Are there bugs your chickens just won't eat?


9 Years
Aug 11, 2010
Greenacres, WA
When I got my baby chicks 2 months ago, I was excited not only about the prospect of having sweet pets, egg layers, and fertilizer producers all in one, but also about the pest control possibilities. I read somewhere that a guy emptied his yellow jacket traps (the ones with no poison in them) after all the wasps were long dead, and his hens went crazy for them. I personally have a phobia of wasps (not bees) and was excited about the possibility of my chickens eating a few of those in my backyard. Mine don't seem to like any of those stinging insects though. Several times a little honey bee has landed right in front of one of the pullets, she pecked at it, and then spit it out and walked away! Same with wasps and bumblebees. Mine don't want to eat them. Do chickens not normally eat wasps/bees? Another thing my chickens won't touch....slugs! I don't blame them---those sticky, slimy, disgusting things. They pecked on one before, but then spent a long time trying to wipe the slime off their beaks. Now they won't even go near slugs. They don't care much for worms either. They love mayflies, gnats, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, and dragonflies. Do your chickens have bug dislikes or preferences?
My wild hen friend, Casino, not only has preferences, they are always changing. When she first befriended us, she liked slugs, but only the brown ones. Her rooster friend would eat the big black ones. Then she didn't want them anymore and doesn't even look at them now. Some days she likes earwigs, other days she doesn't. She always likes centipedes. Doesn't seem at all worried they have poisonous stings! One time while she was in the processing of killing it she flung it a few feet almost onto my friend's foot! She had to run away while Casino came over to finish the job. Sometimes she eats worms, sometimes not. Her all time favorite is geckos. Goes nuts for them. The other day we found a dead, dried up one between some cardboard and she ate it up! She likes small cockroaches. One time she killed one of the big ones, but then didn't eat it and spent some time getting the slime off her beak. She doesn't seem to bother with wasps/bees. She likes grasshoppers. Now she has her chicks, and seems to eat more than usual and is not as picky, but the other day she picked a caterpillar off a plant and didn't eat it. You never know with her! It's very amusing.
None of my ladies will eat a squash (stink) bug. Nor will they touch a tarnished plant bug or a large hornworm, small ones ok. They do eat Japanese beetles like popcorn, cabbage loopers, crickets and grubs. Grasshoppers I haven't seen them eat but wish they would. So dry here even the bugs are getting scarce.
I've seen mine eat wasps, but I've also seen wasps/bees land in front of them and they just glance and walk away. One thing I wish they would eat now is the love bugs/march flies. Those things are everywhere and they get all up in your shirt, blech. They're poisonus anyways...
I had a rooster get stung trying to swallow a wasp when he was young and he never again (to my knowledge) tried to eat another wasp. My adult flock ignores the honeybees. Also, they won't eat ladybugs. Weyerhauser timber company drops ladybugs on us several times a year, by helicopter. There is ladybugs on everything! I was so looking forward to having chickens eat them up, but they won't.

One of my young cockerels got bit by a wolf spider a month or so ago. He's scared to death of spiders now - runs away when they get too close.
That's a good question. NONE of my flock of hens will eat slugs! And I've heard others say that chickens LOVE slugs, but not mine! LOL

My chickens love earwigs, and they love any type of ground beetle, and they like leaf bugs and they'll chase butterflies, which is sooo cute. They sadly, do not like those tent worm caterpillar things that make the webs in the trees. Darnit! Those things are everywhere.

They love grasshoppers and grubs (the kind that eat your lawn, and worms and salamanders, which are little lizards. They love those black crickets too.

Also, I've seen my hens gobble up a spider too....which made me nervous, but nothing bad happened.
I found a paper wasp nest in the tree in my chicken run and was scared to death they would attack my chickens, Hubby was going to go out and cut it out as soon as we got a cold night. then I noticed some of the hens flying up to that branch. There were no more wasps coming or going. hens must have eaten them all up. My hens love worms, I can't go out with a shove. one of my Sussex sits on the shovel making it very hard to dig
My hens are kinda picky, too. They love cabbage worms and earwigs. But they don't like the brown slugs...maybe because they look like poo? Sometimes they will eat spiders and sometimes not. I saw my Welsummer glup down a huge, scary spider once. The biggest surprise is that they were not even interested in an earthworm that I found in the garden. Is that supposed to be a favorite?
My older girls used to love slugs, but after a bumper crop year of slugs their first year, they were so sick of them they haven't touched them again. My 5-month-olds have shown no interest in slugs, though that may change.

Meanwhile, the older girls are crazy for worms and will play tug-of-war and keep-away. The pullets, on the other hand, eye the worms I offer with suspicion, and when the worms move, they scurry away without touching them. The big girls look at them like they're nuts and race in for the kill. They also love grubs. (Unfortunately, they also like toads, frogs, salamaders, mice...)

Any beetle-like bugs - huge hit with all the girls.
Spiders, too, though less interested inn daddy-longlegs. Not enough meat on them?

As for bees/wasps... we used to have yellow jackets all over the run (and yard) this time of year. I would see them all over the fruit I'd toss in for snacks, and worried about them stinging my girls. Oddly enough, since we got the pullets, we've had pretty much no yellow jackets hanging around. The new girls seem to enjoy eating them.

My rooster has never eaten a single bug, to my knowledge. We offer them, and they're crawling around out there, and he has never taken them. I can't figure him out!

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