Can Chickens Eat Snails?

Chickens eat some weird things, including snails and slugs. Chickens love eating snails and slugs; as much as this feeding behavior amuses many chicken keepers. Chickens are constantly unearthing these crawlers when foraging.

Snails and slugs aren’t only safe for your chickens and make a rich source of protein for your birds. Your chickens will put plenty of effort into foraging snails because they are some of their favorite foods.

Are Snails Safe for Chickens?

Yes, snails are entirely safe for chickens. Snails can make a wonderful addition to your chickens’ diet. These insects are some of the safest and most nutritious creatures for chickens. Snails aren’t toxic to other animals, including chickens, even if your birds consume snails in large amounts. Furthermore, snails contain some minerals and nutrients your birds won’t get from their daily foods.

A Few snails daily goes a long way toward boosting your chickens’ protein intake. Snails can make wonderful treats for chickens with a protein deficiency. They will also power your layers with protein to keep them laying.

Snails can be especially beneficial for your chickens when they are going through the molting season. Snails are a particularly good food choice for chickens because they pack plenty of protein, helping the birds grow feathers quickly during molting.

A handful of snails can help improve the quality of eggs your layers produce because it ensures your layers have enough protein. You will notice a significant improvement in the size and flavor your hens produce after consuming snails.

Although snails are entirely safe for chickens, desist from giving too many snails to your chickens at once. Excessive amounts of food items, including snails, could harm your chickens.

Will Chickens Eat Slugs?

Yes, chickens love slugs and won’t hesitate to eat them as they graze. Chickens will use their feet to unearth slugs underneath hedges and plants. Your chickens will also scratch slugs in the leaf litter and soil. Slugs are an abundant source of protein, especially for foraging chickens.

If your chickens frequently go to damp areas, they are most likely hunting for slugs because these crawlers live in damp environments. Slugs are also completely safe for chickens. Slugs are a natural food source for chickens because they add quality protein, minerals, and nutrients to their everyday diet.

Can Chickens Eat Snails Shells?

Yes, chickens can eat snail shells. Although chickens will first remove snails from their shells and eat them up, they will later turn to the snail shells. These shells may be somewhat tough for some chickens, particularly chicks. However, snail shells are a great source of calcium for chickens.

They contain over 50% natural calcium, making them a great addition for egg-laying hens that require high calcium levels. Snail shells also help chickens digest some of the tough foods they consume, including plant material.

Risks of Chickens Eating Snails and Slugs

Your chickens will eat slugs and snails without giving it a second thought. After all, these are some of the best crawlers for chickens, and they will rarely pass them on when foraging. As good and safe as slugs and snails are for chickens, chickens have risks eating these crawlers. However, these risks are pretty minimal compared to the benefits your birds will get from eating slugs and snails.

One of the dangers of chickens eating snails and slugs is that these creatures harbor parasites. Snails and slugs carry parasites such as gapeworms. These worms attach to chickens’ windpipes, making the birds experience severe breathing difficulties.

Gapeworms are large, red worms that live inside chickens’ throats, causing severe respiratory conditions. Chickens with these worms exhibit various symptoms, including lethargy, difficulty breathing, and loss of appetite.

Snails and slugs also host lungworms. Although these worms are common in rodents such as rats and mice, they can still find their way into a chicken’s body if it consumes contaminated food, including slugs and snails. Chickens with lungworms living in their bodies will show symptoms similar to those of gapeworms. For instance, chickens experience breathing problems after consuming snails and slugs hosting these worms.

Snails and slugs also carry diseases, such as schistosomiasis. Although this disease usually affects humans, it can also affect chickens that consume snails and slugs. The condition may not kill a chicken directly. However, it can spread to humans if they consume infected chicken meat or eggs.

Can Chickens Die from Eating Slugs?

No, chickens won’t die from consuming slugs. After all, slugs can be a crucial part of a chicken diet considering these crawlers have plenty of protein, minerals, and nutrients to provide chickens. In addition, slugs aren’t toxic to chickens and other creatures that prey on slugs.

However, slugs can host parasites such as gapeworms and lungworms. Chickens can eventually die after consuming slugs carrying these worms. Furthermore, slugs can host salmonella and other deadly bacteria.

Why Are My Chickens Not Eating Slugs?

It’s unusual for chickens to pass on slugs considering that these crawlers are some of the finest delicacies for chickens. Nevertheless, chickens may sometimes refuse to eat slugs even when there are plenty of these crawlers in your yard. Your chickens won’t eat slugs if they suspect they could be carrying deadly worms.

Being intelligent, chickens will somehow detect infected slugs, and they won’t consume such slugs. The other reason your chickens won’t eat slugs is that they aren’t used to eating slugs and bugs. For instance, your chickens won’t show interest in slugs if they are strictly used to eating chicken feed. Indoor chickens won’t eat slugs because they might not deem these bugs edible.


Snails and slugs make the perfect addition to chickens’ diet. These crawlers are some of the most available bugs for chickens. They aren’t toxic, and they also have loads of nutrition to provide to your chickens.

However, snails and slugs may be disastrous to chickens because they play host to parasites and diseases which can kill your birds. It’s therefore wise to introduce these two crawlers to chickens in moderation. Most importantly, keep your birds from eating snails and snails if you think they could be carrying parasites and diseases.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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