N is for Never feed your chickens these ….

NThis is a list of foods NEVER to feed your chickens, that I found on ready nutrition.

I would have reblogged it, but I can’t find a way to do it as its not a WordPress site, so I am just copying it.

I agree with everything in this list, I once tried feeding my chickens on potatoes that had started growing, rather than throw them away – and couldn’t understand why they didn’t touch them!

about 10 years ago, I also had a pet rabbit, that was great friends with my chickens - they were all free range - so free range that this picture was taken by a neighbour in HER garden!

About 10 years ago, I also had a pet rabbit, who was great friends with my chickens – they were all free range – so free range that this picture was taken by a neighbour in HER garden! Not all neighbours are so accommodating!


Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition wrote:

I often describe chickens as miniature trash compactors – they will eat almost anything you put in front of them. An emphasis should be placed on “almost anything”.

For the most part, we feed our chickens food items they would normally find around the ranch – veggies, fruits, seeds and grains. As a treat or to supplement their diet, we give them meal worms. They are all-natural and give the girls extra nutrients. We may also put a little diatomaceous earth (DE) in their food, as well. This aids in digestion and is a natural de-wormer. Chickens also need some calcium and a little grit in their diets as well. The calcium helps them form a strong outer eggshell and the grit aids in digestion. I usually purchase this supplement kit with oyster shells, DE and grit, and add a little each day to their feed.

That said, as open as these birds are to eating a varied diet, there are a few food types to steer clear of.

10 Foods Your Chickens Should Avoid

  1. Plants from the nightshade family – Nightshade plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants have a toxic substance in their unripened fruit and leaves called solanine that could be harmful to your flock. Even the peels of potatoes are potentially harmful and should be avoided. If you have a large amount of leftover nightshade vegetables (potatoes or peels), cook them first and your chickens will enjoy the treat even more.
  2. Salty foods –  Foods containing large amounts of salt can lead to a condition known as salt poisoning, salt toxicity, hypernatremia, or water deprivation-sodium ion intoxication. The small bodies of chickens are not meant to ingest large amounts of salt. Chickens can tolerate up to 0.25% salt in drinking water but are susceptible to salt poisoning when water intake is restricted.
  3. Citrus  Some varieties of chickens can be very sensitive to citrus. Many believe it is a build up of citric acid and vitamin C that can cause excessive feather plucking. That said, I have fed citrus to my chickens and they don’t care for it.
  4. Onions – Onions contain a toxin substance called thiosulphate that destroys red blood cells. When excessive amounts are fed to chickens, it can cause jaundice or anemia in your hens or even death.
  5. Dried or undercooked beans  – Raw, or dry beans, contain a poison called hemaglutin which is toxic to birds. Cooking or sprouting the beans before serving them to chickens will kill this toxin.
  6. Dry rice – If we feed them rice, we cook it beforehand. Chickens that are fed dry rice are put in danger of the rice blowing up when it is introduced to moisture and will cause a gut problem in chickens.
  7. Avocado skin and pit – Chickens do not care much for avocados. They probably sense or smell the low levels of toxicity in the skin and pit.
  8. Raw eggs – Introducing raw eggs to your chickens could result in your flock turning cannibal. If they are doing this, it could be a result of a deficiency in their diet or because they are stressed. Adding crushed oyster shells to their diet usually helps as well as adjusting their environment (more nesting boxes, lessen the light in the coop, etc.)
  9. Candy, chocolate, sugar – Chickens do not have much of  sweet tooth. In fact, they only have around 25-30 taste buds, so more than likely, they wouldn’t realize they are eating anything sweet. Further, it’s bad on their digestive tract and chocolate especially contains a toxin called methylxanthines theobromine and is poisonous to chickens. Therefore, adding sugar to their diet wouldn’t be advisable.
  10. Apple seeds – Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide that could kill your chicken. As much as chickens love apples, do them a favor and remove the seeds.

One of the most important aspects of caring for your flock is ensuring their diets are the healthiest possible. Your flock of chickens will be much happier and healthier if you can find a way to avoid these foods from becoming the chicken’s food source.

I hope you found this list useful!

10 thoughts on “N is for Never feed your chickens these ….

    1. hadn’t though of that! At the moment, whilst I’m doing the A-Z Challenge, the posts have to follow the alphabet – I stretched it a bit with this one – hmm – will think where I can fit it in – smile


    1. Hi Roz

      I love your little chicks at the end of your comment – yes, please re-blog – I have left a message for the author on the post, which is over a year old anyway, and I’m sure she’d be happy about it – as am I, if you want to re-blog it from me.
      Saw some of your recent posts – things are growing well with you on your land!


  1. Potatoes are in the nightshade family…?! Oh man…I may never look at them the same way again…

    I don’t raise birds, but this was some interesting stuff. I wonder why chocolate seems to be toxic to most animals other than humans? (I know people are always saying it’s dangerous to give it to cats and dogs…)


    1. it’s odd, isn’t it, what some foods contain – however, if you cook the potatoes, they are fine – and I don’t know anyone around here who eats raw potatoes – do you? smile


      1. LOL, that’s true, I’d never eat them raw!

        If tomatoes are also in the same family, I wonder if that’s dangerous for people who eat those raw, though. (Personally, their texture bothers me, so I only like them after they’ve been pulped into pasta sauce…)


        1. hey, don’t take this too seriously! This is chickens, and they don’t have the same digestion as us – I think you’d have known about it if raw tomatoes were dangerous – half of Italy would have disappeared! Smile!

          Liked by 1 person

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