What Can Chickens Eat? And What They Cannot Eat: The 2023 Guide

Can Chickens Eat (1)

Can chickens eat
? Chickens are omnivorous creatures, this fact gives them the ability to eat a wide range of foods such as grains, fruits, seeds, and even small insects. But, just because they can eat a variety of foods, doesn’t mean that all foods are safe or healthy for them. In fact, certain types of foods can be harmful or toxic to chickens.

Feeding chickens the wrong types of food can cause serious health problems, and in some cases, it can be fatal. Some foods can also interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients or affect the taste of the chicken eggs. As a chicken owner, it is important to know and be aware of what your chickens can and cannot eat in order to keep them healthy and safe. 

Can Chickens Eat Vegetables?

Chickens Eating Corn

Yes, chickens can eat vegetables. Vegetables can provide important nutrients for chickens, such as vitamins and minerals. Some examples of vegetables that are safe and healthy for chickens to eat include: 

  • Spinach, kale, lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprout
  • Eggplants

While chickens can eat many types of vegetables, there some vegetables are not recommended because of side effects if not given correctly. Below are some examples of vegetables to avoid feeding your chickens. 

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Undercooked beans & other legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Onions and garlic contain compounds that can cause anemia and other health problems in your chickens. Raw or undercooked beans and other legumes contain a substance called lectin, which can be toxic to chickens. Potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants contain solanine which can be harmful in large quantities.

Can Chickens Eat Kale?

Can Chickens Eat Kale

Have you been wondering if kale has the same health benefits on chickens as it does on humans? Can chickens eat kale? Yes, chickens can eat kale. This leafy green vegetable is high in vitamins and minerals. It carries vitamin A and calcium, which are beneficial for maintaining healthy bones and egg production in chickens. While serving kale to your flock, it is advised that it gets chopped or shredded into small pieces to make it easier for the chickens to digest. 

Benefits of kale to your flock

  • High in nutrients
  • Supports immune system
  • Promotes bone health
  • Helps with digestion
  • Variety in diet

As with any new food, it is best if you try to give kale to your chicken gradually and monitor the health and behavior of your chickens’ to make sure they are tolerating it. Because overconsumption of kale can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea or crop impaction. 

Can Chickens Eat Brussels Sprout?

Can Chickens Eat 2

Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are all important for a chicken’s overall health. Brussels sprouts contain vitamin C, which can be helpful in supporting the immune system. They also contain vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. Additionally, brussels sprouts contain folate, which can help in supporting healthy cell growth and development. 

However, it is important to remember that do not feed your chickens brussels sprouts in excess amounts, make sure that you are feeding your chickens a moderate amount. 


  • Nutritious: Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which can be beneficial for a chicken’s overall health.
  • Varied diet: Feeding chickens a varied diet that includes Brussels sprouts and other vegetables can help to prevent boredom and negative behaviors, such as feather pecking and cannibalism.
  • Easy to grow: Brussels sprouts are a relatively easy vegetable to grow in a backyard garden, making them a convenient option for backyard chicken keepers who want to offer their chickens fresh produce.


  • Overconsumption: If offered in excess, Brussels sprouts (or any type of food) can lead to nutritional imbalances and other health problems.
  • Gas production: Brussels sprouts, like other cruciferous vegetables, can cause gas production in chickens, which can lead to discomfort and digestive issues.
  • Cost: If you don’t have access to fresh Brussels sprouts or can’t grow them yourself, they can be more expensive than other types of chicken feed.

Can Chickens Eat Lettuce?

can chickens eat lettuce

Yes, chickens can eat lettuce. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it should only be given to chickens as a treat or supplement to their regular feed and not as a main source of nutrition. Make sure you chop up the lettuce before serving it to your flock. 

Benefits of lettuce

  • Nutritional content: Contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and iron.
  • Hydration: Lettuce has a high water content, which can help keep chickens hydrated, especially during hot weather. 
  • Promotes digestive health: The fiber in lettuce can promote healthy digestion in chickens by helping to keep their digestive system running smoothly. 

Provides enrichment: Offering a variety of foods, including lettuce, can provide mental stimulation and enrichment for chickens, which can help keep them happy and healthy.

Can Chickens Eat Spinach?

Can chickens eat spinach? Yes, chickens can eat spinach. Spinach is a nutritious vegetable that is safe for chickens to eat. Spinach contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Just like all other vegetables, it is advised to feed it to your chickens in moderation, it is best to limit the consumption. Spinach is high in oxalic acid, which can bind with calcium and prevent its absorption, which may lead to kidney damage and nutritional deficiencies. 

Can Chickens Eat Basil?

Absolutely, chickens can eat basil. In fact, basil offers numerous health advantages, including enhanced mucous membrane health, improved respiratory health, and the promotion of vibrant orange egg yolks.

Can Chickens Eat Raw Potatoes?

Can Chickens Eat Raw Potatoes

Can chickens eat raw potatoes? No! Raw potatoes are members of the nightshade family, and because of that, it makes their leaves are toxic to many animals. Raw potatoes contain a toxic compound called solanine which can be harmful to chickens. Solanine is primarily found in the green parts of potatoes but it can also be found in unripe or raw potatoes. 

Feeding raw potatoes to your chickens can cause different health issues such as digestive problems, decrease egg production, and even become fatal in extreme cases If you’d like to feed your chickens potatoes, it is recommended you cook them first in order to eliminate any potentially harmful toxins.

Can Chickens Eat Eggplants?

Can Chickens Eat Eggplants

Can chickens eat eggplants? Yes, they can eat eggplants in moderation as part of a varied and balanced diet. They are good for chickens because they contain vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. But be aware that chickens shouldn’t only be fed eggplants, they should be given a balanced diet of a variety of food such as grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and insects or other sources of protein. 

Can Chickens Eat Squash?

Can Chickens Eat Squash

Yes! Chickens can eat squash! In fact, squash is healthy and nutritious for chickens. They are a good source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium. You can feed your chickens raw or cooked squash but avoid giving them moldy or rotten squash. Make sure you cut the squash into small pieces before feeding it to your chickens in order to avoid choking. 

Benefits of squash to your chickens: 

  • Keeps chickens hydrated: Squash has a high water content, which helps keep chickens hydrated, especially during hot weather. 
  • Nutrients: Can help support chickens’ immune systems, digestive health, and overall well-being. 
  • Helps to reduce stress: Fresh and nutritious foods like squash can help reduce stress and boredom in their environment. 

Can Chickens Eat Radishes?

can chickens eat radishes

Can chickens eat radishes? Yes, chickens can eat radishes. Radishes are a good source of vitamins and minerals, they contain vitamin C, potassium, and folate. These minerals and vitamins can be beneficial for the overall health of your chickens. Chickens can even eat radish leaves if served. Just be sure to grate or chop your radish into small pieces to make it easier for your chickens to digest. 

Can Chickens Eat Broccoli?

Broccoli is one of those special treats that chickens want, they will try to have them any chance they get. So yes, chickens can eat broccoli. Broccoli has low calories and is high in fiber because it is a cruciferous vegetable. It contains protein, potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin K, and calcium. If you want to raise healthy and happy chickens then you need all those minerals and vitamins. 

Can Chickens Eat Cauliflower?

can chickens eat cauliflower

In moderation, yes chickens can eat cauliflower. Cauliflowers are nutritious and safe for your chickens to consume. You can either cook them or feed them to your chickens raw. It is important to consider only feeding your chickens cauliflower as a treat and not replace their regular feed. Make sure you chop the cauliflower into small pieces so that your chickens don’t choke on them. 

Can Chickens Eat Cabbage?

can chickens eat cabbage

Cabbage is safe for your chickens, it is considered to be a cruciferous vegetable. Yes, chickens can eat cabbage. It contains nutrients such as fiber and vitamin C and can be fed to your chickens raw or cooked. 

Can Chickens Eat Acorns?

No, chickens should not consume acorns, as they contain toxins. It’s important to avoid feeding them acorns, oak leaves, buds, and twigs. Freshly fallen acorns and young leaves contain the most tannins, making them the most toxic to chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Apple Pie?

Yes, chickens can eat apple pie. However, it’s advisable to offer sugary treats in moderation, as they are not the most nutritious options for their diet.

Can Chickens Eat Baby Plum Tomatoes?

Certainly, chickens can safely consume ripe baby plum tomatoes. However, it’s important to note that green tomatoes, leaves, and plant stems are toxic to chickens and should be avoided.

Can Chickens Eat Cucumbers?

Can Chickens Eat Cucumbers

Yes, chickens can eat cucumbers. Cucumbers are healthy for your birds because they are full of vitamins and minerals. They also contain antioxidant properties and are full of water, this will help to keep your chickens hydrated. You can feed cucumbers to your chickens raw, cooked, or even pickled. 

Can Chickens Eat Asparagus?

Yes, chickens can eat asparagus. You can feed asparagus to your chickens fresh or cooked, they will have at it. For easy digestion, make sure you chop the asparagus into small pieces. 

Can Chickens Eat Bell Pepper?

can chickens eat bell peppers

Chickens can eat bell peppers. However, be careful when feeding them so that you do not give them the stem. Some parts such as the flower, and stem of the bell pepper are toxic, they contain solanine.  

Can Chickens Eat Bell Pepper Leaves?

No, chickens cannot eat bell pepper leaves. Although ripe peppers are safe for chickens, unripe peppers, leaves, and plant stems contain solanine and are toxic to chickens. 

Can Chickens Eat Carrots?

Whether you want to feed your chickens fresh or cooked carrots, yes chickens can eat carrots. You can either give your chickens the whole thing of carrot, shred it, or chop it into small pieces so that it can be easy for them to eat. 

Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potatoes

No matter if they are cooked or raw, chickens can eat sweet potatoes. Unlike normal potatoes, sweet potatoes do not contain solanine.

Feeding chickens a varied diet that includes different types of vegetables can also help to prevent boredom and negative behaviors, such as feather pecking and cannibalism. Providing a diverse range of foods can help to keep chickens interested in their diet and prevent them from developing a preference for just one type of food.

Can Chickens Eat Fruit?


Yes, chickens can eat fruits as part of their balanced diet. They provide additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But, it is important to be aware that fruits should only make up a small portion of a chicken’s diet. It is essential to keep the feeding amount moderate when offering fruits to your chickens as some fruits can be high in sugar. It is important to provide fruits that are safe for chickens to eat because some fruits are toxic such as avocados or citrus fruits. 

Some of the safest and healthy fruits include berries, melons, apples, and bananas. It is advised that you cut the fruits into small pieces to it easier for the chickens to eat.

Can Chickens Eat Cranberries?

Can Chickens Eat Cranberries

Chickens can eat cranberries. Cranberries are not toxic to chickens and it is a good source of nutrition, that includes vitamins and antioxidants. It is important to note that cranberries should not be the main feed. Make sure the cranberries are fresh and unsweetened before feeding them to your chickens. Avoided added sugar cranberries such as dried cranberries and cranberry products. 

Potential benefits of moderately feeding cranberries to your chickens: 

  • Boost immunity: Good source of antioxidants. It can help boost the immune system of chickens and protect them from various infections and diseases. 
  • Improves egg quality: Some studies have suggested that feeding your chickens cranberries can improve the quality of their eggs. Increases the quality of the egg size, shell strength, and yolk color. 

Promotes digestive health: The proanthocyanidins compound in cranberries prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract of chickens. This helps improve digestive health and reduces the risk of diarrhea.

Can Chickens Eat Fish?

Yes, chickens can eat whole fish, including raw fish, bones, heads, skins, and guts. However, it’s important to avoid providing chickens with deep-fried or heavily buttered fish, as it contains excessive levels of fat.

Can Chickens Eat Apples?

Yes, chickens can enjoy apples as part of their diet. However, it’s important to note that they should not eat apple seeds because they contain small amounts of cyanide. If they happen to ingest a few seeds, there is no need to panic.

Can Chickens Eat Raspberries?

Can Chickens Eat Raspberries

Yes, chickens can eat raspberries, they contain vitamins and minerals. It’s best to feed raspberries to chickens in small portions because raspberries are high in sugar. If fed excessively then it can lead to obesity or digestive problems. Before feeding raspberries to your chickens, make sure they are washed thoroughly and cut into small pieces. 

Can Chickens Eat Oranges?

Yes, chickens can eat oranges but most of the time they do not tend to like them. Oranges are a nutritious and healthy addition to your chickens’ diet. 

Can Chickens Eat Kiwi?

Can Chickens Eat Kiwi

Kiwis are among the fruits that chickens can eat. Kiwi is not toxic to chickens and can be a good source of vitamins and minerals. Feeding your chickens kiwi can have potential benefits.

  • Anti-Inflammatory properties: Kiwi contains anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce inflammation in chickens. This can be beneficial to chickens that suffer from respiratory problems or other inflammatory issues. 
  • Boost immunity: High levels of vitamin C that are in kiwi can help boost the immune system of your chickens and protect them from infections and diseases. 

When feeding kiwi to your chickens, make sure that they are ripe and cut into small pieces in order to avoid choking hazards. Even though the skin is highly nutritious, remove the kiwi skin before feeding it to them because it can be difficult to digest. But if your chickens approve of the taste and texture of the skin, then they can benefit more. 

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? 

can chickens eat blackberries

YES! Feeding chickens blackberries can give them health benefits. They are a good source of vitamins C and K, blackberries also contain fiber and antioxidants. These nutrients can help support and strengthen the overall health of your chickens. It can promote 

Can Chickens Eat Avocados? 

Can Chickens Eat Avocado


It is not recommended to feed your chickens avocados. Avocados contain a substance called persin, which can be toxic to many animals. Persin can cause respiratory distress, weakness, and sudden death in chickens. Persin can be found in the leaves, bark, skin, and seed of the avocado fruit and can cause heart damage. In addition, avocados also contain high-fat content which can cause health problems to chickens if consumed in excess. This can lead to obesity, liver damage, or other health issues. 

How can I know if my chickens consumed avocado? There are a few signs that can let you know that your chickens consumed avocados. Those signs may include lethargy, difficulty breathing, weakness, and sudden death.  

  • Lethargy: Chickens that have consumed avocados may be lethargic or have a lack of energy. 
  • Difficulty breathing: Avocado poisoning can cause respiratory problems, if your chickens are having a hard time breathing or seem to have short breath then this might be a sign. 
  • Weakness: If your chickens are having a hard time standing or walking, this may be a sign. Avocado poisoning can cause muscle weakness. 

If you suspect that your chickens ate avocados, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. 

Can Chickens Eat Mangoes? 

can chickens eat mangoes

Can chickens eat mangoes? They definitely can! Mangoes are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, and vitamins C and A. These nutrients are important for maintaining good health and supporting and strengthening the immune system. Mangoes also contain antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage. Mangoes are also high in fiber which can help improve digestive health and prevent gastrointestinal issues in chickens. 

Can Chickens Eat Watermelon Rind?

can chickens eat watermelon rinds

Watermelon rind is safe for chickens, so yes, they can eat it. Watermelons contain high levels of fiber and other important vitamins and minerals. You can find Vitamin C and Potassium in watermelons. Although watermelon rind is safe for chickens, it is important to consider only feeding them in moderation because too much can cause digestive issues. Always clean your watermelon rind before feeding it to your chickens. Also, don’t feed your chickens watermelon rind that has been exposed to pesticides or other harmful chemicals. 

Can Chickens Eat Peaches? 

Peaches are a luxurious fruit for your chickens, yes they can eat it. Peaches are low in calories but contain minerals and vitamins that your chickens need. When feeding peaches to your chickens, make sure you wash them and cut them into small pieces, and remove the pit.

Can Chickens Eat Cherries?

can chickens eat cherries

Yes, chickens can eat cherries! Cherries can serve as a tasty snack for your chickens. However, they shouldn’t be replaced with their regular diet. Also, cherries are high in sugar, so consider giving them in moderation. Your birds will enjoy eating cherries. 

Can Chickens Eat Cantaloupe?

Cantaloupes are nutritious and healthy, They are a good source of vitamins, fiber, and minerals. So, yes, chickens can eat cantaloupe. However, it should serve as a treat, and be sure to remove the rind and the seeds before feeding your chickens cantaloupe. 

Can Chickens Eat Watermelons? 

can chickens eat watermelons

Yes, chickens can eat watermelons! It is a healthy and nutritious treat for them. Watermelons are low in calories and high in vitamins A, C, and potassium. Chickens are more than happy to eat and dig through the watermelon, just cut it up in half and let them do their things. 

Can Chickens Eat Raisins?

Can Chickens Eat Raisins (1)

Technically chickens can eat raisins, but it is not recommended to feed them regularly. Raisins are dried fruit and can be high in sugar, they can also be a choking hazard. Chickens should be fed raisins moderately and as a supplement to their diet.

Can Chickens Eat Pears? 

Yes, chickens can eat pears. Although chickens can eat pears, avoid feeding them the seed from it, as they contain cyanide that causes digestive problems. Make sure you remove the pear’s seed and core before feeding them. 

Can Chickens Eat Nuts?

Can Chickens Eat Nuts

In moderation, yes chickens can eat nuts. Nuts are a good source of protein and healthy fats. Although, nuts are high in calories and can be difficult for chickens to digest. Avoid giving your chickens any nuts that are moldy or rancid, because that can be harmful to their health. Also, avoid giving nuts to your chickens as a main source of nutrition. 

Some types of nuts that are safe for chickens to eat include walnuts, peanuts, and almonds. 

Can Chickens Eat Walnuts?

Can Chickens Eat Walnuts

Chickens can eat walnuts but they should be given in moderation because walnuts are high in fat and can be difficult for chickens to digest if they consume in large quantities. They should also be shelled and chopped in order to prevent choking or crop impaction to the chickens. 

Benefits of Walnuts to chickens

  • Protein source: Helps to support muscle development and egg production in chickens.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Helps to promote healthy feathers and egg quality in chickens. 
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenols can help to protect chickens from oxidative stress and diseases. 

Can Chickens Eat Legumes?

Can Chickens Eat Peas?

Yes, chickens can eat peas. Peas can be a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals for your birds. You can feed your chickens fresh or frozen peas, but try avoiding canned peas because they can be high in sodium. 

Can Chickens Eat Herbs? 

Can Chickens Eat Herbs

If you have been looking for something that can help your chickens with their respiratory and digestive systems, herbs are a good source for that. However, it is important to avoid feeding chickens a large number of herbs. It is also advised to know which herbs are safe for your chickens and which ones aren’t. 

Can Chickens Eat Cilantro? 

Can Chickens Eat Cilantro

Yes, chickens can eat cilantro. Although, it is important to know that while cilantro is safe for chickens to eat, some chickens may not like the taste or smell of it. If your chicken doesn’t enjoy the smell of cilantro or refuses to eat it, do not force it on them. It is important to introduce your chickens to cilantro slowly so that they can tolerate it. 

Can Chickens Eat Sweets?

Can Chickens Eat Chocolate? 

Can Chickens Eat Chocolate

No, chickens should not eat chocolate. Chocolate contains toxic elements such as theobromine and caffeine that are dangerous to many animals, including chickens. Side effects of consuming chocolate can be vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and even seizures, or can cause death. Keep chocolate away from your chickens or other animals. 

Can Chickens Eat Peanut Butter?

Yes, chickens can peanut butter but in limited quantities. It is important to note that one tablespoon of peanut butter gives almost double the amount of protein that a normal-breed hen needs to consume in a day. Make sure you give them in very small amounts because peanut butter is high in fat and can lead to obesity and other health issues. 

Can Chickens Eat Grains?

Can Chickens Eat Oatmeal?

Can Chickens Eat Oatmeal

Yes, chickens can eat oatmeal in moderation. Oatmeal is rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. Even though it is a nutritious and healthy treat for your chickens, it is advised you feed them occasionally because they contain beta-glucan. You can feed your chickens either cooked oatmeal, mixed with fruits or oatmeal as a component of a homemade treat for your chickens. Avoid feeding your chickens flavored oatmeal with added sugar, this can be harmful to them. 

In Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, chickens are omnivorous animals and can eat a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein sources like insects and small animals. However, there are certain foods that chickens should avoid, such as salty and sugary treats, avocados, and raw or dried beans. These foods can cause health problems and even be fatal for chickens. As a chicken owner, it is important for you to provide a balanced and nutritious diet to your flock.

As you introduce new foods to your chickens, it is a good idea to introduce them gradually and keep an eye on your chickens and their reactions to the foods. To ensure a healthy and long life, be mindful of what your chickens can and cannot eat. Check out this website for poultry feed and treats for your birds.

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