Can Chickens Eat Slugs? Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

Chickens are the most amusing and useful (because of the eggs chicken lay) of the several garden pets you can keep. You may easily pass a number of hours just watching them frolic in the yard & pick at various objects. You probably already know that chickens, turkeys, and other poultry birds are omnivores that will eat just about everything they can fit into their beaks. Slugs, though — what about them? 

Do hens eat snails? Slugs, among other insects, have long formed a component of their natural diet in the wild. You need not worry if the chickens graze on the occasional slug. You should be cautious if slugs have made their way into the yard and therefore are regularly being eaten by your feathery friends. These tiny mollusks may look harmless, but they may be harboring harmful chemicals or parasites that will make the pets very ill. 

It’s not always simple to monitor what your chickens eat, even if they’re in your own backyard. Since slugs can cause damage to both animals and plants, exclusion from the garden is a must. 

Do Chickens Love Slugs?

Chickens are not as finicky eaters as some other birds. If the food is too huge to fit in their mouths, that’s probably the only time they notice it. Since slugs tend to be somewhat larger than other mollusks, it’s possible that the feathered friends will ignore them if they happen to stumble across one. It’s hard to predict how the pet might behave if it’s hungry.

Many poultry owners worry that their pets will try to eat the slugs because of their huge size. Chickens can safely consume slugs on occasion, so long as they have the jaw strength to masticate the creatures. 

Chickens are little birds with a limited diet, so you’ll need to restrict the number of slugs they get. That’s why it’s so important to make sure they’re getting all they need from their diet. Make sure they are eating normally and that slugs aren’t sneaking into their diet.

Can Chickens Eat Slugs

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Possibilities of Harm from Chickens Consuming Slugs 

You should be concerned about these three things when feeding slugs to the birds: 

Pheasants and chickens frequently fall prey to gapeworms, a type of parasitic nematode worm. These worms can find hosts in slugs, earthworms, and snails. Your hens will eat them, and then the parasites will move into the trachea of your chickens. The pets may suffocate to death if they become infested with a large number of these worms. 

  • Rat Lungworm

In rats, the parasite nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis, more known colloquially as the Rat Lungworm, makes its home in the arteries, hence the name. 

Larvae and such worms are transmitted from rat to slug via feces. Because of this, they end up playing host to the worms. The hens are at risk of internal parasitic harm if they consume an infected slug. 

  • Risk of choking 

Slugs, as we’ve said, are considerably bigger than the earthworms that hens often eat. These mollusks are too large for the mouths of the dogs, therefore they pose a choking risk. 

Feeding Guide For Slugs

Chickens have the risk of getting sick if they eat slugs, but it’s also true that chickens benefit greatly from including slugs and other insects in their diet. In addition, you can feed slugs to the feathered pets in a harmless manner. 

Before anything else, don’t go on a slug-hunting spree in your garden or the neighborhood. These slugs may be poisonous and endanger your chickens due to the substances they secrete. However, they can also play host to parasites that pose a threat to themselves. As an alternative, you should purchase slugs from a reliable store. 

The next step, after obtaining healthy slugs, is to get them ready for the chickens to eat. Not much effort is required on your part to do this. Cut them up into smaller pieces and the pets can eat them without worrying about choking.

Can Chickens Eat Slugs

Benefits of Slugs for the Baby Chicks

Most chicken owners, especially novices or those with limited expertise, don’t know what to feed the newborn chicks. So, it’s reasonable to question whether or not slugs are safe to eat for them.

When compared to full-grown hens, chicks are noticeably smaller and much more delicately built. The repercussions of unknowingly consuming an infected slug are severe. These tiny birds are also more likely to suffocate on snails. As a result, until they are older, protection from slugs is recommended. 

There Are Plenty of Other Treats The Chickens Will Enjoy 

Chickens are a type of pet that thrives on variety in its diet. To gain their love, you should serve them fresh snacks sometimes to keep the regular meals interesting. These birds can be fed on anything from seeds to slugs without getting hungry. 

Let’s have a look at some alternate snack options for your chickens: 

  • Insects and Pests

Your wild-living pet’s natural diet includes slugs and a wide variety of other insects. The chickens will eat just about every bug they can find, even in your backyard. 

Insects like grubs, mealworms, termites, snails, beetles, cricket, worms, etc. are some of their favorites. These pests are common housemates. These treats can be found in the wild, but if you don’t want to go searching for them or are worried they might be contaminated, you can purchase them from local pet stores or even online. 

  • Fruits and Veggies

You can safely feed your chickens fruit and vegetable scraps as a supplement to their regular diet. Bananas, pears, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, celery, plums, etc. are all great options. You need only refrain from giving them any citrus fruits or fruit peels. 

  • Meat

Chickens can consume meat, which is news to most chicken owners. As a matter of fact, providing them with moderate amounts of meat can be beneficial to their health. However, before serving it to them, you must trim any excess fat & refrain from adding any seasonings or salt. 

  • Other Human Foods

Additionally, you can give your pet a small amount of your own meal as a treat. Yogurt, popcorn, corn, nut butter, pasta, raw oatmeal, ham, etc. all fit the bill. 

FAQ

Can I give my chickens avocados? 

In fact, you shouldn’t give avocados to your chooks. They can eat the fruit’s flesh without harm, but the skin and pit are poisonous due to a substance called persin, which is harmful to many animals but especially birds. 

Are Chicken Noisy Birds?

Yes. Contrary to popular belief, roosters do not confine their crowing to the early morning hours. The hens, on the other hand, are much more subdued, but they only crow while they are laying eggs or feeling threatened. 

Can Cats Attack Chickens?

Chicken attacks by cats are uncommon, despite common perceptions to the contrary. In most cases, adult chickens, and particularly roosters, are more frightening to cats than kittens. Your adult chickens are safe to leave outside, but you should definitely keep an eye on the chicks. 

Conclusion 

Now, to wrap things up, let’s circle back to the original question: do chickens eat slugs? Chickens can, rarely, eat snails. A nutritious treat for your friends is a slug because of its high protein content. Finding the proper slugs to feed them is the most crucial step. 

You can’t just go around grabbing slugs from anyone’s yard. This is due to the high likelihood that these slugs may be harboring harmful chemicals or worms that might severely impact your pet’s health.

Getting slugs and other insects for them from a reliable source is your best bet. Freeze-dried slugs can be purchased for them online. To prevent your chickens from choking, chop the slugs into small, bite-sized pieces. Finally, remember that hens appreciate diversity in their diets.

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