What Foods Can I Feed My Chickens?

Chickens are like dogs. They love tasty treats and leftovers and they’re not all that picky either.  They’ll take most of your table scraps, kitchen scraps, and leftovers and gobble them right up.

There are some things you shouldn’t feed them, like french fries or chocolate, but for the most part you wouldn’t want them eating that anyway if you plan on eating their eggs (or them!)  Some foods can even be poisonous or deadly, and once they eat them there’s no going back. So I’ve compiled a list of safe foods that you can throw out into the run that your chickens will thank you for.

Throw your chickens any of these scraps!

Fruit

Most fruits are okay to give to chickens. Citrus fruits are still up for debate as some people claim they can cause soft egg shells or diarrhea. If that happens, nix the oranges and stick with the strawberries. 

Vegetables

Like fruit, most vegetables are an acceptable treat as well.  Steer clear of raw potatoes and rhubarb and the leaves of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers (they can eat the flesh!)

Grains

If you’re going for organic, non-gmo eggs or meat, stay away from classic gmo grains such as corn unless you know 100% that it is GMO-free.  It’s okay to throw them some “clean” grains as a treat. You should also stay away from rice as it can swell and cause issues.

Cooked Beans

Do Not feed your chickens raw beans. They contain hemaglutin which is poisonous to chickens.

Seeds

Chickens love sunflower seeds. It would be preferable to give them unsalted ones as high salt foods can harm chickens.

Bread

Breads should be kept to a minimum and used as a treat but there’s no reason why you can’t throw them a little bit now and then.

Cooked Meat & Fish

Chickens are omnivores. If you have a few scraps left after dinner, feel free to give them to your chickens. Steer clear of high salted meats like bacon.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs are very good for chickens, but beware – if you give them raw eggs, they may start eating their own eggs!  You can also save the shells as a calcium supplement for your feathered friends when they need a boost.

Meal Worms

Chickens love eating bugs and worms, especially meal worms.  You can buy these or pick up some at a bait shop and breed your own.  It is simple to grow your own chicken treats whether it be meal worms or a garden.

Grit & Crumble

If you are a new chicken owner, you’ll most likely need to start with a bagged feed that you can pick up at your local farm & ranch store or online. Sometimes chicks need something to help them digest certain foods, and that is when you give them grit which you can also purchase in a bag.

What are your chickens favorite treat? Leave a comment.

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