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Chickens eat a bat!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by DebbiePos, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. DebbiePos

    DebbiePos Hatching

    Apr 4, 2013
    Our chickens have eaten mice before but I was surprised today when I found Ella eating a brown bat!! It was in the late afternoon, still daylight, so I thought it strange that a bat would be out. I searched a bit and did find that sometimes bats come out to feed during the late afternoon. Does anyone have experience with this? Could a rabid bat transmit the disease to our chickens? Are the eggs safe? Any help will be appreciated!

  2. PhDtoFarm

    PhDtoFarm In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2013
    Wow, I'm impressed! Your chickens must be really agile! [​IMG]

    I wouldn't worry about your birds or your eggs. Rabies affects only mammals, and I really doubt that you could catch surviving virus from the eggs or meat (especially since you'll be cooking them anyway).

    Rabies is normally spread by a bite from an infected animal. The virus replicates in muscle tissue and heads towards the central nervous system. If your chicken ate an infected bat, the virus would have to survive in a non-host's digestive tract and somehow spread throughout its body. The non-host likely does not have the correct receptors to allow the virus out of the digestive tract in the first place. Even if the virus could make its way into the egg material, and then you ate that egg, it would also have to survive the heat of cooking and then find a way out of your digestive tract in order to have an effect on you.

    I don't know very much about the stability of rabies particles, but that sounds like a lot of wear and tear to me. I don't think rabies had this situation in mind, so I find it highly unlikely that you could become infected.
  3. CatWhisperer

    CatWhisperer Chirping

    Jun 16, 2013
    northwest Arkansas
    I would be concerned about rabies. I've read there have been documented cases in chickens and a bat flying around in daylight is more likely to be carrying the virus. It could take weeks for symptoms to appear but keep it in mind if you see any behavior abnormalities in the next 6 months. Transmission would be through saliva into a break in the skin (usually a bite).
  4. DebbiePos

    DebbiePos Hatching

    Apr 4, 2013
    Thanks for the info. I spoke to a bat rehab expert who said it is unlikely that the bat had rabies...less than 1% do. In our area of PA, young bats are just learning to fly. She thought this bat might have been knocked out of a tree by a blue jay or other bird and had fallen to the ground. It did not attempt to fly and the expert thinks it was probably disoriented by the daylight. I removed our cat who was fascinated by the little squealing, clicking bat and by the time I returned, it had made its way toward the coop and had been picked up by Ella Fitzgerald, our beautiful cochin. Thus ended the saga of the poor lost bat. I feel better knowing that it is unlikely to have been rabid. Thanks!
  5. teamt

    teamt In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2013
    We just had this happen....our young hen (she is not laying yet) ate a baby bat before we even had a chance to stop her. I found this from the CDC saying chickens can not carry or transmit the rabies which put me at ease about her future and us eating her future eggs. virus whhttps://www.cdc.gov/rabiesandkids/animals.html
  6. jeria

    jeria Songster

    May 5, 2017
    Independence MO
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    What you need to keep in mind, is that it's the saliva of an infected bat that carries the virus, so handling a critter who's eating or playing with a bat, can be a risk. Wear gloves when having any such interaction! Make sure your pets are vaccinated (especially cats and dogs!!!) and play safe out there. In Michigan, about 5% of tested bats are rabies positive. Mary

  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have had chicken consume Red Bats in early spring. Far from regular event. I do not thing many viral pathogens that infect mammals will infect a bird as well.

    Only risk that seems likely is if you handle chicken immediately after it consumed bat.

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