can chickens eat dead honey bees

Would Your Chickens Go Chompin’ For Dead Honey Bees? What You Need To Know



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I’ll never forget the time I walked out to my chicken coop one mornin’ only to find feathers flyin’ and bees buzzin’ all over the dang place.

Talk about a scary scene! At first I thought a fox had gotten into the coop and was attackin’ my hens.

But upon takin’ a closer look-see, I realized them feisty birds had discovered a hive of them swarming honey bees and were gobblin’ them up like they was popcorn on movie night.

While the sight was sure laughable in hindsight, it got me wonderin’ – can chickens really eat honey bees? And is it safe for them city chickens to do so?

Chickens will for sure eagerly snatch up and devour them dead or dyin’ honey bees that ends up in their coop for sure.

While the occasional bee snack ain’t harmful, feedin’ your flock a regular bee diet just ain’t recommend-ded.

How Did My Chickens Even Discover The Bees?

can chickens eat dead honey bees

Turns out one of my hens had somehow found herself a small swarming honey bee hive hidin’ under them coop floorboards.

When she started peckin’ at it out of curiosity, she must’ve agitated them bees and got ’em riled up in defense.

Soon the whooole coop was filled with angry bees buzzin’ and my poor chicken tryin’ to escape them stings.

But instead of runnin’ away, her curiosity got the best of her.

When she noticed some bees had been trampled and we’re squirming on the ground, she did what them city chickens do – she gobbled ’em right up! Her discovery must’ve attracted the attention of her flock-mates, and soon they was all seek-in’ out bees on the ground to devour.

What a scene, I tell ya!

I’ll never forget the horrified look on old Betsy’s face as she was swarmed by a dozen angry honey bees! Her feathers were stickin’ up every which way as she squawked and scrambled to get away.

But then I saw the curiosity spark in her eyes when she spotted one lone bee strugglin’ in the dirt.

Before I could cluck out a “no!”, she dove head first and gulped that thing right down.

The other chickens caught on quick and suddenly it was an all-out insect smorgasbord under my coop! I done tried shooing them away with an old broom but those crazy critters just wouldn’t give up on their sweet snack.

Penny was the bravest – or maybe just plain craziest – of the bunch.

While the others kept their distance from the buzzing hive, Penny stared it down like she was in a Western showdown.

With her feathers all puffed out bigger than cotton balls, she slowly inched closer and closer till she was peckin’ right at the front door! I yelled myself horse trying to get her to vamoose before she ended up deeper than a Sunday chicken in a gumbo pot.

But that darn Dorthy just wouldn’t budge, too focused on her mission for insect intelligence.

It wasn’t till she got a face full of stingers that she finally retreated in a flapping, squawking frenzy.

Some barnyard detectives just don’t know when to quit, I suppose!

Are Honey Bees Actually Bad For Chickens?

can chickens eat dead honey bees

In small doses honey bees can make for a protein-packed snack with no side effects.

But makin’ it a steady menu item just ain’t such a bright idea due to some risks:

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Bee toxins meant to protect hives can build up in a chicken’s system after regular consumption, possibly causin’ illness over time.

Chickens with a hankerin’ for bees may chase after hives more fervently, uppin’ their chance of multiple stings and injuries as a result.

While bee shells are soft, chunks can block a chicken’s throat or crop if too many are gulped down at once.

Stings, even just a few, can irritate delicate skin and eyes.

Repeated attacks raise risks of infection or allergy issues.

All in all, occasional bee snacks pose no threat to these feathery critters.

But makin’ it their staple could spell trouble down the line.

It’s best they get protein the regular ways – worms, feed, and such.

So if you ever find your city chickens goin’ bug-wild for bees, don’t panic.

Just give ’em some space and they’ll be right as rain.

But keep hives far from the coop to avoid invitations to the insect smorgy board!

What Should I Do If This Happens To Me?

can chickens eat dead honey bees

If you come across your own chickens actin’ like they’s in a bee-eatin’ contest, here’s some tips on how to handle the sitch:

Don’t lose your cool – chickens nibblin’ bees now and then won’t do them no harm usually.

Shoo the flock away from the hive gently with treats or hands so’s they don’t linger and tempt fate.

Check each chicken careful-like for stings swellin’ and irritation, dabbin’ on anti-itch cream as needed.

Move the hive to keep them bees and your birds separated in the future.

Keep an eye out the next day or two but they’ll probable be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again lickety-split.

With precaution and tendin’ if needed, the occasional bee house run-in ain’t a total disaster for you nor your city chickens.

Just keep hives separate and no more mishaps will befall!

Can chickens Eat Dead Honey Bees?

Now you done seen your chickens goin’ to town on them dead bees in the coop before.

We talked about how that ain’t too much cause for concern normally.

But you still gotta watch out cause too many bee nibbles could spell trouble.

The key toxins in bees meant to deter predators and such can build up in a chicken’s system with long-term dinin’.

This includes things like formic acid and bee venom that provide a bee’s defense.

Now a chickie may not notice no effects from one or two lil’ bees.

But over weeks or months, those chemicals accumulating could potentially damage their delicate insides.

Other risks include blockages if a chicken tries to gobble down more dead bees than they can properly swallow.

Getting a beak or crop full of those chunky exoskeletons risks gettin’ jammed in places it just don’t belong.

Repeated risks from injuries also creep in when a curious chicken pushes its bee-eatn’ habits too far.

These feathered goofballs just don’t know when to quit chasin’ that protein buzz sometimes.

Them tiny beady eyes probably don’t even see the swarm of stings headin’ their way!
But them sharp stingers can puncture tender chicken skin, especially for bantams and silkies with little protection.

Bruises, cuts, and infections all become more likely the longer a chicken views bees as the daily snack menu.

So while the occasional bee carcass pickup won’t ruffle no feathers, you gotta keep them intakes moderate.

Space them bee snacks out and you’ll save yourself a heap of worry down the road.

Pay attention to any changes in your chickens after heavy beezin’ binges too just to be safe.

A slightly runny poop here or some extra zzz’s there could be their bodies tellin’ you they had their fill for a spell.

Listen to what your flock’s tryin’ to say without all the cluckin’ and you’ll keep ‘em right as rain for years to come!

Can Chickens Eat Live Honey Bees?

Now we already talked about them occasionally grabbin’ stunned bees off the ground no problem.

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But y’all don’t actually want your chickens rustlin’ up handfuls of furious buzzers straight from the hive, ya hear?

Those bad gals mean business when it comes to protecting their home and will sting first and ask later.

While a single bee sting usually ain’t too much worse than a mosquito bite for us, them barbed stingers are a whole other story for delicate chicken skin.

Just imagine gettin’ jabbed a dozen times all over by itty bitty swords – owie city!
Their sensitive faces and wattles would be the worst spots to end up red and swollen as a puffed-up pumpkin.

Even one or two could cause irritation, sores, or cracks for bacteria and mites to take up residence if not treated.

Repeated attacks increase risks of toxic or allergic reactions that no chicken – or person! – needs messin’ with.

Plus, tryin’ to eat a live bee would be like us biting into a cactus – sting city population: your whole mouth!
There’d be no enjoyin’ that protein and it’d surely leave an impression, just not the kind you’re aimin’ for with a snack.

Multiple irritated spots all over would have a chicken right miserable for days until the itch subsided.

So for the overall health and happiness of your flock, admire bees from a safe distance and let the occasional roadkill be your nature documentary instead of diving in for a taste.

Your chickens will thank ya by livin’ to lay, cluck, and forage another sunny day!.

What Types Of Bees Do Chickens Actually Eat?

can chickens eat dead honey bees

Now we already covered them European honey bees since they’re so common on farms and in backyards alike.

But there’s other insects chickens may encounter that folk also call “bees.”

Bumble bees are them fuzzy fat ones that bounce from flower to flower like boulders with wings.

Their bigger size means they’re slower movers, makin’ them an easier target for foragin’ chickens.

Sweat bees are one of them tiny types you sometimes finds buzzin’ around you on a hot summer day.

They’s so small a chicken might mistake ’em for mosquitoes or other bugs.

Mason bees collect mud or chewed plant matter to make little nest tubes rather than hives.

They won’t sting neither so chickens can sometimes stir up whole patches of resting bees without harm.

Then there’s them solitary mining bees that looks similar to little wasps or flies zoomin’ low to the ground.

Easy pickins for a hungry chicken on patrol!

No matter the type, any bee a chicken finds dead or nearly so on the coop floor is fair game.

But larger varieties like bumbles pose more risk of injury from accidental stings if flocks get too bold.

What Attracts Chickens To Bees In The First Place?

can chickens eat dead honey bees

Well now, chickens are natural-born foragers always on the lookout for some lickety grub or other.

Bees just happen to be one protein-packed tidbit they sometimes happens upon as they free ranges the coop area or yard.

Dead or nearly dead bees left behind after a swarm moves on or in fall and winter provide easy pickins for enterprisin’ chickens.

The buzzin’ wings and movement of live bees up close likewise arouses them instinct to hunt and peck at anything that flies or crawls.

Curiosity also plays a role – chickens just loves investigatin’ new and unusual things, including beehives much to a body’s dismay!

Once one chicken tastes success gobblin’ down bees, it’s likely to teach the others.

Then you’s got yourself a full flock appetite for the winged fare whether it’s wise or not.

Do Different Breeds Of Chickens Act Differently Around Bees?

Now it stands to reason bird brain and body types might influence their bee behaviors some.

Brahma and Cochins being floofier, slower birds may be less inclined to darting after buzzers nippy as say a Sebright would.

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Small egg-layin’ breeds like Silkies or Bantams are spry enough but got less meat on their bones to risk tusslin’ with stout stingers up close.

Chickens bred primary for meat like Cornish Crosses tend to be easier goin’, not as keyed into hunting mode as egg layers always on task.

Jumpy, active foragers like Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks are most likely pioneers leadin’ the way to new food finds – be they bees or other.

Temperament also plays in – calm birds will watch Others’ experiments first before joinin’ whereas feisty sorts dive right on in wings flappin’ full steam.

All that said, any breed will grab a quick snack if the chance avails.

It just might play out different by the individual bird’s nature more than breed alone.

What Signs Should I Look For If My Chickens Ate Too Many Bees?

With chickens every one is different just like people.

But there are some yellow and black flags to be watchin’ for:

Lethargy and lack of energy beyond their usual morning slow start can mean an system issue from too much honeybee indulgin’.

Fluffed up feathers that won’t settle could point to internal upsets or skin itches actin’ them up.

Watery, runny poops outside the norm for a chicken signals somethin’ ain’t sittin’ right down below.

If’n breathin’ seems labored that’s never a good sign for birds just as with humans or other critters.

Swellin’, irritation or scabs around mouths, rear ends or other places from multiple stings to groom away.

Lack of appetite when it’s usually feed time is the biggest red flag somethin’s just not right inside.

Acting loopy, dizzy or off balance may mean too many bee juices scrambled their circuits temporarily.

So keep a weather eye out for these kinds of changes followin’ a chicken’s bee binge.

How To Treat Chickens Showing Side Effects From Eating Bees

If’n one of your chickens is showin’ signs of not feelin’ their best after a bee bag, there’s some home remedies could help settle their system back down:

Isolate the bird in a small hospital cage or coop so’s they can rest up undisturbed like.

Provide electrolyte water or natural pedialyte solution instead of regular water for bodily fluids balance.

Skip the feed for a bit but offer applesauce, yogurt or other bland, moisture-rich nibbles they may eat.

Apply anti-itch creams, aloe or cooling gels to soothe external stings and sores gently as needed.

Consider probiotics in water or feed to replenish good gut bacteria if diarrhea been an issue.

Watch close for dehydration, calling the vet if symptoms worsen instead of improve after a day of TLC.

Most times with rest and treatment at home chickens bounce right back.

But it don’t hurt to be cautious after close calls!

How To Chicken-Proof Your Yard Against Future Bee Incidents

After a ruckus like them chickens causin’ with bees, it’s wise to avoid repeat invitations.

Here’s some preventative measures:

Survey the area careful-like and remove any wild bee habitats you find like exposed nests in walls or ground.

Trim back plants near coops that bees frequently visit like lavender, basil or fruit trees.

Elevate water and feed dishes so’s chickens ain’t gotta forage as close to the ground where bees and bugs be.

Use fencing, wire or dense shrubbery as natural barriers separatin’ Chickenville from bee havens if you can’t remove the latter.

Consider deterrents like predator scents or sounds around coops that may persuade bees to seek sustenance elsewhere.

Keep drifts of clutter, woodpiles and other cover minimized where chickens could stir up unseen insects accidentally.

Supervise free range time and recall the flock promptly at first signs of interested peckin’ too close to places inhabited.

An ounce of prevention cuts down worrying about chicken animee hijinks with bees! small efforts go a long way.

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