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Everyday Foods Chickens Should NOT Eat... and why

Everyday Foods Chickens Should NOT Eat... and why

In general, never give your chickens foods that are spicy, salty, fried, processed, or moldy.

Apple Seeds: Apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, so always remove seeds before giving apples to your chickens.

Avocado: The leaves, skin and stone all contain persin which is highly toxic to chickens. Technically the flesh is ok to eat, but I wouldn’t – better safe than sorry.

Beans - Raw: Raw or undercooked beans are highly toxic to chickens. Feed cooked only.

Bell Peppers: It’s another member of the nightshade family therefore containing solanine. So, no to leaves, plant and flowers. The fruit is ok to feed them, but not a favorite, so why bother.

Bread:  They do love bread, but it is nutritionally poor for them. With so many other healthy choices, you can just leave out bread.

Cereal: They can, but should they? Many cereals are high in carbohydrates and often are very high in sugar.

Cheese:  While cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, chickens don’t process dairy well. If you’re going to give dairy at all, choose yogurt as an occasional treat because at least it has good probiotic bacteria that aids in digestion.

Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to chickens. Besides, who in their right mind would share their chocolate with anyone, let alone chickens!?

Coffee Grounds: No. Contains small amounts of caffeine which should be avoided. No nutritional value.

Corn Husks: Corn husks have no nutritional value whatsoever.

Eggplant: They cannot eat the plant, leaves or flowers as they contain solanine which is toxic to hens. So while they technically could eat the fruit, why risk it?

Flowers-Unsafe: Toxic to chickens: Azalea, Clematis, Corn Cockle, Foxglove, Henbane, Iris, Lily of the Valley, Sweet Pea, Rhododendron, Trumpet Vine

Herbs-Unsafe: These herbs/plants are toxic to chickens:  Castor Bean, Honeysuckle, Vetch.

Moldy Bread: Moldy food should never be given to chickens.

Onions: Although onions contain many vitamins and minerals chickens really should not eat them. Large amounts of onions can cause hemolytic anemia.

Peanuts:  We are erring on the side of caution here. Peanuts can be bad for some small birds and mammals, there’s no reliable information on chickens. When in doubt: don’t feed it to them!

Peppers:  Pepper plants, leaves, stems and flowers are toxic – containing solanine. Chickens can eat the fruits which are healthy, but not generally a favorite, so why bother.

Pickles: This is a processed food and as such will contain high amounts of either salt or sugar.

Pineapple: Although high in vitamins and minerals, pineapple is not a favorite with most chickens. Excessive consumption can cause bezoars (fiber balls) to occur in the crop.

Potatoes:  Potatoes that are green contain solanine (it is poisonous) as do the leaves, plant stems and flowers – even though they technically can eat the actual potato (if its not green) why risk it?

Raisins: Large amounts of raisins can make your birds very sick with renal failure. They will also put on weight quickly due to the sugar content. Not worth the risk.

Rhubarb: All parts of the rhubarb plant contain high amounts of oxalic acid which can kill your flock.

Rice: White rice has little nutritional value, brown or wild rice is better, but still high in carbohydrates.  And uncooked rice will absorb water in their gut and expand causing possible blockages or perforation of the intestine. Rice is of little nutritional value to them.

Spinach: While spinach is packed full of goodness in the way of vitamins and minerals, it also contains oxalic acid, which can cause some serious health problems for your chickens, including death.

Tomato Plant, Leaves, Flowers: Chickens cannot eat the plant, leaves or flowers of tomatoes as they are poisonous - they contain solanine. But the actual ripe tomato is okay.

Are you freaked out? This is quite a list of no-no's. But now, you know! For the list of everyday items you can share click here. 

If there are any foods that we left off of either list and you have a question, please just let us know in the comments below!


(Thanks to The Happy Chicken Coop  and Backyard Chickens for this wealth of information)

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