Many predators prey on cicadas, including domestic animals such as ducks and chickens. After all, these insects are the most harmless bugs on the planet. Some chicken keepers are hesitant to feed their birds with cicadas.
If you rear chicken in your home and you would love to supplement their diet with insects, you may be wondering whether to include cicadas in your birds’ diet. Let’s explore the topic of whether or not to feed cicadas to your chicken in this article. Furthermore, we shall analyze some of the insects you shouldn’t feed your chickens.
Should Chickens Eat Cicadas?
Yes, chickens can feed on cicadas regardless of whether these insects are alive or dead. Cicadas are among the most delicious and nutritious treats for chickens. Chicken keepers shouldn’t worry about feeding their chickens with cicadas since these insects are safe for birds, including chickens.
Chicken of all stages can safely consume cicadas. Cicadas are particularly healthy for molting chicken that requires adequate levels of nutrients.
Nutrition Benefits of Cicadas
Besides being safe and excellent treats for chickens, cicadas also provide many nutrition benefits to chickens. Below are some of the nutrition benefits your birds can get from consuming these insects.
- Plentiful source of nutrients– Cicadas park tons of nutrients and fibers, all of which are vital for enhancing growth and development in chickens. These insects are suitable for growing chickens that require nutrients for optimal growth. The high fiber content in these insects will keep your birds full, and thus they won’t overeat after consuming the insects.
- Low-fat content– unlike most insects with high-fat content, cicadas are low in fat but high in protein. They are also low in carbohydrates, and thus your chickens won’t experience weight gain problems, unlike when they are consuming processed chicken foods from stores.
- Rich in antioxidants– cicadas are full of antioxidants that help in fighting inflammation in chicken. The potent antioxidant properties of these insects help protect your birds from various parasitic infections. Furthermore, antioxidants are crucial for enhancing your birds’ immune response, meaning your chicken will fall ill less frequently following long-term consumption of cicadas.
How Many Cicadas Can Chickens Eat?
Yes, cicadas are nutritious and safe diet choices for chicken. Like with any other food, however, your chicken should only eat these insects in moderation.
Chicken can consume about 2 pounds of cicadas a day depending on the size of the chicken. Some chickens might develop allergic reactions after consuming vast quantities of insects, including cicadas.
There are, however, some large-sized cicadas, and your chickens need to consume not more than a pound of such large-sized insects. Chicks, especially molting chicks, should eat half a pound of cicadas a day. Young chicks don’t have bigger stomachs like their adult counterparts. Hence, they require fewer cicadas to get their bellies full.
Are Cicadas Safe for Chicks?
Cicadas are safe for chicks so long as you feed your chicks with these insects in moderation. However, cicadas may not make the main diet of one-day-old chicks. The shells of cicadas may be hard on your chicks’ digestive system, and thus your chicks may have digestive problems if they consume these insects in large amounts.
To ensure these insects are safe for your chicks, consider washing them first to remove hazardous chemicals, especially pesticides. Furthermore, try rinsing the insects for a couple of hours before feeding them to young chicks. Rinsing will help soften the exoskeletons of cicadas, making it easy for your chicks to digest these insects effectively.
Most importantly, consider the size of the cicadas you are feeding to your chicks. Young chicks don’t have strong beaks to break insects into pieces, unlike older chickens. Hence, it won’t help to provide your chicks with large-sized cicadas since they will have difficulty eating the insects.
Bugs Chickens Should Not Eat
Chicken are insect lovers. These birds can consume a wide array of insects. Nonetheless, not every type of bug is suitable for your chicken. Thus, chicken keepers should understand the types of bugs to avoid giving to their birds. Below are some of the bugs you shouldn’t give to your chicken.
– Blister Beetles
These bugs produce a particular compound known as cantharidin. The compound is venomous, although it is effective in wart removal. The venomous compound can destroy your birds’ digestive tract, causing death in the long run.
– Brown Recluse
The common spider thrives in damp basements, although it can sometimes crawl into homes and hide under the furniture. The spider can bite chickens unexpectedly, causing tissue death. Furthermore, its venom will affect your bird after consumption by causing convulsions and ultimately death.
Wasps aren’t suitable for chickens. Some wasp species are venomous, and they can also sting your birds unaware. Even when dead, wasps can be fatal, especially for chicks. Some of them have a complex exoskeleton that your birds will find challenging to digest.
Slugs may seem less harmful for chickens and most birds. Nonetheless, these insects shouldn’t make part of your birds’ diet. Slugs produce a chemical known as slime, which makes it difficult for birds to swallow slugs. Slime can make your birds choke to death.
Mosquitoes are equally harmful to chickens like they are to humans. Although mosquitoes aren’t necessarily venomous like other bugs, they can still kill your birds.
Mosquitoes are infected with the Avian Pox, a virus that can lead to severe infections in birds. This contagious virus can spread from one bird to the others and then to the entire chicken flock. Thus, don’t include mosquitoes in your birds’ diet.
Your chicken will happily devour a scorpion if the insect crosses its path. Nonetheless, scorpions, especially desert species, aren’t suitable for birds.
Some are highly venomous, and they can also sting your bird as its defense mechanism. Avoid feeding your birds with scorpions since you can’t tell what scorpion species is suitable for your chicken.
Chickens will enjoy feeding on cicadas. These insects aren’t only harmless for chickens. They also park many nutrition benefits for birds. Consider introducing cicadas in your birds’ diet while ensuring they are eating these insects in moderation.Chickens