It’s tick season. These nasty insects suck blood and spread disease. They lay in wait on tree trunks, in brush, in tall grass and in dried leaves, which are all of my goats’ preferred places, too. In past years, my goat boys have rubbed themselves raw trying to dislodge ticks burrowed half-under their skin. I’ve groomed them, and picked the ticks off, but they still caused misery.
This year, I put the Tick Patrol to work, and they’ve been doing a brilliant job of reducing the tick load in the pasture!
For reasons unknown, the hawks that nested year after year in woods at the back of the pasture did not return. There’s still a risk that a flying predator will come by, but I’ve been watching, and so far the skies are clear. In the afternoon, after the Ladies lay their eggs, I let them into the goat paddock, where they go to work, cleaning up insects that I can’t see (they help to control parasites that the goats might harbor)
and then they move into the larger pasture. Their dinosaur feet shred leaves and expose bugs.
No creepy crawlies escape their sharp vision.
In the next week I’ll be opening up the overgrown side of the pasture.
The Ladies will have their work cut out for them. So far, though, I’ve found only a couple of ticks on the boys. They are very grateful!
This is my first attempt to use chickens for tick control. I’ve been surprised at how successful it’s been. Guinea hens are supposed to be even better, but they’re very loud and don’t stay put, so I’ve not considered getting them. There will be a lot more ticks in the brush in the overgrown side of the paddock. I’ll let you know if the hens are up to that job.