can chickens eat cabbage white caterpillars

Can Chickens Feast on Cabbage White Caterpillars? Feathered Pest Patrol



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Alright friends, gather ’round as I tell y’all a tale about the time some dastardly cabbage whites took over my garden.

It was a scorching hot day last summer and all I wanted to do was lounge in the shade with an iced tea, but those suckers had other plans!

Turns out your chickens will eagerly gobble up every last one of those wiggly worms if you let ’em loose in the garden.

And I’m here to tell you just how well it worked for saving my cabbages when I thought all was lost!

How A Swarm Of Silkworms Nearly Endangered My Slaw Supplies

can chickens eat cabbage white caterpillars

I had been growing a bumper crop of cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli that year, looking forward to slaw, soups and sides all winter long. But one morning I noticed tiny yellow and black butterflies fluttering among the leaves.

“Uh oh, looks like trouble,” I thought to myself. Within days, every leaf seemed covered in littler green and black grubs. There were so many, you couldn’t even see the cabbages underneath! I tried picking them off by hand but they just kept coming, swarming over everything like locusts.

It got so bad I was afraid the entire harvest would be ruined. The cabbages were getting chewed to shreds and I worried the worms would spread to the rest of the garden too. That’s when I got desperate enough to try something a little unconventional…

I Call In The Chicken Cavalry To Save The Day!

can chickens eat cabbage white caterpillars

Now normally my chickens free range during the day while I’m puttering around home, looking for bugs and worms to snack on. But this was an all-out caterpillar catastrophe!

I hurried to collect the hens, figuring it couldn’t hurt to see if they’d go after the grubs. “C’mon girls!” I clucked, “I’ve got a special treat for ya!”. Once I set them down among the cabbages, they went wild pecking through the leaves.

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Within an hour those birds had the patch practically spotless! I swear I’ve never seen chickens work so hard. They were having a blast rummaging through the plants, hunting down caterpillars like it was their job. I was amazed at how thorough they were!

By evening the cabbages looked practically untouched, not a leaf out of place. I was so relieved my whole harvest was saved thanks to those hard-working hens. From then on, I knew chickens were my go-to weapon against any future garden pests.

Why Chickens Make The Perfect Pest Patrol

can chickens eat cabbage white caterpillars

After that first successful experiment, I did some reading up on chicken’s natural diets and behaviors. Turns out they absolutely love eating bugs, grubs and larvae as part of their normal foraging.

Protein is super important for chickens to stay healthy and lay eggs, so crawling insects packed with nutrients are like chicken fast food. And caterpillars are easy pickings – slow moving and out in the open on plant leaves where chickens can easily spot them.

Their instincts from millions of years of evolution mean chickens are naturally very adept at hunting and pecking for food. They’ll diligently root through soil and foliage with their beaks looking for any little critters hiding underneath.

Caterpillars don’t stand a chance against such skilled foragers! Chickens also enjoy the mental stimulation of actively searching for treats rather than just being fed. So it’s a win-win letting them patrol the garden.

Tips For Putting Your Flock To Work In The Veggie Patch

Once I knew how great chickens were at eating pests, I started incorporating them into my regular garden routine too.

A key thing is only letting chickens out during daylight hours when you can supervise. That way they don’t destroy plants or dig too many holes at night. I use portable electric fencing to cordon off sections I want protected too.

It’s also important to bring chickens back to their coop before dusk so they’re safe from any wild animals after dark. And you’ll want to watch closely once the bugs are gone to pull the chickens before they start over-grazing.

Monitoring the flock and removing them when their work is done ensures they stay helpful bug-eaters rather than becoming destructive foragers tearing everything up looking for more food!

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With a little management, chickens can become your best natural allies for keeping pests under control and crops thriving all season long.

Your Flock Will Thank You With Fresh Eggs!

Did you know chickens are actually happiest and healthiest when they’re active foragers like nature intended?

Letting them into the garden to patrol and eat insects provides mental stimulation along with the protein-rich bugs they crave. All that exercise and natural diet means very content hens indeed.

And happy, healthy hens are reward enough with their bountiful eggs! Between bug patrol and their coop, my flock stays active and their egg production is through the roof.

So in summary – keep those pests away, eggs coming your way. It’s a total win-win putting your chickens to work keeping your veggie patch bug-free all season long. Just try it, I promise y’all won’t be disappointed!

How to Attract Chickens to Forage in Specific Areas

Chickens can be enticed to forage where you want them with a few tricks.

Scatter whole grains like corn or crushed bugs throughout plants to encourage bug hunting in those spots.

Hungry chickens will diligently search wherever they find rewards without damaging other areas.

Provide dust bathing areas so chickens spend less time digging holes everywhere else.

Attractive dust spots can be made with coarse sand, ash or dirt kept lightly moistened.

Chickens will happily bathe and groom for hours if they have the perfect spot.

Occasional treats scattered throughout plants is a tasty incentive to explore every nook and cranny.

Creating Shelters and Coops Compatible with Garden Access

Sheltered areas near the garden allow you to shepherd chickens easily between plants and home.

Pop-up chicken tractors on wheels are perfect for corralling chickens as they forage.

Lightweight, portable shelters can be moved daily to fresh areas and locked at night.

Permanent coops near garden fences make monitored access simple with pop-holes.

Overhanging roofs protect chickens from sun and rain as they patrol outside during the day.

Nesting boxes, roosts and food/water can be kept in the shelter while keeping chickens close.

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With a little planning, chickens can be given garden access from a secure home base each day.

Pairing Chickens with Beneficial Garden Companion Plants

Interspersed plants chickens aren’t interested in eating attract beneficial insects.

Herbs like dill, fennel and caraway naturally repel cabbage worms and attract predatory wasps.

Nectar-producing flowers provide food for bees, hoverflies and other predators of pests.

Groundcovers under plants shelter spiders and provide habitat for insects like ants that deter pests.

Companion planting creates a holistic ecosystem chickens thrive within as both foragers and pest controllers.

With strategically planted associates, your whole garden benefits from natural protection.

How to Monitor Chickens’ Diets and Nutritional Needs

While bugs are a great snack, chickens still need a complete feed for vitamins and minerals.

Free-ranging birds burn more calories foraging so rations may need adjusting based on activity levels.

Signs of deficiencies include dull feathers, lethargy, broken bones or soft shells.

A high protein supplement like show feed ensures plenty even if bugs levels fluctuate seasonally.

Whole grains, oyster shell for calcium and grit for digestion must always be available.

Keeping a close eye on flock health lets you fine tune nutrition based on actual needs.

Vigilant monitoring yields flocks at their happiest, healthiest and most productive.

Handling Chickens Humanely and Keeping Them Stress-Free

Too much stress can interfere with chickens’ immune function and egg-laying.

Gentle, slow handling and soft voices keep chickens feeling safe and secure.

Abuse or rough interactions undermine the trust essential for tame, calm flocks.

Consistency, positive reinforcement and routine minimize anxiety over time.

Shelter from extremes of weather, predators and loud noises nourish well-being.

A stress-free lifestyle supports chickens’ aptitude for natural behaviors.

With compassionate care, your flock thrives as hardy, happy bug-eating gardenside pals.

Overwintering Chickens’ Bug-Eating Skills Indoors

Winter doesn’t have to stop chickens’ role as pest patrol.

Live insect cultures, dried bugs or protein-rich feeds fill protein needs indoors.

Temperature-controlled coops let chickens stay active foragers with less outdoor access.

Heat lamps, radiant fencing and heavy curtains block drafts so chickens stay healthy.

Multi-level coops outfitted like jungle gyms provide mental and physical enrichment.

Toys, puzzles and treats make indoor time fun for chickens too.

With insulation and extra attention, chickens can serve pest-free all year long.

how to raise chickens for eggs book pdf

Get Crackin’ on Your Own Egg Empire

Do you crave the rich golden yolks and thick whites that only come from the freshest eggs?

After nearly a decade running my own egg empire and mastering the art of keeping chickens, I’ve stuffed all my insider secrets into the aptly named “How to Raise Chickens for Eggs”.

how to raise chickens for eggs book pdf

Get Crackin’ on Your Own Egg Empire

Do you crave the rich golden yolks and thick whites that only come from the freshest eggs?

Dream of a waddling flock of feathered friends in your own backyard?

Then stop dreaming and start hatching a plan, people!

This ain’t no chicken game. After nearly a decade running my own egg empire and mastering the art of keeping chickens, I’ve stuffed all my insider secrets into the aptly named “How to Raise Chickens for Eggs”.

I’m talking building a palace of a coop guaranteed to impress the neighbors, concocting feed for peak egg production, collecting eggs so perfect you’ll weep tears of joy – plus hilarious stories and accidental mishaps along the way.

So get cluckin’ and grab the key to creating your own morning egg paradise before I sell out!