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Have you spotted a few roaches in or around your chicken’s coop? Are you wondering, do chickens eat roaches? Or, will you need to take action to get rid of them?
Chickens can and do eat roaches, yes. In fact, cockroaches contain some important nutritional content for chickens and make for a great supplement to their diet.
If you have a few roaches here and there, you can leave it up to your flock to take care of. Any more than that however and you might want to take action to purge them.
Are Roaches Good for Chickens?
I think you’ll agree with me when I say the thought of eating a cockroach is one of the most disgusting things I can think of.
But, we’re not chickens, and it’s not gross to chickens. In fact, eating any kind of bugs is completely normal to chickens, and that includes roaches.
Plus, a lot of insects contain some important nutrition that chickens will benefit from. Cockroaches are actually one of the best insects, they’re packed with protein and a range of other important vitamins and minerals.
In some parts of the world humans actually eat cockroaches and drink cockroach milk for its nutritional value - not me!
Related - Can chickens eat crickets? Another protein-rich insect.
Do Chickens Attract Cockroaches?
Chickens often get a bad rep for attracting pests like cockroaches, while it’s not strictly true.
It’s not the chickens themselves that attract pests. It’s more likely to be their feed, other bits of food you may be leaving out, and dirty bedding (that you should have cleaned up).
Plus, they’re pretty decent pest control machines anyway. So, as long as the bug situation isn’t getting out of control, chickens can handle - and even benefit - from gobbling them up.
A few pests and bugs finding their way into the coop isn’t an issue. An infestation or a pest that can prove tricky to get rid of, like roaches, can become a problem though.
In the larger picture, if you have predators in your area that pose a serious threat to your chickens, like owls or bobcats, you need to start storing their food away overnight and locking up their coop.
Related - How to rid your coop of red mites.
Are Roaches Bad for Chickens?
Despite being a tasty and nutritious snack, there are some risks to chickens eating roaches.
Roaches are known to carry a number of parasites and potentially harmful diseases such as:
- E. Coli
- Typhoid fever
They are also known to cause allergic reactions, which could end up causing you a problem if you touch areas in the coop where they’ve been roaming.
If you’re going to use poisons to get rid of roaches, you’ll also have to consider the safest options in case your chickens eat them after they’ve walked through or eaten poison.
Personally, I don’t mind my chickens eating a few roaches here and there. I don’t currently have any in or around my yard (that I know of), but if I were to spot some I’d try to get rid of them.
What Kind of Bugs Do Chickens Eat?
Chickens will eat just about any bugs they can get a hold of. Four legs, six, eight, it doesn’t matter. The best part is that most insects make for a decent nutritional snack too.
The kinds of bugs you will have in your yard will vary depending on where you live. Some of the most common insects that fall pretty to chickens include:
The main risks come from any bugs that are known to be dangerous in some way. You should have a good idea of what dangerous bugs are in your area though.
What Is the Best Way to Rid a Coop of Roaches?
You could leave it up to your chickens to keep their coop free of roaches, but the likelihood is that you’ll need to help out.
There are a number of ways to position, catch, and rid an area of roaches. But as I mentioned earlier, you need to be extra cautious as your chickens are sharing the same space.
For me, there’s one clear winner when it comes to the best ways of killing roaches in a coop safely, and that’s by using food grade diatomaceous earth.
You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth all over their coop and it’s totally safe for chickens.
When roaches and other insects come into contact with it, it dries them out and is so abrasive that it does them some serious damage.
I’ve used it for years inside out outside of my home, in the coop, my cat’s bedding, and just about anywhere any kind of unwanted insect thinks they can hang out.
You can pick up the brand of diatomaceous earth I use on Amazon by clicking the link below:
Chickens are a form of mobile pest control, and cockroaches are on their list. Not only do they eat cockroaches, but as I explained above, roaches are a delicious and nutritious snack for them.
The more space you can give your flock to roam free-range and find their own food, the happier and healthier they’ll be.
Plus, the less creepy crawlies in your yard the better it is for you!
How cockroaches spread disease - stopzbugs.com
Cockroach milk could be the next superfood - ScienceAlert.com