This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy for details.

Repelling Coop Critters Naturally

Tips on naturally repelling the critters that like to come live in backyard chicken coops.

Keeping your coop free of rodents and insects is important for your chickens’ health and happiness.

Bugs and mice will not only eat chicken feed, but they can also carry disease. Snakes eat eggs and even small baby chicks if they have the chance.

Often if chickens sense these pests inside the coop, they will stop laying their eggs in the nesting boxes, opting instead to lay them outside or on the coop floor, and might also refuse to sleep in the coop at night.  

Keeping your chickens' food and water outside instead of inside the coop goes a long way towards keeping critters out of your coop. Store bags of feed in tightly covered pails with lids.

And sprinkling some food-grade diatomaceous earth around your feeder and on the coop floor and in the nesting boxes will help to repel many types of hard-shelled insects without harming your chickens.

 Repelling Coop Critters Naturally

I recently read this wonderful study in Entomology Today about using essential oils to not only repel, but in many cases, kill insects such as fleas, ticks, ants and roaches. Herbs such as basil, cinnamon, clove, ginger, marjoram, mint, oregano, nutmeg and thyme seemed to be the most effective in reducing the number of eggs  that hatch, and killing the larvae, nymphs and adults.

Here's a handy guide to some of the most common pests found in coops and how to repel them naturally.

These remedies aren't always 100% effective, and may need to be repeated several times, but they are safe for your pets and family - and inexpensive - so there's no downside to trying them.


  • Plant basil, catnip, oregano, peppermint or spearmint, rosemary or sage around your coop 
  • Sprinkle bay leaves, black pepper, cloves or cinnamon on the coop floor and in the nesting boxes
  • Leave cucumber peels in the run (of course your chickens will most likely eat them!)
  • Spray orange essential oil or scatter orange, lemon or lime peels


  • Plant basil, citronella (lemon grass), dill, thyme, rosemary or mint around the run area
  • Pick fresh herbs (those mentioned above) and scatter them on the coop floor, tie them into bouquets to hang or make an herbal wreath
  • Hang vanilla-soaked cotton balls in mesh bags in your run or coop

Mice and Rats

  •  Plant mint around your coop and run
  •  Cut fresh mint and hang it in your coop and toss some in your nesting boxes
  •  Cut pine boughs and put them in your coop along the outside walls and on the floor
  • Think about rescuing a cat from the local shelter and letting it prowl around your property

Mites and Lice

  • Rub a mixture of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg on your roosting bars and sprinkle in your nesting boxes
  • Add a few drops of  lavender, peppermint, rosemary or thyme to a spray bottle of water and spray down your coop
  • Sprinkle some thyme and lavender in your nesting boxes and on the coop floor
If you can't find garlic juice, you can make your own:
Garlic Juice

6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced 
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil 
2 cup waters

  • Heat water in a saucepan until bubbles just start to form around the edges. Add the garlic and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and cool completely. 
  • Strain out the garlic and whisk the vegetable oil into the strained liquid.
  • Pour your garlic juice into a squirt bottle.


  • Plant some basil, bee balm, catmint, citronella (lemon grass), garlic, lavender, marigolds, rosemary or thyme around your coop or run
  • Stick cloves in half an orange or lemon and hang it in your coop


  • Sprinkle sulfur and cayenne powder around the perimeter of your coop and run
  •  Spray clove or cinnamon essential oil in your coop


  • Plant spearmint or peppermint around the coop 
  • Scatter citrus peels or sliced fresh garlic cloves in your coop
  •  Plant some lavender around the run or in window boxes at the coop


  • Plant lavender, garlic, mint, rosemary, sage or thyme around your coop
  • Make lavender or rosemary posies or sachets for the nesting boxes or coop
  • Consider a flock of guinea fowl that can free range your property or let your chickens out for supervised free range periods to scour your grass for ticks

Wasps and Hornets

  • Plant mint in window boxes on your coop
  • Plant lemon grass (citronella) around your coop and run

Pests, Critters and Bugs In General

Fresh Herbs

Various herbs planted in and around your coop and run or hung in the coop are not only pretty and smell wonderful, but will go a long way towards keeping your coop critter-free and making it a safe haven for your hens to sleep in and in which to lay their eggs.

Many of them do double- or triple-duty against various types of pests as an added bonus.

Planting herbs near where your chickens take their dust baths can also help, since the essential oils will rub off the plants onto your chickens' feathers as they brush past them.

Dried Herbs

Dried herbs crushed and scattered into your nesting boxes and on the coop floor can also help to keep bugs out of your coop.

It's easy enough to grow and dry your own herbs, or purchase dried herbs and mix them yourself. Sprinkle the mixture in your nesting boxes, dust bath area or on the coop floor as desired.

 Pin This!

©2015 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. All rights reserved.