It’s early October as of the time I’m writing this article, and the stinkbugs in my area are hatching and mating and trying to come into my warm house.
While this happens all the time, this is the first year my chickens have picked up on these bugs and started eating them.
This made my wife a little bit worried (and to be honest, I was concerned too).
I know that if my dog eats too many stink bugs, his stomach will get upset.
So I started to wonder if chickens could eat stinkbugs safely.
Chickens do eat stink bugs on occasion and can eat them without any issues. While their breath will stink, the chemicals will have no ill-effect on the chickens, no matter how many they eat. The hens will process the chemicals to the point where their eggs will taste no different from regular eggs.
Check out the rest of this article for more details on chickens.
Table of Contents
Are Stink Bugs Safe For Chickens To Eat?
Stink bugs get their name pretty accurately.
When these little bugs are threatened or startled, they release a super terrible smell that can hang around for a long time.
This makes them a pain to get rid of in your house and around your home too.
It’s part of their defense mechanism from predators.
Chickens, as most of us know, will eat anything.
Some owners have even seen chickens eat plastic.
While they won’t digest it, it won’t cause any problems unless it gets trapped in their digestive systems.
Trapped pieces of food will often cause chickens to burp, which may signify further issues. For more information, check out our article on if chickens burp and what it means.
Stink Bug Myths And Chickens
When it comes to stinkbugs, some people think these are toxic little critters.
This isn’t true.
While they smell bad, they are not poisonous.
If an animal eats a lot of them, many of them will get sick in the stomach, but that feeling will pass after a day or two.
I know this from experience.
(No, I didn’t eat them!)
My dog started to eat a whole bunch of them when we first moved to our house in the country.
He was sick and had some, uh, “loose dropping issues” for a day or two but then recovered quickly.
He hasn’t eaten a stinkbug since, and I don’t blame him.
Chickens are made of tougher stuff than other animals, especially mammals.
Chickens seem to have a digestive system of titanium.
Other than a super stinky breath for a day or two, they don’t seem to suffer at all.
Some people will even trap stinkbugs and feed them to their chickens as an extra source of protein.
While I don’t go that far, I’ve learned not to worry about chickens eating stinkbugs and take a small amount of pleasure from these annoying little pests getting eaten and feeding my beloved fowl.
Do Chicken Eggs Taste Different After Eating Stinkbugs?
Once I was sure my chickens were safe, the next question in our household was if chicken eggs would taste different.
After all, the food chickens eat has a huge impact on the size and frequency of laying eggs. You may also want to check out our article busting the myth that chickens can lay three eggs in one day. Click the link to see our article.
If increased protein makes the eggs bigger and happens more often, shouldn’t the stinkbug smell get absorbed into the egg during that creation process?
I’ll be honest with you all.
We were terrified to try the eggs after seeing our chickens eat so many stinkbugs.
We contemplated getting rid of them, but I did more research.
In this searching, I came across this awesome video (at the bottom of this section), which gives some tips on how to get rid of stinkbugs.
They also do a blind taste test.
They cooked up one set of eggs that weren’t made with chickens having eaten stink bugs.
Then they cooked up some from a “stink bug batch.”
None of the family members could tell the difference.
My family (meaning “me” because the rest of my family was scared) decided to just go for it on seeing this video.
In our experience, we think they tasted the same.
I could tell no difference whether it was “stink bug eggs,” regular eggs, or a combo.
There seemed to be no discernible taste difference between them at all.
While you still may be nervous about trying stinky eggs with stinkbug protein in it (and I don’t blame you), I encourage you to at least give it a shot and not just get rid of these eggs.
In my experience, and the experience of others, the chicken digestive process removes the smell.
So the eggs are perfectly fine.
Do Chickens Like Stink Bugs?
This is a tougher question to answer, and based on what I’ve researched and seen in my chickens, there is no clear answer.
It largely depends on the chickens’ preference.
While chickens seem somewhat the same across the board to many folks, any good chicken owner will tell you that they have their own personalities.
The same is true with their tastes.
The first couple of years I had chickens, they showed no interest in stinkbugs.
But then, as they got a couple of years old and the stinkbugs started to come out more and more in my area, a few of them decided to try it.
Now I have some that seem to seek stinkbugs out as a treat while others will eat it if they come across it.
And some others avoid it like the plague.
If you managed to trap a bunch of stinkbugs in your home, don’t be afraid to offer them to your chickens because some may like them.
The extra protein won’t hurt, and it shows no ill effects in the eggs.