Saturday, March 20, 2010

The secret of getting chickens to eat slugs

Yesterday Guy and I decided to flip over all of the rocks around the perimeters of one of the gardens to go slug hunting. Guy likes to watch me find them but will not touch them.

In the past, I've tried to give any slugs I've found to the chickens and then don't seem to interested. Well, yesterday I figured out that if the slugs are small, they will go crazy for them. Of course, I found tons of them hiding underneath all the rocks and so I gave them to the chickens and the chickens nearly fought over them.

Today, to test my theory, I found one of those fat three inch long slugs and tried to give that to them. They expressed interest, pecked at it, and then left it be. Either there is something mighty tasty about the young slugs, or they just can't "chew" the big ones.

I always thought the books on raising chickens were full of it when they said their chickens would eat slugs. Now I know they will, and the authors of those books must have been on the east coast or something where the slugs don't get to the enormous size that they do here.

I've found that ducks will gobble them up like candy. Perhaps that is because ducks have significantly larger bills and they can actually get them down the hatch.

I know, totally gross, but hey, we gotta get rid of the slugs somehow, right? It's either that or go out with a flashlight and snip those suckers in two (right now we cannot afford the good slug bait). Well, I will probably have to do that with the larger ones. It is amazing how much damage they can do to the garden.

For a list of all of my slug control experiments, please see this page.


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy Dear, But snipping them in half is a thousand times more gross than tossing them to the chickens. Stuff oozes out and gives you nightmares. LOL Seriously. :)

I think it's cute that Guy won't touch them. Smart boy!

You probably already know this but slugs don't like to slither on sharp things. Egg shells, pine/fir needles, seed pods, gravel, Diatomaceous Earth....

Enjoy this fabulous weather!

Anonymous said...

Check out this "How to train your chickens to eat slugs" video.