If there's one thing chickens love, it's insects! We might have their lack of taste buds to thank, or maybe chickens know how good insects are for them.
They'll eat just about any type of creepy-crawly, including ticks (which aren’t insects, but are closely related to spiders!). Eating these not only makes your yard a safer and more comfortable place to be, but it's good for your flock, too.
Benefits of Eating Insects
Insects like crickets and grasshoppers, and other arthropods such as millipedes and spiders are a good source of protein for chickens. In addition to being nutritious, chasing down these meals fulfills your chickens' natural instinct to forage for their food; a free (and fun!) source of food for your feathered omnivores.
Remember that no matter how "buggy" your yard is, chickens cannot survive on these alone. Be sure to feed your flock complete feeds regularly, and always have clean water available.
Some Words of Caution
Certain types of flies are not only annoying, but they are harmful to chickens. House flies and blow flies (the metallic blue and green flies) can cause a skin condition commonly called "flystrike." These flies are attracted to droppings, leftover and rotting food, and untreated or open wounds on your animals. Because flystrike can be fatal, it's important to keep your coop and the area around it clean.
If your chickens are free-ranging, be mindful of harmful pesticide use on your lawn or garden. While your chickens are foraging, they will be exposed to any chemicals applied in their environment. Pesticides may make your birds sick, and we know how precious your flock is to you!
Supplementing Nature's Supply
Depending on where you live and how hungry your chickens are, you may want to supplement your local insect supply. If you have the time and space to raise your own larvae on food scraps from your kitchen. Popworms! Live are an excellent choice. If you are interested in building a container for raising PopWorms! Live that can automatically provide the mature larvae to your chickens, check out this past blog post. Chickens love to chase after their snacks.
For chicken keepers who don't want to deal with live insects, PopWorms! ECO and PopWorms! PRO are at the intersection of nutrition and convenience. Sold by the pound, these dried black soldier fly larvae offer up a nutritious treat with a puffy, crunchy texture. Whichever type you choose, your chickens are sure to love them!
Use the code LABOR and receive 20% off orders of PopWorms! ECO, PopWorms! PRO, and PopWorms! Live (valid until 9/6/2019)!