Chickens do and will eat most small backyard lizards, amphibians, reptiles, and so on. Basically, anything that moves and is small enough to be overpowered by chicken is at risk of being eaten.
Is It Ok for Chickens To Eat Lizards?
It depends on what lizards you have where you live. For the most part, I don’t know of many poisonous or dangerous small lizards that are found in backyards across the U.S.
From a nutritional standpoint, it’s also fine. In fact, while there isn’t a lot of meat on most lizards, they do contain a decent amount of protein and other good nutritional content for chickens.
For me, the only downside is that I like lizards. I don’t necessarily want my chickens to eat them, but there is not a lot I can do to stop it.
It’s quite clear that it’s a natural and instinctual thing though. Watching my hens when they spot a lizard, they immediately change into hunting mode and chase them down.
They clearly get excited at the prospect of eating lizards, and most living creatures for that matter.
I know a lot of backyard chickens owners in the community go out of their way to capture and feed lizards to their flock. It’s fine for chickens to eat them, so it’s up to you if you give them a hand catching them.
What Kinds of Lizards Do Chickens Eat?
There are literally thousands of different species of lizards. In fact, according to the San Diego Zoo, there are more than 4,675 different species.
They vary a lot in shape, size, color, so it can be hard to know exactly what type of lizard your chickens are gobbling up.
Some of the most common backyard lizards found across the U.S. are anoles, geckos, whiptails, and skinks.
All of which are harmless and will become tasty snacks for chickens if they dare enter their run or get caught getting a little too close!
We have a large pond just off the back of our yard. This used to attract a lot of newts, but they’ve either dwindled in numbers due to my chickens finding them, or they somehow wised up to the fact that it’s not safe in my yard.
Will Lizards Eat Chicken Eggs?
If you suspect any of your hen's eggs are going missing or you're finding them cracked open, there is a small possibility that lizards are to blame.
Some lizards like brown anoles and geckos are known to like cracking open and eating eggs. So, it’s not impossible to think that they’re responsible, but in my opinion, it’s more likely to be a snake or a small rodent.
Small lizards typically break open smaller eggs. Like those in nests for smaller birds. Plus, it would take a brave - and possibly lucky - lizard to survive spending time inside a chicken coop or run without being eaten themselves.
Related - Can rats carry chicken eggs away?
What Do Lizards Eat?
If you frequently have lizards in your yard it's because, like chickens, they're also omnivores. So they’re also looking for the same sorts of food sources as your chickens; small insects, plants, food scraps you’ve shared with your flock, etc.
It's just simply a matter of the food chain at this point. Lizards might find some of the smaller insects that were able to allude your hens, but your hens are going to spot the lizards and eat them instead!
Other Backyard Creatures That Chickens Eat
You and your chickens don't need to feel left out if you live in an area that doesn't have any lizards.
Chickens are omnivores and well eat just about any backyard bug, insect, pest, whatever you want to call them. And the best part is, live prey is great for them and provides some awesome nutrition.
Here are some of the bugs chickens commonly eat:
- Slugs and snails (read about the risks slugs present here.)
- Wasps and yellow jackets
- Grasshoppers and crickets
Some owners list having their chickens clear their yard of pests as one of the main benefits of raising them. Not liking creepy crawlies, I think I have to agree.
Some people love seeing lizards in their yard, some people hate them - but to chickens, they’re just tasty snacks on legs.
Lizards are fine for chickens to eat, I’ve never encountered a problem with them doing so.
The facts are that insects, reptiles, and other live prey are so good for chickens you should encourage your flock to eat them when possible.
Image credits - Photos by Andre Ouellet and Jordan Rogers on Unsplash
Lizard - Animals.sandiegozoo.org