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Do those chickens look amused? No, they do not. Chickens probably have the least sense of humor of any animal I’ve ever dealt with. Chickens are serious birds.

I’m not taking credit for this stinker. It was sent to me by someone named Mad Ivan.

But the chicken article everyone is sending me is this one: mosquitoes hate the smell of chickens. They are almost never found with chicken blood in their systems, and putting a chicken in a room results in up to 80% fewer mosquitoes landing in the traps.

The BBC’s somewhat bizarre headline for this story is Chicken odour ‘prevents malaria’ research in Ethiopia finds. The Mail’s headline is the rather more jaunty (and accurate) Forget mosquito repellent! Sleeping next to a CHICKEN will keep the blood-sucking insects at bay.

I have not yet convinced Uncle B to try the experiment, even though he suffers horribly from mosquito bites such we have to sleep with all the windows closed and an insecticide plugin. I have made the case that chickens fall asleep instantly when the lights go out, but he’s made the counter-argument that my chickens burble volubly the moment the sun comes up. Stay tuned!

Good weekend, y’all.


Comment from technochitlin
Time: July 22, 2016, 10:39 pm

South Aladambama is infested with the little critters. I proposed trying this (in the interest of scientific enquiry of course) but Ms. Chitlin put the kibosh on the idea. No sense of adventure, I guess…

Still, better than living in Munich right now.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: July 23, 2016, 12:39 am

Not to mention your room will smell like a chicken coop, with chicken poop all over the place.

Comment from Nina
Time: July 23, 2016, 4:08 am

Our local mosquito abatement folks spray fairly often, so it’s not a huge problem here, thankfully. They’re extremely proactive about the vectors that are skeeters, what with our long, warm, spring, summer, and fall and assorted “wetlands.”

Comment from AliceH
Time: July 23, 2016, 2:04 pm

The mosquito population in the vicinity of my house seems to be way down this year. I credit last year’s early morning raids a friend of mine and I made of the nearby (deadbeat) homeowner’s backyard ditches/scrub area. We pulled out something like 14 or 15 old car and truck tires and took them to the dump.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 23, 2016, 3:08 pm

There are no mosquitoes where I live. But when I lived in the midwest and especially when I went camping, oh man! People would wake up with a couple of bites while I wd have over 60 on one thigh. Same with fleas. Obviously, its because I’m so delicious but all the so called remedies did not work.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 23, 2016, 3:09 pm

I read that everyone gets bit but not everyone has the allergic reaction. I think this may be partially true in that some they are attracted more to some people.

Comment from Mad Ivan
Time: July 23, 2016, 3:31 pm

/me raises hand sheepishly as the instigator.

@Ric Fan – I know what you mean about being delish to the bugs. My wife and I can go walking about on a summer’s evening, side by side – I’m getting eaten alive, slapping continuously and clawing my skin off. She says, “Oh, are there mosquitos out tonight?”

Comment from Nina
Time: July 23, 2016, 4:46 pm

I’ve heard the same, don’t know if it’s true. Maybe they smell fear? 😜

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 23, 2016, 9:14 pm

Sorry for the barely coherent sentence. It is in the 100s here.

Comment from Nina
Time: July 24, 2016, 1:35 am

Here, too!

Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 24, 2016, 3:49 am

We get mosquitoes with actual nasty diseases in them like dengue and Zika here, and I get bitten maybe twice a year. Nets on every single window is the way I do it.

Comment from bastiches
Time: July 24, 2016, 7:14 am

I’ve always wondered about the personality of other animals. Dogs are easy. Cats, more difficult. Horses, still up in the air.

Never for second thought of chickanus chickenensus* as a personable species.

*latin, for something not correct

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 24, 2016, 11:43 am

Oh, yes. They have very distinct personalities, particularly once they start laying eggs (they’re all just flighty and squeaky for the first few months). I’ve had nine of these little pekins all together, and no two were exactly alike. I can even tell their voices apart, usually.

Comment from Mad Ivan
Time: July 24, 2016, 3:45 pm

@bastiches –

I wonder how much observation time you’ve had with these various species, and how that has colored your judgment.

I’ve been a cat slave nearly all my adult life (>40 years), and *know* that every cat is an individual – some more personable than others. (The not-so-secret code name for our current feline, a rescue from the street who had what must have been an unfathomably awful first few months, is “The Demon Bitch Kitty From Hell”. This is alternated with periods when she’s a terribly sweet animal.) When we’ve had multiple cats, not only are they very distinct in their ‘cattitudes’, but I can tell them apart by their vocalizations even when I can’t see them.

All the people I know who are serious “horse people” tell me that horses have very distinct “person”alitites, too.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: July 24, 2016, 7:58 pm

Had an interesting chicken related happening this weekend. About 1/3 of our good-sized yard is either garden plot with raised beds, or an area we call the “ash grove” which is trees, paths, garden beds, etc.

Our neighbor on that side has chickens in a coop surrounded by a pen. Our problem for the moment is not mosquitoes, but rather grasshoppers in horrendous numbers. We have worked out a deal where our neighbor turns his chickens out into the garden and ash grove a few times a week. Chickens get protein, we get fewer grasshoppers.

It is a good thing.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 25, 2016, 12:55 am

I don’t know if this will work from the UK—From a television news report about mosquitoes:

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: July 25, 2016, 3:59 pm

Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 24, 2016, 3:49 am

We get mosquitoes with actual nasty diseases in them like dengue and Zika here, and I get bitten maybe twice a year. Nets on every single window is the way I do it.
Believe it or don’t, but I grew up in the French Quarter of NO without A/C until I was 12. No screens on the windows, either. Damned if I know how we all stood it. Mosquitoes every night, it seemed.

(No air at school either, not until I started college; how did the teachers stand it?)

Comment from tawny
Time: July 25, 2016, 7:46 pm

Hope you weren’t planning a trip to New Zealand …


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