Chickens are omnivores and are not picky eaters. Anything that is edible will be munched by your hens and they will not spare a rodent that crosses their path. So can chickens eat tomatoes?
It has become a norm for us to share most of the foods we eat with our chickens. This is a good way because everything from our garden or chicken is utilized and does not turn into waste.
So, in this case, where do tomatoes fall? Are they good for chickens to eat or not? This article deals with chickens and tomatoes so, keep scrolling!
Can chickens eat tomatoes?
Tomatoes are certainly on the list of foods that you should toss to your chickens to peck at. However, only ripe tomatoes are good for chickens to eat.
These tasty vegetables are not just good for us but for our chickens too. They are packed with a host of minerals and minerals which are beneficial to the health of your Yellow hens.
Perhaps you are skeptical at first because they are night shades, ripe or overripe tomatoes pose no threat to your chickens as long as they are not moldy.
Why not ripe tomatoes?
In most cases green is a good sign while red signals danger. However, the case is very different with tomatoes.
Green tomatoes contain solanine a toxic chemical to chickens and other farm animals when consumed. They can lead to ill health and even death so, watch out!
When they ripen well, the solanine is denatured by the ripening process thus, rendering them safe for chickens and other poultry like ducks and geese to eat.
Are cooked tomatoes safe for chickens?
Cooked tomatoes are completely safe for chickens to eat. In fact, cooking them will kill any harmful microorganisms which might be present or any traces of solanine.
However most of our cooked foods contain salt alongside with other additives. If this is so, do not feed such tomatoes to chickens.
Sodium can be very toxic to them because it will damage their kidneys. If you want to cook tomatoes to your hen breeds, do not add oil, salt or any spices.
Can chickens eat tomato plants?
Now, this is where the real issue is. Bell peppers have taught us that not all parts of a plant are safe to eat. Here comes a tomato with the similar lesson.
Tomato plants are members of the night shade family alongside with bell peppers. The leaves, flowers and even the stems are laden with solanine hence, very toxic for chickens.
Although chickens aren’t picky, they will first choose what food for their stomachs is before indulging. Do not risk letting your chickens try tomato plants.
For this case, you are wise that your roosters and lose them for something that is avoidable.
What of the seeds?
Don’t confuse them with those of cherries or avocado that have cyanide. These seeds contain no harmful chemical and therefore let chickens enjoy the fruit together with the seeds.
What are the health benefits of feeding tomatoes to chickens?
As I said earlier, tomatoes are laden with a host of good vitamins, minerals and some powerful antioxidants which are good for chicken’s health.
Do not let some of your extra fruit go into waste after a bumper harvest but instead let them help supplement your chickens diet.
Study the table below to know the benefits of feeding tomatoes to chickens.
Vitamin C 18.92g
Vitamin K 11.77mcg
As you can see, tomatoes are good vegetables to feed to chickens just like zucchinis are. However do not forget that they are treats.
All chicken treats should be fed in moderation. In this case, just toss a few tomatoes for your chickens each week and do not do away with their staple diet.
Can baby chicks eat tomatoes?
We have dealt deeply with adult hens and if they can eat tomatoes. However, the case is not very different with baby chicks.
These little critters can eat tomatoes too. But for chicks, treats are not the best food for them. Let them stick to chick starter feeds until they are six weeks old.
Remember that they require a high protein diet for proper growth and development. Tomatoes do not have that amount of protein and feeding them to chicks can lead to malnutrition.
How many tomatoes can chickens eat?
Chickens are not in the capacity to know how much to eat or not. These birds will continue to enjoy themselves until they have their stomach full.
In fact, they should not exceed 10% of their total diet. Tomatoes are treats and this rule applies to them too.
Toss them to chickens once in a while to supplement their diet with extra nutrients. Remember that too much of something is poison.
Tomatoes are very succulent and can mess with the poop your chickens pass from down there. This will make them mess with their coops and even the butts.
How to prepare tomatoes for chickens
Tomatoes do not require much preparations if they have to be fed to chickens raw. Pick well ripen tomatoes and toss them directly to your hens.
Avoid those store bought tomatoes that you are not sure where they were grown. Some may be laden with toxic chemicals used back in the farm which can be toxic when ingested.
You can chop and put the treat in clean chicken feeders. This way your chickens will eat it while still clean unlike when it is tossed on the ground.
Tomatoes can be used as a decoy to entice chickens to come back on time to their coops and roost. But if you want to cook them boil slightly or blanch them with no oils and salt.
What vegetables can chickens eat?
Apart from tomatoes, there are a host of vegetables that chickens can eat. These include:
Carrots– Carrots are good vegetables to toss to chickens. They are packed with a lot of nutrients that are good for the health and well-being of your hens.
Broccoli– Broccoli is good, healthy and tasty to your hen breeds. They are low in sugars making them one of the healthiest vegetables chickens can eat.
However, feed them to your flock in moderation and avoid those bought from the store because they may contain harmful pesticides.
Kale-Kale is a very nutritious vegetable to feed to chickens. You will never know how much your chickens love kale until they sneak in your vegetable garden.
Hang a bunch of kale in your chicken coop to keep your girls busy pecking.
Asparagus– Asparagus is a tasty vegetable to your chicken breeds just as it is to you. They are mineral laden and are good when fed to chickens as a treat.
Celery– Celery is a good treat for chickens. Do not throw away those stalks if your chickens are around because they are tasty.
Chop that leftover celery and mix it your chicken feed. This way your flock will get a well-balanced course in one plate.
So, can chickens eat tomatoes? Yes these tasty vegetables are good when fed as a treat in moderation. Chickens will eat tomato sauce too but it is not the best.
Canned tomatoes and tomato sauce contain some additives which are not good for chicken’s health. In addition they are over processed and will make your chickens obese.
Remember that only ripe tomatoes are good for chickens. Green tomatoes and the entire plant contain solanine which can be toxic when swallowed.