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Natural Pest Control | Safe for Chickens, Pets and People

Chemical pesticides pose a danger to your family, pets and the environment. Ditch the chemicals and go natural when it comes to keeping your chicken coop pest-free.

As soon as the weather warms up, bugs and other pests start to literally come out of the woodwork. Walking, crawling and flying. Laying eggs and having babies.  Then when the weather cools down, those same pests try to move inside your coop or home looking for a warm place to spend the winter.

And while chickens will eat many of the insects that they come in contact with, they won't eat them all.  

Bad bugs and parasites as well as pests like rodents and snakes are not only irritating, but they also can carry disease to your flock through contaminating or eating their feed, and some also transmit harmful diseases through direct contact.  

Snakes and rats sometimes will even steal or eat eggs, while others can damage wood in coops, barns and homes, so you do want to control them around your home and chicken coop, but please 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, chickens, 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. 

Some are as simple as planting some aromatic herbs around your coop that pests don't like, others require a bit more work, but all are safe and natural.

Natural Pest Control | Safe for Chickens, Pets and People

While I have not personally tried all of these remedies, although I do regularly use some, 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.  I've provided a few alternative treatments for each pest, so if you try one and it doesn't work, maybe try another. And you'll notice that the same remedies are often recommended for multiple types of pests.

Ants (Also earwigs, silverfish, 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.


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


  • 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. 
Read here for more tips on battling flies.


Rinse |
  • 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 |
Alternative Treatments
  • 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 and nutmeg.


  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper.
  • Plant lavender around your run and coop.
  • Plant mint around the run and coop.
  • Stuff balled up aluminum foil down mouse holes.


  • Feed hens raw minced garlic.
  • Mix 1 Cup of cooking oil, 2 Cups of water and 1 T dish washing 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 when sprayed on mites on poultry
  • Bay, cinnamon, clove, coriander or peppermint 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 around the coop and run.
  • Plant some "lemon" scented 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 where you see the moths.
  • Scatter cedar chips or use cedar blocks (careful with cedar because the oils can be toxic to chickens or irritate their respiratory system)



  • Scatter crushed eggshells around the base of your plants.
  • Halve fresh oranges and set them around your plants.

Snakes (remember that some snakes are good and should be left alone to help fight other pests)

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

Spiders (remember that most spiders are good and should be left alone  to help fight other pests)

  • Plant spearmint or peppermint.
  • Slice fresh garlic cloves.
  • Leave out orange, lime or lemon peels.

  • Spray white vinegar mixed with chili peppers.
  • Plant lavender around the run.


  • Plant rose geraniums around the run.
  • Plant lavender around the run.
  • Get some free-ranging guineas.

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.

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