Can Chickens Eat Cockroaches? [Free Pest Control!]

chicken looking for insects
Ready to do some damage.

As a fan of chickens and birds in general, I have always been curious about the diets of my feathered friends. Over time, I have researched various foods chickens can eat, and one question that always pops up is, “can chickens eat cockroaches?” Well, after some digging, I have the answer, and it is as you’d expect: chickens can eat cockroaches, but there is a warning you should pay heed to.


Why You Should Care If Chickens Can Eat Cockroaches

First, let’s talk about why this question is relevant. Chickens are omnivores, which means they can eat both plant and animal matter.

However, not all foods are suitable for them, and some can even be harmful. Cockroaches are insects that are commonly found in households and farms, so it’s not surprising that some chicken owners wonder if they are a suitable food source for their birds.

So, as mentioned, the short answer is yes, chickens can eat cockroaches. In fact, chickens in the wild often consume insects, including cockroaches, as part of their natural diet.

Insects provide protein and other nutrients that are essential for chicken health. In a captive environment, such as a backyard coop, chickens can still benefit from eating insects.

Some chicken owners even raise their own cockroaches specifically for their chickens.

Also, read Can Chickens Eat Shrimp?

Is It Safe For Chickens To Eat Cockroaches?

However, it is important to note that not all cockroaches are safe for chickens to eat.

Some species of cockroaches contain harmful bacteria, chemicals, and toxins that can be dangerous to birds.

A Toxic Species Of Cockroach

The most commonly known species, the German cockroach, should be avoided as they are known to carry harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli.

Aren’t Cockroaches Too Big For Chickens?

Another consideration is the size of the cockroach.

Chickens have relatively small beaks, so they may have trouble consuming larger cockroaches.

If you do choose to feed cockroaches to your birds, it is best to grind them up or chop them into smaller pieces to make them easier to consume.


Can You Feed Chickens Too Many Cockroaches?

It is also crucial to note that cockroaches should only be fed to chickens in moderation.

Although they are a nutritious food source, they should not make up a significant portion of their diet. A balanced diet for chickens includes a variety of grains, vegetables, and protein sources, such as mealworms and crickets.

So while chickens can eat cockroaches, it is essential to be cautious and only feed them to your birds in moderation.

Be sure to avoid feeding them German cockroaches and chop up the insects into smaller pieces if necessary.

A balanced diet is crucial for your birds’ health, so feed them a variety of food sources to ensure their overall well-being.

Also of interest: Do Chickens Have Noses?

Are There Any Insects Chickens Can’t Eat?

Chickens can eat a variety of insects, but there are some types of insects that should be avoided. Here are a few examples:

  • Poisonous insects: Some insects, such as stink bugs and ladybugs, contain chemicals that are toxic to chickens and can cause illness or death.
  • Insects treated with pesticides: Pesticides can be harmful to chickens, so it’s important to avoid feeding them insects that have been treated with these chemicals. This includes insects found in or near gardens, crops, and lawns that have been treated with pesticides.
  • Fireflies: Fireflies contain a toxin called lucibufagins, which is toxic to chickens and can cause serious health problems.
  • Termites: Termites can carry harmful bacteria and parasites, so they should be avoided.
  • Some Cockroaches: As mentioned earlier, some species of cockroaches, such as the German cockroach, can carry harmful bacteria and should be avoided.

Again, it is essential to provide chickens with a balanced diet that includes a variety of grains, vegetables, and protein sources, such as mealworms and crickets.

If you are uncertain about the safety of a particular insect, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding it to your birds.


As a chicken lover, I hope this information has been helpful. If you have any other questions about feeding your chickens, feel free to reach out to other experienced chicken owners or me. Remember, your birds’ health is in your hands, so take good care of them!

While chickens can benefit from eating insects, it’s important to be mindful of the types of insects that are safe for them to consume. Avoid feeding them poisonous, treated with pesticides, fireflies, termites, and harmful species of cockroaches to ensure their health and well-being.

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash