Chickens Health Issues

What Can Chickens Eat?

what can chickens eat

As Winter arrives, free ranging reveals less and less goodies for the flock.  Covered in snow, most plants have gone to sleep that the chickens typically love to munch on.  It is important to provide your flock with treats during the Winter to help vary their diet and also prevent boredom.  When I was new to raising chickens, I was not sure what chickens could eat other than their feed.  For the past two years, I have tried to educate myself about supplementing their diets.  I had heard of taboo things to feed chickens, like chocolate for dogs.  These included potato peels, garlic, onions and citrus. So what can chickens eat?

Just like humans, everything should be fed in moderation.  Chicken require the majority of their dietary intake to come from their food, such as layer pellets.  These feeds are formulated to provide your flock with all necessary dietary requirements to thrive and lay eggs.  Roosters can also be on layer feed as well.  Too many treats, although our flocks love them, can be bad.  They can compromise your flock’s health as well as decrease egg production and even cause egg malformation.  So, limit the amount goodies you share with them.  I typically share about 1 1/2 cups of goodies per day from the kitchen for our 8 girls.  However, when you do share the goodies, I’m betting you will make a best friend or two while scattering them in the run.

Foods Your Flock Can Eat

Vegetables

Asparagus
Beets~ green tops too
Beans, must be cooked never raw
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cauliflower
Cabbage~entire head
Carrots~green tops too
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Garlic~ add raw cloves to drinking water to boost immune system
Peas
Bell Peppers
Pomegranate
Popped Popcorn
Potatoes~cooked avoid peels (see below)
Pumpkins
Squash
Tomatoes
Turnips~cooked
Sprouts
Fruits

Apples including seeds
Bananas without the peel
Berries~Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
Cherries
Grapes~seedless
Melons~Cantelope, Watermelon, Honey Dew
Peaches
Raisins

Grain/Breads

Grits~cooked
Rice~cooked
Breads- all kinds
Sugar free cereal~Cheerios
Oatmeal~raw or cooked
Pasta~cooked
Quinoa

Dairy

All cheeses including Cottage Cheese
Plain yogurt

Avoid Feeding Your Flock

Tilly's Nest- red onions

 

Avocado Skin and Pit~ toxic
Rhubarb~ poisonous
Citrus~ Some say it can cause feather pecking due to increased levels of Vitamin C.  Others say it can interfere with Calcium absorption
Onions~Causes Heinz anemia in large quantities
Uncooked beans~contain hemagglutinin poisonous to birds
Raw potato skins~contain Solanine poisonous to bird
Sugar
Salt
Toxic Plants

Interestingly, chickens eat meat, however some keepers believe it makes them more aggressive.

References:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-Treats_Chart
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=3306742
http://www.vet.k-state.edu/features/VetQuarterly/KVQspr05.pdf
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=7857524
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=166988

This post is linked up to Deborah Jean’s Dandelion Farmgirl Friday Bloghop

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

 

Hello friends, welcome! Follow along on our chicken, beekeeping, gardening, crafting and cooking adventures from Cape Cod.