It seems that volatile chemicals derived from chicken feathers repel certain mosquitoes (An. arabiensis). The chicken smell that surrounds a live chicken is derived in part from these chemicals. It is not offensive to humans but triggers an avoidance behaviour in some mosquitoes indoors perhaps since chickens predate on these mosquitoes. Until such time as a repellent product is created, keeping a live chicken in a cage near the bed at night may help in reducing the incidence and spread of malaria in certain parts of the world.
When the odor smelled like chickens, the team found "about 90 to 95 percent reduction in [mosquito counts]," says Ignell. A similar experiment with live animals showed that suspending a caged chicken from the bedroom ceiling was nearly as effective, with about an 80 percent reduction in mosquito counts.
More here: http://goo.gl/UgmoIK
The host census and blood meal analyses demonstrated that An. arabiensis strongly prefers human blood when host seeking indoors, while it randomly feeds on cattle, goats and sheep when found outdoors. However, An. arabiensis avoids chickens despite their relatively high abundance, indicating that chickens are a non-host species for this vector. Eleven bioactive compounds were found in the headspace of the non-host species. Six of these were species-specific, out of which four were identified using combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. When tested in the field, the chicken-specific compounds, isobutyl butyrate, naphthalene, hexadecane and trans-limonene oxide, and the generic host compounds, limonene, cis-limonene oxide and β-myrcene, significantly reduced trap catches within the house compared to a negative control. A significant reduction in trap catch was also observed when suspending a caged chicken next to the trap.
Paper (open): https://goo.gl/1jW84P
Image: Kassahun Jaleta http://goo.gl/4XW9iA