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Chickens eating/playing with rodents

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SuzClaytor, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. SuzClaytor

    SuzClaytor In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2015
    Bulls Gap, TN
    Our cats often catch voles and mice on our property. Today I found one of my hens (they are free range in every sense of the word) pecking at a dead vole. I immediately tossed it far away, but was wondering if this was cause for concern.

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Aabsolutely not! Chickens are omnivores and love nothing more than the odd dead rodent. Mine love geckos - thats their most common "find" although they do catch live ones now and again. I just leave them to it.

  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    If they caught it the chickens may have been the ones to kill it. Mine love to catch and eat mice, frogs, small snakes, basically anything that doesn’t eat them first. I feed them any mice I catch in my traps. I’ve seen them peck a large mouse into pieces so they can eat it, though after they have pecked it so it is all broken up many swallow the smaller ones whole. They really like to play keep-away with these too.

    Chickens are omnivores. These things are free protein. With the vigor they go after these things you can tell they really enjoy them. That’s just chickens being chickens.

    You probably won’t enjoy reading this, but when I trap critters that will eat chickens, I sometimes open the carcass up and toss it in the run for the day before I dispose of what is left before night (I don’t want to encourage other predators to come around). It’s free protein and they love it.
  4. SuzClaytor

    SuzClaytor In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2015
    Bulls Gap, TN
    I just now got back to this thread. Thank you all for the advice! From now on I will let my girls eat their free protein as they wish. I was just worried about diseases and such.
  5. HennyPenny2

    HennyPenny2 Songster

    I rescued a baby bunny that got into their run and was being chased all over. I rescued a big old toad that two hens were fighting over but was still alive and well. But they have eaten lizards (have plenty of anoles here) and while it does gross me out I know it's just protein. The one thing they haven't gone after is the rats, but some Tom rat traps have taken care of that. Which brings me to say never use poison to kill rodents ( unless you can be sure your pets won't get to them) because if they do find a dead one they will most likely eat them poison and all.
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The only problem would be if you or a neighbor had put out poison that could have killed the mouse/vole.

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