Will Chickens Eat Ticks - Sustainable Lives Matter

Tick Problem? – Will Chickens Eat Ticks?

Lyme Disease Alert

On average, 822 new cases of Lyme disease are reported every day in the US.  That means there's 300,000 infections every year.  What can we do to prevent it?

So, Will Chickens Eat Ticks?

If you're in a hurry, allow me to save you some time and answer the question right now...

More...

Yes! Chickens will eat ticks!  But there's so much more to think about with this, so please stick with us.

Will Chickens Eat Ticks? - chickens eating

Here's the Problem...

You love the outdoors.  Sure some people don't, but you're here reading this so I'll wager that you do.  The problem with being outdoors is it exposes you to the creepy crawly things.  Ticks (which are arachnids) certainly fall under the "creepy crawly" umbrella.  Unfortunately, these guys can deliver several possible infections.  As mentioned above in particular, Lyme disease is reaching epidemic proportions.

Why is Lyme disease so bad?

The big problem besides all of the symptoms is that there is no (at the time of this writing) reliable method of detection.  The bullseye rash that most people associate with the disease is easily missed if it even presents itself at all.  There are new tests in development that may yield better more accurate results.  If you're feeling nerdy, here's the link to the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

So what we're all probably thinking is, "How do we protect ourselves?"  For the sake of argument, let's say you're not a fan of using chemical sprays on your yard or on your body (or your kids' for that matter).  Could chickens be the answer?

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article on this very topic.​  Let me break down the important points for you.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) refuses to endorse chickens as a solution not because they think it won't work but because they feel it is not their specialty.  They're probably right.  In this case, experience most likely trumps the research (hard to admit for someone who taught science for over a decade).

Always remain vigilant!​

Their major concern, rightfully so, is that someone will go get some chickens and think they can just stop worrying about ticks.  "But I want a silver bullet!" you say.  Sorry.  Common sense dictates that you must always remain vigilant.  ​

Will Chickens Eat Ticks - Sustainable Lives Matter

Not only is it possible that chickens will not be 100% effective in eliminating the ticks on your property, it is possible that they will bring new problems into your life.  As with any animal you bring into your life, they are your responsibility.  You need to ensure they are fed, healthy and safe.  If not maintained properly, there are other health issues associated with keeping birds.


How Do I Get Started?

Please don't jump in without doing all of your research first.​  The good news is that if you decide the chickens are not for you, you are likely to find someone that will take them off of your hands. We want you to be sustainable, so taking our time is important.

One of the first concerns you'll need to address is the habitat that you provide for your birds.​  If you fancy yourself a little handy, we've got a set of free plans for you to download from a website we found.

Build Your Own Chicken Coop

Free 18 Page PDF

Honest Lives Matter Too!

In an effort to be completely transparent, I want to let you know that I have an affiliate relationship with some of the companies whose products or services I recommend. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission or credit if you decide to buy any of their products or services.

See our Disclaimer​ for more details.

About the Author Neil

I am a husband, father of 3, and a full time educator. I take my passion for sustainability from at home in the garden with my family to school with the children in the community. Through awareness, change can come. Will you change with us? We'd be happy to have you.

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14 comments
Robert says last year

Great information. I had no idea chickens ate ticks besides providing eggs and an occasional dinner. We live in a rural community so raising chickens is a common practice, but the added benefits to our dogs and us was not known before I read your article. Good information and useful tips regarding how to raise chickens as well.

    Neil says last year

    Robert,

    I’m so glad you got value from the article.  That’s great that you live near others who can help you and provide valuable tips should you ever decide to move forward.  Best wishes!

    -Neil

Daniella says last year

Hi Neil,
What a great article, I really enjoyed the reading!
I have a big garden with trees, and of course, I am sure there are plenty of ticks that we don’t see. One of my dreams is to raise chickens, but the problem is that many cats stroll in my garden. Do you have any suggestions for this? I am going to download the chicken coop so that my husband can build a habitat for the futures chickens:) Just a question, please. Does it takes a lot of works to raise chickens? Also, will it reduce the ticks in my garden?

Thank you in advance!

    Neil says last year

    I would never say becoming more self-reliant and sustainable requires less work.  So raising your chickens will be additional task you would be taking on that someone else is currently doing for you.  The benefits you and the rest of the world receive from your choice to become more sustainable are worth the extra effort.  Regarding the cats, the coop plans you downloaded includes an optional run for them.  You can use this area to keep them safe while you control the introduction of the cats and the chickens.  As with most things, patience is key.  Let us know how you do!
    -Neil

W Tucker says last year

what a cool idea. Never, ever thought of chickens as a way to keep ticks out of your yard.
I have a friend in Austin that has chickens in his yard, and I never thought to ask if he knows this. I’m betting he does. These are specialty chickens, but I doubt that matters.
I’m guessing that when a chicken eats a tick with Lyme disease that there’s no harm that comes to the chicken?
Interesting article about a subject I never thought about.

    Neil says last year

    It’s nice to see you are concerned for the wellbeing of the chicken too!  Most bacteria don’t do well inside of digestive tracts.  The spirochete that causes Lyme disease does not survive the digestive process.  Thank you for taking a moment to leave me a comment.

Laurie Cordero says last year

We are dealing with a serious tick problem where I live. I am constantly pulling them off of my kids whenever we spend time outside (which is all the time). While I am not able to own chickens and wouldn’t really have the time to care for them properly, I found this article really interesting. I had no idea chickens ate ticks!

    Neil says last year

    Laurie,

    Thank you for the contributing to our conversation!  It seems like you’re a very thoughtful and responsible reader.  It’s easy to jump on an idea and not think it through first.  Think of all the additional pets that arrive in shelters after Christmas and Valentine’s day.

    -Neil

Paula says last year

Hi Neil and thanks so much for your article! I had no idea chickens ate tics. Recently my son and his family moved to the country. The kids are city kids and are toddler aged. They are excited about the idea of getting chickens, but the sight of all the bugs in the country are scaring them :o). Maybe this will get dad moving a little quicker on the chickens if he knows they eat ticks too! hahaha. Thanks so much. I’m passing this on to my son! :o)

    Neil says last year

    The city to country living choice can be a difficult one to make I’m sure. Thanks for passing it on for taking a moment to leave a comment.

Louis Walence says last year

Nice information scary stuff though Thanks for the info (wish I could keep chickens where I live but alas neighbors and city frown on it here.)
All the best to you.

    Neil says last year

    Yeah, ticks can pack quite a punch in such a small package. I’m sorry to hear having chickens is not an option for you. Thanks for giving us a visit and leaving a comment!

Steve says last year

Was researching what was required to setup a chicken coop on our newly acquired block of land and came across your site. Wow! Didn’t realise that ticks could be such a problem, glad that the humble chicken could assist us in the control of such pests.

Appreciate your advice to check out other concerns when I get these new chickens, what other benefits do chickens provide other than being a good source of eggs?

Thanks for your information

    Neil says last year

    Besides the eggs and the pest control, here’s a couple of additional benefits: 1) Excellent source of nitrogen (fertilizer) from their litter and 2) depending on your plans and the breed you select, you might just get a new companion (or a meal later). We appreciate you taking a moment to leave us a comment!

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