Stevens Family Farm

  (Alvarado, Texas)
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Visited a few farms in the area to see how others are handling the grasshopper wars!

I have visited three small farms in our area and made the following observations.

Farm One - raises lot poultry around the farm house, and I saw very few grasshoppers, but it was hard to walk around with all of the chickens and ducks about - we are talking well over fifty birds walking around and tons of cages filled with birds of all types and ages stacked around in a very small space.  Further out from the house around pasture area and cows, there were tons of grasshoppers, very thick!  

Farm Two - No grasshoppers to be found!!  Beautiful garden and young pecan trees, children and animals playing happily!  There was a mommy cat with two kittens, a peacock, a handful of ducks, two beautiful Blue Slate turkeys, some chickens and about ten guineas.  The owner said that between the birds, especially the guineas, they have controlled the grasshoppers.  As soon as I drove off of his property, grasshoppers were flying everywhere.  

 Farm Three - Only grasshopper some-what free area was in the immediate area of the chicken pens and runs.  Owner did just purchase guineas to try to help with snake and grasshopper issues.  She is having more snake problems, so not too concerned with grasshoppers.  Three of her horses were bitten in the nose by rattlesnakes, one seriously injured, and snakes are eating her eggs and silkies.  

In conclusion from my farm visits, I am first, grateful that I am dealing with a grasshopper infestation and not a snake infestation, I do NOT like snakes!  Second, I think we are on the right path with the ducks and probably need to look into guineas.   Last but not least, as much as I love chickens and ducks and turkeys, there is a point where a person can have way too many in a small space, making what should be enjoyable into something that is almost a nightmare. 

 
 

Ducks are happy, but I think for this to work, we need more!

The ducks are doing well, they stay around their little wading pool mostly, so I move it around the yard often.  Our ducks like checking out the chicken pens, and our hens like to follow the ducks around the yard.  It is fun to watch.  The  ducks are wonderful!  I have never raised ducks before, so this is a new little animal adventure with us.  They are very calm, which is good since I have three little children!

I can tell that the areas around where the ducks are have fewer grasshoppers, but I would need hundreds of ducks at this rate to get rid of 90% of the grasshoppers.  They do eat more that the chickens, but I think the pigs and turkeys eat more volume, but I can not let the pigs just roam around the farm, I feel better with them in the pens.

 Anyone else having a grasshopper issue?  Please let me know what is working for you!! 

 

 

 
 

Our Ducks are starting their job!

Our ducks are making themselves at home, and are eating up tons of grasshoppers!  Our chickens have been very curious about our new ducks, and 'visit' them often!  We even had a few roadrunners grazing on the grasshoppers by the ducks this afternoon!  Eat up my feathery friends!!  

We are going to have the majority of our land plowed up in August, to turn in any egg pods that the grasshoppers are laying to prevent them from hatching into hundreds of baby grasshoppers.   Our ducks are very young, about a month old, but sure are eating their share of grasshoppers.  

Any other chemical free ways to get rid of grasshoppers?????  Let me know!!!!! 

 
 

Our new weapon has arrived - DUCKS!

Once upon a time, I loved grasshoppers.  That is, grasshoppers that would show up by the pairs, and hop around for a few days, and leave as suddenly as they appeared. I no longer like grasshoppers.  With the absence of a hard freeze in two years, this year has been a trying year for organic pest control.  

My family and I returned home one day in early June after a nice family outing, to be met with thousands and thousands of grasshoppers, covering the bricks to our house.  Within the next few days, the population of grasshoppers increased to the point of us having to use windshield wipers in our vehicles when on our property, when taking care of our farm animals, we felt like we were going out to do battle with the grasshoppers, swatting them away and getting them off of clothing and out of hair!  

The little pests ate over an acre of corn and pumpkin plants, and every flower and bush on our farm.  Last week, they ate the leaves off of two of our mature trees.  

We tried spraying a vinegar/water/soap mixture, that had no effect. We tried dusting plants with flour, in hopes that it would gum up the mouths so they could no longer eat, thus killing them.  That was not a success either.

Our only grasshopper free areas are the pig pens, around the turkey pens, and the chicken house.  We let our poultry out to eat as many grasshoppers as they can, but we have more grasshoppers than they can handle.

So, yesterday, my husband brought home eight hungry ducklings and sixteen baby chicks!  The war is in!  We are going to be picking up twenty more ducks to try to tackle this problem!  Wish us luck!!!!

Please let me know if you have any organic ways of getting rid of grasshoppers!  I know there must be other farms that have had this issue in the past or present!

  

 
 
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