Emile Warren wrote:A gentleman beekeeper in Florida lets banties run his apiary just to eat the hive beetle larva in the ground around the hives. I remember him talking about how deep the bantams scratch into the sand around the hives that he has to back fill holes.
Valerie Dawnstar wrote:I would be concerned with the chickens eating the bees. Might not be an issue if the entrance was up out of their reach.
Walter Jeffries wrote:Chickens will sit outside a hive and eat the bees, or wasps, as they go in and out of the hive. My dogs will do this too. Spicy!
Valerie Dawnstar wrote:Do you think it could depend on the chicken breed? Some being more insect aggressive than others?
Probably. It seems like foraging is a skill bred out of a lot of them, although being raised by a hen instead of an incubator makes a huge difference too. I think it's a learned behavior as well. For instance, it took a couple years for mine to figure out mice were edible, but then I hatched a handful of relatively fierce roos and once the others saw them eat a mouse, the mice were no longer safe. I'd be inclined to put them in there, but keep an eye on them. Having them clean up parasites and stuff is a good idea, but it's not that big a jump from eating dead bees and larvae on the ground to eating live bees.
Do you think it could depend on the chicken breed? Some being more insect aggressive than others?