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  #1  
Old 08-02-2010, 09:43 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Chickens and stink bugs - bad combo?

I planted a bunch of sunflowers this year, and the stink bugs love 'em. In particular, I've gotten an enormous crop of leaf-footed bugs, some of which can be huge!

I've been daydreaming about getting some chickens, and I wanted to ask if anyone knows whether or not eating a large quantity of these foul-smelling insects would affect the taste of either the eggs or meat of the chickens who feasted on them? My WAG is that it would, a little, but I wanted to know if any chicken people out there had actual real-life experience with this.

Would a chicken's digestive system break down the noxious-smelling chemicals, or is it a matter of garbage in, garbage out? Free-range chickens have a richer flavor because of their more varied diet ... is there a point at which that can go too far?
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2010, 09:59 AM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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I have never raised chickens, but I have raised stink bugs (involuntarily), and my guess would be that no chicken will eat more than one stink bug, if it has anything else to eat.
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2010, 10:31 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Chickens are hard to raise, well harder than you think. I know of a lady in Georgia that thought having a few chickens would be easy.

She never had any problems with animals, though she lives in an area far enough from Atlanta to barely qualify as a suburb. It's pretty rural. Anyway she told me, "No sooner did I get chickens than every fox in the world came out." She said "I never saw a fox in the five years I lived here. I put a chicken in the yard and they all show up. And they never quit trying." And then if it isn't the foxes it's the hawks or the raccoons.

Even feeding was an issue. She was like, I put the chicken feed out and the chickens wouldn't eat it all, and that brought in the mice. Well then the chickens would eat the mice. And then they wouldn't want the feed only the mice. Then the left over dead mice, attracts all sorts of other things.

Between the foxes and hawks and frustration she just gave up.

So I don't think it'd be worth your while to control a few bugs
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:28 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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{{ sigh }}

I'm not gonna get a straight answer, am I? I didn't ask if it would be worth my while or not - if I got chickens, it would not be because I see them as primarily bug-zappers. I just wanted to know if the chemicals that give stink bugs their name would be detectable in the meat or eggs of the chickens that ate them.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2010, 01:01 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
{{ sigh }}

I'm not gonna get a straight answer, am I? I didn't ask if it would be worth my while or not - if I got chickens, it would not be because I see them as primarily bug-zappers. I just wanted to know if the chemicals that give stink bugs their name would be detectable in the meat or eggs of the chickens that ate them.
I thought I was giving you a straight answer. OK, it's just a guess, but I would assume that the stink bug's stink is an evolutionary adaptation that makes them noxious to potential predators. Therefore, I think that you do not have to worry, because the question is moot. (I know, I didn't actually answer the question... you basically asked, "If X happens, will Y happen?", and I answered, "X will not happen.")

I think you probably will get a better answer than this, but you may have to wait more than a couple of hours.

Last edited by cjepson; 08-02-2010 at 01:05 PM..
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2010, 01:04 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is online now
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Chickens eat mice? Consider my urban mind blown.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:26 PM
filling_pages filling_pages is offline
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My mom raises chickens. I have seen them eat stink bugs (along with worms, grubs, small frogs, grapes, collard greens - they love those, their feed, palmetto bugs, and pretty much anything else they can get their beaks on), but their eggs remain as tasty as ever. I do not know if eating large amounts of stink bugs would change that, but small quantities do not.

For the record, my mom's experience with chickens has been the opposite of Markxxx's friend. My dad built a stout coop that the flock roosts in at night and they roam the property during the day. They have lost one to a hawk or owl and had a small problem with grey rat snakes stealing eggs earlier this summer, but have enjoyed the birds and raising them otherwise. They peck, they sleep, they lay eggs. They have done a good job keeping mom's kitchen garden pest-free, though they are banned from the big garden because they would eat all the tender shoots.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:17 PM
cwthree cwthree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Chickens eat mice? Consider my urban mind blown.
My sister raises chickens for eggs. By her account, the birds aren't at all picky. She was a bit annoyed when she received her current batch of birds. When they arrived, she discovered that they had been debeaked. They can eat chicken feed with no problems, but apparently it limits the kind of table scraps and kitchen waste that they can eat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
Chickens are hard to raise, well harder than you think.
The birds themselves are easy to raise. It's protecting them that's hard.
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2010, 02:21 PM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Chickens eat mice? Consider my urban mind blown.
No kidding. But I was already on the ground with the existence of actual stink bugs.
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2010, 03:01 PM
Cinebar Cinebar is offline
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I've had chickens for over thirty years. Although I've never had a huge stink bug problem, I doubt very much a chicken could eat enough of them to affect the taste of their eggs or meat.

Yes, the key to not having predator problems is to make sure you have their coop and yard predator-proof. That may involve burying the wire into the ground (to prevent entry by digging) and to cover the top and to lock them up at night in a predator-proof building/coop of some type.

Unfortunately, mine isn't as predator-proof as it should be and I've recently lost some ducks to something - probably raccoon. He/she took the ducks that were easiest to grab - the ones sitting on nests.

I don't have much of a problem with mice but that may be because I have 15 cats! My cats are very well fed with a very high quality cat food but they still enjoy the thrill of the chase. I do try to keep them from eating what they kill, though, because of the potential for disease and parasites. Usually, I just find the dead critter with nothing eaten off it and if I do see them with something, I always steal it and toss it in the garbage.

Once you have eggs from chickens that have access to sunshine, grass, and yes, bugs, you will never want to eat another store-bought egg. There really is a huge difference.
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2011, 10:01 PM
crtrburke crtrburke is offline
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A few thoughts:

My guess is that chickens will eat stink bugs. We have about 25 chickens, and we feed them some really, really nasty garbage -- kitchen scraps, but also everything from when we clean out the fridge. We're talking about some really ripe stuff. Anyway, the point is that chickens seem to eat anything they recognize as food regardless of how it smells. They also really love eating insects in general, and will peck at almost anything that moves or flies.

Raising chickens is not hard. They're easy to feed, have stood up to some very cold temperatures where I am, and are as safe from predators as you make them. We have no experience in keeping animals, but we've been keeping a flock for two years now with very few problems. We've lost a single chicken to a predator, and that was because we were careless one night. If your coop is sealed up with chicken wire, you won't have any trouble.
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2011, 04:11 AM
madrabbitwoman madrabbitwoman is offline
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During my childhood we experienced a mouse plague - bad enough that even the cats got sick of eating mice. We stopped eating the eggs (from our own chooks) because they developed a disticnctive flavour (which in hindsight may have be psychosomatic due to everything smelling mousy). We also dicovered that feeding the chooks large amount of cooked yabby (like a crawfish only with an australian accent) byproducts gave the yolks a funny pinkish colour.
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  #13  
Old 02-20-2011, 04:49 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinebar View Post
I've had chickens for over thirty years. Although I've never had a huge stink bug problem, I doubt very much a chicken could eat enough of them to affect the taste of their eggs or meat.
My experience matches Cinebars -- no effect on the eggs or meat. The digestive process claims the protein out of those bugs, but doesn't have much use for the noxious smell. Our chickens would eat all kinds of scraps, and scratch all over for bugs, especially in the manure piles, but it never affected the taste.

By the way, you talk about eggs and meat, as if the same chickens produced both. Not any more. Now there are laying hens (that produce eggs) and butchering chickens (that become meat). But they're specialized, just like dairy cattle vs. meat cattle. They don't do both well. Laying hens are bred to put all their energy into producing eggs -- they are scrawny, with only a little amount of meat when butchered. My mother said that her modern laying hens were mostly good for chicken soup or stew -- they had so little meat that in baking or frying, you'd be lucky to feed 2 people from 1 chicken.

Last edited by t-bonham@scc.net; 02-20-2011 at 04:50 AM..
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  #14  
Old 02-20-2011, 06:44 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Guinea fowl *adore* bugs, and will eat any bug that they can get their little beaks on, and the little buggers are freaking *FAST* @_@. We did not have the ubiquitous lady bug plague, or the love bug plague, and there were no ticks at all in the upper yard.

They like to start the morning with a few laps around the house, then romping around on the roof [ranch style house] for a few hours. Nothing like the delicate sounds of a herd of buffalo tramping around on the roof. How a 2 kilo bird can sound like a buffalo is a bit baffling.
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2011, 09:42 AM
Renee Renee is online now
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Here is what backyard chickens has to say on the subject. Sounds like some people's chickens will eat them, and some won't.

I think chickens are a lot of fun, the eggs are fantastic, and mine so far have been no trouble at all. They're friendly and cute and cheap (I just ordered a new batch of nine chicks for the spring, and they were $35 shipped). Also, there are several "dual purpose" breeds that are good for both egg laying and meat.
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