Chickens and we can eat several similar types of foods especially grains. However most of the foods we eat are not very healthy to chickens in one way or another. But the question is, can chickens eat popcorn?
Chooks love treats as much as we do. Tossing tasty stuff to your chickens will make them learn to come to you with the tasty stuff in their minds.
Learning to appreciate your pet chickens with a token of something special is a way of appreciating your birds. Do you give popcorns to chickens?
So, can chickens eat popcorn?
Yes! Popcorns are tasty treats for chickens. However, they should only comprise of a small fraction of the food they eat.
They should be fed as treats in moderation and should never replace the chicken’s staple diet. This treat is low in vitamins and minerals just like bread hence feed it to them sparingly once in a while.
This treat can easily make your chickens gain too much weight that recommended. Overweight chickens are prone to respiratory and heart problems. They also develop joint and back problems.
What types of popcorn are good for chickens?
When choosing popcorns, it is good to know that those sold in supermarkets contains high levels of salt, additives and sweeteners.
These types of popcorns are only good for you. Am sure you always grab some to keep you busy at the cinema. So, what problems can be brought by salt, additives and sweeteners?
Salt is a very important component in the health of chickens. It contains some important minerals that help in healthy body development.
Chickens are able to get enough salt from the chicken feeds you give to them. As we know, excess salt in our bodies is excreted together with urine.
Chickens do not pass out urine like we but instead, their waste is passed out in droppings. Excess salt in chickens will damage their kidneys where it will accumulate in large levels because there is no urine to pass it out.
Most popcorns sold have some added sugars to improve on their taste. When chickens get used to sweet foods they may develop a taste for sugar and refuse non sugary foods.
Excess sugars in the body of chickens will end up being converted into fat. Fat chickens are heavy and overweight or obese.
Such birds cannot escape predators like hawks and possums because of their heavy weight. They are also prone to most diseases associated with too much weight gain.
Additives and preservatives
Additives and preservatives are another component that you will find added in popcorns. These additives are added so that the product can have a longer shelf life.
Some like pepper are added to give the popcorns a different flavor depending on individual preferences. Preservatives like sulphur are common in most packed foods and are not healthy for chickens.
Can chickens eat popcorn kernels?
Chickens can have popcorns and the kernels too. Popcorn kernels are hard and contain some moisture in them. This moisture causes pressure build up when the kernels are heated making them pop into popcorns.
The hard kernels will be ground in the chicken gizzard by grit into smaller pieces that are easily digestible.
If the chickens don’t have enough grit, these kernels will act as grit themselves but with time they will get soft and are passed out.
Fresh popcorn kernels in combs can be fed to chickens but in moderation. Hang a few combs in the chicken coop to keep these birds busy.
How to prepare popcorns
If this treat is meant for chickens, the best way is pop them without adding any butter or salt. Butter popcorn is not good for you chooks.
This is a dairy product and these products are not good for chickens. It is oily too and the digestive system of your birds is does not digest oils.
So, how do you go about preparing popcorns for chickens?
1. Buy popcorns that have no additives.
2. Prepare your popcorn popping machine ready and pop as much as you want.
3. Toss the cool popcorns to your feathered friends.
Maybe you are wondering where to purchase good quality popcorn kernels. The kernels are available in Amazon where they are sold packed in different quantities.
Poppers are sold in different sizes depending on what you want or the amount of kernels you want popped at a time.
How much popcorn should chickens eat?
As I above stated, popcorns are treats and should not make you do away with the staple feeds you give to chickens.
They should be fed to chickens in moderation either once or twice a week. You can serve them to chicken either directly or choose to mix them with feeds.
Remove any left-over popcorns the chicken feeders. Maybe they have eaten to their fill. Burnt popcorns are not good to chickens just as they are not good to us. Why feed these birds what you cannot eat?
What other human food can chickens eat?
Most of the food we eat chickens will eat it too. Healthy human foods that chickens can eat should be free from oils and salt. Below are some of these foods.
The seed of peaches, avocado and grapes contains high levels of cyanide that is not good for the health of chickens.
Also, check on some fruit peels like those of mangoes since they may be laden with pesticides and other farm chemicals.
There are a variety of vegetables that are very nutritious to chickens. Here are some: Celery leaves and stems, asparagus, pumpkin, ripe tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers and turnips.
Grains are among the foods that make up the chickens diet. Examples are: Wheat, cracked corn, oats, millets, sorghum, barley and rice.
The above grains can be fed to chickens either raw or cooked. Others are sunflower seeds, cotton seeds and dried fish mixed with some cereals to make chicken feeds.
What do chickens eat naturally?
Chickens on free range will eat up anything they find edible. They devour on small plants and weeds. If not controlled, they can sneak in your vegetable garden and damage your favorite vegies.
They will collect slugs, snails, grass hoppers and other insects that cross their path. You will see them scratching the ground reaching earth worms and if they get small snakes, they become tasty protein too.
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