What not to Feed Chickens
Most people are surprised to see how chickens can eat almost all of the kitchen scraps that we collect for them – and how much they seem to love them! There are some food scraps that chickens should not eat, so we have made a list of what not to feed chickens. And this might surprise you also!
You might be surprised at this list of what not to feed chickens:
The avocado is a healthy food for humans to eat, but there are some hidden nasties when it comes to feeding avocado scraps to chickens. Firstly, we need to explain that not all parts of the avocado are harmful for chickens to eat . Technically, the fleshy part of the avocado can be fed to chickens, but in reality, we humans tend to eat this part, and it is only the scraps that are left over. And it is the avocado scraps that we need to be wary of feeding to the chickens. Chickens should not eat the avocado seeds and skins, as they can cause serious side effects in birds. Especially eating the leaves can be fatal for pet chickens, as the avocado leaves are toxic to animals. So the message is avoid feeding avocado scraps to chickens!
2. Uncooked rice
Although uncooked rice is not such a problem for chickens in terms of toxins, the problem can be that chickens may eat too much rice in its dried form, which can be difficult for them to digest. Chickens will love to peck and scratch around looking for grains such as rice and wheat, but if uncooked rice swells up too much after eating it, it may cause a problem for a chicken to digest the swollen mass. The best advice is to feed chickens with cooked rice, which they love, and will give them an excellent source of nutrients and energy.
3. Dried products such as grains and beans
Dried products can cause problems for chickens because after eating they can swell and cause problems in the digestion process. It is okay to feed beans and rice to chickens, as long as they are cooked first, and then they are perfectly harmless . Although it seems like a big hassle to cook food just to give to the chickens, it is actually not a burden at all. The best way is to cook a little extra of these foods in your normal food preparation, and simple throw the excess into the chicken scraps at the end of the family meal. In this way, you can give your chickens a special treat which can be a healthy part of the chicken diet.
4. Potatoes – what not to feed chickens
Surprisingly for some people, there are parts of the potato which can be harmful for chickens. Normal potatoes are fine, and in fact chickens will find potato peels to be a special treat as they eat them with no trouble, and even digest the food easily and quickly, which makes it an excellent source of nutrients and energy. However, beware of green potato skins, as these contain a toxin which can kill chickens. Sometimes the chickens are smart enough to be aware of this danger, and will avoid eating the dangerous scraps, but some chickens are not aware of the danger, and may be poisoned.
Another word of warning if you deal with food scraps that have been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides. These pesticides are not good for chickens to eat, and may cause all sorts of nasty side effects. Needless to say, if you want to look after your pet chickens, make sure that their food is washed, or preferably free of any nasty chemicals, and then you will have healthy happy chickens for many years to come!
Believe it or not, you should never feed chocolate to your pets, whether that is dogs, cats or chickens! At our place, that is not much of a risk because there is never any left over for the pets to share! However on a serious note, just in case you love your pet chicken to the extent that you might be tempted to spoil them with a special treat, beware that chocolate and even sweets are not good for animals, and contain toxins that can harm and even kill them.
7. Unhealthy Processed food
Don’t be tempted to throw oily waste, rotten food, or unhealthy human food into the chicken scraps, as our friendly backyard chickens have come to trust that everyone we throw into the chicken pen is edible, and in fact the chickens will generally gulp it down as fast as possible. If there is unhealthy food in there that we humans wouldn’t eat, then why would we give it to our feathered friends? If the food is bad for humans, then it is likely to be bad for chickens as well.
Onions are another common vegetable scrap from the kitchen which not be given to chickens. It contains a poisonous chemical which can cause anaemia 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.
10. 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!
If you want to know what to feed chickens, then the best way is to give your chickens a healthy chicken diet. Simply collect all of those delicious kitchen scraps from a healthy meal, your chickens will love you for sharing with them, and will be happier and healthier to share lots of eggs with you, both now and into the future!
Buy them a recommended healthy chicken feed, from a reputable dealer, and you ensure that your chickens get all the dietary requirements and nutrients that they need to keep your chickens healthy.
Try some of these recommended brands at Amazon:
Or you could try some of these tasty treats! Now that we know what not to feed chickens, it is good to know that Chickens do love mealworms, which you can now buy at Amazon, and have them delivered to your door!