Can Chickens Eat Earthworms?

Can Chickens Eat Earthworms

Earthworms are naturally found in soil and many creatures including birds and insects eat them. The earthworms are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrition. If you own a flock of chickens, you may be wondering if they can eat earthworms.

Can chickens eat earthworms? Yes, it’s perfectly safe and healthy for chickens to eat earthworms. They are highly nutritious, especially protein which is essential for both chickens and egg layers.

Health Benefits of Earthworms for Chickens

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Earthworms are loaded with nutrients which makes them a healthy snack for chickens.

There has been in-depth research done into earthworms, by The Royal Society. The conclusion states that nutrition in earthworms is highly “desirable food”, both for humans and animals.

Earthworms are high in protein and are abundant in amino acids. It also has minerals that include calcium, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc. All of which are very important to the health of the chickens.

The earthworms are nutrient-dense and considered healthy for humans. It’s actually a traditional medicine in China for 2300 years. Most people are disgusted by worms and won’t eat them, but for those who consume them, it’s can benefit their health greatly.

For chickens, it’s one of their favorite food since they can find them naturally when it rains. Chickens that eat earthworms will benefit a lot of the nutrition that the worms have to offer.

Risk Involve Eating Earthworms

The earthworms itself pose no risk to the chickens. It doesn’t have any poison nor does it have teeth or claws that could hurt the chickens.

However, sometimes the earthworms can carry parasites. The most notorious one is Gapeworm.

Gapeworms are parasites that live in the ground. They will stay dormant until a host such as the earthworms comes by. They will then attach themselves to the earthworms and burrow themself into the worm. These parasites survive by living in the earthworms and can live there for years.

Once the chickens come and eat the earthworms, as the earthworms are being digested, the Gapeworms will crawl and reside in the trachea or lungs of the chicken.

If your chicken has Gapeworms, there will be symptoms to look out for. These symptoms include gasping, head shaking, loss of appetite, gurgling, and eventually leads to coughing and choking. If the bird isn’t treated, it will cause the bird to die from suffocating due to lack of air.

Fortunately, gapeworms are rare and are not found too often. However, it’s something to be aware of. Once the gapeworms infect one chicken, it can affect the entire flock.

How To Feed Earthworms To Chickens

When it rains, earthworms will naturally rise to the surface. During this time is when the chickens will start pecking at it when they encounter one.

Other times, you can dig for earthworms in the garden and around the yard for them. They are found plentiful around areas that have plants and other vegetation.

Besides finding them yourselves, you can also purchase earthworms online from stores like Amazon. They can be bought for a good price.

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Once you have the earthworms, whether you’ve dug for them yourself or bought them, simply place the worms on their feeder.

How Much And How Often To Feed Earthworms To Chickens

When it comes to earthworms, there are no limits to how many chickens can eat. If the chickens are allowed to free roam, they will eat as much as they can find on their own.

If the chickens are being fed earthworms, they will consume them until they are full. Once they eat enough of the worms, they will simply ignore the rest.

However, you’ll want to limit the amount of the earthworms fed to them. Earthworms are very nutritious, but it doesn’t have all the nutrition that the chickens require daily. Eating too much of the earthworms could cause them to stop eating their staple food of commercial feeds.

When feeding them earthworms, only feed them fresh live ones. Never feed dead or those that are dying. Dead and dying worms could contain parasites and other dangerous pathogens. Therefore, it’s best to throw them away before feeding the chickens.

Other Worms That Chickens Can Eat

Mealworms

Mealworms are one of the most popular types of worms to feed reptiles. As for chickens, these worms are great to feed them as well. Mealworms are packed with protein and other essential nutrients. They are relatively cheap and easy to find. Also, these worms can be fed to the chickens as live mealworms or dried mealworms.

Hornworms

Hornworms are great for chickens to eat. These worms are usually found in the summer eating leaves in the garden. Hornworms are rich in protein and is high in water content. This is an excellent source of hydration during the summer months.

Superworms

Superworms are around 5x larger than mealworms. They have the same similar appearance, except one is bigger. Due to their bigger size, they are packed with more nutritions. The chickens can benefit a lot of nutrition from eating super worms.

Wax Worms

Waxworms are another worm that chickens enjoy eating. These worms should be fed to them in moderation due to their high-fat content. Besides fat, they are high in fiber and protein.

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