Cricket is an insect that you can find right in your backyard. These insects are plentiful during the warmer months of the year. During these times, if you let the chicken free roam, you may be wondering if chickens can eat crickets.
Can chickens eat crickets? Chickens can eat crickets. This insect is packed with protein and other nutrition. The only danger to them is chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that are used to treat the yard and the garden. Other than that, chickens will eat crickets whenever they can find any.
Is It Safe To Feed Crickets To Chickens?
Crickets don’t contain any toxins so it is safe for chickens to eat. However, you should avoid feeding wild crickets to them.
Wild crickets don’t contain any toxin, but they may have harmful chemicals. These chemicals can be from pesticides and herbicides that you or your neighbor might use to treat the garden and backyard.
Therefore, if you allow the chickens to roam freely in the yard, make sure the crickets are free of any chemicals. If there are and the chickens eat the crickets, the chemicals can be passed down to them.
Chemicals such as those found in pesticides and herbicides can harm the chickens, even death can occur if the chickens ate too much of it.
If you or your neighbor treated the yard or garden with chemicals, it’s best to buy crickets if you’re planning to feed chickens with this insect.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Crickets?
Crickets are actually an excellent source of food for chickens. Not only that, but it’s extremely healthy for them too.
Below are some of the health benefits the chickens can get from eating crickets:
Crickets Help Improve Digestion
Crickets have a lot of fiber content. Fiber is necessary for a healthy digestive system.
When chickens consume a lot of food that contains fiber, it will help promote regular bowel movement. This in turn will help move foods through the digestive tract smoothly.
Also, you can expect the chickens to have fewer issues with their digestive system when they have sufficient fiber in their diet.
Crickets Help Promote Bone Health
Cricket is a good source of calcium. What calcium does for the chickens is keep their bone strong and prevent it from becoming weak and brittle.
Crickets Help Improve Quality Of Eggs
In order for the hens to produce quality eggs, they will need plenty of proteins in their diet.
When hens are laying eggs, you should provide them with a lot of proteins. Layer feeds contain a good amount of proteins, but additional protein content won’t hurt them.
Therefore, in addition to feeding them layer feeds, add crickets to the diets to give them a boost in protein, calcium, and other nutrition that they need to produce big and great-tasting eggs.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Crickets?
Yes, baby chickens can eat crickets. However, you should make sure they are at least 3 weeks old first.
Chicks that are under 2 weeks old should be fed primarily grits.
Also, their digestive system hasn’t developed yet and could cause them to have digestive issues.
When feeding them, buy the smallest size crickets. Medium and large-sized crickets could cause the baby chickens to choke on them.
How To Feed Crickets To Chickens
If you allow the chickens to roam freely, they can pretty much eat as much as they want. Since crickets are good at hiding, there will not be enough for the chickens to eat where it will cause them harm.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to feed crickets to the chickens, there are a couple of methods you can try depending on if it’s live or freeze-dried crickets.
Feeding Chickens Live Crickets
The first method is to simply toss the live crickets onto the ground. The chickens will instantly recognize it as food and come running after it. It’s one of their favorite food so it won’t last long. Also, this method will keep them active as they need to chase down their food.
The second method is hand-feeding the crickets to the chickens. This is an excellent way to bond with your chickens and make them feel comfortable around you and other people.
However, be careful hand feeding them as they may accidentally peck your hand.
Feeding Chickens Freeze-Dried Crickets
The first method is throwing the freeze-dried crickets on the ground for the chickens to eat. They will just peck at it and eat it up quickly.
The second method is mixing crickets with chicken feeds. This is a good way to give their feeds a nutrition boost. For eggs laying hens, this is an excellent way to give them more proteins in their diet. They’ll need all the proteins they can get to help produce big and tasty eggs.
How Much And How Often To Feed Crickets To Chickens
If chickens are allowed to free roam, you won’t need to worry about them eating too many crickets. In the wild, crickets are not found that easily. They will mostly stay hidden underground and under rubbishes.
As the crickets see the chickens coming, they will go into hiding. Therefore, the chickens won’t be able to catch and eat a lot of them.
If crickets are bought at the pet stores or online, they can be fed to the chickens, but only in moderation. This is due to the high amount of protein that it has. Therefore, crickets should be given to them as treats. Too much protein can cause them health problems, especially damages to their liver.
Other Insects That Chickens Can Eat
Roaches are loaded with protein and other nutrition. These insects a great treat for chickens. When feeding them this insect, it’s best to buy them. Don’t feed roaches found in yards and even your home as they can contain disease and chemicals.
Grasshoppers are an excellent treat for chickens due to their high nutritional value. Chickens will usually catch and eat them whenever they can catch them.
Mealworms are another excellent treat to give the chickens. These worms are packed with protein and can benefit both chickens and egg-laying hens. An additional boost in protein will make the eggs bigger and taste better.