Chickens are opportunistic eaters. They are known to eat anything they can get their beaks on. This can be helpful if you are raising chickens. While you do need to provide them with chicken feed and water, they can meet some of their food needs just by scavenging around your yard!
Let’s take a closer look at what types of critters they can snack on.
Chickens love to eat most bugs and insects. If you have a group of chickens running around on your property, they will consume many of the pesky insects that come their way. Chickens love pecking around in the dirt to unearth tasty bugs. They will also snap flying insects right out of the air. This has benefits for your chickens as well as for you.
Benefits of Bugs for Chickens
Not only do chickens find bugs and insects delicious, but they are also a healthy food source for your flock. Bugs are a great source of protein for your chickens. Chickens need protein to build muscle and maintain normal bodily functions. Consuming bugs can help make up for any deficiencies in your chickens’ feed. They also love to spend their days foraging so searching for tasty bugs will keep them happily occupied.
Benefits for You
Letting your chickens forage on your property can save you money. They will consume bugs as part of their diet, meaning less money you will need to spend on food.
Chickens also eat harmful insects such as termites and ticks. While they will not make your property free of risk from these insects, they can help control the populations. This minimizes the risk of termites causing damage to wooden structures or ticks infecting you or your other animals.
Chickens also love to eat pests that can harm your garden plants such as squash bugs, potato bugs, and grasshoppers. Chickens are a much safer and more environmentally friendly means of pest control than pesticides.
The Bugs Chickens LOVE
Chickens’ love of termites can protect both your house and their own coop from destruction.
Slugs can damage many of your garden plants, but chickens enjoy snacking on their soft bodies.
These pesky herbivores feast on the leaves and stems of plants unless your chickens feast on them first.
Ticks carry diseases both to you and your other animals. Chickens can help keep the tick population under control on your property.
Chickens can also control the population of this nasty pest.
6. Potato Beetles
Potato beetles, or potato bugs, don’t just eat potatoes. They also can destroy your tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other garden vegetables.
Crickets are mostly only destructive to young plants and flowers, so they are not as harmful as some of the other insects on this list. However, chickens do love to eat them!
Flies are disease spreaders. Everything from their feces to their larvae can cause health problems on your property. Chickens will eat them by chasing and snapping them out of the air.
Millipedes don’t usually cause damage to your garden or plants, but chickens find them tasty and will happily eat them if they see them creeping around.
10. Various larvae (ants, moths, termites, mealworms)
Chickens also love to forage for the larvae of a variety of insects.
Bugs and Insects Chickens Won’t Eat
There are some bugs and insects that even chickens will turn their beaks up at. They do not like insects that emit a strong odor such as box-elder bugs, stink bugs, and Asian lady beetles. Unfortunately, all of these are pests you’d rather not have roaming around your property. The strong smell they give off prevents them from having too many natural predators.
Chickens also do not eat bees. This is actually a good thing, though, because pollinators are needed to make any garden thrive.
Not only do they provide you with eggs and meat, but your chickens are also great natural pest controllers. If you have a flock of chickens, letting them roam and snack will save you time and money! They love to eat almost any bug or insect they can snap up. This is beneficial to your chickens’ health, to you, and to your property.
Featured Image Credit: Wildfaces, Pixabay