As we know, chickens love eating critters.
Whatever creepy crawlies they find while foraging, they would happily eat those, antenna and all.
And yes, earwigs are no exception!
However, the question is: can chickens eat earwigs or not?
Are they safe? Aren’t they poisonous?
Will they not hurt the chickens with those scary-looking pincers?
If you’ve seen one of your birds happily munching on one, these questions probably popped into your slightly panicked head.
I know I did.
So in this article, we’ll answer a couple of questions, including:
- Can chickens safely eat earwigs?
- What are the benefits and precautions of chickens eating earwigs?
- Are earwigs okay to leave in the coop or not?
Let’s get started!
Can Chickens Eat Earwigs?
You can breathe a sigh of relief because, yes, chickens can eat earwigs.
Not only that but these little bugs are packed with protein that’s beneficial for your chicken’s overall health and growth.
If you’ve encountered an earwig yourself, you probably worry about those tiny pincers that they have.
But if you haven’t seen one yet, let’s discuss in the following section what earwigs are and where they usually come from.
What are Earwigs?
You’ve probably heard about these little bugs that climb inside human ears, tunnel into your brain, and lay eggs in there.
I know it sounds horrible.
But don’t worry—that’s not true despite their name!
Earwigs are part of the Dermaptera order of insects, which literally translates to “Skin Wings.”
They’re also known as “Pincher Bugs” because of the two long and protruding pincers/tails from their belly part.
These pincers sure look intimidating, especially for their prey, but they’re not harmful to humans and chickens alike.
You’ll probably see them most active at night—they are nocturnal insects, after all, that like to feast on mostly decomposing plants and dead insects.
How would I describe what an earwig looks like?
Well, their heads look similar to ants, while their lower body part resembles a scorpion because of those pincers.
There are 2,000 known species of earwigs worldwide, except for Antarctica, but only 22 types are found in America.
Why Do Earwigs Love to Hang Out In Chicken Coops?
Earwigs love moisture. And as you know, a chicken coop can be damp and dark because of all the bedding and litter around!
I remember one time when checking in the coop and noticing that much of the bedding was piled up near the door.
Trying to kick and scatter them around equally, I was surprised (and freaked out, honestly) when a couple of these bugs scurried past me to hide.
Earwigs like hanging out in the crooks and crannies of woods, nest boxes, and under the rocks where it’s dark and damp.
It’s no wonder these pincher bugs like setting camp there!
Is It Safe for Chickens to Eat Earwigs?
Yes, it’s 100% safe for your chickens to feast on earwigs whenever they’re foraging.
In fact, they’re very safe that humans can eat them, too!
However, there is not much information about the nutritional benefit of these tiny critters.
What we currently know, though, is that they are packed with protein.
They’re also rich in fatty acids and minerals and some nutrients that can’t be found in commercially-reared insects.
Other health benefits your chickens can get from these insects are:
- essential amino acids like lysine and methionine
Nutritional Requirements of a Chicken
|Nutrient||From 0 weeks onwards|
|Protein||12% to 18%|
|Calcium||0.60 to 3.40%|
|Vitamin A||1500 to 4000 IU|
|Folic Acid||0.25 to 0.55 mg|
|Fiber||2.5 to 4%|
The table above shows general information about the nutritional requirements of chickens.
While earwigs sure are healthy, they do not complete the daily needs of our feathered friends.
It’s best to feed them only as supplemental treats or when foraging.
How to Prepare Earwigs For Chickens
Yes, there are chicken keepers who actually collect earwigs themselves to feed their flock.
One DIY way to make an effective earwig trap is by rolling cardboard or a newspaper and putting it inside a pot.
There’s also another way to trap and collect them using oil, water, and soy sauce.
Once you have enough, you can rinse them in cold water to remove any dirt or debris, then sprinkle them where your chickens usually forage.
If you can’t find enough earwigs in your area, there are also pet shops or poultry supplies that sell them.
Food or Pests: Is it Okay to Let Earwigs Hang Out in the Chicken Coop?
Generally, earwigs are more of a loner. They usually just operate by themselves, unlike other insects or bugs that like being in a large group or colony.
This is why it’s rare to get earwigs infestation.
And since they’re harmless little bugs, you can just let them be in the chicken coop.
In fact, you might even find them useful if you have a mites or maggots problem!
It’s a different story, though, if you see them hanging out near your trees or crops.
They love plants, fruits, and veggies so much that they might make a snack out of your precious plants.
How To Get Rid of Too Many Earwigs in the Coop
In case the amount of earwigs frolicking in the chicken coop gets a little too overwhelming for you, you can always sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the area where they often hang out.
DE is safe for chickens and will effectively knock out any bugs or critters hanging in the coop.
But if you ask me? I just let my chickens do the hard work for me.
It actually encourages them to practice their foraging instincts.
Chickens are effective insect controllers anyway, plus earwigs are safe snacks for them, too.
It’s a win-win situation!
Other Bugs That Chickens Can Eat
We all know that mealworms are one of the best and tastiest snacks you can give to your flock.
But apart from them and earwigs, there are several insects or bugs you can let your chickens munch on:
Some of these are:
- potato beetles
- different larvae of ants, moths, termites, mealworms, etc.
Your chickens should be able to safely eat these bugs/ insects as long as they have not been sprayed with any chemicals or insecticides.
Bugs Your Chickens Should Avoid
Sure, chickens tend to be peckish.
But they’d still turn their nose (or beaks!) away from bugs that stink like:
- box-elder bugs
- stink bugs
- Asian lady beetles
There are also bugs that might do more harm than good to your chickens when eaten.
Well, technically, they are safe to eat.
But they could still be hosts of different diseases your chickens might contract!
Some of them are:
- house flies
And oh, chickens don’t eat bees, so you can go ahead and attract them in your garden!
FAQs about Chickens eating Earwigs
Will earwigs hurt my chickens?
No, earwigs will and can not hurt your chickens.
Those tiny pincers we see only look intimidating, but they’re actually unable to hurt animals or humans larger than them.
Therefore, you can let your chickens forage on them as long as you know they haven’t been in contact with any harmful chemicals like pesticides.
Are earwigs poisonous?
No, earwigs aren’t poisonous.
Their pincers can only grasp, but they don’t have sting, venom, or poison coming out of them.
How to prevent earwig infestation?
Because earwigs like damp and dark places, you can prevent them from entering the chicken coop by constantly cleaning it!
Can baby chicks eat earwigs?
Sure, you can let baby chicks eat earwigs in moderation.
Just as long as you start them with starter feeds and ensure they get proper and balanced nutrition.
Yes, Chickens Can Eat Earwigs, But…
Earwigs don’t offer the complete nutrients that chickens require on a daily basis.
While you can let your flock feast on them as much as they want, you should still provide them with a balanced meal complete with vitamins and minerals necessary for their health and development.
But as treats, you can never go wrong with letting them forage earwigs in your backyard.
Have you tried feeding them to your flock? How did they find it?
Let us know in the comment section!
You can also read more articles about chicken treats and nutritional needs below.