Can Chickens Eat Whole Corn?

Chickens will eat almost anything that seems edible to them. This tells why these feathered critters eat a wide variety of foods including chicken. But the question is, can chickens eat whole corn?

Yes! Whole corn is good and healthy food for chickens to eat. It is packed with a host of nutrients and minerals that are beneficial to their health.

However, corn should be fed in moderation along with other treats like popcorn. It does not contain all the nutrients in a balanced ration.

In this article, I am going to take you through everything you need to know between chickens and whole corn. This will help you know whether it is the right food for your pet chickens or not.

Let’s roll!

Can chickens eat whole corn?

Chickens can and will eat whole corn if they get it. This treat is certainly on their diet and they love it just the way you love chicken.

Many years ago when there were no commercial feeds, the farmer’s wife tossed whole corn to her flock of heritage chickens as food.

Although they can eat corn to their fill as the main course, it does not contain all the nutrients like commercial feeds have.

This is the reason you should only feed it to them in moderation. Chickens can eat whole corn kernels as well as cracked corn.

Frozen corn is a good way to treat your friendliest chicken breeds during summer or on a sunny day. This cold corn will help keep their bodies cool and full.

How much corn should chicken eat?

Chickens should eat whole corn as a treat but not as the main diet. The general rule of thumb is that treats like raisins, cabbage and others account for not more than 10% of their diet.

The remaining 90% should comprise of commercial chicken feeds. These feeds are well formulated and have all the nutrients in balanced proportions.

Never do away with the commercial feeds simply because your roosters are eating whole corn. Sometimes too much treats are addictive in such a way that these chooks develop a taste for them.

It becomes hard trying to adjust them go back to their feeds. This is so because most treats like mango are sweet and contain sugar.

Although corn is the main raw material in commercial feeds, there is other stuff added of course. Here corn is ground and they eat it with other nutritious foods like fish and sunflower seeds.

Dried corn is good because it can be mixed with other types of cereals to make chicken scratch. This way, chickens are kept busy and treated especially during cold evenings.

Corn will keep their bodies warm during winter. Whole corn is regarded as a hot treat and will help generate some metabolism heat during digestion. It is carbohydrate rich and is converted into fat. This treat is digested in the chicken gizzard by the help of grit.

The gizzard has some thick muscles that help grind the foods chicken eat. Unlike you, chickens do not have teeth and that’s the reason they need grit made up of oyster shells and pebbles.

This is why chickens are able to digest corn kernels and unpopped popcorn. Additionally, tossing whole corn in the chicken coop is a good way to keep your hen breeds busy scratching before dusk. This will keep them occupied and prevent cases of bullying, fighting and feather picking.

Chickens can begin to eat corn at an early age. But it is advisable that chicks stick to starter feeds because they are protein rich. Baby chickens cannot manage to digest whole corn because their digestive systems are not well developed. Additionally, whole corn is too big for them to swallow and can cause chocking.

Remember that they are in their rapid growth stage and need a well-balanced meal for proper development. They call for a protein rich diet at the rate of 22-24%. Chicks also need other vitamins, minerals and plenty of clean drinking water.

Cracked corn vs whole corn

Can chickens eat whole kernel corn?

Whole corn is basically corn that has been untampered with and it is just the way it was in the farm. It contains the husk and it is not processed at all.

This type of corn is good for adult chickens because they can easily swallow it whole. However, it is too big for baby chicks and bantam chickens to swallow.

It is more nutritious because it has not undergone any processing.

Cracked corn is the type that has been broken into small pieces. It is most common as bird seed because small birds can swallow it with ease.

Chicks and bantam chickens can swallow it too. It is not the best for chickens because it has undergone processing.

Both cracked corn and whole corn are yummy treats for chickens. However, they should be fed in moderation to supplement their main meal.

I toss a cup of corn for my ISA Brown chickens as a way of thanking them for their large brown eggs. This way, they always come back to their pallet chicken coop on time hoping to find more.

I have been growing deer corn to feed chickens while the stalks are eaten by my heifers.  A fresh corn comb is good when hanged in the coop as it keeps the birds busy while pecking at it.

Are banana peels good for chickens?

Yes! Banana peels are an excellent way to treat chickens. You can also choose to feed some of your extra banana fruit to your hen breeds.

Both the banana fruit and peels are rich in potassium, phosphorus as well as other vitamins and minerals that are good for chickens.

The peels are large and tough for chickens to swallow whole. Chop them into small pieces so that they can swallow without choking.

You can boil them for a few minutes in plain water to make them soft and tender. Mashing them is also an excellent way to feed especially when mixed with other treats like cheese and celery.

Can chickens eat chickpeas?

Chickpeas are good when fed to chickens. They are rich in protein which will help in the healthy growth of their bodies.

Protein rich chickpeas will also ensure that your hens lay those fresh eggs. This tasty treat is also rich in other nutrients that are good for your feathered friend.

Enough protein will ensure you get good quality rooster meat as the muscles in your bird will be fully developed.

Just as it is with other treats, chickpeas should be fed in moderation. They should never exceed more than 10% of their food.

When can chicks have mealworms?

Mealworms are one of the best treats to feed your chickens. At the age of 2-3 weeks, baby chicks can have mealworms together with chick grit.

These worms can be either dried or fresh. They are very rich in protein and are good fed as a treat to supplement on whatever protein they get from the chick starter feeds.

Mealworms for chickens are a great idea. Those adult hens and roosters need protein supplements too. Hens top the priority list because they need enough protein to make healthy eggs.

Final Thoughts

Chickens can eat whole corn as a treat. This means that moderation is key when feeding this treat to your chooks.

It lacks all the required nutrients thus becomes good when fed sparingly. Chickens can easily digest whole corn as well as corn husks.

Do your chickens eat whole corn? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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