What can chickens eat? A definitive list

Chickens are omnivores when ranging. They will eat a variety of plants, grass, insects, grubs and seeds. A stray rodent that will cross their path will not be spared either. So, what can chickens eat?

These feathered friends will, also enjoy it very much if you make it a habit tossing tasty treats to break boredom and supplement their normal diet with extra nutrients.

However, although chickens are not picky eaters, not all things are safe for consumption. There are things they can eat and others that they cannot.

In this article, I am going to tackle the chicken edibles. These foods can be good too with your ducks, turkeys and other farm poultry.

Let’s roll!

Can chickens eat meat?

Yes! Chickens can eat meat as a treat. However, they should only eat well cooked meat that has no salt, fat and other additives.

Raw meat should never be fed to chickens. Feeding uncooked meat to your flock can cause salmonella poisoning which can be a recipe to ill health or death.

Chop those cooked chunks of meat into bite-sized pieces to avoid chocking. Toss it to them once in a while and in moderation.

Can chickens eat chicken?

Chickens can eat well cooked chicken pretty well. Although they can dine on their own kind, avoid raw chicken by all means.

Raw chicken can cause salmonella poisoning or encourage cannibalism in your hens. Just like meat, chickens do not require spicy chicken with salt, butter and oil. Remove the bones too because they can choke your friendliest chickens to death when swallowed.

Can chickens eat shrimp?

Yes! . They love sea food and will eat them in different forms the way you want them to.

Shrimps are very healthy and loaded with many beneficial vitamins and minerals for your girls. However, feed shrimps to chickens in moderation.

Chickens can eat shrimp shells too. They are a great source of calcium which is very good for bone formation and eggshell formation in laying hens.

Can chickens eat celery?

Yes! Celery is certainly on the chickens menu. This tasty vegetable is packed with a host of vitamins, minerals and other powerful antioxidants.

Celery is low in calories and sugar making it one of the best chicken treats for your Polish pullets and other chicken breeds.

However, just like the general rule of thumb states, all chicken treats should be fed in moderation and never exceed 10% of their total diet.

Can chickens eat potatoes?

Raw peeled and cooked potatoes are good for chickens. The peels, eyes and green potatoes should never be fed at all because they contain a toxic chemical called solanine.

In addition to that, potato stems, leaves and flowers too are solanine laden and should never be fed to chickens at all.

Chickens can eat cooked whole and mashed potatoes too. When cooked, potatoes can be mixed with other treats and chicken feeds to make a wholesome meal.

Can chickens eat bell pepper?

Bell peppers and other types of hot peppers are good for chickens to eat. These vegetables are high in minerals and antioxidants making them safe for chickens to eat.

The pepper fruit and the seeds are safe for chickens to eat. However, bell pepper leaves, stems and flowers are laden with solanine which is toxic for chickens.

Peppers are hot treats good for chickens on a cold winter season. They will help generate some heat when they are digested keeping your brown pullets warm.

Can chickens eat cabbage?

Cabbage is a very good treat to feed to your friendliest chicken breeds. This vegetable treat contains a host of vitamins and minerals which are good for chicken’s health.

You can choose to hang a whole cabbage head in your chicken coop for the girls to eat. This way they will be kept busy pecking instead of bullying and feather picking.

Can chickens eat almonds?

Almonds and other tasty nuts are good for chickens. They are mineral laden and will help improve the health of your red chicken breeds.

Although almonds are good for chickens, eating too much of them can lead to digestive issues, thus, feed them to your flock in moderation.

Can chickens eat peanuts?

Yes! Chickens can eat peanuts and peanuts shells too. These nuts are good and are packed with some beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Too much peanuts are not good because they contain anti-nutrient trypsin which can cause serious health issues.

Can chickens eat mealworms?

Yes! These tasty worms are one of the favorite treats for chickens. They are very rich in protein and are one of the best foods for molting chickens.

Mealworms can be served to chickens dry or fresh depending on how you want them. However, they do not have all the nutrients chickens require for proper growth thus should be fed in moderation.

Can chickens eat whole corn?

Yes! Corn is rich in carbohydrate plus other nutrients which are beneficial to the chickens.

Whole corn forms one of the basic materials that are used in the manufacture of commercial chicken feeds.

Tossing a handful of whole corn will help keep the chickens warm as they digest it on a cold winter night. However moderation is key when feeding.

Can chickens eat mango?

Yes! Chickens can enjoy mango fruit like they enjoy kiwi. This fruit is tasty and healthy with a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Mango is a good fruit that chickens love to eat. Let your chickens eat this fruit in moderation because it contains too much sugar.

If chickens develop a habit of eating sweet foods, they can refuse to eat other foods that have no sugars in them.

Too much sugar is converted into fat which will make them obese, heavy and overweight. When they became obese, they cannot flee predators and are prone to joint and back problems.

Can chickens eat carrots?

Yes! . This tasty vegetable is healthy and packed with a host of vitamins and minerals which are good for your Black copper marans chickens.

However, carrots are packed with sugars which are not good for the health of your birds and need to be fed in moderation.

Can chickens eat pumpkin?

Yes! Pumpkin flesh, seeds rinds and the pumpkin plants are good food for chickens to eat. Pumpkins are loaded with powerful nutrients which are good for the well-being of your birds.

Cut open pumpkin fruit to expose the soft fleshy part and the seeds for your girls. You can also choose to chop this treat into tiny pieces and serve it without the fear of chocking.

Can chickens eat watermelon?

Watermelons and chickens are an inseparable pair. Chickens love and eat watermelons very well. They will peck at the seeds, flesh and the rinds as well.

This fruit is very succulent and a frozen piece of it will help cool your girls on a hot summer day as well as keep their bodies well hydrated.

Chickens will also peck and eat watermelon leaves, flowers and the soft parts of the vines.

Can chickens eat grapes?

Grapes are good fruits to feed to your chickens. They are laden with a host of vitamins and minerals which are very beneficial to your hens.

However, grape seeds are a no to your flock. These seeds contain persin a toxic chemical to the health of your chickens when swallowed.

Grape vines and the soft parts of the stem are very edible to your chickens. Don’t be surprised if you see your birds trying to jump up to reach the soft leaves to eat.

Can chickens eat cucumbers?

Cucumbers are very good for chickens. They are moisture laden and will help keep your birds hydrated on a hot day.

They are low in calories and sugars but high in vitamins and other minerals making them very healthy to feed to chickens.

Be very careful with the cucumbers you are feeding to your chickens. Those store bought cucumbers may contain pesticides and other farm chemicals which can be toxic to your white roosters and other chickens.

Can chickens eat rice?

Yes! Chickens can eat rice, rice krispies and rice cakes. Rice is very rich in starch which is a good source of energy to your chickens.

Cooked and raw rice is good. You can choose to feed chickens white rice or brown rice depending on the one that is readily available.

Can chickens eat Indian corn?

Yes! Chickens do like Indian corn just like they will eat whole corn and other whole cereals. Indian corn is rich in carbohydrate making it a good source of energy to your chickens.

Can chickens eat scratch?

Yes! Chicken scratch is one of the best treats for your chickens. Since chicken scratch is made up of a variety of leftover grains and other cereals, your hens will get a host of nutrients from it.

Toss a handful of scratch on chicken bedding to keep them busy scratching and pecking at every single grain they find.

This is a good way to break their boredom, get warm and supplement their regular staple diets of crumbles and pellets.

Can chickens eat cracked corn?

Yes! Chickens will enjoy eat cracked corn and bird seed very well. Cracked corn is rich in carbohydrates plus other nutrients just like Indian corn and whole corn.

Yellow corn, white corn or brown corn is a good source of energy for your chickens. They will eat corn husks or corn flour too if you give it to them.

Can chickens eat asparagus?

Yes! Asparagus are good vegetable treats to toss to your hens. Just like cucumbers, they are low in sugars and calories making them good for chickens to eat even in excess.

They are rich in minerals and vitamins which are very beneficial to chickens health and well-being. However, do not do away with their main diet just because you found out they can eat this treat pretty well.

Can chickens eat lettuce?

Yes! Chickens will dine on lettuce very well. This vegetable treat is packed with a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are good for their health.

Romaine lettuce and other types of lettuce are good for chickens but in moderation. Too much of this treat can lead to health issues.

Can chickens eat grass?

Yes! Fresh green grass is very good for chickens. These birds love to forage a lot and grass is one of the plants they eat on the backyard.

Care should be taken to avoid letting chickens forage on grass sprayed with toxic chemicals which may pose a health risk.

Can chickens eat lavender?

Yes! This herb is rich in minerals and some powerful antioxidants which are good for their bodies.

If you have an idle garden, don’t mind to plant some lavender for chickens. Herbs are not just good for us but for our chickens too.

How much should you feed chickens and how often?

According to most animal nutritionists, an average chicken should eat 1.5lbs of feed a day. However, in most cases, the chickens will either be overfed or underfed.

Most chickens at their rapid stage of growth will eat more than adult chickens. Hens will need more food to manufacture eggs plus shells.

Broiler chickens will call for more food. They have more muscles, tissues and other body organs they are required to develop to attain the right market weight.

Chickens that are fed on rations are likely to eat what is provided until the next meal. However, this will be a great disadvantage to calm hens that will only eat after the assertive ones have had their fill. Perhaps, only after there is too little or everything is over.

There is need for your flock to have access to food and clean drinking water all day. One chicken feeder should serve a maximum of 6 chickens.

Do chickens require treats?

Yes! Chicken treats are very important because they help supplement the diet of your roosters with some extra vitamins and minerals.

However, treats should not replace their staple diet. They should not exceed 10% of their total diet just as the general rule of thumb states.

Some treats like vegetables should only be fed to your flock if you are sure about their source. Feeding some from unknown sources risks the birds eating poisonous pesticides and other farm chemicals.

Treats are a good way to keep your chickens busy and occupied. Hanging a whole broccoli or a zucchini will keep them busy pecking at instead of bullying, fighting and feather picking.


The list of foods that chickens can eat is endless. Most chicken treats should only be fed in moderation because they do not have all the nutrients that your hens require for growth.

Chickens require a well-rounded course for healthy growth and robust development. They also require enough food and water to continue laying those fresh eggs for breakfast.

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