Chickens and wolf spiders, in many situations, if you have one you also have the other. Chances are, your birds you may even attempt to eat them. In fact, you might have seen them doing so or afraid they might. But can chickens do so? Or are they a danger to your flock? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know.
So, can chickens eat wolf spiders? Chickens can eat wolf spiders and will if given the opportunity, though it is typically best if they don’t. Wolf spiders can carry toxic compounds from pesticides, repellents, or herbicides which may harm your birds. Keeping wolf spiders away from your flock is hence advised.
In most cases, your chickens should be fine.
I say should here, because there is no guarantee.
You won’t know what the spiders have been exposed to.
That being said, unless you are observing adverse reactions in your birds, there should be no immediate cause for concern.
Many chicken keepers report that their flock eat these spiders, and do so routinely.
It’s just important to be aware that some keepers have not been so fortunate.
A lot will therefore depend on circumstances, and context.
But a good rule to follow is that you should do what you can to keep wolf spiders away from your birds.
I’ll continue to explain why below, before turning to how to successfully do so.
Are Wolf Spiders Poisonous To Chickens?
Wolf spiders are generally not poisonous to chickens if ingested, though they can be if they are carrying toxic compounds. These can result in serious health issues, or even death, depending on the toxic load. Equally, wolf spiders are venomous and can cause reactions such as inflammation and/or swelling if they do manage to bite.
One thing to consider here is the nature of wolf spiders and the difference between “poisonous” and “venomous.”
Firstly. Wolf spiders are interesting arachnids as they don’t follow the same rules as many other spider species.
Instead, the athletic spiders are fast runners, and they use their quickness to chase down their prey.
They possess a set of fangs that they use when they attack, injecting a “venom” to paralyze their prey in order to consume them.
When it comes to chickens.
Wolf spiders actively drawn to chickens because chickens often carry small pests (and parasites), that wolf spiders want to consume.
Wolf spiders aren’t going after the chickens per se, but are going after what they can offer.
And it is within the context of a wolf spider injecting their venom into your chickens where there can be a potential issue.
Thankfully, wolf spiders are large enough for chickens to see. And with their foraging nature, chickens will often eat them up before they get a chance to climb onboard and even ‘bite’.
Suppose they were to bite, we do need to consider their venom in the context of chickens.
The venom is designed to paralyze much smaller prey.
So wolf spider bites on chickens often results in smaller, less-severe reactions such as inflammation and/or swelling at the site of the bite.
It’s not usually a cause for concern. In fact, studies have shown it has a low neurotic action on mice.
But do contact an Avarian vet if you notice your birds deteriorating, or they have received multiple bites.
Now back to ‘poison’.
Chickens can be poisoned by wolf spiders, if they are carrying poison.
This may be the case if they have been subjected to toxic pesticides, repellents, or herbicides, which may be the case if somebody has tried to eliminate them nearby.
Note, if a chicken ingests a wolf spider that has been exposed to or eaten any toxic chemicals, the result can lead to serious health issues for the chicken and, in some cases, can lead to death.
How To Keep Wolf Spiders Away from Your Chickens
In most instances, wolf spiders are not considered a major threat to chickens. Though with the risks aforementioned, it is wise to do all you can to keep them away from your birds.
Keeping wolf spiders away from your chickens can be accomplished in several ways.
One way to keep wolf spiders away from your birds is by keeping the area around the chicken coop and enclosures free of debris.
Wolf spiders are primarily ground dwellers and hide in places, such as beneath logs, rocks, plants, and leaves, and in burrows.
So if they are not there, wolf spiders will have less places to be drawn to.
Seal The Coop
Be sure to regularly inspect your chicken coop to ensure the structure doesn’t have gaps or cracks that provide easy access to the chicken’s environment.
If gaps or cracks are apparent, seal them.
Now, this is a good practice that you should regularly conduct to prevent any other predator, too.
Clean The Coop Regularly
Keep the inside of the coop clean to help eliminate food sources for other types of bugs that will become prey for wolf spiders on the hunt for food.
Use Chicken Safe Spider Repellents
Another option is to use chicken-safe repellents that are specifically designed to keep the spiders away from the chickens without the use of toxic chemicals.
Diatomaceous earth is one of the best options here, and the one below is undoubtedly the one to get from Amazon.
- Earthborn Elements Diatomaceous Earth in a resealable bucket
- Freshwater silica powder, great for DIY projects and stain removal
- Diatomaceous Earth is a natural source of freshwater amorphous silica
- Pure & Undiluted: Never any additives or fillers
- Packaged in USA
Other Best Practices When Keeping Chickens Around Wolf Spiders
At the top of the list of best practices to keep chickens safe from wolf spiders is to be aware of all the best practices to keep a chicken coop optimized, clean and safe.
My chicken keeping eBook is ideal for this, as it goes into this in length – keeping chickens safe from insects like wolf spiders and much larger threats, such as foxes.
Consider the Location Of Your Coop
Wolf spiders like leafy and weedy areas because both provide environments that provide hiding places while they’re on the hunt for food.
So if you can, avoid this type of location for your chicken coop.
If that isn’t possible, keep the area free of weeds and keep the area mowed and raked, so the area isn’t attractive to wolf spiders looking for a place to make their home.
Be Careful of Wolf Spider Repellents
As mentioned, repellents for spiders may contain chemicals that are harmful to chickens that eat the spiders that are saturated with the chemicals.
One of the natural methods to repel wolf spiders is to spread small amounts of diatomaceous earth in and around areas where wolf spiders have been seen.
A mixture of dish soap and peppermint oil is another cost-effective option. You can create a simple spray that you can apply to an area where wolf spiders frequent to keep them away.
Use Environmentally Safe Practices to Control/Rid the Area of Wolf Spiders
Another natural material used by chicken keepers for keeping these kinds of pests away is boric acid.
Boric acid is practically non-toxic to birds, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
You can use it to create an effective barrier around your chicken coop.
This option is great as wolf spiders are particularly susceptible to boric acid. It can effectively penetrate their exoskeletons, and actually kill them.
Having researched the market extensively, the following brand is the one I’d recommend.
- Many household uses
- Meets NF standards
- Boric Acid Powder NF 6oz
Chickens can eat wolf spiders, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should.
In most circumstances, chickens will be more than fine to do so.
Even if these spiders were able to get a bite of your birds here and there.
That being said, the main risk is what the spiders have been exposed to.
And that’s something you will never know.
So, I would advise that you keep wolf spiders away for your flock as much as you can, using natural methods and approaches discussed above.
And if you want to learn how to keep your chickens safe from these kind of pests and other much larger and formidable predators, be sure to get my eBook:
Confused With How To Properly Care For Your Chickens?
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You will learn to understand your chickens’ behavior, their entire needs along with a host of other essential chicken-keeping best practices.
This comprehensive eBook covers it all.
Other related guides you may want to read:
- Do Chickens Eat Cockroaches? [And Attract Them To The Coop?]
- Can Chickens Eat Crickets? [Is This A Safe Insect To Feed?]
- Do Chickens Eat Ticks? [How To Protect Your Flock & Family]
- Do Chickens Eat Ants? [Are These Bugs Safe For Chickens?]
- Do Chickens Eat Worms? [Earthworms vs Mealworms]
- Do Chickens Eat Slugs? [Will They And Is It Okay To Do So?]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.