You want your chickens to be happy and healthy. You know that natural, whole foods are good for them, but you also know that chickens will eat almost anything. So what can and should chickens eat?
A free-ranging bird will find its own forage, especially in warmer months. During winter, and for flocks without yard access, you’ll want to provide nutritional chicken feed. With scientifically proven options like Nature’s Best Organic Feeds®, you can make sure all of your chickens’ basic needs are met. Once you set your flock up for success, you can use healthy, whole foods to supplement their diet.
Some food and drink items clearly don’t belong in the chicken coop, such as alcohol, chocolate and caffeine. Foods that aren’t good for humans are usually poor choices for chickens, so keep your birds away from processed foods. These items are loaded with sugar and salt, leading to obesity and electrolyte imbalances. Too much salt can cause heart failure. Mold can also be deadly, so chickens should never be given spoiled food. If you wouldn’t eat it, your birds shouldn’t either.
Leafy vegetation can also pose a danger. Tomatoes, peppers and potatoes are members of the nightshade family, so their leaves are toxic to many animals. Raw, green potatoes can carry this toxin in their skins, so while the flesh is safe, chickens shouldn’t be fed peelings.
Fortunately, there are many wholesome treats for chickens to enjoy. Make sure any produce is organic or washed clean of harmful pesticides. Keep a bird’s diet balanced by limiting treat portions to a few pecks.
Absolutely! Chickens love this healthy snack. Packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, tomatoes make a great chicken treat. Just don’t let them eat the leaves or flowers. Most free-range birds know better — and would rather steal a yummy tomato off the vine — but you might consider fencing off tomato plants to protect your chickens.
Yes. Like tomatoes, pepper plants are a healthy fruit. Chickens usually feel less enthusiastic about peppers.
Yes. Carrots are full of nutrients and can be served raw or cooked. The greens are also healthy, but should be chopped for easy eating. Stick with fresh carrots, as the canned variety is high in salt.
Yes. Cucumbers are an excellent chicken snack. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, these water-rich veggies make especially good treats during hot summers.
Yes. This herb is great for building healthy bones and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
Sometimes. Lettuce is generally good for your birds, but beware of the iceberg variety. Iceberg lettuce has little nutritional value and can lead to diarrhea. Stick with dark, leafy greens.
Yes. Cabbage is a great example of nutritional roughage for your birds. It can also provide entertainment. Tied on a line or packed in a container with holes, chickens can peck at cabbage for hours.
Sometimes. Celery is rich in folate, fiber and vitamins K and C. But it can cause digestive issues because it’s so tough and stringy. If you’re going to feed chickens celery, cut it into small, manageable pieces.
No. Onion can cause anemia and affect egg flavor.
Sometimes. Pineapple should be fed in moderation due to its sugar content.
Yes. These tasty treats are high in vitamin C.
Yes. Chickens love these healthy berries. You may see some unusual poop colors after this treat!
Yes. Raspberries are another favorite for poultry.
Yes. Pears are healthy and low in sugar, although not always a chicken’s first choice.
Sometimes. Since they’re high in sugar, grapes should be fed in moderation. Stick with the seedless variety and chop them up to aid digestion.
Yes. Apples are a healthy snack. They should be chopped and cored when used for chicken treats. Since the seeds contain traces of cyanide, try to remove them first.
Yes. Chickens love this nutritious fruit. The pit contains some cyanide, so remove the pit first.
Yes. Small pieces of unsalted cashews provide great healthy fats.
Yes. Plain, unsalted, unbuttered popcorn is a vitamin and fiber-rich chicken snack.
Sometimes. Feed only small portions of cheese, since chickens struggle to process dairy.
Sometimes. Chickens love bread, but it has low nutritional content. Feed this treat sparingly.
The cornerstone of a strong flock is nutrition. There are plenty of natural, wholesome treats to supplement your chickens’ diet, and you want the core of that diet to be healthy, too.
Nature’s Best Organic Feeds are scientifically tested, non-medicated and non-GMO. With seven products covering chicks, layers, and broilers, every bag is certified organic and created with one goal in mind — to help you build a healthy, productive flock.
Visit your local Tractor Supply Co. and give your chickens Nature’s Best!