Do Chickens Eat Cicadas? 5 Excellent Benefits

Do chickens eat cicadas? If you live in an area where cicadas are common, you may be wondering if it’s safe for your chickens to eat them.

The good news is that cicadas are not only safe for chickens to eat, but they’re a healthy treat. Chickens love cicadas, and they’re a great source of protein and low in fat.

Here’s everything you need to know about feeding cicadas to your chickens.

do chickens eat cicadas

What are cicadas?

Cicadas are a group of large, winged insects that belong to the Cicadidae family and live in many different parts of the world. They are most commonly known for their loud singing noise, which they create by using a pair of organs called tymbals.

They can be found near streams and lakes, in wooded areas, and even in urban centers, although they prefer warm climates. Many species of cicadas live on the ground, hidden beneath vegetation or logs for most of their life cycle.

As adults, however, they will emerge from their hiding places to lay eggs and mate before dying a short time after. In some parts of the United States, several species will emerge from their underground homes at once during certain months resulting in a massive population explosion.

Cicadas are pretty harmless to humans and do not bite; instead, they feed mainly on tree sap and grasses during their adult stages.

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Do chickens eat cicadas?

Chickens love the taste of cicadas, and they’re a great source of protein. Cicadas are also low in fat, making them a healthy snack for your chickens. If you have cicadas in your area, feel free to let your chickens indulge.

There’s no need to worry about overfeeding your chickens on cicadas. They can eat as many as they want. However, if you have a lot of cicadas, you should freeze them so you have them on hand for later.

The benefits of eating cicadas for chickens

cicada on plant

Most people think of cicadas as a nuisance. But did you know these noisy insects can benefit your chickens? That’s right – chickens love to eat cicadas, and there are a few good reasons why you should let them indulge in this tasty treat. Here are 5 benefits of feeding cicadas to your chickens:

Cicadas are a great source of protein

This is essential for chicken health, as protein helps chickens grow strong bones, feathers, and muscles. A diet rich in protein will also help your chickens lay more eggs.

Cicadas are loaded with nutrients

In addition to protein, cicadas contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium – all of which are necessary for chicken health.

Cicadas are a natural dewormer for chickens

These insects contain properties that help rid chickens of harmful parasites – without resorting to chemicals or other harsh treatments.

Cicadas can help reduce stress in chickens

Thanks to their high protein and nutrient content, cicadas can help reduce stress in chickens, leading to a host of health problems down the road.

Cicadas are a fun treat for chickens

Let’s face it – chickens get bored just like the rest of us. Cicadas provide a fun and tasty way to break up the monotony of their day-to-day lives. Plus, who doesn’t love watching a chicken chase after a pesky cicada?

Things to watch out for when feeding cicadas to chickens

Cicadas are a nutritious and delicious treat for chickens, but there are a few things you need to watch out for when feeding them to your feathered friends. Here are three things to keep in mind when feeding cicadas to chickens.

Don’t Spray Them with Bug Spray

One of the first things you need to do when collecting cicadas is to ensure they haven’t been sprayed with bug spray. Bug spray can harm chickens, so it’s essential to take this precautionary measure.

You can collect cicadas in a jar or container and then let them sit for a few minutes before releasing them into your chicken coop. This will give any residual bug spray time to dissipate.

Ensure Your Chickens Have Grit

Chickens need grit in their diet to help them digest their food correctly. If you’re unsure whether or not your chickens have enough grit, you can always provide them with some extra to be safe.

One easy way to do this is to place a bowl of grit in their coop to peck at as they please.

Give Your Chickens Plenty of Water

As with any food, ensuring your chickens have access to plenty of water when eating cicadas is important. Eating dry food can lead to dehydration, so regularly giving your chickens fresh water is key.

A good rule of thumb is to provide them with 1 cup of water for every 4 ounces of dry food.

How often should chickens eat cicadas?

chickens standing

While cicadas can make a delicious and nutritious treat for backyard chickens, it’s important to remember that these bugs should be served in moderation. Consuming large quantities of cicadas could cause digestive issues or bowel impaction in some birds.

However, if your flock is lucky enough to live among a population of these noisy insects, you want to ensure they take advantage of it! You can let your chickens eat as many cicadas as they can find. Chances are your feathered friends won’t be able to scarf them down fast enough for them to become a staple in their diet.

If anything, the occasional feast will be a special treat providing much-needed minerals and proteins to supplement their regular feed. Cicada season is an exciting time for gardeners and chicken keepers alike – remember to practice moderation if you want your little ones to remain healthy and happy.

How to prepare cicadas for feeding to chickens

Preparing cicadas as feed for chickens is a great way to provide them with additional nutrition. To start, you’ll need to gather the cicadas – leave your chickens out in the yard and allow them to forage for food. The chickens may find some on their own.

If not, look for older trees and wooded areas nearby that are likely locations for cicada populations. Try using traps or netting. Once you’ve collected some insects, it’s time to clean them. Remove any excess dirt and debris while leaving their nutritious exoskeletons – this is an integral part of their diet.

After that, you can feed them fresh or pop them into a sealed container and put them in the freezer for later use. Leftover cicadas can be stored this way too, making it easy to provide your chickens with high-protein meals no matter what time of year it is.

Do baby chickens eat cicadas?

Baby chickens are omnivores, just like grown hens, and they need a balanced diet of protein and other nutrients to remain healthy. Cicadas can provide protein to baby chicks, so the answer is yes – baby chickens can eat cicadas.

However, it’s important to wait until your chicks are at least two or three weeks old before offering them any insects since their digestive systems are still developing. Though some insects, including crickets and mealworms, can be given in moderation as early as two days after hatching, cicadas are larger and tougher than most smaller insects, plus their exoskeletons contain chemical compounds that could be hard for young chicks to digest.

Therefore, wait until your baby chicks are a couple of weeks old before introducing them to cicadas to ensure they benefit from the extra nutrition rather than get sick.

What other bugs and insects can chickens eat?

japanese beetle

In the wild, chickens peck at almost anything, including bugs and insects. So, what other bugs and insects can chickens eat? Here are five examples.

Hornworms

These large caterpillars can be quite damaging to gardens, but they make for a tasty treat for chickens. If you have a hornworm infestation in your garden, consider letting your chickens loose to feast on them. Keep an eye on your chickens so they don’t eat all your plants.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Hornworms? 5 Surprising Benefits

Slugs

Slugs are often considered pests, but did you know that they’re a type of mollusk? Chickens love to eat slugs, and they’re a great source of protein. Just be sure to check the slug for any visible parasites before feeding it to your chicken.

Read More: Do Chickens Eat Slugs? Yes, With Some Risks

Ants

Chickens love to eat ants, which are a great protein source. If you have an ant problem in your home, you can use chickens as a natural way to get rid of them. Let your chickens loose in the affected area, and they’ll take care of the rest.

Read More: Do Chickens Eat Ants? 5 Awesome Benefits

Spiders

Spiders may seem like odd creatures to feed to your chicken, but they’re a great source of protein. Plus, chickens are more than capable of handling spiders – even large ones – so there’s no need to worry about your chicken getting bitten.

Read More: Do Chickens Eat Spiders? 4 Excellent Benefits

Japanese Beetles

These little pests are damaging to gardens, but they make for a tasty treat for chickens. Japanese beetles are rich in calcium, making them an excellent snack for your chickens. Keep an eye on them and collect any beetles they don’t eat.

Read More: Do Chickens Eat Japanese Beetles? 5 Amazing Benefits

How to give chickens a healthy and balanced diet

Chickens need a healthy and balanced diet to live a long and happy life. A chicken’s diet should consist of three main things: water, food, and grit. Here’s an overview of your chicken’s diet and how to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need.

Water

Chickens need water to survive, just like any other animal. Make sure they have access to clean, fresh water at all times. You can either get a chicken watering system or fill up their water dish multiple times a day.

Grit

Grit is essential for chickens because it helps them digest their food properly. You can either buy grit or make your own by grinding up shells from cooked eggs or oysters.

Food

A healthy diet for a chicken includes plenty of greens, fruits, and insects. Chickens love lettuce, kale, berries, and crickets. You can either grow your own food for them or buy it from the store. Just make sure that whatever you’re feeding them is pesticide-free.

Do chickens eat cicadas – final thoughts

Cicadas are a safe and healthy treat for chickens. If there are cicadas where you live, your chickens can have as many as they want. Chickens love the taste of cicadas, and they’re a great source of protein.

Cicadas are also low in fat, making them a healthy snack for your chickens. So go ahead and let your chickens enjoy nature’s bounty – they’ll thank you for it!

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Jill Taylor Happy Farmyard

Jill Taylor

Jill is a full-time homesteader who enjoys learning about sustainable living and practicing self-reliance. She'll most likely be found tending to her many animals including chickens, ducks, goats, and alpacas. You can find out more about her on LinkedIn.