Do Chickens Eat Slugs? Yes, With Some Risks

Can chickens eat slugs? Yes, chickens can eat slugs. As with most animals, chickens will consume whatever they find edible and have access to, and slugs are no exception. Slugs provide an excellent source of protein for chickens, as well as other essential nutrients.

However, it is crucial to be aware of some risks associated with feeding chickens slugs, such as the potential for the ingestion of parasites and other harmful organisms. Therefore, if you decide to feed slugs to your chickens, it is best to source them from an area free from pesticides and other contaminants.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about chickens and slugs.

do chickens eat slugs

Can chickens eat slugs?

Yes, chickens can eat slugs. They make a healthy treat full of protein and other nutrients. Of course, like with anything else, moderation is key. Too many slugs can lead to an upset stomach or other digestive issues.

A good rule of thumb is to offer at most 10% of your chicken’s diet in the form of treats like slugs. The rest of their diet should be a balanced chicken feed.

There is a slight chance that slugs can carry toxins or parasites that could make your chickens sick. However, this is very rare and typically only happens if the slugs have been exposed to chemicals or are carrying parasites.

The best way to avoid this is to feed your chickens store-bought slugs raised in a controlled environment.

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The benefits of eating slugs for chickens

Slugs are a common type of garden pest. They’re slimy, have no skeletons, and love eating plants. But did you know that these little pests can offer health benefits to chickens? Here are four reasons why.

Slugs are a good source of protein

Chickens need protein to grow and stay healthy, and slugs are a great source of this essential nutrient. A single slug can provide a chicken up to 10% of its daily protein needs.

Slugs are low in fat

Fat is essential to a chicken’s diet, but too much fat can lead to health problems like obesity. That’s why it’s important to choose lean protein sources like slugs. A single slug contains less than 1% fat – perfect for keeping your chicken healthy and trim.

Slugs are a good source of vitamins and minerals

In addition to protein, chickens need vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Slugs are a good source of several important nutrients, including vitamin B12, iron, and selenium.

Eating slugs can help Chickens detoxify their bodies naturally

Chickens eat almost anything they find, including harmful substances like pesticides or herbicides. However, certain enzymes in slugs can help break down these toxins in the chicken’s body, making them safer to consume.

Things to watch out for when feeding slugs to chickens

slug

While feeding your chickens slugs may seem harmless, there are a few things you should watch out for. Keep reading to learn more about the potential hazards of feeding slugs to chickens.

Choking Hazard

Slugs are soft-bodied creatures which makes them a choking hazard for chickens. When eaten whole, slugs can easily get stuck in a chicken’s throat and cause them to choke. To avoid this, chop the slugs into small pieces before feeding them to your chickens.

Slug Repellent

Many gardeners use slug repellent to keep these slimy creatures away from their plants. If a chicken eats a slug treated with slug repellent, it could become very sick. As you don’t know where the slugs have been, it’s best to feed your chickens store-bought slugs.

Parasites

Slugs can carry all sorts of parasites, including the dreaded gapeworm. These parasites can make your chickens very sick, so it’s important only to feed them clean slugs raised in a controlled environment.

Shouldn’t replace regular food

Slugs should not replace regular chicken food such as pellets or grain. They should only be fed as an occasional treat in small quantities. If fed too much, slugs can cause digestive problems for chickens.

How often should chickens eat slugs?

Chickens can benefit from adding slugs to their diet occasionally, and it’s worth considering for any owner looking for a cheap source of protein. When it comes to feeding chickens slugs, moderation is key.

Slugs shouldn’t be a large part of their diet. However, treating your chickens to an occasional slug can provide them with a good source of nutrition while also helping to keep your garden free from these slimy pests.

This means only giving your chickens slugs occasionally – not more than once or twice a week – and monitoring how the birds react after eating them. If they appear uncomfortable or unwell after feeding on slugs, you should take steps to prevent them from doing so again.

How to prepare slugs for feeding to chickens

chicken feeding

The most essential step for those looking to feed their chickens slugs is sourcing them appropriately. Of course, you could use slugs from the garden, but these may have been exposed to insecticides and other chemicals that could harm your chickens.

To ensure safety, it’s best to source slugs from a pet store, where they are raised without additional treatments.

Once you have your slugs, the next step is prepping them for feeding. Cut the slugs into small pieces; while this will make them appear less intimidating to chickens (particularly those not used to eating slugs!), it also helps with digestion.

Finally, you may mix other food with the pieces of slug – this way, your feathered friends can enjoy a balanced meal in every bite.

Can baby chickens eat slugs?

When it comes to baby chickens, what you feed them is very important. Although you may be tempted to let them find their own food in the form of slugs or other insects, this is not always recommended.

The problem with slugs is that they can carry tiny amounts of toxins that might not affect large birds but could be fatal to young chicks still developing their immune systems. Additionally, small chicks have delicate digestive systems and may not be able to handle the foreign material found in some soil-dwelling bugs like slugs.

This means that the best thing for your baby chicken is to wait until it’s older before giving it access to outside food sources. As a general rule, try to provide plenty of nutritious foods like grains and proteins such as chick starter.

Should you use chickens to control slugs?

It is important to remember that chickens shouldn’t be allowed to eat too many slugs. A large number of slugs in the diet can cause deficiencies in proteins and other nutrients, leading to health problems for the chickens.

In cases of large slug populations, it might be easier, quicker, and more effective to use natural pest control methods. These solutions are safer for humans and animals than for chickens to consume large amounts of slugs.

What other insects and bugs can chickens eat?

hornworm

In addition to slugs, chickens will happily eat other bugs and insects. This includes many types of worms, such as earthworms, red wiggler worms, and mealworms. Chickens will also eat beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, and other small insects they can find in their environment. Here are five of the most common ones.

Japanese Beetles

The Japanese beetle is a type of scarab beetle native to Japan. As its name suggests, this beetle can be found in abundance in Japan, where it is considered a pest. The Japanese beetle was first found in North America in 1916, where it has since become a major agricultural pest. Japanese beetles usually measure 12 to 15 mm in length and are characterized by their shiny green backs and bronze wing covers.

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

Cicadas

Cicadas are a type of insect that belongs to the order Hemiptera. Cicadas are characterized by their large compound eyes, transparent wings, and segmented bodies. There are over 3,000 species of cicada worldwide, with many different subspecies appearing in different parts of the world. In North America, the most common cicada species is the Magicicada septendecim, also known as the 17-year locust. Cicadas usually measure between 13 to 60 mm in length.

Read More: Do Chickens Eat Cicadas? 5 Excellent Benefits

Hornworms

Hornworms are the larvae of certain types of moths in the family Sphingidae. These moths are commonly known as hawk moths or sphinx moths. The term “hornworm” refers to the fact that these larvae have a horn-like protrusion at the end of their abdomens. Hornworms usually measure between 25 to 75 mm in length. In North America, the most common species of hornworm is the tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata), which gets its name from its preferred food source: tomatoes.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Hornworms? 5 Surprising Benefits

Ants

Ants are a type of insect belonging to the family Formicidae. Ants can be found in nearly every habitat on Earth, and there are more than 12,000 known species of ants worldwide. Ants vary in size and color, but most measure between 2 to 20 mm in length and are typically black or brown in color.

Read More: Do Chickens Eat Ants? 5 Awesome Benefits

Spiders

Spiders are arthropods that belong to the order Araneae. They are characterized by their eight legs and two body segments (cephalothorax and abdomen). Spiders are found all over the world and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The size of a spider can range from just a few millimeters to more than 30 cm in length.

Read More: Do Chickens Eat Spiders? 4 Excellent Benefits

How to give chickens a healthy and balanced diet

A healthy and balanced diet is essential for any animal, and chickens are no exception. What many people don’t realize, however, is that chickens have particular dietary needs that must be met for them to stay healthy and productive. A chicken’s diet should contain three main components: water, carbohydrates, and protein.

Water

Water is the most important element of a chicken’s diet. Chickens need access to clean, fresh water at all times. A good rule of thumb is to provide one gallon of water per chicken per day.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the next most important component of a chicken’s diet. Chickens need carbohydrates for energy. The best sources of carbohydrates for chickens are grains such as corn and wheat. A typical chicken will consume about 1/4 pound of grain per day.

Protein

Protein is the last major component of a chicken’s diet. Chickens need protein for growth and development. The best sources of protein for chickens are insects and worms.

Chickens will naturally scavenge for these foods, but you can supplement their diet with commercial chicken feed supplemented with dried insects or worms. A typical chicken will consume about 1/8 pound of protein per day.

Calcium

In addition to these three major food groups, chickens also need a source of calcium in their diet. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and eggshells. The best source of calcium for chickens is crushed oyster shells or grit. Chickens will typically consume about one teaspoon of grit per day.

Can chickens eat slugs – final thoughts

Slug hunting season is open year-round for chickens! Not only is it perfectly safe for them to eat slugs, but they make a healthy and nutritious treat.

Just be sure to offer them in moderation and only buy from trusted sources to reduce the risk of exposure to toxins or parasites.

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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 find out more about her on LinkedIn.