens and feed on their blood, exposing them to various pathogens. These include bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, which can cause serious illness or even death in chickens. In addition, ticks can also transmit diseases to humans who come into contact with them. As a result, taking steps to prevent ticks from infesting your chicken coop is significant.
Regular inspection of your chickens for ticks, and prompt removal of any found, can help reduce the risk of disease transmission. In addition, using an insecticide in the chicken coop can help to keep ticks at bay. Adopting these simple precautions can help keep your chickens healthy and free from the dangers of ticks.
Measures To Prevent Ticks From Chicken
Chickens are susceptible to several tick-borne diseases, which can cause serious health problems. Ticks are small, parasitic critters that attach themselves to the skin of their host to feed on blood. Unfortunately, once a chicken is infested with ticks, they are very difficult to remove.
The best way to prevent tick infestation is to keep them off your chickens in the first place. Properly caring for your chicken coop and yard is critical.
- Keep the area clean and free of tall grasses and weeds where ticks can hide.
- Inspect your chickens regularly, especially when ticks are most active in the spring and summer.
- If you see any ticks, carefully remove them with tweezers.
- Be sure to disinfect the area afterward.
- Adopting these simple precautions can help keep your chickens healthy and tick-free.
- A well-fed chicken is less likely to risk eating something that could make them sick. So, offer your chickens a variety of healthy foods, and they may be more likely to snack on ticks when they come across them.
- With a little effort, you can help keep your flock healthy and control the tick population in your area.
Can Chickens Contract Lyme Disease After Eating Ticks?
Lyme disease is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick, and it can cause many symptoms, from mild flu-like symptoms to severe joint pain and neurological problems.
The good news is consuming ticks never causes chickens to get Lyme disease. A tick must remain connected to the skin for 36 to 48 hours to spread the pathogen that causes Lyme disease to a new host.
No tick that a chicken consumes will be able to attach to the chicken’s crop or gizzard, and every tick it consumes will be digested long before it comes into contact with the bird long enough to cause the disease. Scientists have discovered that even if the Lyme disease-causing Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria aren’t digested in the chicken’s stomach, the stomach acidity causes them so much stress that they are rendered non-infectious.
The bad news is that ticks can spread Lyme disease to chickens when they bite and get attached to them. However, this will only occur if your chicken is already ill.
A chicken will groom itself by preening. Instead of doing it alone, chickens frequently preen each other in larger groups.
Preening is a chicken’s method of self-grooming. Rather than doing it alone, chickens frequently preen each other in larger groups. Insects are removed from chicken feathers during preening. When they see a mite or tick that another chicken can’t reach on its own, they will peck at that bird.
Chickens are often exposed to ticks in their environment and can become infected with Lyme disease. However, there is no evidence that chickens can transmit the disease to humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) advises that chickens can help prevent Lyme disease by eating ticks that might otherwise infect people. Therefore, if you have chickens, there is no need to worry about them spreading Lyme disease to you or your family.
Should I Get Guineas Rather Than Chickens To Eradicate Ticks?
As any pet owner knows, keeping ticks under control is important in keeping your animal healthy. Ticks can transmit many dangerous diseases, including Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. As a result, taking steps to prevent them from tenanting on your property is significant.
Many keep chickens to deter ticks, but guinea fowl may be even more effective. These birds are known for their voracious appetite for insects and are particularly effective at reducing the number of ticks in an area. In addition, guinea fowl are less likely than chickens to contract diseases from ticks, making them a healthier choice for your flock. If you are hunting for a natural way to control ticks on your property, consider adding some guinea fowl to your menagerie.
But you should keep a few things in mind before you switch from chickens to guineas. Guineas are more expensive than chickens, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget. They are noisier than chickens, so they may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a quiet backyard flock. Guineas can be aggressive, so they may not be the best choice if you have small children or other pets.
Guineas can be a great addition to any tick control program, but they’re not right for everyone. Talk to your vet or local extension agent to see if they fit your situation well.
Chickens That Won’t Help With Tick Control
As you may expect, some chicken varieties can’t provide the same level of tick management assistance as chickens or guinea hens.
Broiler Chickens: Avoid hybrids like the Cornish Cross when choosing broiler chickens, while heritage breeds or multipurpose hens may be useful for eradicating ticks. These chickens are of a breed that has been bred to grow quickly and only be consumed for their meat. They are hefty, sluggish chickens who would prefer to eat and relax than hunt for insects.
Geese: You might not know this, but geese are vegetarians – their only source of food are plants. Don’t expect geese to assist in lowering the tick population if you raise them or if they visit your property.
Young Birds: Small, immature birds lack the brainpower and hunting prowess necessary to be successful tick hunters. They’ll make an effort, but don’t count on them to significantly reduce the number of ticks. Keep the chicks safe and let them develop. One day, they’ll make excellent hunters.
Other Ways For Effective Tick Control
To use chickens for tick management, you might want to think about letting your chickens wander freely on your property. If you think that it will not be the best possible way, you can also try other ways to effectively control the tick population. Here are some of the best methods to control tick population:
- Regularly mowing your lawn and maintaining other green places.
- Removing plant debris heaps from your yard that can be home to ticks.
- During tick season, temporarily remove bird feeders and other things that draw wildlife to your yard.
- Check them for ticks when your pets return inside after spending time outside or working.
- Seeking the professional judgment of a pest control expert.
There is no guarantee that chickens will eat every tick they come across. Relying solely on chickens may not provide complete tick protection though they play an important role in preventing ticks from taking over your yard. It’s a good idea to start by learning what kinds of ticks are most prevalent where you live.
You should keep a good tick tweezer nearby just in case. The grass should be kept short, and you should keep your yard free of too many leaves or debris. And resist the temptation to believe that your immunity to ticks is due to chickens. You could still contract a tick-borne disease even if a flock of feathered friends surrounds you. So, apart from using tick-hunters to protect your household, you need to follow certain precautionary measures too to prevent tick infection and tick diseases.