Mealworms are a popular feeder for reptiles. This is due to their high nutritional content, and it’s easily found at pet stores. If you own chickens, you may wonder if they can eat mealworms as well.
So, can chickens eat mealworms? Yes, chickens can eat mealworms. They provide an abundance of nutrition, especially protein that the chickens can benefit from. You can either feed them live or dried mealworms.
Are Mealworms Safe For Chickens?
Mealworms are safe for chickens to eat since they don’t contain any toxins.
While there’s no toxin in the worm, the nutritional content could cause harm to the chicken. Mealworms are very high in protein and fat content. Both of these in high amount is bad for the health of the chickens.
Excessive fat will lead to obesity, heart problems, and fatty liver.
As for protein, when there’s too much in their diet, it will cause excessive water consumption by the chicken. This will lead to blistered feet, wetter litter, and loose bowels. Also, excessive protein could result in respiratory issues and damages to their eyes.
Therefore, as long as mealworms are fed to them in moderation, you should not have to worry about your chickens having any health issues.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Mealworms?
Mealworms are healthy for chickens to eat due to them being very nutritious. They are very high in protein, which is around 14 – 25%, depending on how big they are.
Besides protein, mealworms also contain a good amount of copper, potassium, sodium, and selenium.
What mealworms are known for is their protein, which is beneficial for chickens, especially baby chickens, egg-laying hens, and chickens that are molting.
For baby chickens, they grow up very fast. This means they will need a lot of protein in their diet to support their growth.
For hens that are laying eggs, protein helps keep them healthy and strong. Also, protein helps the hens produce quality eggs.
When chickens are molting, they will need a lot of energy to shed their old feathers. By giving them plenty of protein, it will help keep them strong and healthy during this time.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Mealworms?
Yes, baby chickens can eat mealworms. However, it’s best to wait until they are about 3 weeks old first. When they are this young, their digestive system have not properly developed yet.
Once they are about 3 weeks old, you can start to introduce mealworms to them. Give them a few mealworms to start with.
If the mother chicken is with them, she will teach them to catch and eat the mealworms.
When they are starting to eat mealworms, provide them with grits as well. The grits will help break down the mealworms in their gizzard.
Can Chickens Eat Dried Mealworms?
Yes, chickens can eat dried mealworms. The worms have gone through a dehydration process in which all the moisture is absorbed from them. What’s left is the nutrient such as protein, fiber, potassium, and phosphorus.
Dried mealworms are great to keep at home as you can give your chicken extra protein when they need it.
Like live mealworms, they still retain much of the protein content. To prevent any health issues arising, only feed dried mealworms to your chickens in moderation.
How Do You Feed Mealworms To Your Chickens
When it comes to mealworms, there are a couple of ways to feed your chickens.
The first method is to simply toss the mealworms onto the ground and have the chickens catch and eat them. You can either feed them live or dried mealworms this way. The chickens will run to the worms and peck and eat them right away.
The second method is to mix the mealworms with their treats or feed. This is a good way to give your chickens a boost in nutrition. Simply sprinkle some mealworms over their food and place it into their feeder bowl for them to eat from.
How Many Mealworms Should You Feed Your Chickens?
Mealworms feed to them in excess is bad for their health. Chickens should be fed mealworms in small amounts. This means for an adult chicken, each should be fed 4-5 mealworms.
However, for egg-laying hens or chickens that are molting, they can be fed more mealworms. During these times, hens need the extra protein to remain healthy and strong, while producing quality eggs. When they are molting, they will use a lot of their energy to shed their feathers.
When it comes to baby chickens, they can be fed mealworms when they are at least 3 weeks old. You can give them a handful of mealworms to eat, as they need as much protein as they can get due to their fast growth.
How Often Should You Feed Mealworms To Your Chickens?
While mealworms are packed with nutrition, you should feed them to your chickens in moderation. Mealworms have a high amount of fat, which isn’t healthy for a chicken.
Mealworms should only make up 10% of their entire diet. The rest of the food should consist of chicken feed. Feed is formulated with the right amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s daily dietary needs.
Also, mealworms should not be fed to them on a daily basis. This worm should be given to them as a snack. This means to give them mealworms, once or twice per week.
Other Worms That Chickens Can Eat
Earthworms are one of the chicken’s favorite food. This worm is a good source of protein, calcium, and fat. Chickens will naturally scratch the ground looking for earthworms if they are allowed to free-range.
Silkworms are high in nutrients. It has a high content of protein, calcium, and vitamins B1, B2, B3. All of these are nutrients are essential for the health of the chickens.
Superworms are similar to mealworms, except they are bigger. Due to their larger size, they will have more nutrients. This worm isn’t something that most people feed their chicken due to the cost of it. If you’re able to get some superworms for your chickens, it will make a nutritious treat for them.
Mealworms make a tasty and nutritious treat for chickens. It is high in protein, which is beneficial for their health, especially baby chickens and egg-laying hens. For other chickens, only give them mealworms as a treat, as too much protein and fat content can cause them health issues.