Do Chickens Eat Palmetto Bugs?

When farming chicken, we usually feed them with berries, porridges, pumpkins, leafy greens, or sometimes worms or wholegrain bread to ensure the chickens are in their best conditions.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t eat bugs. Bugs can provide some important nutrients for the chickens and act as a supplement to their diet. So, can chickens eat palmetto bugs? Yes, they can.

If you notice a few palmetto bugs in your house, you can count on your trustworthy chickens to handle them for you. However, if there are too many, you should help get rid of the bugs.

What is the palmetto bug?

The palmetto bug, or the Florida woods cockroach, is a large cockroach species that is about 3 to 4 cm at the grown-up stage. It can eject foul-smelling spray for up to 1 meter when alarmed.

It can be mistaken for the female oriental cockroach since their appearances are so similar. In general, it moves slower than many other cockroach species.

Palmetto bugs prefer warm and damp places with abundant moisture. They often prefer outdoor environments but sometimes can end up in houses, they can be found in tree holes, bushes or wooded areas, etc.

They are often seen on palmetto trees, which is why they got their name. Their natural habitats are mostly located in Florida or West Indies – hence the “Florida Woods cockroach” name.

Can chickens eat palmetto bugs?

Chickens eating bugs

Chickens eating bugs

While we humans might think eating palmetto bugs is disgusting or abnormal, chickens are fine with them. Chickens have no problem eating many kinds of bugs, especially palmetto bugs.

Chickens can eat all bugs that they can hold, like spiders, caterpillars, worms, ticks, termites, beetles, and more. But keep in mind that these bugs are dangerous in certain ways to the chickens.

Most of those insects have some degree of some essential nutrients that the chicken will appreciate. Cockroach, especially palmetto bug, is one of the best bugs for chickens since it has lots of protein with tons of vitamins and minerals.

Cockroaches’ nutrients are so prominent that some places actually have cockroaches as food for humans. They even harvest cockroaches’ milk, use the cockroaches as medicines, and more.

Are palmetto bugs bad for chickens?

Although palmetto bugs are a great source of nutrients for chickens, they are not completely harmless.

Remember why many of us are disgusted by the idea of eating palmetto bugs? Here are some of the reasons. And just like humans, chickens may also be susceptible to these reasons as well.


Palmetto bugs, or cockroaches in general, are known to carry lots of parasites and potentially harmful diseases, for example, E. Coli, Cholera, Typhoid, Poliomyelitis, Salmonella, and more.

But most commonly, they cause gastroenteritis diseases like diarrhea and food poisoning. Gastroenteritis’s symptoms include stomach pain or nausea.


Palmetto bugs can cause allergic reactions as well, or worsen asthma. If you are allergic to cockroaches, you may want to stay away from the areas with these bugs’ traces.

Furthermore, when you use poison to kill the palmetto bugs, consider some safe options just in case your chickens eat these bugs and consume your poison along with them.

Chickens as pest control machines

A chicken eating insect

A chicken eating insect

There are many factors of your place that might attract palmetto bugs. There is a misconception that chickens attract cockroaches like palmetto bugs. That is mostly not true at all.

These bugs usually flavor damp and warm places. Specifically, in our case, they are attracted by the chicken food, some pieces of food left outside, or dirty bedding that needs cleaning.

Chickens can act as natural pest control machines. They can handle decently some palmetto bugs for you, as long as it’s in control. This also benefits them since we have another source of nutrients from the bugs.

If there are some pests or bugs crawling into the chicken coop, that is not a serious issue. However, chickens can only handle a certain amount of bugs and pests, and you should step in and take action if the bugs are out of control.

How to get rid of the palmetto bugs?

The bad case happened. Your trustworthy chickens did their best to enjoy eating those annoying bugs for you. But, there are still a lot more to get rid of. So what can you do now?

You have many options to locate, catch, and get rid of the palmetto bugs. But, as mentioned above, your chickens may be in the way of clearing out the bugs.

When it comes to getting rid of the bugs safely for the chickens, there is one great option, and that is using food-grade diatomaceous earth. Just sprinkle them all over the palmetto bugs and you are good to go.

Food grade diatomaceous earth is often used in chicken’s dust baths. It can also help kill mites and lice by being applied directly onto the chickens.

Food grade diatomaceous earth dries the bugs out as it contacts with the bugs. It is abrasive and causes serious damages to them.

It is not limited to just the chicken coop though. You can use food-grade diatomaceous earth inside your house, especially the beddings if you think the unwanted bugs may hang out in there.


So, can chickens eat palmetto bugs? Yes, they sure can. They can eat most of the bugs at your place. Palmetto bugs are great sources of protein, along with vitamins and minerals for the chickens.

If your place has some palmetto bugs, the chickens can handle them for you. However, if there are too many bugs and things get out of control, you should take some action.

While bug-proofing your place, keep in mind the methods you use so as not to harm your trustworthy chickens. Our recommendation is food-grade diatomaceous earth as it is effective and harmless to the chickens.

We hope you find the article useful thanks for reading it.