:rolleyes:Is eating centipedes harmful to chickens? I have a pullet (until her first birthday tomorrow) who ate a centipede and has lost all of the feathers on her neck. They are growing back but this isn't molting season...so I wondered if the centipede had anything to do with it.
- Staff PhD
Don't worry. With many chickens... there is no real moulting season. Most will do it from Sept through Dec, at the worst and coldest times. If you have a roo, he could be pulling some too.
Chickens, when free range'n, will eat any kind of insect, creapy crawlly that it finds. It is a chicken's nature to eat what it can find to sustain it's self.(Less the cost of feed and unwanted critters in your Backyard.)
Roos, pen mates, and even molting will cause feathers to be missing but will grow back in time. My Pullets would molt 3 times, from what I counted, prior to getign their adult plumage. Sometimes it may be a slow molt or a gradual molt ----> some areas missing feathers completely. Then growing back again in no time flat. I.E. Some breeds of chicken have a slow molting process while others molt fast.
Hope this helps....
Mine go nuts for centipedes and they're all fine. I doubt the 2 things are related in your case.
Any other potential reasons: overzealous roo? pecking from other hens? parasites?
Are we talking about the same bug? Ours are 6" - 8" long, armored and have a poisonous bite that will make a grown man cry. (I know first hand!) I canʻt imagine one of my chickens eating one of those without problems.
OK, then no - not the same critter. The bugs in the Pacific NW are pretty inoccuous. Our centipedes are about 2" long, brown, and do bite.
But as long as the chicken killed the centipede before she ate it, she'll be fine. She would have gastrointestinal problems before she would lose feathers.
I have no roosters and come to think of it many of my other hens have also eaten centipedes. I guess this one (Black Australorps) is just having an off-season molt. Feathers have already started to grow back in...It was just weird because all of my others were finished molting in November.