Do Chickens Eat Spiders: What You Need to Know




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Are you wondering if your backyard chickens are turning into tiny arachnid hunters? Interestingly, these feathered foragers often snack on spiders as part of their diverse diet. This article will unravel the web of questions surrounding chickens and their eight-legged prey, guiding you to understand this natural behavior better.

Let’s dig in and discover what’s crawling in the coop!

Key Takeaways

  • Chickens eat spiders as part of their natural diet, providing them with essential nutrients and contributing to natural pest control in the coop.
  • While chickens are likely to consume various types of spiders, it’s important to be cautious about venomous spiders like black widows and brown recluses that can pose health risks to chickens if ingested.
  • Maintaining a balanced ecosystem in the chicken coop involves managing spider populations through practices such as keeping the coop clean, using natural repellents, and sealing entry points. It is vital for both the well-being of the chickens and effective pest control.

Understanding Chickens’ Insect-Eating Habits

A chicken foraging for insects in a grassy outdoor environment.

Chickens have a natural instinct to hunt and eat insects as part of their diet. Their insect-eating habits play an important role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem within the chicken coop.

The role of insects in a chicken’s diet

Insects are like a tasty snack for chickens. These little creatures help make sure the chickens stay healthy and act how they normally would. Bugs give chickens lots of good stuff, like protein, which helps them lay more eggs and grow strong feathers.

Eating bugs also keeps the coop clean because it’s natural pest control.

A chicken will munch on all sorts of insects – from crickets to grasshoppers to beetles. Out in the yard, this means less trouble for your garden since they help keep bug numbers down.

It’s a win-win because while the birds get their fill, your plants are safer from hungry insects that might otherwise eat them up!

Do Chickens Eat Spiders? The Surprising Truth

A chicken pecks at a spider in a backyard garden.

Chickens do eat spiders, with some types being more commonly consumed than others. To find out which spiders chickens are likely to eat and the potential risks involved, keep reading!

Common types of spiders in the coop

In chicken coops, you might find a few different spiders hanging around. The orb weaver sets up its large, wheel-shaped web to catch bugs flying by. They are not harmful to chickens and can help keep other insects under control.

Jumping spiders also live in coops; they move quickly and pounce on their prey rather than spinning webs. Daddy long legs often stay in the corners of the coop, and though many believe they are deadly, they pose no real threat to your hens.

Wolf spiders sometimes sneak into the coop too. They’re big and fast but usually stay away from chickens because these birds could eat them. Even scary ones like black widows and brown recluse can be found in dark places around the coop.

Chickens will gobble up these venomous spiders without any problem most of the time. However, it is always best to check for dangerous spiders regularly for everyone’s safety.

Potential risks of venomous spiders

Chickens might not be afraid of spiders, but some spiders can be dangerous. Venomous spiders like the black widow and brown recluse have poison that can hurt chickens. If a chicken eats one of these bad spiders, it could get very sick.

The spider’s venom damages tissues and can cause big health problems for the chicken.

Even though chickens are tough birds, they’re not safe from all dangers. Spider poison attacks their bodies quickly. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, a chicken might stop eating or look weak.

It’s important to watch out for venomous spiders around your coop to keep your chickens healthy and happy.

Benefits of Chickens Eating Spiders

Chickens eating spiders can provide natural pest control and offer nutritional advantages for them, making it an essential part of their diet. If you want to learn more about the surprising truth of chickens eating spiders, keep reading!

Natural pest control

Chickens are natural pest controllers. They help to manage common garden pests by eating insects like spiders, grasshoppers, termites, beetles, and worms. This not only keeps the coop area tidy but also ensures a healthier environment for both the chickens and their owners.

Chickens can play a vital role in keeping your yard free from unwanted bugs and insects such as cockroaches and stink bugs.

By consuming these pests, chickens contribute to maintaining a balanced ecosystem without the need for harmful chemicals or pesticides. This process is beneficial because it helps control pest populations while providing nutritional benefits for the chickens themselves.

Nutritional advantages for chickens

When it comes to the nutritional advantages for chickens, incorporating spiders into their diet provides them with a rich source of protein and essential nutrients. Spiders are packed with minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese that contribute to balanced energy levels necessary for the overall health of chickens.

The comparison between edible insects and meat highlights the positive nutritional value spiders offer to poultry. By feeding on spiders, chickens can benefit from these key nutrients essential for robust growth and development.

Managing Spiders in the Chicken Coop

Maintaining a balanced ecosystem in the chicken coop is important for managing spider populations and ensuring a harmonious environment for your chickens to thrive. Find out more about how to keep spiders at bay and create a healthy living space for your flock by reading the full blog!

How to maintain a balanced ecosystem

Maintaining a balanced ecosystem around the chicken coop is vital for the well-being of your chickens and for effective pest control. Here are some ways to achieve this:

  1. Keep the coop area clean and free of food scraps and debris to reduce attractions for rodents and insects that may bring in spiders or other unwanted pests.
  2. Regularly inspect the coop for any openings or gaps that may allow spiders and other pests to enter, making necessary repairs as soon as possible.
  3. Consider natural predator control methods such as introducing guinea fowl, which can help manage insect populations including spiders within the coop area.
  4. Practice proper grass maintenance around the coop to reduce hiding spots for spiders and their prey.
  5. Utilize bug spray or natural repellents in outdoor areas near the coop to discourage spider populations without harming your chickens or other beneficial insects.
  6. Be mindful of plants surrounding the coop; some vegetation can attract specific insects that, in turn, attract certain spider species.

Tips for reducing spider populations safely

To maintain a balanced ecosystem in the chicken coop, it’s important to keep the spider population under control. Here are some ways to safely reduce spider populations:

  1. Scatter diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the coop and in areas where spiders are commonly found. This natural sedimentary rock can help deter and kill spiders.
  2. Maintain a clean coop: Regularly clean the chicken coop to remove potential hiding spots for spiders and their prey, such as debris, woodpiles, or clutter.
  3. Use natural repellents: Planting spearmint or peppermint around the coop can act as a natural spider repellent, discouraging them from nesting in the area.
  4. Implement rodent control: Set up rodent traps near the coop as rodents attract spiders. Keeping rodents at bay can also help in reducing the spider population.
  5. Provide dust-bathing areas: Offering chickens access to a designated dust-bathing area with fine sand or ash can help to naturally discourage spiders from that particular area.
  6. Monitor and seal entry points: Regularly check for any gaps or openings in the coop structure and promptly seal them to prevent spiders from entering easily.
  7. Limit outdoor debris: Keep outdoor areas around the coop free of unnecessary clutter, including woodpiles, tall grass, and other items that may attract spiders and their prey.

Understanding the Group Dynamics of Spiders

To maintain a balanced ecosystem in the chicken coop, it’s important to understand the group dynamics of spiders. Social spiders like cooperatively hunting spiders work more efficiently with family members than strangers, which supports the concept of kin selection theory.

Group living in spiders can take different forms such as cooperatively breeding social species and colonial species, each with their unique communal living dynamics. Understanding these group dynamics can help harmonize the coexistence of chickens and spiders while maintaining a healthy environment for both.


In conclusion, chickens do eat spiders as part of their natural insect-eating habits. Spiders can provide nutritional benefits and help with natural pest control in the chicken coop.

Understanding the types of spiders present and managing their populations can ensure a balanced ecosystem for both chickens and spiders to coexist peacefully.


1. Will chickens eat spiders in the garden?

Yes, chickens often eat garden spiders like orb weavers and red back spiders when they are free range.

2. Are big spiders safe for chickens to eat?

Chickens can eat large spiders, even ones as big as a tarantula or goliath birdeater, without harm.

3. Can any spider bites hurt chickens?

Some spider bites from spiders like the Sydney funnel-web spider can be bad for chickens, but it’s rare.

4. Do all kinds of bugs get eaten by chickens?

Chickens like to snack on many bugs, including kissing bugs and other insects that might have parasites.

5. Is there any risk for a chicken if it eats a poisonous spider?

It is not common, but if a chicken eats a very poisonous spider such as the atrax robustus (Sydney funnel-web), it could get sick from loxoscelism which happens because of the venom in some spider bites.

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