Tag Archives: test

Chicken layer feed choice experiment

At Tractor Supply last month I made a terrible mistake. Acting on the advice of another customer who seemed to know a lot about chickens, I bought a bag of Producer’s Pride Layer Feed Mini Pellets instead of Dumar’s Layer Feed Pellets, the brand I’d been giving my flock for over a year. As I soon learned, chickens hate change and refused to eat the new offering. But I wondered, would they dislike all new offerings? Or did I have to go back to their original feed? So I made another trip to Tractor Supply and bought five additional varieties and did the experiment.

To provide the different feeds to the chickens I constructed mini feeders out of tonic water bottles, then filled them as follows (going from left to right in photo below):

  1. DuMor Layer Pellets
  2. DuMor Organic Layer Crumbles
  3. DuMor Layer Mini Pellets
  4. Producer’s Pride Layer Mini Pellets
  5. Flock Party Egg Layer Pellets
  6. Purina Layer Pellets.

Below are photographs that show levels remaining in the bins for 10 days.

My five hens strongly preferred DuMor Organic Layer Crumbles. They consumed it so quickly that it will be the only feed I buy in the future, though I will definitely give the non-organic ($5-cheaper) version a try. The only drawback, as many customers point out on reviews, is that a portion of the bag is powderized and thus wasted. If the bag has been handled a lot the waste is apparently substantial. Here’s a photograph showing the remaining power:

DuMor Layer Mini Pellets, Purina Layer Pellets, and Flock Party Egg Layer Pellets (ranked #2, 3, and 4) were acceptable to the chickens but clearly not something they were super excited to eat.

They clearly disliked their original feed, DuMor Layer Pellets, which I found surprising. I feel awful for giving it to them for years.

Finally, they absolutely refused to eat the Producer’s Pride Mini Layer Pellets, choosing instead to forage on the ground for spilled pellets from any of the other 5 options. I was curious whether they’d eat the feed before starving to death but in the end decided to end the experiment early. It turns out that this was the cheapest feed, too.

The other big surprise in writing this post is that I couldn’t locate similar experiments to reference. If you know of any, please leave a comment.

If you want to see my chicken coop, here’s a blog post with details.

Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech in a tree

Does the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech attract mosquitoes?

This post evaluates the claim on the label, “mosquitoes will gather near them”. Per the company, it is the first step in how the device kills mosquitoes. I.e., the device needs to attract mosquitoes if it is going to work.

mosquitoes will gather

Evaluating the claim

I used a security camera to record activity around the cap area. Here’s a photograph of how I arranged everything:

Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech with security camera

Below is a 15-second time-lapse to show that small insects such as ants were easily visible, even at night. I think they are Prenolepis imparis, which are 3-4 mm long —mosquitoes are larger and thus would be detectable even in flight.

On the day that began filming (September 2nd, 2020) I counted over a dozen mosquitoes (all Aedes albopictus) landing on my arms and legs within 30 seconds. According to the instruction sheet, the device begins to work instantly, as soon as water is added, so an hour of remote, video observation should be a sufficient amount of time to evaluate the attraction claim.

Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech begins working instantly

I collected continuous footage for over a week, ending observations on September 10th. The mosquitoes were still plentiful on that day.

Results

During 183 hours of footage, I couldn’t find a single mosquito on or near the device. Here are the contents. I also posted a photograph to iNaturalist.

Conclusion

Because the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech did not attract any mosquitoes, it therefore did not kill any mosquitoes. If my results are generalizable to other yards, the device is worthless as mechanism of mosquito control.

It is noteworthy, I think, that Spartan Mosquito has not made public a single video of mosquitoes gathering around a Pro Tech (or an Eradicator) when it is deployed outside. My guess is that the company has tried many times to get such footage but has not succeeded in attracting a mosquito. It will be interesting to know whether they will be compelled to disclose their efforts in a court of law. I.e., because the company has formally claimed to the EPA that “mosquitoes will gather” around the Pro Tech, the company would be in substantial legal jeopardy if that statement turned out to be false. If that’s what is going on then it seems likely that the EPA Enforcement Office might coordinate with the FTC as well.

Please also see my page, “Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech review“.

Footage

In case anyone might be skeptical of my results, I decided to upload all 183 hours of footage onto YouTube. I had to break it into 16 segments due to size limits on YouTube.