Can Chickens Eat That?

The Ultimate Guide to What Food Scraps Chickens Can Eat

If you live on a farm or homestead, you probably have an excess of produce scraps you don’t know what to do with. Feeding them to your chickens seems like the perfect, sustainable, eco-friendly way to utilize food scraps. However, it’s important to feed chickens only what’s safe.

That’s why we made this guide to common foods our readers wonder about giving their chickens. For example, can chickens eat things like strawberries, sweet potatoes and broccoli? Let’s dive in.


Can Chickens Eat Apples?

Apples can be a delightful treat for our feathered friends. Chickens can safely enjoy the flesh of the apple, but it's crucial to remove the seeds before serving. A small portion, sliced and seedless, can be a healthy snack packed with vitamins and fiber.


Can Chickens Eat Asparagus?

You might wonder about asparagus, given its distinctive flavor and texture. Chickens can indeed eat asparagus, but it's not their top choice. The tough, fibrous nature of asparagus can make it a bit challenging for them to digest. If you do decide to offer it, cooked and chopped asparagus is easier for them to handle.

***Did You Know? The food chickens eat affects the taste of their eggs! It makes sense, but good to note. Asparagus can actually change the flavor of your girls’ eggs, so offer in moderation only.


Can Chickens Eat Avocado?

Avocado is where we need to tread carefully. The flesh of the avocado is generally safe in small quantities, but the skin and pit contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can be harmful to chickens. Given the risk, many farmers choose to avoid feeding avocado to chickens altogether. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your flock.


Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?

Banana peels are a bit of a conundrum. While not outright "toxic" to chickens, the tough, fibrous nature of the peel makes it difficult for them to digest. If you do wish to offer banana peels, it's best to chop them into small, manageable pieces. However, the fruit itself is a much safer and more enjoyable option for chickens. Plus, banana peels may be riddled with pesticides which pose a huge risk to our birds.


Can Chickens Eat Bananas?

Bananas, minus their peels, are a fantastic treat for chickens. They're soft, easy to eat, and packed with essential nutrients. Chickens usually relish the sweet taste of bananas. Just remember to offer bananas in moderation, as their high sugar content can lead to obesity in chickens if overfed.


Can Chickens Eat Bell Peppers?

Bell peppers are a colorful and nutritious option for your chickens. The entire pepper is safe for chickens to eat, including the flesh, seeds, and core. They can be a great source of vitamins A and C, which can help support the immune system of your flock. Just chop them up into bite-sized pieces to make it easier for the chickens to peck at. Some chicken treats even have veggies built in, which is a cool and convenient option for your girls.

***Did You Know? Birds don’t taste or feel heat the same way humans do. While chomping on a pepper seed may burn your tongue due to the release of capsaicin, the source of heat in seeds, chickens have different taste receptors than we do. So feel free to spice it up with your girls.


Can Chickens Eat Blueberries?

Blueberries are a superfood, not just for humans but for chickens too. They're rich in antioxidants and vitamins, making them an excellent choice for a healthy snack. Chickens usually love pecking at these tiny, flavorful berries. Offering blueberries can also be a fun way to interact with your flock, watching them enjoy these juicy treats. As with any fruit or vegetable, please feed chickens blueberries in moderation.

Fun Fact! Frozen blueberries chopped in half are a great way to provide a cool treat in the summer.


Can Chickens Eat Bread?

Now let's talk about bread and chickens. While feeding chickens bread might seem like a harmless treat, it's a bit like junk food for them. Sure, they'll gobble it up and ask for more, but bread doesn't offer the nutrients they need to stay healthy. It's okay to give them a small piece of bread now and then, but make sure it's not moldy and don't overdo it. Think of bread as a special treat, not a regular part of their diet. Reminder to never feed chickens food items that are rancid or moldy. This includes bread.


Can Chickens Eat Broccoli?

Broccoli is a big yes for our feathered friends! This green veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a fantastic snack for chickens. You can feed them both the florets and the stalks. Just chop them up into peck-sized pieces to make it easier for your chickens to enjoy. It's a healthy way to add some variety to their meals and watch them have a good time pecking away at it. Furthermore, some Manna Pro chicken treats like Garden Delight™ contain broccoli and other premium ingredients like pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, sweet potatoes, beets, green peas and sunflower seeds.


Can Chickens Eat Cabbage?

Cabbage is another great vegetable to include in your chickens' snack time. Not only is it nutritious, but it also provides some fun and entertainment for the flock. Hang a whole cabbage just out of reach in their coop and watch them jump and peck at it. This affordable and fun activity is not just for feeding but also keeps them active and engaged. Plus, cabbage is full of vitamins and helps keep your chickens in top health.


Can Chickens Eat Cantaloupe?

Cantaloupe is a sweet treat that chickens love, especially on a hot day. The juicy fruit is refreshing and hydrating, while the seeds are perfectly safe and even enjoyed by chickens. Just remember to cut the cantaloupe into small, manageable chunks to make it easier for them to eat. Offering cantaloupe can be a delightful way to provide your chickens with a burst of vitamins and hydration, especially in those summer months.


Can Chickens Eat Carrots?

Carrots are a crunchy, nutritious snack for chickens, rich in beta-carotene, which supports their overall health. You can feed them raw or cooked carrots but chopping them into smaller pieces is a good idea to make it easier for the chickens to peck at. Carrots can add a nice bit of color to their diet, and watching your chickens chase around carrot pieces can be quite the sight!

Manna Pro’s Harvest Delight™ poultry treat contains carrots plus other fruits and veggies. No cutting board necessary!


Can Chickens Eat Celery?

Celery can be a part of your chickens' diet, but it's a bit tough and stringy, making it harder for them to digest. If you decide to feed your chickens celery, it's best to chop it up into small, bite-sized pieces, blend it into a finer consistency or serve it to them cooked. This helps prevent risk of choking and makes it easier for them to enjoy the benefits of this crunchy vegetable.


Can Chickens Eat Cheese?

Now let's chat about chickens and cheese. You might be surprised, but a little bit of cheese can be a tasty treat for your chickens. However, just like us, they shouldn't have too much. Chickens are, for the most part, lactose intolerant, and cheese is made with dairy. Cheese is also high in fat, and too much can lead to overweight chickens. Remember, moderation is key!


Can Chickens Eat Cucumbers?

Cucumbers are a big hit in the chicken coop! These refreshing veggies are not only full of water, making them perfect for hydration on those warm sunny days, but they're also packed with nutrients. You can slice 'em, dice 'em, or just toss a whole cucumber to your flock and watch them go to town on it. It's a healthy and hydrating treat they'll surely enjoy.


Can Chickens Eat Eggs?

For those of you with a weak stomach, you might want to skip this section. Chickens are omnivores, which means they’re liable to eat just about any fruit, veggie or protein… including their own eggs. Some people even recommend feeding your chicken eggs to improve the shell and egg quality. For those of you with excess eggshells from cooking, the shells make a good source of calcium for chickens.


Can Chickens Eat Grapes?

Grapes are like nature's candy, and yes, your feathered friends can absolutely enjoy them. Chickens love pecking at these juicy little treats. Just make sure to give them in moderation and maybe cut them in half to make it easier for your chickens to eat.


Can Chickens Eat Mushrooms?

Mushrooms can be a bit tricky. While many chickens can peck at common, store-bought mushrooms without any issues, it's important to remember that not all mushrooms are chicken-friendly. Some mushrooms can be toxic, so it's best to stick to the varieties you'd find in your grocery store. Even then, offer them sparingly, as mushrooms don't provide much nutritional value for chickens. Can


Chickens Eat Onions?

When it comes to onions, it's a cautious no from me. Onions contain substances that can be harmful to chickens, potentially leading to health issues like anemia or impacting the taste of their eggs. It's best to keep onions out of your chickens' reach, especially since there are so many other awesome fruits and veggies out there to keep your flock happy and healthy.


Can Chickens Eat Oranges?

Oranges, with their bright color and juicy flavor, might seem like a great treat, but they're actually not the best choice for your chickens. The strong citrusy acids can upset their stomachs, and chickens usually aren't big fans of the taste anyway. There are plenty of other fruits and veggies that are better suited to a chicken's diet, so it's best to skip the oranges.


Can Chickens Eat Pineapple?

Pineapple is a tropical treat that you can share with your chickens, but PLEASE only in small amounts. Its sweet tanginess can be a hit, but like other citrusy fruits, the acidity might not agree with all chickens. If you decide to offer pineapple, make sure it's peeled and cut into small, manageable pieces to avoid any choking hazards. Watch how your flock reacts, and if they enjoy it without any issues, it can be an occasional snack.


Can Chickens Eat Popcorn?

Popcorn can be a fun and safe snack for your chickens, as long as it's plain (no butter or salt) and fully popped. Avoid any butter, salt, or flavorings, as these can be unhealthy for them. Popcorn offers little nutritional value, so it should be given as a treat and not replace their regular, balanced diet. Watching your chickens peck at popcorn can be quite the entertaining sight! Imagine hosting an outdoor movie night with your bird buddies. Too fun!


Can Chickens Eat Potatoes?

Potatoes should generally be avoided for chickens. The green parts of potatoes, including the sprouts, contain solanine, a toxin that can be harmful to chickens. Even the flesh and skin can contain high levels of this toxin, so why not try one of the other fabulous chicken treat options listed here instead.


Can Chickens Eat Pumpkin?

Pumpkin is one of the best foods on this list for chickens. Some benefits of pumpkin for chickens? It’s full of vitamins and a great way to naturally deworm your flock. You can feed them raw or cooked pumpkin, including the flesh, seeds, and guts. Many chickens enjoy pecking at a whole pumpkin, which can also serve as a stimulating activity for them. It's a healthy and fun treat, especially in the fall season!


Can Chickens Eat Rice?

Chickens can technically eat both cooked and uncooked rice, though cooked rice is the better option as it’s easier for them to digest and more enjoyable for them to eat. Rice is a good source of carbohydrates and can be a nice change in their diet. Just make sure it's plain, without any added salt, spices, or sauces that could be harmful to your chickens.


Can Chickens Eat Strawberries?

Strawberries are a sweet, juicy treat that chickens absolutely love. These berries are high in vitamins and antioxidants, making them a healthy snack option. You might even find your chickens eagerly waiting for more after their first taste. Just remember, as with all treats, to feed strawberries in moderation alongside their regular feed.


Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potatoes?

You might be thinking, since we avoid feeding white potatoes to chickens, sweet potatoes are automatically out too. Think again! Sweet potatoes are a fabulous treat for chickens. They’re full of vitamins and fiber. It’s ok to serve cooked or raw, just make sure it’s a plain sweet potato (no cinnamon, marshmallow fluff or butter, please)!

One of Manna Pro’s chicken treats called Garden Delight ™ even features sweet potato as a primary ingredient.


Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are safe and nutritious for chickens, but only the ripe, red parts. Green, unripe tomatoes, as well as the leaves and stems of the tomato plant, contain solanine, which is toxic to chickens. So, ensure you're only offering ripe tomatoes, and your chickens will likely enjoy this juicy treat.

***Did You Know? Manna Pro’s Harvest Delight treat for chickens include tomatoes? Plus whole grains, peanuts, carrots, raisins, flaxseed and sunflower seeds! Talk about the total package.


Can Chickens Eat Watermelon?

Watermelon is another fantastic treat for chickens, especially during hot weather. It's hydrating and packed with vitamins, providing a refreshing snack. Chickens can eat all parts of the watermelon, including the rind, flesh, and seeds. Just cut it into manageable pieces to make it easier for them to peck at.


Chickens Are Natural Garbage Disposals

Some chicken owners describe their birds as natural garbage disposals. Chickens, if given the opportunity, will eat just about anything that looks like a snack. We hope this guide helps you identify common foods you can give your chickens, and those you should avoid.

Exploring the variety of foods that chickens can eat is not only fun but also beneficial for their health and well-being. Remember, the key to a healthy chicken diet is balance and moderation, with treats making up only a small part of their overall intake. Their main food source should be a complete and balanced chicken feed.

Enjoy the process of discovering which treats your flock loves best!


What Can My Chickens Eat Printable List

Click here for a printable list of all the food scraps that are fine for chickens to eat, plus those to avoid.