Do Not Feed Your Chicken These 9 Things!

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Do Not Feed Your Chicken These 9 Things!

Keeping backyard chickens has become increasingly popular among urban and rural dwellers alike. Not only do these feathered friends provide fresh eggs, but they also offer companionship and entertainment.

However, ensuring their health and well-being involves more than just providing a coop and feed.

What you feed your chickens can significantly impact their health and egg production. While chickens are notorious for being voracious eaters, there are certain foods you should never feed them. In this article, we’ll explore nine common items that should never find their way into your chicken’s diet.


While avocados are considered a superfood for humans, they contain a compound called persin, which is toxic to many animals, including chickens. Feeding avocados to chickens can lead to respiratory distress, heart failure, and even death.


Most people know that chocolate is harmful to dogs, but it can also be deadly for chickens. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which can cause hyperactivity, seizures, and cardiac arrest in chickens.

Never feed your chickens any form of chocolate, including cocoa powder or chocolate-based treats.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic belong to the allium family and contain compounds that can damage a chicken’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Even small amounts of these vegetables can cause digestive upset and reduced egg production in chickens.

Avoid feeding raw, cooked, or even leftover dishes containing onions or garlic to your flock.

Moldy or Spoiled Food

Moldy or spoiled food can contain harmful toxins, such as aflatoxin, which can be deadly to chickens. Always inspect your chicken’s food for signs of mold or spoilage, and never feed them anything that appears questionable.

Additionally, avoid feeding your chickens any food that has been sitting out for an extended period, as it may have started to spoil.

Raw Beans

Raw beans, including kidney beans, navy beans, and soybeans, contain a toxin called lectin, which can be toxic to chickens. Consuming raw beans can cause digestive upset, paralysis, and even death in chickens. To safely feed beans to your flock, they must be cooked thoroughly to neutralize the lectin.

Green Potatoes and Tomatoes

Green potatoes and tomatoes contain a toxic compound called solanine, which can cause digestive issues, neurological symptoms, and even death in chickens. Always ensure that any potatoes or tomatoes fed to your chickens are ripe and free from green spots or sprouts.

Citrus Fruits

While small amounts of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are generally safe for chickens, feeding them in excess can lead to digestive upset and reduced egg production. The high acidity of citrus fruits can also irritate a chicken’s digestive tract.

Limit citrus fruits as an occasional treat rather than a staple in their diet.

Salty Foods

Chickens have a low tolerance for salt, and consuming salty foods can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Avoid feeding your chickens salty snacks like chips, pretzels, or processed foods. Additionally, be cautious with table scraps that may contain high levels of salt.

Raw Eggs

While it may seem counterintuitive, feeding chickens raw eggs can create a bad habit known as egg-eating. Once chickens develop a taste for raw eggs, they may start to break and eat their own eggs, leading to reduced egg production and potential health issues.

If you have excess eggs, it’s best to cook them before feeding them back to your flock.

Feeding your chickens a balanced diet is essential for their health, happiness, and egg production. While chickens are known for their ability to eat almost anything, it’s crucial to be mindful of what you feed them. Avoiding the nine items mentioned in this article can help keep your flock healthy and thriving.

When in doubt, stick to a diet of high-quality chicken feed supplemented with occasional treats like fruits, vegetables, and grains. By providing your chickens with the proper nutrition, you can ensure that they lead long, happy lives as productive members of your backyard flock.

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