Well, it has been just a few weeks since our Town told us we could only keep 15 hens and absolutely no other birds or my Landlord would be taken to court for our refusal to comply with Town Law.
It has been a disastrous few weeks here. It was heartbreaking to re-home our birds, but especially heart breaking to lose some of the remaining ones to the fox in just a short time, including this beautiful bird who was one of the first chickens to come home with me from my school and start devouring the massive numbers of ticks we were plagued by before that. She was an excellent tick eating chicken, and has lived here for 4 years without anything happening to her. Last week, without anymore roosters to defend the hens, she was eaten by a fox along with two other birds.
This is needless carnage that did not need to occur.
Additionally, the sudden increase in the numbers of ticks at our home has been alarming. Within days of reducing the flock, they started to show up again. When you consider that I had not seen a tick here for the entire four years we had chickens, this is alarming and evidence of exactly how effective chickens can be as predators of ticks.
Before I had chickens, There were so many ticks in and around my home that I contracted at least 5 tick borne diseases that have been making me ill for several years. I used to even get bit by them in my sleep. Then I got chickens and almost immediately all the ticks were gone. We didn’t see another at our home for 4 years. Then our Town told us we could only keep 15 hens. This is not sustainable in Predator country like mine, and 15 hens alone have quickly proven to be inadequate to cover my 1.5 acres cut out of deep woods. People should not have to feel unsafe from a tick even in their house, nor should anyone have to search walls and ceilings with a flashlight before going to sleep at night. But thanks to the reduction in my birds, this is now my life. I can’t even stop worrying about them while I am sleeping. Always afraid of the blood sucking ticks that are everywhere and incredibly dangerous in my area.
In just the last 3 days, we have begun collecting all the ticks we have found in and around our home and our garden. This is without stepping foot into wooded areas. In just 3 days, we have found 9 ticks.
6 adult male American dog ticks
1 adult female deer tick
2 deer tick nymphs
1 female american dog tick
8 of these ticks were crawling on my partner (some inside, some outside but again never far from the house, and never in wooded areas. One was attached to our dog, although we do try to check them thoroughly whenever they go outside.
You may think it’s crazy, but I know they are safer in these little jars then they were running around my home, my porch, or my garden. I also think it’s good to collect them to watch their behavior. After all, I’ve been waging a war against the little buggers for over 5 years now. It’s good to know my enemy. Plus, I needed them for a photo shoot anyway.
I am still not well from the five or more tick borne diseases I contracted from the massive tick population here before I owned chickens. Chickens completely solved the problem. I am now back to being terrified that I will be bit again and contract yet another terrible pathogen to try and get rid of. I live in the country with plenty of space for the birds, and I don’t think Town’s should be allowed to legislate them out of endemic areas where so many people health depends on them. The CDC estimates that in 2015, there were 380,000 new cases of Lyme disease, and that almost a full half of those came from just 3 States: New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. People in those states who choose to control ticks biologically should be allowed to do so, not limited to a non sustainable, non effective population.