Does anyone know if tent caterpillars are safe for chickens to eat? I'd hate to give them treats and poison them... I'm not sure of the kind of caterpillar - they're black and fuzzy and on an aspen tree.
Tent caterpillars - okay for chickens?
- Dances with Chickens
We've got them all over the place, and my hens won't touch them. So I'm thinking they aren't tasty.....chickens just know sometimes.
I'm pretty sure most fuzzy/hairy caterpillars irritate the skin. I remember holding a fuzzy one when I was little and got a huge rash on my hand that itched like heck!
Edited by Pet Duck Boy - 6/14/10 at 9:05am
3 RIR/PRs and 2 EEs. 5 hens 28+ weeks old and almost full size! Please visit my dragons http://dragcave.net/user/Pet_Duck_Boy114
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I agree that I think they must taste bad. I have watched some wild birds eat them. My new pullets who do not have a mother hen to teach them were eating everything in sight when they were allowed to free range for the first day. I watched one bird run over to a tent caterpillar and peck at it, then it picked it up then dropped it and "washed" her beak. I think if she could spit, she would have. Another pullet saw that one, grabbed the now dropped caterpillar and did the same thing. Like most of yours, my girls are spoiled. While I do not think the tent caterpillars are poisonous, I think they are way down on the list of what tastes good and our birds will opt for many other things first. While they are always eating, they are not starving by any means. I also believe wild birds are just opportunistic feeders and therefore not as picky just to survive. They do not have the luxury of having mealworms and other goodies thrown to them regularly and and an endless supply of easily obtainable food.
At least that is my hypothesis, it is reasonable in my head so I am sticking with the plausible explanation.
And now that you have read it on the web, it is fact. Right? Ha ha...