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Silly chickens won't eat worms???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by AkChris, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. AkChris

    AkChris Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been cleaning up the last of the garden and let my chickens inside the fence today to help. They free range most of the time and are always scratching around...I assumed finding worms and grubs. So today I was digging up the potatoes and found quite a few worms. Thought I'd throw the girls a few easy treats. Called them over and tossed the worms onto the ground next to me. They came running when they saw me toss something but totally overlooked the worms. Though maybe they just didn't see them so i picked them up and put them on the wooden bed boarders. Chickens eyeballed them but didn't eat them. I even started tapping next to the worms trying to get the chickens attention on them. One brave girl gave a half hearted peck but didn't eat the worm. Another girl jumped away scared when the worm moved.

    What the heck...shouldn't a wiggling worm be a call to 'eat me' not 'run away in fright'? Are my chickens defective? They've been free ranging and I though foraging around the place for months. What the heck are they scratching for if they're afraid of the worms? I'm a bit bemused by chickens being afraid of worms...and a bit puzzled. I just I just thought the instinct to eat a wiggling worm would be a bit more hardwired in them.

    I was thinking I might try to supplement their feed this winter from the worm compost bin as I thought they might miss the bugs (I assumed) they were eating while free-ranging. But maybe they're not actually eating any worms. Any thoughts on how to get them to eat the worms, if I collect some from the compost bins for them?
     
  2. Sophia5

    Sophia5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some of my girls love worms. But I have other chickens who don't like worms at all. So maybe it's just tastes, likes and dislikes?
     
  3. Bairchickens

    Bairchickens New Egg

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    I agree, my chickens either like the worms or don't.
     
  4. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen only one or two of my chickens over the years eat an earthworm. Probably just as well because I remember reading somewhere that earthworms were a vector of some parasite or disease. Can't remember what, but I thought, well, it's a good thing they don't like them. I think grasshoppers and snails, slugs are another carrier of something. Not all I imagine will be, but they are part of the cycle.
     
  5. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as I know, all of mine like worms. Perhaps yours are eating some critter that's harmful to your garden instead :)
     
  6. AkChris

    AkChris Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I guess it's not that unusual for them to not eat the earthworms. I just thought it was funny that they were afraid of them.

    I'd much rather they eat the slugs anyway. I have seen them peck at the smaller slugs but they don't seem much interested in the larger ones. Can't say I blame them...a big beak full of slime can't be very appealing.

    I know lots of insects can be carriers for parasites but I think if the chickens are otherwise healthy and kept in good conditions they can fight off a few parasites without any real problems so I don't much worry about that.
     
  7. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roo took right to eating worms (I do vermicomposting so I thought once I grabbed all the worms I could see to put back I'd let them dig around some more to look for any over looked worms before taking the fresh compost to my next year garden site). My hen on the other hand would peck and drop it... finally I got a little bitty one and then she finally got the hang of it. They don't get worms often though! They are in a tractor so they have access to the ground but we don't have many bugs and I rarely find worms other than the ones i use for composting which from what I have read don't generally live in our area.
     
  8. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What's even more odd is that they ignore a worm they could easily eat, yet if they see a small snake, they go bonkers for it! There is no way they are going to be able to swallow that snake, but they kill it and then one carries her prize all around the yard with all the other chickens in hot pursuit.
     
    1 person likes this.

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