To some, they are crazy little peckers running aimlessly, stabbing at the ground. This makes them a form of entertainment which is handy if your streaming system goes down. For others, they are a food source. When you have chickens, you will always have a supply of eggs for breakfast and baking, and who doesn’t like farm-fresh?
Chickens add value to your diet in multiple ways; however, they have a special diet. You can’t just feed the cluckers anything you want. This means you will still need to use the composter for most kitchen scraps. Chickens won’t be much help to you there because many different foods are toxic to the silly little birds. It’s quite the list once you start getting into it, so let’s claw our way through it so you don’t harm any of your chickens.
A toxin called persin is present in the leaves, skin, and pit of avocados. It can be fatal to chickens by attacking the respiratory system. So, in other words, avocado dip for chickens on a Friday night out (or anytime) is a hard no.
What? How is this possible? Didn’t we always throw bits of bread at ducks and birds as kids? Well, bread is an absolute no-no for any bird. Not only is there barely any nutritional value, but bread can also get caught in a bird’s throat, and because it is loaded with carbohydrates, it will turn your chickens into pooping machines. That may not be your long-term game plan.
If a cup of coffee gives you the jitters…your chickens will suffer even more, as caffeine is toxic to them. Not only will it increase their heart rate, but it will also induce hyperactivity, and let’s face it, chickens are nutty enough as they are. You could keep them secure with an automatic chicken coop door until they know how to use it. They don’t need caffeine to amp up their activity to dangerous levels, which can cause them to have a heart attack.
First off, why would you share your chocolate with a chicken in the first place? It would be best to be selfish about chocolate and not share, especially with your chickens. The main reason is that when you share it, you have less chocolate for yourself. Another reason is that chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. We already know what caffeine does to birds; imagine that times infinity and you may get a clearer picture of what may happen.
There is a grey area in this category of foods. Lemons, lemon peels, oranges, orange peels, limes, etc., are considered toxic to chickens by some experts, while others say these citrus fruits are perfectly fine. If your chickens won’t touch them, then that’s an indicator.
Although you can safely feed most fruits to chickens, the ones to avoid are those with seeds. That may seem odd given that chickens are pre-programmed to pick at seeds, apple and pear seeds, and pits from cherries, apricots, peaches, and plums are all bad for your birds as they contain a toxin cyanide compound that is bad for their itty-bitty hearts.
Garlic and Onion
Unless you are okay with your eggs tasting a bit off, don’t feed your chickens garlic or onion. Onions may also irritate your bird’s mouth, crop, and esophagus and result in ulcers because of the sulfur compounds found in the vegetable. Garlic, on the other hand, is technically not toxic and can help with respiratory issues but can give your eggs a garlic flavor, which you may or may not like. It’s your call on the garlic, but a no to onions.
There are two toxins found in green potatoes and green tomatoes. They are solanine and chaconine. Let’s say they are not kind to chickens and leave it at that.
Considering these foods are unhealthy for us, imagine what they can do to the average chicken’s less complicated and much smaller system. In addition to your birds gaining excess weight, they can end up with heart conditions and other problems common with being obese.
Produce with Mold
Toxins in the mold that grows on nuts, soft fruits, apples, and corn can lead to human liver cancer. The same can happen to chickens. This is why it is crucial to feed your chickens dry foods.
Hmmm. They lay eggs, but should you feed your chickens eggs? Provided they are cooked, eggs are lovely for chickens to snack on. But remember that if you do this, you refrain from feeding them raw eggs. Why? It may cause your chickens to start eating their eggs, which means you’ll be heading to the grocery store again for eggs which is probably why you got the chickens in the first place so that you could avoid the checkout line.
Because raw meat can carry various bacteria and nasty things like salmonella, if you aren’t going to eat it because of the risks, it’s best not to expect your chickens to do much more than scratch around it.
There are two considerations here. Sweet potato peels are safe for chickens. Other potatoes and peels are not as they contain the toxin alkaloid solanine, which sounds scary, to begin with. It’s also not bird-friendly by any means.
Rhubarb and Rhubarb Leaves
Rhubarb is quite dangerous to chickens. It contains something called anthraquinones, which acts like a laxative on birds. If that’s not enough, if the rhubarb is damaged by cold weather, it can produce oxalic acid in fatal concentrations.
The electrolyte and fluid balance of chickens can be thrown off-kilter with salt. When this happens, your birds suffer from various conditions, including dehydration and kidney failure. If they eat high-salt foods for an extended period, their eggshells will develop multiple deformities.
Last on our list of what chickens cannot eat is beans. Beans of any kind are nasty to chickens. They contain a toxin called phytohemagglutinin which sounds about as bad as it is. Kidney beans are evil for your birds. Just ensure that no bean plants are accessible to your chickens.
What About Bananas?
As it turns out, bananas can drive your chickens’ bananas. Not because they are toxic but because they are suitable for your birds and they love them. So the answer is yes, but please, don’t feed your chickens banana peel; it is fibrous and tough for them to get down. So, there you go. A handy dandy list of foods to keep away from your chickens so they can live a happy life.