At Vergenoegd Wine Estate in South Africa, there are 1,071 Indian Runner ducks known as the quack squad, and they mean business. They’re released every morning and are trained to march down to the vineyard in a long line. The ducks are used as organic pest control to stop pests and snails from ruining the grapes.
These marching ducks are awesome; check this video out.
A Secret to Juicy Organic Oranges
It’s not just ducks that are great for controlling bugs. Chickens are also great pest controllers and go especially well with fruit trees.
Some people expect fruit trees to look after themselves. But the reality is, there is a lot more to it than putting them in the ground and giving them some water.
In this interview with organic fruit grower Colin Reid, he gives away some of his secrets to juicy organic oranges:
- Using chickens for pest control. The chickens keep fruit flies under control by eating fly pupae. The chickens can hear the pupae moving around in the ground and they dig them up and clear them out.
- Spraying fertilizer directly on new foliage for better absorption. This is known as Foliar feeding which is effective because plants are able to absorb essential elements through their leaves.
- Using traps to keep fruit flies under control.
Check out the interview here.
Fruit trees and chickens in your backyard
Chickens and fruit trees are an excellent match. Once established, fruit trees are big enough so that they can’t be damaged or dug up by chickens.
I have a lemon tree, lemonade tree, fig tree, passion fruit, pawpaws and a young mulberry tree.
I get heaps of juicy fruit off them, and the chickens do a lot of the work for me. They spend most of their day around my fruit trees because they provide shade, and they love to scratch around for insects.
The benefits of keeping chickens with fruit trees
Chickens and fruit trees are a combination that is simple but so incredibly effective. Here is a list of some of the benefits:
Benefits to the orchard:
- Chickens keep bugs under control
- Chickens clean up rotten fruit
- Chicken manure provides free fertilizer for your fruit trees.
Benefits to the chickens:
- Free food for your chickens
- A diet for your chickens which is closer to their natural diet
- Fruit trees and shrubs provide shade from the heat
- Fruit trees provide shelter for chickens from predators such as hawks
- Fruit trees keep your chickens active and it takes their focus away from being destructive in other areas of your backyard
- A diverse free-range diet means healthier and more nutritious eggs.
For more tips and advice, check out my blog!