Snails are creatures that are naturally found all over the world. When the weather is warm, snails will be abundant in your backyard and around the house. If you have chickens, their natural instinct will be to go after anything that moves.
Do chickens eat snails? Chickens do eat snails and they are actually good for them. Snails are a good source of protein and other vitamins and minerals. However, there are some risks to the chickens when they eat snails.
Are Snails Good for Chickens?
There are many different types of snails, but the one where we’ll concentrate on is the garden snails.
The snails that you’ve found in your garden are an excellent nutrition source for the chickens.
Chickens are rich in protein which includes all the amino acids. These amino acids are important for the chicken’s health. It helps them repair and builds muscles. Also, protein helps the organs in the body function properly.
Snails have a soft body which will be easy for the chickens to peck at and eat. Sometimes, they will release slimes and could cause the chickens to choke on it. For the most part, chickens seem to be fine as they will only peck and eat pieces of the snail instead of the whole thing.
Is There Any Health Risk To Chickens Eating Snails?
While snails are an excellent treat for chickens, they do pose some risk to them. The snail itself doesn’t have any natural toxins that could hurt the chickens.
Just about all insects and bugs roaming your backyard could carry parasites. For snails and other bugs and insects, their body is immune to the parasites.
Chickens, on the other hand, they may not be immune to the parasites. When they eat the snail that has parasites, it could get them infected.
If you or your neighbors are trying to get rid of snails by poisoning them, you could potentially poison the chickens too.
Chickens won’t eat dead snails, but they still could get poisoned by the pellet’s residue left on the ground. Sometimes, the snails could slide over the pellets and the residue may get stuck to their body. As the chickens eat the snails, they’ll get poisoned by it.
The Danger of Gapeworms
Gapeworm is a parasite that is very dangerous to chickens. This parasite lives in the chicken’s throat and causes respiratory issues. They can grow as long as 1-2cm and when there are a lot of them, they can block the windpipe.
As a result, it will prevent the chicken from breathing and cause the chicken to die from suffocation.
This parasite is one of the more common ones that snails are known to carry.
Gapeworms burrow themselves in the ground waiting for a host. A host such as a snail will come along and the gapeworm will attach themselves to the snail.
How Many Snails Can Chickens Eat?
Since snails are found naturally in the backyard, they will not be abundant. Snails do not live in groups and they prefer to be solitary. You may find some today and not any tomorrow.
Therefore, chickens can eat as many snails as they can find.
Again, be careful with the snails around your home if you’ve used poison to try to kill the snails.
What Other Bugs Can Chickens Eat?
Snails aren’t the only bugs that chickens can eat. There are plenty of other creatures in the backyard that chickens can eat too.
Some of the insects and bugs the chickens can eat include:
Ants are an excellent source of protein, which the chickens can benefit from. They need protein to build and repair their muscle and keep vital organs performing at its peak. Ants are plentiful around the house and these make a tasty treat for the chickens. Also, ants will keep them busy and active.
Earthworms are another great treat for chickens. These creatures are high in protein and packed with vitamins and minerals. Earthworms are plentiful in the backyards, especially when it’s raining. No need to try to feed them as the chickens will go right after the earthworms when they see one.
Most spiders found around the house are safe for the chickens to eat. Some could pose a danger to the chickens such as the black widow if they are bitten by one. Other than that, spiders make an excellent treat for the chickens as they are high in protein and a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Can chickens eat escargots?
Yes, chickens can eat escargots. Escargots are simply a dish of cooked land snails. Since it’s similar to those found in your backyard, they are safe for the chickens to eat.