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Farmers Enlist Chickens And Bugs To Battle Against Pests

If chemical companies are to be believed, the only thing standing between humanity and cataclysmic global famine are their deadly pesticides. They peddle this myth despite the fact that GMOs have failed to deliver as promised and the earth is being poisoned by their synthetic toxins. Clearly, humanity was able to survive for millennia in a world not inundated with Roundup and there is a growing movement to return to our roots and embrace sustainable agriculture practices in place of the failing monoculture model.

Specific chemicals are allowed in organic agriculture but many growers are forsaking all such interventions. One alternative pest control method is to cultivate certain plants, known as 'trap crops' that attract insects and essentially wall off the cash crops from damage. This approach is effective for prevention but how were our ancestors able to eradicate insects that have already infiltrated the crop?

Enter the humble chicken. As reported by NPR, the best strategy is to use a "mobile coop on wheels with a mesh-wire bottom — and let several chickens in there feast on the bugs from above." This approach may not be applicable on a massive scale but the underlying concept is sound. Luckily, there is no shortage of predators who feast on crop damaging insects. For example, "garden stores sell ladybugs to customers so they can release the helpful insects in their yards to eat the aphids that plague tomato plants."

Chickens are the ultimate organic exterminator. Their diet is not limited to crop damaging insects. They also feast on dangerous ticks and invasive weeds. Another benefit is that they biorecycle table scraps into nitrogen fertilizer that can improve soil health. Backyard chickens are growing in popularity and many US cities are adjusting ordinances to allow for this pastime. Ideally, the success of organic pest control on a small scale should start to influence the suspect practices of industrial agriculture. Unfortunately, there are too many vested interests and profitable pesticides to make this a foregone conclusion.
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