Using poultry for the reduction of pests

Poultry make for good pest management

Smart Farmer How To
HELPFUL: Jane Major, Yass, NSW, has been using ducks for pest control in her orchard with excellent results.

HELPFUL: Jane Major, Yass, NSW, has been using ducks for pest control in her orchard with excellent results.

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As a follow up to an earlier article on utilising poultry on the farm, Bruce Pattinson has a look at using ducks to control pests.

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See the October edition of Smart Farmer here

As a follow up to an earlier article on utilising poultry on the farm, let's have a look at using ducks to control pests.

We have all seen the footage of ducks invading rice paddies in Asia where they are used to control pests.

Most of us have used chooks to clear a piece of land, fertilise it and then plant the next crop.

Another example of using poultry is ducks in the orchard.

Jane Major, a grazier from the Yass region of NSW has been using ducks for pest control in her orchard.

"We have had pure bred Khaki Campbell ducks for 20 years, just as pets and for eggs," Jane said.

"They free range in our enclosed, fox proof orchard.

"They have been terrific in totally eliminating coddling moth from our Johnathon Apple tree.

"Before the ducks, the tree was riddled with coddling moth and about 80 per cent of the apples were affected.

"When we introduced ducks to the orchard, it took about two seasons to get rid of the codling moth.

"I assume the ducks ate the larvae when they were in the ground around the tree."

Ducks in orchards are also excellent for eating any slugs or snails and they will graze and forage around the trees.

They don't dig like chooks or scatter mulch but they will eat smaller vegetable seedlings and can be clumsy and squash smaller plants.

Another benefit is that ducks lay large eggs and they can also be used for the pot, just like any poultry.

I would love to have other readers let us know their experiences, as would Jane.

"I would like to know if other readers have had similar success with getting rid of, or at least controlling, other pests like elm beetle that have larvae in the soil as part of their life cycle," Jane said.

  • Email your questions for Bruce to: smartfarmer@theland.com.au or post to: Chook Feed, PO Box 25, Kogarah, 2217, with your name and daytime contact number.
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