Can Chickens Eat Insects?

Can Chickens Eat Insects?

As An Amazon Associate We Earn From Qualifying Purchases At No Extra Cost To You



If keeping chickens appeals to you, you've probably heard that one advantage is that they consume insects, which means they could help keep pesky bugs out of your yard. Or, if you already have chickens, you might be considering whether you could use them to control pests more organically. You might be wondering if your hens would eat ants if you have an ant problem in your yard and are contemplating various ways to keep these pests at bay. 

Can Chickens Eat Insects?

Yes, chickens can eat insects, as well as ants, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, worms, and other types of insect but sadly not enough to be your major form of pest control.

It has been demonstrated that edible insects are incredibly nutrient-dense and high in protein (47–60%) and fat (31-43%). Throughout their whole life cycle, chickens have a natural behaviour of picking up a variety of insects and eating them voluntarily. These insects may make up a portion of the food that the chicken consumes. Additionally, research has revealed that birds may self-select available feedstuffs to balance their diets and so meet nutritional needs. It is plausible to propose that insects can be included in feed formulations for hens given that bug meal has a similar protein content to soybean meal and that soy cultivation takes enormous tracts of arable land and causes some environmental damage.

Though chickens can eat insects, diseases and parasites are spread by insects. But they are also nutrient-rich. Do chickens need to eat insects then? We’ll be looking at the advantage of feeding insects to chickens in the next section.


Nutritional Benefits Of Feeding Chickens Insects

It makes sense. Chickens enjoy devouring worms and other insects. Fortunately, insects provide a variety of nutritional advantages, such as the following:

  • It forms a natural component of a chicken's diet.
  • provide the necessary minerals and vitamins
  • are fantastic sources of protein
  • include methionine, one of the necessary amino acids that are less present in vegetable sources,

Additionally, chitin, which has the potential to improve immunological function, and phosphorus, which is essential for calcium absorption, are both abundant in the exoskeletons of many insects.

  • They promote general health.

You can anticipate an improvement in general organ health while feeding black soldier fly larvae.

  • The immune system and digestive health of birds should improve. This is a fantastic goal for folks who want to use fewer antibiotics.
  • The birds' feather coverage can also be improved by feeding them insects.
  • They encourage organic behaviours.

A free-range hen spends a typical day foraging, grooming, taking a bath in the dust, and occasionally pecking other hens. We want to stop aggressive pecking, and we have seen that chickens-fed insects do so less frequently. Since there may still be writhing maggots in their feeding area, hens that get to consume insects spend more time foraging.

Therefore, undesirable behaviours within the flock can be eliminated via insect feed while desired behaviours are encouraged.

Any bird will enjoy the chance to hunt for insects because it is one of their natural behaviours.

Unfortunately, insects are frequently absent from modern chicken diets. Many chickens have never even seen a maggot in their life, yet that doesn't stop them from acting on their instincts. Although they might be wary at first, insects usually end up being the food that they enjoy eating the most.


The Risks Of Feeding Insects To Your Chickens

The problem is that parasites and diseases are also carried by insects. Other insects including worms, slugs, snails, and beetles can also spread intestinal worms, including the tapeworm that is carried by flies. A typical host for the parasite that causes blackhead illness is earthworms. Additionally, larvae that have consumed contaminated meat can poison people with botulism and kill them. Should you give insects to your chickens?

Most of the time, insects are okay. They naturally occur in a chicken's diet. Moreover, a well-managed flock does not have a problem with some exposure to intestinal parasites, even though this may seem counterintuitive. Even with strict supervision, parasites are tough to avoid—unless, of course, the birds are constantly medicated or never permitted outside.

Despite the potential risks, it is ultimately preferable to let your birds roam freely and consume all the insects they want for their health and enjoyment.

However, we can lessen the dangers that eating insects presents. Just anticipate a little discomfort.

Most parasites reproduce by laying eggs that are then excreted in the host's faeces. These eggs might remain latent for years before hatching when an appropriate host consumes them. The answer to our current query is that insects are capable of transporting both eggs and parasites.

But there is a positive side to this life cycle. In faeces, parasites lay their eggs to reproduce (mostly). Therefore, it is unlikely that the insects your chooks are consuming are carrying parasites or diseases that are common to chooks since where would they have acquired them if they hadn't been in contact with chicken faeces (or that of wild birds)?

Can Young Chick Eat 

Yes, young chickens can eat insects. In reality, these are great snack that boosts nutrients, resembles a chick's natural diet, and encourages instinctive behaviour. You can accept grubs if mama hen does! The majority of commercially available beginning foods for chicks are not a natural diet for them. The majority of commercially available beginning foods for chicks are not a natural diet for them. When raised by a mother hen in the wild, chicks wouldn't ordinarily eat the fillers, binders, protein replacements, and other additives that are present in these foods.

10 Additional Insects Chickens Enjoy Eating

In addition to crickets, young chickens also adore the following bugs:

  • Grasshoppers
  • Potatoes bugs
  • Spiders 
  • Centipede
  • Termites 
  • Ticks 
  • Cockroaches
  • Millipedes
  • Black flies
  • Ants
  • Cricket

And more.


Chickens can eat insects, but ensure they don’t peck around dirty environments that can make the flock fall sick. They will also enjoy eating bugs and insects like scorpions, spiders, beetles, centipedes, grasshoppers, termites, ticks, and ticks. Chickens will happily consume bug larvae as well as worms or caterpillars.

Back to blog

Leave a comment