During the summer, hornworms are plentiful in the garden, especially if you grow tomato plants. These hornworms are full of nutrition and can grow to a very large size. If you have them in the garden, you may be wondering if you can let the chickens eat hornworms.
Can chickens eat hornworms? Yes, chickens can eat hornworms and it’s a healthy treat for them. Hornworms are a good source of calcium, protein, and they are very high in moisture. Not only will the hornworms keep the chickens hydrated, but they all get a boost in nutrition.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Hornworms?
Hornworms are a great treat for your chickens. These worms are high in calcium and low in fat content. Also, hornworms have a soft exoskeleton, which makes eating and digesting them easy for chickens.
Below are some of the health benefits the chickens can gain from eating hornworms:
Hornworms have a moisture content of around 85%, which makes them a great source of water. These worms will keep the chickens hydrated.
During the summer months, when it’s usually hot, chickens tend to lose water from their body quickly. This is due to the hot weather and the chickens being very active.
Therefore, feeding the chickens or let them roam in the garden eating hornworms will make sure they don’t get dehydrated.
Calcium is needed for the development of bones in their body. Not just bones, but also the beaks and the nails. Hornworms provide this nutrient since it’s rich in calcium content. Chickens feasting on these worms will be sure to get the additional calcium they need for healthy and strong bones.
For hens laying eggs, it will help make the eggs stronger and healthy.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Hornworms?
Baby chickens can eat hornworms once they are at least 2 weeks old. Feeding the chicks early than that could cause them to have digestive issues. The baby chicks need time to build up the grit they need in their gizzard to digest the hornworm.
After they are at least 2 weeks old, the hornworms are safe for the chicks to eat due to their soft exoskeleton.
Most of the time, baby chicks will peck at the hornworms. They know the worms are too big for them and won’t try eating it whole. Besides getting all the nutrition from the hornworms, it’s will keep them hydrated too.
How To Feed Hornworms To Chickens
Hornworms are found naturally in and around the garden. They are usually found on tomato plants but can be found on any other leafy greens as well.
There are two methods which you can feed the hornworms to the chickens:
One method to feed them hornworms is to simply let them loose in the garden. Once they see hornworms, they’ll pick it right off the plants.
However, besides just picking the hornworms, they may peck at the tomatoes and other plants too. If you’re going to let them roam the garden, keep a close eye on them.
The second option would be to keep the hornworms in a cage and let them eat the leaves of plants for a couple of days. This will make them bigger and juicer. Once they have reached their maximum size, you can feed them to the chickens. This is a great way to feed them during the summer months to keep them hydrated.
How Many Hornworms To Feed The Chickens?
Hornworms are packed with nutritions and they are high in water content. Also, these worms are found only during the summer months.
Therefore, you can let them roam the garden to eat it off the leaves of the tomato plants and other leafy greens.
If you have a flock of chickens, more than likely, there will not be enough hornworms in the garden for all of them.
Other Worms That Chickens Can Eat
In the reptile world, mealworm is an excellent treat for them. This is due to the high amount of protein that’s in the worm. As for chickens, mealworms make a tasty and nutritious treat. You can feed the chickens dried or live mealworms. However, live mealworms tend to have more nutrition than dried ones do.
This is one of the chicken’s favorite snack. Earthworms can be found in abundance during a rainstorm. The chickens will go after them and pluck them right out of the ground. Earthworms are packed with a lot of nutrition and the chickens can benefit a lot from it.
Waxworms are loaded with nutrition, especially protein. Besides that, waxworms are high in moisture. This is an excellent treat to give them when the weather is hot. The waxworms will keep the chickens hydrated.