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How to Identify Bugs in Chicken Feed

By Annabeth Kaine | Updated September 26, 2017

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Most chicken feeds are comprised of protein and grains to provide a well-balanced diet for your birds. When you buy a bag of chicken feed, the last thing you want to see when you open it is bugs. There are several bugs that make themselves at home in grain products. The extra protein will probably not harm your chickens since wild birds hunt for insects. There are a few ways to identify what is inhabiting your feed.

Look at the grain in the chicken feed with a magnifying glass. There are several kinds of critters that love grain and attach themselves to the grain and then lay eggs. Indian meal moths and weevils are among the most common grain-dwellers.

Check the color of the bugs. A granary weevil is black or chestnut brown. Rice weevils are reddish brown to darker black with red or yellow spots.

Look for wings. The Indian meal moth is a small grain pest with a 3/4-inch wingspan. Rice weevils have two sets of clear wings, although one set is usually tucked under the body.

Smell the grain. A foul smell might indicate mold or bacteria, which is ideal for some incubating larvae.

Look for holes in the kernels. Granary weevils burrow into the dry kernels and lay their larvae inside to hatch.

Use a magnifying glass to look closely at the insect or larvae. Wear gloves if you need to move grains or feed around. Discard any unusable feed immediately. Wash your hands thoroughly after inspecting the feed.

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Annabeth Kaine began writing in 2010 with work appearing on various websites. She has successfully run two businesses, held chairmanship positions on two fund-raising committees and received excellence-in-service awards for both. Kaine is completing her Bachelor of Arts in psychology.