Can Chickens Eat Corn? Is it Healthy

Chickens love grains and cereals a lot. Corn is one of the raw materials used to make commercial chicken feeds. So, can chickens eat corn?

There are a ho0st of chicken treats to toss to your hens. They include a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, edible herbs and table scraps.

Corn has been used for many years as a reliable food for chickens. Years back, farmers could toss it to their birds as the main course and let them supplement it with forage and tasty insects from the backyard.

In this article, I am going to tell you everything you need to know between chickens and corn. This will help you know whether it is the right treat or not.

Can chickens eat corn?

Yes! Fresh, dried, cooked or uncooked corn is very safe for chickens to eat. It is very rich in carbohydrates plus other nutrients which are good for the health of your hens.

Corn is one of the major raw materials used to make chicken feeds. This is because it is very rich in energy which chickens require in their bodies.

If it is in abundance especially after a bumper harvest, feel free to share it with your chickens. They will love to scratch the ground collecting every single grain.

Can chickens eat corn cobs and husks?

The answer is yes! Chickens will enjoy eating corn cobs and husks if you toss to them. These cobs are rich in protein and will help in building their bodies.

Whole kernel corn in cobs is a good treat for chickens in the cold winter months. As they digest it, it releases some metabolism heat which keeps their bodies warm.

In addition to the cobs, corn husks are also an excellent treat for them to eat. This will help keep them busy while eating something during the day.

Do chickens like corn?

Yes! Chickens like corn and they will eat it up if you toss to them. It is tasty and appetizing just like those dried mealworms or chopped celery from your kitchen.

It is evident that chickens like cereals because they are seed eaters. You will see chicken eating corn if they find it when ranging on the fields.

Whether it is cracked corn or whole corn, it is a safe and sweet snack for your feathered friends. You can buy corn for chickens on various online stores or in the market near you.

Whole corn vs cracked corn

According to mea, there is no big difference between whole and cracked corn. Whole corn is left to ripen and dry to reduce the moisture content in it.

Cracked corn is simply whole corn that has been broken down in small pieces. This makes it easier for small chicken breeds and chicks to swallow.

Whole and cracked corns are used to make various types of chicken scratch you see in the market. When cracked, corn is used to make bird seed used to feed most aviary and wild birds.

How much corn can chickens eat?

Although corn is viewed as a staple chicken diet, it is advisable to feed it as a treat. So, in this case do not forget that too much of something is poison.

The general rule of thumb suggests that all treats fed to chickens should not exceed 10% of their total diet.

Treats are meant to supply chickens with extra nutrients. So, do not do away with their main course or replace it with corn.

A handful of this treat once per week will do them good. Toss it to them before bedtime and this will help boost them with heat as they digest it.

Raw corn can be used to entice and lure them to return in their coop and roost in time. This will help prevent your notorious chickens like Lakenvelders and Hamburg’s from roosting on trees.

What are the health benefits of feeding corn to chickens?

As I said earlier, corn is very rich in carbohydrates. This makes it an energy rich treat good to make chickens stronger and healthy.

Apart from carbs, this treat is loaded with other nutrients in small amounts. However, this does not mean it should be fed to chickens alone.

Study the table below to see the benefits of feeding corn to chickens.

Nutrients                                            Amounts

Calories                                                90kcal

Protein                                                 3g

Fat                                                       1g

Carbohydrates                                  19g

Fiber                                                    1g

Sugars                                                 5g

Vitamin C                                            3.6g


Can baby chicks eat corn?

Whole corn is big for baby chicks to eat. It can easily choke these little critters and it is not the right type of food for them.

Baby chicks should stick to their starter feeds until they are about 6 weeks of age. When young, their digestive systems are not fully developed to digest corn which is tough.

However, this does not mean that these little fluffy buddies cannot eat corn. When cracked or mixed with other stuff to make chicken scratch, they can eat it up.

Baby chicks will also need chick grit to help grind down food. Remember that chickens do not have teeth to chew food and will rely on grit inside the gizzard.

Plenty of clean drinking water will also do a good job too. It will help keep their bodies well hydrated and cool on a hot summer day.

Can chickens eat corn tortillas?

Yes! Corn and flour tortillas are good for chickens to eat. However they should only be fed sparingly and in small amounts.

Remember that tortillas are processed and may contain additives like sugar and salt in them. Most processed foods like popcorn and chips are junk to chickens.

These foods can easily make these birds heavy and obese. If they are obese, chickens will easily suffer from joint and back problems.

Overweight chickens will not manage to flee when predators like possums and hawks chase them down for lunch.

What type of corn can chickens eat?

Since chickens can eat both cooked and raw corn, it does not need much preparation. Some folks will go ahead and toss it just the way it is either fresh or dried.

However, corn can be fed to chickens in various ways:

Dry corn

Dry corn is allowed to remain in the field and dry under the sun before it is harvested. Normally, dry maize is easy to store and not perishable unlike when it is green and fresh.

Remove the grains from the combs by hand or by the help of a shelling machine. Toss the dry grains directly or crack them into small pieces.

This type of corn is hard and large for small chickens to swallow. However it is a good treat that will help keep chickens warm in winter.


Cooked corn is common as leftovers in many homes. Fresh corn with cobs is boiled and eaten as a snack because it is soft and tasty.

However, avoid feeding chickens corn laden with salt and other additives. Leftover cooked corn should be fed in moderation.


Frozen treats are a good way to keep chickens cool on a hot summer day. Put corn in a bowl, add water and put it inside your freezer.

You can mix the fresh corn and freeze it together with other treats like strawberries, blackberries, apples and watermelon.


Pass a string in between a corn cob and hang it inside your chicken coop. This can be done to a dry cob or a fresh one.

Hanging corn cobs for chickens is a good way to break boredom and keep them busy. It will keep them occupied pecking before dusk.

When left idle, chickens will start to fight, feather pick and bully each other.


Corn is one of the best treats you can toss to chickens. It is rich in nutrients and will help supplement the diet of your feathered friends.

However, this treat is good when fed in moderation. It does not have all the nutrients that chickens require for healthy growth and robust development.

Apart from corn, there are a host of other treats which are good and healthy for chickens. They include fruits, vegetables, nuts and edible herbs.

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