Chickens do eat boxelder bugs, yes. Most backyard chicken owners are perfectly fine with this as boxelder bugs can become a real problem when they grow in numbers. If they invade your home or other structures, they can do some serious damage.
Is It Ok for Chickens To Eat Boxelder Bugs?
Boxelder bugs are interesting little creatures. They get their name because they are commonly found on or around boxelder trees. But are spotted in other locations.
I first came across them a few years ago when I was visiting an uncle in Nevada. He had acres of land joining the back of his yard, and these little black and red roach-like looking bugs were all over his fence.
I asked him what they were, and he told me they were boxelder bugs and pointed to the large boxelder trees overshading his yard.
He said he’s been waging war against them for years and can’t seem to get it under control. If only he had a flock of chickens to help!
It’s perfectly fine for chickens to eat boxelder bugs. They are known as nuisance pests, but they don't sting, bite, or transmit any diseases.
There isn't a lot of information available on exactly the type of nutritional value boxelder bugs possess.
However, like most bugs and insects, you can be sure they are good for chickens and help provide some of the nutrients they need to stay healthy and lay big eggs.
So, this seems like one of those win-win situations if you’re raising backyard chickens and you have an infestation of boxelder bugs.
You can set your little bug munching pest control units loose where the bugs are. They get a healthy snack and something to chase and forage for, and you get rid of the bugs without having to call out pest control or use any chemicals.
Can Boxelder Bugs Be Dangerous or Harmful To Chickens?
I've done some research into this to be sure, and I even rang a local pest control company for added confirmation because I'm not too familiar with box elders.
I can't find any evidence that they pose any type of threat whatsoever to chickens. Neither when defending themselves, or as a result of being eaten.
The only thing I will say is to be sure that it’s boxelder bugs that you have in your yard. There are lots of bugs that look very similar, so it’s best to be sure that you know what your chickens are eating.
Despite being gross to us, however, eating bugs is great for chickens. It provides lots of the key nutrition they need in their diet, and it’s a completely natural behavior for them.
Should You Also Call Pest Control?
Chickens can literally munch up hundreds of bugs and insects each per day. If you run into a situation where you have an infestation that even your chickens aren't keeping under control, you should probably call a professional pest control expert to take a look.
It's hard for me to say. It really comes down to how bad the infestation is, and whether or not you think the bugs can cause damage to any of your property.
Some of the Other Backyard Bugs That Chickens Can Eat
Boxelder bugs are just one of the many backyard bugs and insects that are great for chickens.
In fact, chickens will eat just about anything that moves or flies. Here is a list of just some of the common bugs that chickens eat:
- Slugs and snails (read about the risks slugs present here.)
- Wasps and yellow jackets
- Stink bugs
- ...the list goes on. If you have critters in your yard, they’re on borrowed time.
Just this morning one of my hens unearthed a worm and ran off with it in her beak pursued by a few of her flockmates.
Chickens love foraging and finding prey. It’s one of the most rewarding and fun things about raising chickens - along with feeding them different scraps and other foods too.
Most bugs and insects are fine for chickens and quickly become a tasty snack.
It’s always a good idea to identify what they’re eating if possible. But at the end of the day, chickens are just being chickens scavenging around for something edible.
If you know someone dealing with a boxelder infestation, you could suggest sending your pest control team round to help them out!
Boxelder Bugs - National Pesticide Information Center