Chickens absolutely love eating bugs, insects, and other pests that crawl or fly - and it's great for them (and us) when they do so.
But, do chickens eat earwigs?
Earwigs are interesting little creatures, I used to be scared of their pincers as a kid, but they're really not harmful at all.
Here's why chickens love eating earwigs and other bugs so much, and why you should encourage it!
Do Chickens Eat Earwigs?
Chickens will eat just about anything that's small enough to fit in their mouths, and that includes earwigs!
These little critters are a great source of protein for chickens, and they help keep the pest population down too.
While earwigs may not seem like the tastiest treat for your chickens, they're very nutritious - and chickens obviously aren't fussy.
Earwigs aren't poisonous or dangerous in any way, but they will pinch you if you touch them and they feel threatened, so I'm sure you could do with less of them in your yard.
It's really a win-win. Your chickens get a nutritious snack and something to chase around and forage for, and you have fewer insects and pests to worry about.
Related - Why crickets and grubs are awesome for chickens!
Do Chickens Like to Eat Bugs?
Chickens love eating bugs. It's something they do naturally, and it's how they are so good at surviving in the wild.
Wild chickens eat mostly bugs and insects and plant matter. Chickens are omnivores, so they're open to eating just about anything that's going to provide good nutrition.
In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the nutritional value of edible insects was studied and they were found to have "high superior health benefits".
This was explained as being due to insects having high levels of important vitamins such as B12, as other key minerals like iron, and zinc, as well as fiber, essential amino acids, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants.
This is why so many animals, like chickens, are able to survive and maintain good health eating insects!
The thought still doesn't appeal to me, no matter how nutritious insects are!
I know they're eaten in some parts of the world, but there is no way I can stomach the thought of it, let alone eating any!
Can Chickens Eat Too Many Bugs?
You might be wondering if there is such a thing as chickens eating too many bugs.
The answer is no, they really can't.
Chickens have very strong stomachs and digestive systems that are able to handle large quantities of insects.
In fact, it's actually good for them to eat lots of bugs, as it helps keep their digestive system healthy and helps fight off disease.
Chickens are pretty good at knowing how much they need to eat and what they should be eating.
As long as you're providing a good balance of chicken feed and giving them space to roam and have a scratch around, you chickens will eat as much as they need.
What Other Bugs Do Chickens Eat?
As well as earwigs, chickens will also eat:
These are just some of the many insects and bugs that chickens will happily munch on.
You might even find that your chickens eat some pests that you didn't know were there!
What Bugs Can Chickens Not Eat?
There aren't many creepy crawlies that chickens should not eat, and I'm sure you're aware if there are any potentially harmful insects in your area.
Basically, you should keep an eye out for any insects that are potentially poisonous or harmful, such as:
- Poisonous caterpillars
- Some Spiders (especially black widow spiders)
- Large numbers of fire ants, etc.
How to Feed Chickens a Well-Balanced Diet
A well-balanced diet for chickens is important for their overall health and wellbeing.
As I've mentioned, chickens are omnivores so they need a good mix of chicken feed, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, bugs, and insects.
A good quality chicken feed will provide your chickens with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
You can also supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as cooked rice, pasta, or oatmeal.
As for bugs and insects, you can either let your chickens free-range and forage for them, or you can buy them live food from a pet store.
Most pet stores will have a good selection of live food, such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.
As you'll know if you're raising chickens, they do seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of eating different foods.
Trying to mix it up and keep it interesting for them while providing a good mix of all the key nutrients they need - and plenty of protein for laying hens - is the goal.
Do chickens eat earwigs? Yes, they do! Chickens are omnivores and will happily eat earwigs, as well as other insects and bugs.
Insects are actually a really good source of nutrition for chickens, providing them with important vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Lifting up a slab or moving something in your yard to see if you have any earwigs hiding underneath is a great idea if you want to treat your chickens!