Ask our experts: Hens tackling garden pests
- Credit: Archant
Help, tips & advice by chicken keepers
QUESTION: I have just got some hens in the garden and understand that they might help me clear up the garden pests such as snails and slugs. What do you think?
Charlotte Popescu says: Your hens will particularly like woodlice and ants along with their eggs. Ants often accumulate under the drinker so if you move it every so often your girls will get a feast. Woodlice can easily be found underneath containers or large pieces of wood; if you move your containers every so often, your hens will really enjoy clearing up the woodlice for you. Slugs and snails are not necessarily favourites; snails will get eaten and if I break up the shell, my hens will eat this as it provides extra calcium. Some of my hens are picky of slugs, others will eat them. Your chickens will devour earwigs, caterpillars, beetles and leatherjackets, which are the larvae of the crane fly. Spiders and daddy long legs will also go down a treat. I often see my girls chasing after flies but rarely do they actually catch one; dead flies, though, get gobbled up.