Ducking and dodging to know the answer to your question, “can chickens eat waxworms” can be tricky.
That’s why I’m here to tell you a secret: after talking to my cousin Bob, a chicken expert, he told me this:
Yes, chickens can eat waxworms.
High in fiber, protein, and fat, these worms are very healthy for the chickens ― but do watch out: because they have a high-fat content, feed them in moderation only!
If you’re transfixed with knowing more about this luxurious source of protein, keep scrolling…
Table of Contents
- Waxworms champion a nutrient-rich meal packed with many nutrients and other goodies.
- In excess, waxworms can be harmful, causing several health implications ― including Sudden Chicken Death Syndrome (so be careful!).
- Though a gracious treat with many health benefits, worms should never replace the chickens’ commercial feed ― moderation is key!
What Are Waxworms?
If you own a flock of chickens, you may wonder, “can chickens eat waxworms?”.
First, I’ll delve deep into what waxworms are:
Waxworms are the larvae of wax moths with high nutritional content, a favorite for insect-eating animals such as bearded dragons, lizards, and frogs.
Interestingly, researchers at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences say this about waxworms: “waxworm larvae have the most similar amino acid pattern to the FAO recommendation for adults.” .
What’s more, waxworms have good use in breaking down plastics:
“Since they eat wax, they may have evolved a molecule to break it down, and that molecule might also work on plastic,” writes Federica Bertocchini, a biologist at the University of Cantabria in Spain .
Now that you know a bit about waxworms and how to maximize their strength, I’ll reel you in further…
What Are The Health Benefits Of Waxworms?
1. Waxworms are High in Calcium
Chicken needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. The right amount of calcium will keep the bone from becoming weak and brittle.
Besides the bones, the heart, muscles, and nerves also need calcium to function properly.
2. Waxworms are a Good Source of Fiber
Fiber does a lot of good things for the body. It helps with regular bowel movements and smoothens food along the digestive tract.
Another good thing about fiber is that it helps control blood sugar levels. For a chicken, this is very important as they tend to eat a lot of food throughout the day.
The food they eat could cause their blood sugar level to rise. If it gets too high, it could damage the heart and other organs in the body.
3. Waxworms are High In Fat
While the fat content isn’t healthy for chickens, sometimes your chickens may need a lot of it during certain times of the year ― though I don’t usually recommend this.
During the winter months, when it’s cold, fats keep your chickens warm and cozy. So, feeding them plenty of waxworms during this time of the year will not hurt them much.
Why’s that? Because the fat content in their body will get used up by the body as energy to help keep them warm.
If you’re wondering about feeding your chickens earthworms, or when your little chicks can have mealworms, we’ve got the answers for you! Check out our informative articles on “do chickens eat earthworms” and “when can chicks have mealworms” to learn all about what’s safe and healthy for your feathered friends.
How To Feed Waxworms To Chickens
When it comes time to feed waxworms to the chickens, there are two methods to provide them. You should try both and see which one works best for you.
Method 1: The Toss
To perform this method, toss the waxworms at your chickens.
Once these worms land on the ground, your chickens will all go crazy after it.
Method 2: The Mix
To achieve this, mix the waxworms into the chicken feed. And the result is an extra boost in nutrition:
1. Sprinkle the waxworms into their feeds and mix them thoroughly.
2. Place the mixture into their feeder bowl.
You don’t have to do anything further. Thanks to your chickens, they will catch on and start pecking at this delight.
If you’re revved up and captivated to breed waxworms by yourself, head over to this detailed and captivating video showing how to do just that, all from YouTuber Northern Exotics:
How Much And How Often To Feed Waxworms To Chickens
While waxworms don’t have any toxins and are full of nutrition, you should only feed them to the chickens in moderation.
Never feed waxworms as the main diet. Your chickens’ main feed should still consist of commercial feeds.
Generally speaking, waxworms should only make up 10% of the chicken’s entire diet ― the rest should come from quality feeds.
Commercial feeds are formulated with the proper nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary needs.
Also, waxworms contain a lot of protein, and feeding the chickens a lot of food with a high content of protein can hurt them.
The takeaway: feed waxworms to your chickens as treats. A couple of times per week is enough waxworms for your chickens.
1. Can Baby Chickens Eat Waxworms?
No! Don’t feed the Baby chickens under the age of 3 weeks waxworms. Their digestive system hasn’t matured enough to digest waxworms properly. At this age, focus on chick starter feed and grits!
2. Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Waxworms?
Yes. Waxworms are highly nutritious, especially in calcium, fiber, protein, and fat. These worms are a plump, juicy, and extremely healthy treat for chickens.
Can chickens eat waxworms? You bet!
Feeding worms to chickens can be a positive health boost, a nutrient-rich option, and an all-time favorite. So what’s not to like?
As with everything, waxworms have a negative side: In excess, these worms can fend off any positives, cause health complications, and even contribute to Sudden Chicken Death Syndrome.
So be careful with feeding too much!
If you’re unsure about anything diet-wise, consult your vet.
Finally, if you have any tips to share with me, please spice up my day with a comment!
I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time…
1. Gere A, Radványi D, Héberger K. Which insect species can best be proposed for human consumption? Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies. 2019;52:358–67.
2. Arnold C. This Bug Can Eat Plastic. But Can It Clean Up Our Mess? [Internet]. Science. 2017. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/wax-worms-eat-plastic-polyethylene-trash-pollution-cleanup
Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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