Trapping invertebrates for chickens

Miles Olson eating bugsCongratulations to Daphne, winner of our silkworm-egg giveaway!  Daphne, drop me an email at with your mailing address and I’ll put your eggs in the mail to you ASAP.

And while I’m on the
topic of insects for chickens, I thought I’d regale you with some
information on eating insects (and other small creepy-crawlies) from
Miles Olson’s fascinating book
Unlearn, Rewild.  While Olson’s text is really about invertebrates that humans can eat, if they’re good enough for us, surely they’re good enough for our chickens, right?

Olson considers the following to be the low-hanging fruit of the invertebrate world:

  • ants (and their larvae)
  • termites
  • slugs and snails (but be sure to feed them a bland starch for a
    week to clear out their digestive system, or gut them, then cook the
  • crickets
  • grasshoppers
  • earthworms (purge their digestive systems by soaking in water for 3 to 24 hours, then mellow their flavor by drying)
  • maggots
  • aphids
  • termites
  • sowbugs
  • earwigs

Uganda grasshopper trapI
was most interested in the invertebrates that seem easy to trap in
bulk.  Grasshoppers might be top of that list since Ugandans have
developed a way to capture large quantities of these insects using a
barrel, out of which juts a piece of roofing metal set vertically, plus a
light shining onto the tin.  After dark, the light attracts
grasshoppers, the insects fly in and hit the metal, then they slide down
to be trapped in the barrel.

Other insects that are
both edible and trappable include crickets and earwigs, both of which
can be captured with cans or jars sunken into the ground.  Olson
uses low cans filled with half an inch of vegetable oil or stale beer to
capture earwigs, and he uses apple, oats, or bread to bait a jar for

All of this information makes me wonder if we should be trapping insects for our chickens, not trying to raise them?

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