Chickens will eat anything disregarding the health hazard. Most of the foods we eat are good for them including chicken. So can chickens eat potatoes?
We are used to tossing table scraps to our flock. However, most cooked food contains a lot of salt, butter and other seasonings which are not good for chickens.
So, do you know what foods are good for your girls? In this article I am going to take you through everything you need to know about chickens and potatoes.
This will help you know whether this is the right treat for you or not.
So, can chickens eat potatoes?
Yes! Chickens can eat raw peeled potatoes and cooked potatoes. This treat is laden with vitamins and minerals which make it healthy for chickens to eat.
Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates which makes them a very good source of starch for your hens. However, potato peels and the plants are toxic to chickens.
Just like it is with other chicken treats like bananas, potatoes need to be fed sparingly and in moderation.
They are only meant to supplement chicken diets with extra nutrients.
Can chickens eat potato peels and eyes?
Although chickens can have potatoes, the peels, eyes and potato plants are not good. These parts contain a chemical compound called solanine which can be toxic when eaten.
The concentration of solanine is very high in the above potato parts and plants. However, to make these parts safe for chickens to eat, they can be thoroughly cooked.
Cooking denatures and kills solanine making the potatoes safe for chickens top eat. In other potato types like sweet potatoes, the case is very different.
Sweet potato vines, flowers, peels and the flesh itself are good for chickens to eat. This root tuber is healthy and nutritious for your Silkie hens.
How to prepare potatoes for chickens
Since not the entire potato is good for chickens, these treats require some preparations to make them good and safe for chickens to consume.
Before you cook potatoes for your girls, it is good that you choose and select the best ones. Avoid green potatoes because they are germinating and contain high levels of solanine.
Red potatoes are good and chickens can eat them just like white ones. However red potato peels, eyes and plants are not safe and avoid them.
Rotten and soft potatoes are not good. Rotten ones can be very dangerous and may harbor harmful bacteria which can make your California white chickens sick.
Wash and clean the potatoes to remove any dirt and soil on them. Boil or blanch these treats under high temperatures to kill any solanine in them.
Do not put any oil, butter, salt and any other additives in potatoes meant for chickens. These critters do not require any oil or salt in their bodies.
What are the health benefits of feeding potatoes to chickens?
For you to understand this better, study the table below.
Vitamin C 19.7mg
Vitamin K 2ug
As you can see from the table above, potatoes are very nutritious to feed to chickens. Tossing frozen potatoes to chickens on a hot summer day will help cool their bodies.
They contain a lot of water which will help keep your hens hydrated. Chickens that eat this treat will not suffer from anemia because they contain some iron in them.
Are you worried about your hens having constipation? Potatoes are an excellent source of fiber for your Welsummer chickens. Fiber helps the bowels run smoothly in the chicken’s body thus keeping them free from constipation.
Can baby chickens eat potatoes?
Baby chickens are slightly different from big hens and roosters in terms of protein requirements. This the reason these little critters should stick to chick starter feeds.
Potatoes do not contain all the nutrients that baby chicks require for healthy growth and development. Let these birds eat chick feeds until they are about six weeks old and fully feathered.
Do not forget that potatoes contain a toxic chemical called solanine which can be toxic to baby chickens when ingested.
Feeding treats to chicks can lead to malnutrition, ill health and even death. To avoid this, let your chicks eat the recommended diet until their digestive systems are fully developed to handle treats.
What can’t chickens eat?
There are a wide variety of foods that chickens can eat. However, there are also others that are toxic for them and can lead to ill health or death when eaten.
For some the plant is poisonous while the fruit is good to eat. Others, the fruit is good but the seeds and pits are toxic and harmful.
So, what are these things that are not good for chickens?
Avocado seed- A ripe avocado fruit is good and nutritious for your girls. However, the seed contains substantive amounts of cyanide enough to kill your chickens.
Cherry pits and grape seeds- Cherry pits and grape seeds fall in the same category with avocado seed. They are cyanide laden and can cause death or ill health when ingested.
Rotten food- Bad and rotten food is bad for your chickens just like it is bad for you. This includes expired food and food contaminated with molds.
Raw meat- Uncooked meat is very harmful because it can cause salmonella poisoning to your flock. However, cooked meat and leftover chicken can be tossed to chickens in small amounts as a treat.
Night shade family- Members of the night shade family are a serious threat to chickens. These includes potato plant, tomato plant and bell pepper plants.
Caffeine- Chickens do not require coffee or tea like we do. This is because these products contain high amounts of caffeine which is not good for their health.
Can chickens eat potatoes final thoughts
Treats are good for chickens because they help supplement their bodies with extra vitamins and minerals.
However, treats should be fed sparingly and in moderation. Do not do away with the chicken’s staple diet just because you found out they can eat potatoes.
Potato plant, peels and eyes are toxic because they are concentrated with solanine. Avoid these parts to keep your hens safe.