Will eating brown recluse spiders hurt my hens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by franklinchickens, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    We've had a bit of an issue with brown recluse up in our tree line and in our garage. My husband thinks he may have been bit today when he was moving a fence so we are keeping a close eye on it. He found a nest of them in the back corner of our lot. When he got the fence moved and opened the area up to the hens, they rushed the spot and appear to be gobbling up the spiders. I'm a bit weirded out by this but I know they can eat just about anything. Personally I don't mind spiders, except those that can, you know, kill or maim you.

  2. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    I think your chickens will be O.K. We used to have a lot of black widows in the yard, but they're all gone now that we have chickens.
  3. panner123

    panner123 Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    Eating them will have no affect on your chickens. Them doing this will save you and your family from the spider biting you. The bite is both painful and deadly. If your husband even thinks he was biten, GET HIM TO A DOCTOR. Better safe than sorry.
  4. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    Should not be any problem and mine also eat black widows, scorpions, and anything else they can catch.
  5. gjensen

    gjensen Crowing

    Feb 22, 2011
    Midlands, South Carolina
    Kind of hard for those tiny little fangs to do anything to that beak. If your husband was bit by one, you will know by tomorrow. Not life threatening to most people. I was bit by one I was playing with when I was younger. They are not as common as most people think, and commonly mis identified. If they don't have problems with scorpions as the previous post stated, I seriously doubt a brown recluse would be a problem.
  6. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Songster

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    Eating poisonous spiders won't hurt your hens any more than eating copperheads and black widows hurts my hens. They love them. They seem to know there is a "wrong" end to such things. Watch them eat a centipede (or in your case scorpions)- half the fun occurs because the hen who makes the first grab seldom gets it in a safe swallowing position. So she drops it and shakes it and flips it around until it is stunned and pointed so she can swallow safely. This process gives time for others to notice the big treat. It really helps that our birds are FAST. From what I see chickens are faster than snakes, and their eyesight, height and sharp beak are death on lots of creepy crawlies.

    Spider bites are seldom fatal but the necrosis can get pretty nasty. Clean the area well and keep it dry and well aired. Not only are brown recluse seldom properly identified, there are many other spiders with lesser amounts of similar venom. Most folks are bitten in their sleep and have no idea what the culprit looked like. Treat the symptoms.
  7. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Appreciate the responses - we are keeping an eye on my husband's hand. No obvious bite marks and there doesn't seem to be any necrosis so far - the area is red, a bit swollen and itchy. So it could have been something else though he was primarily concerned because he uncovered the nest under some lumber in the back corner of the yard where he was working. So we'll keep a close eye on it.
    Glad to know about the chickens - I figured we were ok but you never know about these things. I've read stories of them eating all sorts of stuff with no problem but couldn't find specifically the brown recluse.

  8. andi6313

    andi6313 In the Brooder

    Jun 2, 2011
    thanks for posting this. My hen just ate a wolf spider and it scared me. she grabbed it, pecked at it and spun it on the ground, it was stunned and she gobbled it up. So quickly I might add! The other hens saw it but she gobbled it up before they got there. it was a sight to see.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012

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