Keeping your coop free of rodents and insects is important for your chickens’ health and happiness. Bugs and mice will not only eat chicken feed, but they can also carry disease. Snakes eat eggs and even small baby chicks if they have the chance. Often if chickens sense these pests inside the coop, they will stop laying their eggs in the nesting boxes, opting instead to lay them outside, and might also refuse to sleep in the coop at night.
Keeping the feed outside and not feeding inside the coop goes a long way towards keeping critters out of your coop, and sprinkling some food-grade diatomaceous earth around your feeder and on the coop floor will will many hard-shelled insects without harming your chickens. More about DE HERE.
Here's a handy guide to some of the most common pests found in coops and how to repel them naturally. These remedies aren't always 100% effective, and may need to be repeated several times, but they are safe and inexpensive and worth a try before you reach for chemicals or other toxins that can be harmful to your chickens.
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- Plant basil, catnip, oregano, peppermint or spearmint, rosemary or sage around your coop
- Sprinkle bay leaves, black pepper, cloves or cinnamon on the coop floor and in the nesting boxes
- Leave cucumber peels in the run (of course your chickens will most likely eat them!)
- Plant basil, citronella (lemon grass), dill, thyme, rosemary or mint around the run area
- Pick fresh herbs (those mentioned above) and scatter them on the coop floor, tie them into bouquets to hang or make an herbal wreath
- Hang vanilla-soaked cotton balls in mesh bags in your run or coop
Mice and Rats
- Plant mint around your coop and run
- Cut fresh mint and hang it in your coop and toss some in your nesting boxes
- Cut pine boughs and put them in your coop along the outside walls and on the floor
Mites and Lice
- Try a spray made with garlic juice and water on your roosting bars
- Rub a mixture of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg on your roosting bars and sprinkle in your nesting boxes
- Add a few drops of lavender, peppermint, rosemary or thyme to a spray bottle of water and spray down your coop
- Sprinkle some thyme and lavender in your nesting boxes and on the coop floor
- Plant some basil, bee balm, catmint, garlic, lavender, marigolds, rosemary or thyme around your coop or run
- Stick cloves in half an orange or lemon and hang it in your coop
- Sprinkle sulfur and cayenne powder around the perimeter of your coop and run
- Spray clove or cinnamon essential oil in your coop
- Plant spearmint or peppermint around the coop
- Scatter citrus peels or sliced fresh garlic cloves in your coop
- Plant some lavender around the run or in window boxes at the coop
- Plant lavender, garlic, sage or mint around your coop
- Make lavender posies or sachets for the nesting boxes or coop
- Consider a flock of guinea fowl
Various herbs planted in and around your coop and run or tossed into your nesting boxes or hung in the coop are not only pretty and smell wonderful, but will go a long way towards keeping your coop critter-free and making it a safe haven for your hens to sleep in and in which to lay their eggs. Many of them do double- or triple-duty against various types of pests as an added bonus.
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