If you allow your chicken to roam freely in the yard, they will forage for anything that they can eat. One of the things found in the yard is snails. You may wonder if chickens will eat snails and if it’s safe for them.
Do chickens eat snails? Yes, chickens will eat snails. Snails are rich in protein and other nutrients that the chickens can benefit from. These creatures don’t have any harmful substances in them which makes them safe for the chickens to eat.
Should You Feed Snails to Chickens?
Snails are high in protein and other nutrients that the chickens need. This is a great addition to their regular diet of commercial feeds.
Most chicken owners will try to find snails to feed their chickens. While this seems fine, it’s much better to let them roam and forage for snails themselves.
Foraging for food is what chickens love to do. They spend most of the time during the day looking for food.
Not only will they get to eat a tasty meal, but it will help keep them active throughout the day.
Is It Safe For Chickens to Eat Snails?
When it comes to snails, it’s safe for chickens to eat them. However, there are a few things to be aware of if you let your chickens forage for snails regularly.
Snails are one of the top pests for gardeners since they can destroy crops and other vegetation. Most people will use snail poison to keep them under control.
The snail pellets are not as toxic as before, but it’s better to not use any. If the chickens eat the poisoned snail or slug, the toxin will build up in their body over time. This will lead to health problems for the chickens.
Instead of using this poison to kill the snails and slugs, there are other methods you can try. Some of them are the following:
- Ground Coffee
- Copper Tape
- Crushed Egg or Nutshells
Placing one of these things around the area you don’t want snails, will help keep them away.
Also, these things are easy to remove and won’t harm your garden at all.
Snails Can Carry Gapeworms
Gapeworms are a parasite that lives underground. They will usually stay near the top of the soil waiting for their host to come along.
When a snail comes by, the gapeworms will attach themselves and burrow into the snail. It will live harmlessly inside the snails until it is eaten by a chicken.
As the chicken eats the snail that’s infected with gapeworms, the worms will attach themselves to the inside of the chicken’s throat. This will cause their airway to become restricted. It will lead to difficulty breather and other respiratory illnesses.
If it’s not treated, the gapeworms will become larger and could block the entire airway. This will result in the death of the chicken.
How to Prevent Chickens From Getting Gapeworm From Snails
Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of gapworms from the soil. However, if your area has a lot of gapeworms, there are different types of treatment available.
The easiest way to prevent your chickens from being infected with gapeworms, you can use medicated layer pellet feed. This feed has an additive added to it to kill and prevent gapeworms and other types of worms in the chickens.
It’s easy to use this medicated feed. All you need to do is feed your flock with medicated feed for seven days. Once the seven days are up, you can feed them regular feed again.
The medicated feed can be given to them every six months to keep your chickens protected.
For treating gapeworms and other types of worms, I recommend Merck Safe Mult Dewormer Feed, which you get on Amazon.
Where Do Chickens Find Snails?
Snails are found throughout the world, but some places will have more than others. These creatures like damp areas where there’s plenty of vegetation for them to eat. For that reason, snails are one of the top garden pests for many gardeners.
Snails will usually come out late in the evening at night to eat. During this time is when it’s cooler and easier for them to move around. Also, they can move around without worrying about getting eaten by predators.
During the day, snails will mostly stay hidden under rocks, leaves, plants, and other objects.
Chickens are smart creatures and will their feet to scratch and unearth snails.
How Chickens Get Snails Out of the Shell?
Chickens are intelligent and will usually find a way to get to their food. As for snails, they won’t be able to hide in their shell.
Chickens will pick up the snail with their beaks and drop it on a hard surface. They will repeat the process until the shell break opens. Once it’s open, the chicken will use their beak to pull out the snail from their shell.
This behavior is not only done by chickens, but also by wild birds. Blackbirds and thrushes use the same method to eat snails as well.
Chickens and many other birds use this method because it’s the quickest way to eat the snail. Every second count since other chickens will chase them down for a piece of the snail.
Snails make a tasty treat for chickens to eat. It’s full of nutrients that they can benefit from too. If you let your chickens eat snails, be sure to it’s not exposed to harmful chemicals such as fertilizer and pesticides. Also, watch out for gapeworms since snails are likely to carry them. Other than that, chickens can eat as many snails as they like.