Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes?
The answer to this question is a little more complicated than it first appears.
Because pet chickens are just about the best little recycling machines going around, we tend to think that we can feed them anything and they will be able to deal with it. That is how recycling works – we throw in all our unwanted junk, and stand back and wait for something useful to emerge. At least with chickens, that is what usually happens, when we throw our unwanted scraps to them, we usually go around looking for any lovely eggs that they have left for us at the same time!
So what is the answer – Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes?
But what if we need to be a little more considerate than that? The question about tomatoes is very pertinent.
Because we usually give our scraps to the chickens, we tend to leave them the over ripe bits and pieces which have usually been chopped and scraped and left on the side of the plate or whatever. Usually that means that there is only a small chance of giving them under ripe food and scraps. This is a fortunate thing because in the case of feeding tomatoes to chickens, it is very unwise to allow chickens to eat green tomatoes.
So are tomatoes safe for chickens?
Tomatoes are delicious and healthy for us but do they have the same effect on chickens? So as not to alarm people, chickens can eat tomatoes, as long as they are ripe red tomatoes, which are okay for chickens , in small to moderate amounts and should not be served as the staple diet for a chicken. On the other hand, green and under ripe tomatoes can be a problem for chickens. This is because green tomatoes contain a substance called solanine, which is toxic to some animals, including chickens. In fact, solanine is the same problem chemical found in some green vegetables, and in the green skin of potatoes, which is another food scrap which should not be given to chickens.
Green Tomatoes are not safe for chickens to eat
So, unfortunately, green tomatoes are not suitable for chickens, even if they are turning bad in your kitchen. That just means they were picked too early and not able to ripen, and you just need t throw them away, or maybe into the compost bin.
What other foods are dangerous for chickens?
Onions are another common vegetable scrap from the kitchen which not be given to chickens. It contains a poisonous chemical which can cause anemia in the chickens, and this should be avoided. Once again, don’t panic if a small scrap of onion sneaks through into the chicken scraps, it is really the concentration of poison that becomes a serious problem.
Interestingly, eggplants are also not safe to feed to chickens, no matter how ripe they are, because the toxic chemical is always present in the flesh of the eggplant. Some people advise that the poisonous vegetables are okay for chickens if they are cooked first, but there is always a risk that the poison might survive the cooking process, so I just avoid eggplant and green tomatoes.
Beware of excess salt and sugar
One more tip – beware of salty and sugary foods. As for humans, we know that excessive salt and sugar is bad for us, so why would we give an overdose of salt or sugar to our pet chickens?
The problem here is that chickens can get too much of any one thing, at the expense of a proper balanced diet, and it can upset their digestion process, cause them to become lethargic, and reduce their appetite. Next thing you know, when they stop eating, they start losing condition, and once they have used up all of their internal fat reserves, things can go downhill pretty quickly.
Excess salt can result in dehydration, and whenever our bodies start to lose water (whether human or chicken) we can become severely stressed and too sick to eat or drink. It doesn’t take a great deal of salt to upset the delicate balance of a chickens metabolism, so make sure that you give your chickens a healthy balanced diet and there will be no problems!
What is the best thing to feed chickens?
To give your chickens the best balanced diet, find them a recommended chicken layer mash or grain based feed. This is commonly supplied at your local produce supplier, or you can try a delivery from the Amazon super store – click here to see the price on chicken layer feed.
As well as that, you chickens will love it if you collect the typical kitchen and garden waste that you can find around the house. These kitchen scraps are a welcome supplement to their usual diet, and helps to maintain a healthy balance of the vitamins and nutrients that they need through out the day.
For a special treat, try meal worms, your chickens will absolutely love em!