While I was out in the woods
gathering leaves to refresh our deep
bedding Monday, I
noticed several periodic
cicadas recently emerged from their skins. Cicadas spend most
of their lives as ground-dwelling nymphs, tunneling up to 8.5 feet
below the surface to suck the juices out of roots. You’ve
probably seen the skins they shed after crawling up out of the soil and
unfurling their wings, and have likely heard their mating songs in the
summer as well.
Since the cicadas I was
running into were newly transformed into adults, they were slow and
easy to nab by pinching their wings together. I tossed cicada
after cicada into the chicken pasture, and the same Black Australorp
scarfed down each one.
Cicadas actually enjoy a
history as human food, so it’s no surprise our chickens liked them so
much. I’ve read that a cicada has the same proportion of protein
per pound as would be found in lean beef, and the taste has been
descibed as similar to almonds or pistachios. There are quite a
few cicada recipes on the internet, and now I’m starting to wish I’d snagged a few for
our own dinner instead of tossing them all to the flock. For
tastiest cicadas, find them young when they’re still whitish and toss
the insects in the freezer to die a slow death before cooking them (or
eating them raw).
Given the level of
enthusiasm our chickens showed when offered cicadas as
treats, Mark started pondering how to raise or catch cicadas to feed
the flock. Any crazy ideas for catching cicadas in bulk?
those nutty morsels with clean water.