If you have a backyard chicken flock, you may be wondering for your benefit and theirs, “Do chickens eat mosquitoes?”
Yes, chickens eat mosquitoes whenever they have access to them and if they can catch them.
In this article, I share more about how chickens eat mosquitoes if there is any risk to the chickens, and how you can safely control mosquitoes in your yard and near your coop.
Table of Contents
- It is not bad for chickens to eat mosquitoes unless there is a nearby outbreak of a mosquito-borne illness.
- You should not attempt to catch mosquitoes to feed your flock because they are not nutritious.
- There are a variety of natural means of controlling mosquitoes in your yard.
Is It Bad For Chickens To Eat Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes themselves aren’t made up of any harmful substances that could hurt your chickens. However, mosquitoes are known to carry deadly diseases with them.
If the mosquitoes are infected with a disease, they could pass it to your chickens if the chickens eat the insects or if the mosquitoes bite the chickens. (1)
Some of the diseases that mosquitoes can pass down to chickens include:
- West Nile
- Yellow Fever
- Avian Pox
The chances are rare that your backyard chickens will become infected by one of these diseases.
However, you should be cautious when there is a spread of any of these diseases in your area.
Do Chickens Eat Mosquitoes and How?
Chickens will naturally peck with their beaks and eat mosquitoes when they have a chance to.
More than likely, because mosquitoes are stealth insects, they will fly around unnoticed by the chickens in your flock.
It’s not a good idea to catch mosquitoes to feed your chickens. Mosquitoes don’t have any nutritional value that’s worth the effort of catching and providing them.
Are you also wondering if your chickens can eat earthworms, or if marigolds are good for them? Whatever your questions may be, we’ve got you covered with our informative articles on “can chickens eat earthworms“, “marigolds for chickens“, and “do chickens eat crickets“.
How Many Mosquitoes Can Chickens Eat?
There’s really no limit to the number of mosquitoes that chickens can eat. These insects will fly around the chickens frequently.
Due to their size and speed, it will be hard for the chickens to catch and eat them.
For that reason, chickens can eat as many mosquitoes as they can catch.
Can Mosquitoes Harm Chickens?
It’s highly unlikely that mosquitoes will harm your chickens. Chickens have thick feathers that mosquitoes and other insects have a hard time penetrating.
Other parts of a chicken’s body, such as its legs, do not have feathers so mosquitoes can bite those areas.
The good thing is that mosquitoes are nocturnal and usually only come out at night.
At night, chickens return to their chicken coop and settle on the coop’s roosting bars with their legs and feet tucked safely under their feathers.
Because of the risk of disease and annoying mosquito bites, you probably would like to be able to keep mosquitoes out of your yard and away from you and your chickens.
One good thing to know is that mosquitoes do not seem to be particularly attracted to chickens and may, in fact, dislike chicken odors. (2)
Because the presence of chickens is not what is attracting mosquitoes to your yard, you will have to explore other aspects of your yard and coop that may be the culprit.
If you have standing water in your yard, you are going to have a problem with large mosquito populations.
Things like bird baths, stagnant chicken drinking water, overwatered potted plants, and other water sources attract mosquitoes because they breed in water.
Mosquito larvae thrive in still water; therefore, it is important to eliminate any potential breeding areas.
You can do this by changing your chickens’ water daily, emptying bird baths at night, covering rain barrels, and removing any yard objects that could trap rainwater.
Bats and dragonflies are natural mosquito predators, so encouraging their presence in your yard can contribute to reducing mosquito populations near you.
For the health of your chickens and the ecosystem, it is best to avoid chemical pesticides and pest controls for mosquitoes.
Watch this video to learn about insect protection that won’t harm your backyard flock:
Other Insects That Chickens Can Eat
Ants are high in protein content and a good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Ants are plentiful in backyards and, if there are, you may notice your chickens are often around them.
Due to their small size and lack of toxins, chickens can eat as many ants as they want.
Crickets are loaded with nutrition and make a great treat for chickens. During the summer, crickets are plentiful in the backyard and around the home.
Your chickens will go after them and eat them whenever they see them. One thing you need to be aware of is the chemicals used to control crickets and other insects.
If you use chemical insecticides and pesticides in your yard, the crickets could ingest some or have residue on their bodies.
As the chickens eat the crickets, they could get sick from ingesting the pesticides.
Grasshoppers are packed with nutrients such as calcium, protein, and fiber. This makes them an excellent treat for chickens.
Since grasshoppers are naturally found in the environment where chickens live, chickens will try to catch and eat as many as they can.
Beetles are an excellent source of protein and calcium. There are hundreds of species of beetles around the world.
Most that are found in your backyard are safe for chickens to eat. Chickens will eat beetles whenever they can find them.
However, there are one species of beetle you need to be aware of.
The blister beetle is a species of beetle that has a toxin known as cantharidin. This toxin is dangerous and can kill chickens if ingested.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do chickens keep ticks away?
Scientific studies show that chickens contribute to tick control. One chicken averages eating about 80 ticks per hour.
2. What pests do chickens attract?
Chickens can attract mice, rats, and flying insects like flies, but there are effective ways to reduce this problem such as having a clean, well-built coop and good feed storage.
Mosquitoes are pesky insects that no one wants to have around. If you have a heavy presence of mosquitoes in your area, you may wonder, “Do chickens eat mosquitoes?”
These insects can sometimes be irritating and your chickens may try to catch and eat them. If they do, mosquitoes often don’t pose a danger to chickens.
More extensive mosquito prevention may be necessary for your yard if there is an outbreak of mosquito-related illness in your area to protect yourself and your flock.
1. Styer L.M., Bernard K.A., Kramer L.D. Enhanced early West Nile virus infection in young chickens infected by mosquito bite: effect of viral dose. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Aug; 75 (2): 337-45.
2. Jaleta, K.T., Hill, S.R., Birgersson, G. et al. Chicken volatiles repel host-seeking malaria mosquitoes. Malar J 15, 354 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-016-1386-3
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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