When you have chickens, it’s nice to be able to feed them kitchen scraps, but you don’t want to accidentally feed them something chickens should not eat. I don’t feed my chickens bread, but I DO feed them lots of other things!
Just like humans, chickens do best when they eat lots of vegetables and proteins. Starches such as bread and pasta can lead them to gain weight. Overweight chickens don’t lay as well and can have other health problems. Also, bread products fill your chickens up so they don’t eat as much nutritious food and pass those nutrients on to you in the eggs.
Chickens can eat fruit too, and enjoy most of them, however the high sugar content means they make better snacks than meals. Chickens are also very trainable when you use food.
You can also grow food specifically for your birds! Chickens like many different herbs. They also really like mealworms, which aren’t too hard to raise. And if you have a source of different grains you can mix your own feed.
Here’s what chickens can eat:
Can chickens eat bananas? What about onions? Are grapes okay? Here is a list of foods that chickens like to eat and are pretty good for them.
- Banana Peels
- Beans (cooked only)
- Bell Peppers
- Broccoli (too much may interfere with thyroid)
- Brussels Sprouts (too much may interfere with thyroid)
- Cabbage (too much may interfere with thyroid)
- Collard Greens
- Cottage Cheese
- Eggplant (cooked only)
- Grass (Also called pasture raised)
- Green Beans
- Grape leaves
- Kale (too much may interfere with thyroid)
- Mushrooms (if edible to humans)
- Nuts (shelled)
- Potatoes (cooked and peeled only)
- Sprouts (Here’s how to make your own!)
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sweet Potato
- Tomatoes (ripe only)
What chickens should not eat
Chickens will generally make pretty good food choices if they are given variety. If you’re wondering, will chickens eat this, the answer is probably yes. They are omnivores and will happily eat most things.
There are however a few things that are toxic to them. If you accidentally feed them these foods they most likely will not eat, but just in case, it’s better to not take the chance.
- Avocado (contains persin, which is bad for their heart)
- Chocolate (contains theobromine and caffeine, which is toxic)
- Citrus (may inhibit calcium absorption)
- Eggplant Leaves (contains solanine, which is toxic)
- Onion (may cause anemia)
- Pepper Leaves (contains solanine, which is toxic)
- Potato Skins and Leaves (contains solanine, which is toxic)
- Rhubarb (contains oxalic acid, which is toxic)
- Tomato Leaves (contains solanine, which is toxic)
While I try not to feed my chickens bread, I don’t stress if they get some in our household leftovers. There are many things chickens can eat, and a few you shouldn’t let your chickens have, but generally they make good decisions!
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