Chickens are not picky eaters and will eat almost anything that seems edible including chicken. So, can chickens eat bread?
Most foods that people eat are good for chickens when fed in moderation as treats. However, it is important you avoid feeding chickens’ foods with salt, fat and sugar.
In this article, we are going to discuss whether bread is good for chickens to eat or not. This will help you make a decision when feeding these feathered friends.
Do chickens eat bread?
Bread is the last thing you should feed to your chickens. It has very little or no nutrients at all meaning that this is just an empty bulk in their bodies.
Not just to chickens, ducks, geese, and other poultry should not be fed bread. If you toss white bread, brown bread or garlic bread chickens will eat it up.
These chooks are not picky and do not know them harm that bread can cause to them. Sometimes, left over bread may have overstayed on the shelf and got bad with molds on it.
Moldy bread is toxic to chickens and can cause serious health issues or even death. It is dangerous to your birds just as it is to you.
So, bread and bread crumbs should not be fed to chickens whether as a treat or as their main course. Baby chickens should neither not be fed on bread.
Let these little critters stick to their chick starter feeds and plenty of clean drinking water.
So, why not feed bread to chickens?
It has nutrients
Bread is mainly starch. What too much carbs will do is that they will be broken down and converted into fat.
Fat chickens are too heavy to walk and flee from predators. It is common to see chicken limping because they develop joint and back problems.
Chickens require a well-rounded diet for happy growth and healthy development. For the baby chicks, more protein is very vital because they need to feather up and put on more muscles and other tissues.
Bread can choke chickens
Maybe you are excited to see that your chickens, ducks and geese eat bread very well. Watch out! Those large pieces of bread can easily choke your birds to death.
Bread expands inside the chicken’s mouth and increases in volume. The large bread then gets stuck in the chicken’s throat blocking air passage.
When swallowed, dry bread can block the crop and prevent food from proceeding down to the chicken gizzard for further digestion.
If it is a must for chickens to eat bread, cut it into small pieces for easier swallowing.
Bread may have some molds
In most cases, we feed our left over foods to chickens. Some of these foods may have overstayed on the food shelf and turned moldy.
Mold can cause serious respiratory problems to chickens. In addition to that, molds can cause degeneration of tissues in the liver.
This may limit protein utilization in the body and also make them lay few poor quality eggs.
It can easily ferment
Bread contains sugar, yeast and other additives that can easily ferment inside the chicken’s crop. The fermentation process can alter the ph levels.
Change in the ph level can increase or decrease bacteria activities that take place triggering health complications.
On top of that, the digestive system of chickens is not designed to handle bread. Once swallowed, bread forms balls inside the crop that can block food from proceeding down the gizzard.
Can chickens eat nuts?
Nuts are one of the best treats for chickens. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and fats that are very good for the chickens health.
However, just because chickens have developed a taste for nuts you should do away with their main diet. Nuts are treats and should be fed in moderation to supplement their diet.
The types of nuts you feed to your chickens should have no salt, butter and seasonings. Their digestive system does not need all that.
Feeding nuts to chickens is good because those extra nuts after a bumper harvest will not go into waste. These tasty treats will help your hens keep their bodies warm during winter.
They are very rich in proteins which will help- their bodies grow.
What nuts are good for chickens to eat?
Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazel nuts, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts to mention just but a few.
These nuts should be fed in moderation as a treat. They should never make up more than 10% of the total diet.
You can toss nuts directly to chickens or mix them with other grains to make a wholesome chicken scratch.
Throw nuts on the cedar shavings to keep the chickens busy scratching before night falls. These tasty treats can be a good way to lure your chickens return in their pallet coop in time.
Can chickens eat marshmallows?
Marshmallows are jut similar to bread only that they are sugar rich. They contain very little nutrients and can choke your chickens.
The too much sugar in them can make your feathered friends obese and overweight. Obese chickens are too heavy to walk or flee from predators like bears, hawks and possums.
Fat chickens easily develop liver, joint and back problems. They also lay few eggs or stop laying at all. Avoid feeding sugary foods to your birds.
Marshmallows are a type of junk foods meant to entice kids and keep them snacking before lunch is served.
If it is a must for chickens to have marshmallows, toss to them chopped pieces to avoid choking. Also let them have this junk as a treat by feeding sparingly and in limited quantities.
Can chickens have bread? Final thoughts
Chickens can eat bread if it is tossed to them. These chooks are not picky and will eat up almost anything they find edible.
However, not all human foods are safe for chickens to consume. Some contains salt, butter, and other seasonings that are toxic to their bodies.
Choose healthy treats for chickens like fruits, vegetables and whole corn. Avoid junk foods like chips, chocolate and marshmallows.
Remember that all treats should never exceed 10% of the total foods given to chickens. Treats are only meant to make them happy and supplement their diet with extra vitamins and minerals.
Do not forget that apart from food, chickens require plenty of clean drinking water. Water helps keep their bodies cool and hydrated.
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