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In an effort to keep bugs down in a food forest, would it be a good idea to use chickens for day time pest control, and bats as night time pest control?

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My wife and I have about 100 free-ranging chickens. For bug control, they are a mixed blessing. Chickens eat just about any kind of insect they can find, excepting small ants, and thank goodness they don't appear to eat bees. But they also eat frogs and lizards, which also eat insects. We try to create environments where the frogs and lizards can hide during the day, and then they come out at night.

Here is a strange bit of trivia... Despite growing up watching cartoons where the number one thing that a chicken loves is earthworms, none of our chickens (many different breeds) have ever shown any interest at all in earthworms.

Our property also has bats, which we intend to further encourage by building a bat house. The bats largely eat flying insects like mosquitoes and moths. I doubt mosquitoes are interested in your food forest, but obviously the moths would be.

Obviously, the bats don't bother the chickens and the chickens don't bother the bats.

An excellent addition for your food forest is lady bugs. They eat all sorts of small critters that feast on your food forest.

  • So put a bat house over my chicken coop (2nd roof with a drain on the down side), and everything will be fine for them. Sounds perfect. – a coder Jul 6 '16 at 18:09
  • @a coder Hens can be extremely loud when they have just laid an egg. Just as loud as a rooster. I do not know if that would bother the sleeping bats... – Daniel Jul 6 '16 at 21:05
  • @Daniel I suspect not, at least for some of them. We have both microbats and cockatoos down the Cooks River in Sydney. Cockatoos make hens seem quiet and retiring by comparison, but they don't seem to bother the bats. Or the macrobats, for that matter, although a colony of fruit bats makes a lot of noise themselves. – Móż Jul 8 '16 at 0:25
  • Huh. Well, to address the ladybug issue, NOT A GOOD IDEA unless you love your neighbors. Ladybugs are programmed to LEAVE the area they were born in or woke up in. My goodness Coder, relying on other life forms to do your work for you is kinda weird. There are some decent ideas out there on how to become part of the environment around you but chickens are for eggs...with the eating of other insects as kinda a plus, unless those insects are necessary to the cycle within your environment. Bats are cool but to expect them to do work for you is just wrong...Noise? Is that a concern? – stormy Jul 22 '16 at 6:45
  • @stormy Of course I love my neighbors and I hope their gardens also flourish. Ladybugs stay for several days or even a couple weeks, cleaning out a variety of bad things from your garden, laying eggs the whole time. When their supply of food is gone, they leave. The next generation of ladybugs does the same. We have had a single application of ladybugs last for months. And it costs next to nothing. – Daniel Jul 22 '16 at 12:56

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