Natural Pest Control - Safe for Chickens, Other Pets and People

'Tis the season of bugs and other pests. While chickens will eat many of the bugs that they come in contact with, others they won't.  

Bad bugs and parasites can not only carry disease to your flock through contaminating their feed but some also transmit harmful diseases through direct contact.  

Others can damage wood in coops and barns, so you do want to control them, but do it naturally.

Stop! Put down the Raid or Ortho. Don't use Frontline or Sevin Dust on your chickens! 

Commercial bug sprays and pesticides aren't good for your family, your pets or the environment. 

Before you start spraying chemicals near your run and coop area that could be harmful to your chickens (or in your home that are harmful to your family and indoor pets), you might want to consider some of these homemade natural remedies to repel pests. 

I have not personally tried all of these remedies, but as with most natural, holistic preventives, they are easy, inexpensive and have no side effects, so there's no downside to giving them a try. 

And you probably have everything you need to battle summer pests right in your kitchen cabinets and pantry.


(Also earwigs, silverfish, fleas, crickets, millipedes and centipedes)

Sprinkle black pepper or cloves.

Make sachets using fresh lavender, rosemary and thyme.

Plant mint and basil around the run.

Spray white vinegar.

Cinnamon sticks or sliced garlic cloves.


Shampoo with 1 part Dawn detergent or mild baby shampoo, 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts warm water.

Use lavender sachets.

Dust hens with DE.


Plant basil, dill, rosemary or mint around the run area.

Plant citronella (lemon grass) around the run area.

Open a bottle of Chardonnay and drop a few mango peels into it. Leave outside the run or on your kitchen counter.

Hang vanilla-soaked cotton balls in mesh bags in your run.

Hang sachets of cloves, eucalyptus and clover blossoms.

Make this easy DIY Fly Catcher and bait it with maple syrup, fish and vinegar. 


Mix 2 cups of salt into 2 gallons of warm water.
Soak the hen for 10 minutes, then soak her for five minutes in a tub of 2 gallons of warm water with 1/2 cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid and 1/2 cup of white vinegar mixed in.
The lice should drown and float to the top.
Rinse her well and dry her thoroughly.

Dust with food-grade Diatomaceous Earth.  Repeat every other day or so until you no longer see evidence of the lice.

Apply coconut oil every day for five days.

Squirt apple cider vinegar onto the affected hens where you see the lice.

Essential oils sprayed onto the affected hens that kill lice include: lavender, rosemary, clove, thyme, anise, cinnamon leaf, red thyme, peppermint, nutmeg


Sprinkle cayenne pepper.

Plant lavender around your run and coop.

Plant mint around the run and coop.


Sprinkle food-grade Diatomaceous Earth and fireplace ash in the dust bath area, on the floor of the coop and rub some into the roosts.

Feed hens raw minced garlic.

Spray hens with garlic juice.

Mix 1 Cup of cooking oil, 2 Cups of water and 1 T dishwashing liquid and spray coop interior.

Mix cooking oil and water and leave a bowl in your coop to 'trap' the mites.

Mix garlic juice, thyme and lavender essential oils into water (1/10 ratio oils/water)
(UK poultry scientists found this mixture achieved a 100% kill rate over 24 hours)

Bay, cinnamon, clove, coriander or spearmint essential oils in water sprayed on the hens.

For more on treating for mites read HERE.


Plant marigolds around the run and coop.

Plant fennel.

Plant some 'lemon' herbs: lemon thyme, lemon grass, lemon balm.

Plant rosemary, lavender, bee balm, basil, catnip or thyme around the run (or hang sachets).

Stick cloves into half an orange, lime or lemon and hang them where you are seeing the pests.

Sprinkle cinnamon.


Grow lavender or mint around the run or toss some in the nesting boxes.

Put mason jars with vanilla extract-dipped cotton balls out.

Cedar chips (careful with cedar because it can be toxic to chickens)


(Also earwigs, silverfish, fleas, crickets, millipedes and centipedes)


Scatter crushed eggshells around plants.

Halve fresh oranges.


Plant marigolds around the run.

Spray clove or cinnamon oil.

Sprinkle agricultural lime around the run/coop area.

Sprinkle cayenne pepper and sulfur powder around the run/coop area.


Plant spearmint or peppermint.

Slice fresh garlic cloves.

Leave out orange, lime or lemon peels.

Spray white vinegar mixed with chili pepper oil.

Plant lavender around the run.


Plant rose geraniums around the run.

Spray rose geranium oil around the run or on pets.

Plant Lavender around the run.

Get some free-ranging guineas.

Dust with DE.

Miscellaneous Flying Insects

We have an electric bug zapper hanging over our run and each morning when I let our chickens out, they run right over and stand under the zapper to see what tasty toasted treats will fall to the ground ! 

For more tips on controlling pests naturally from Joe Lamp'l of Growing a Greener World, Martha Stewart, Heloise of Good Housekeeping, Bob Vila and others, read HERE.

Lifestyle Block How to Care for your Poultry
Veterinary Herbal Medicine, 2006

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