Acorns for chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by fowlsessed, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Songster

    Nov 16, 2011
    east Tennessee
    I have tons of acorns that I've been collecting, can I feed them to the chickens? And is there anything special that I need to do to them or just crush them up and throw em to them?


  2. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I would crush just a few to see if they will eat them. No sense in spending a lot of time and energy crushing something that they might not eat.

    For what it's worth, most of the acorns that fall from my trees have some sort of worm in them. Might spoil the value of the acorns as feed. Just a thought.

  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Songster

    Jun 9, 2009
    The worms in them are probably better for chickens than the nut. In fact, some animals that eat them are really after the worm.

    I would be reluctant to give a lot of them to confined chickens. Acorns have tannins, which some animals can handle even in large quantity, but are toxic to others. Some animals cache them and eat them later, allowing the tannin levels to decline before consuming them. I would not worry about free ranging chickens eating too many, because they have many other options and don't tend to overeat anything that's marginally toxic. But confined chickens have fewer options, and might be tempted to eat too much of something, just to avoid eating nothing but boring old chicken feed.

    I don't know what species of oak your acorns came from, but those from the white oak family tend to be lower in tannins, and would therefore be safer to feed to confined chickens. In any case, I wouldn't give them more than a light sprinkling of crushed acorns.

    You could boil the crushed acorns to remove some of the tannins, if you don't mind putting that much effort into it.
  4. Somewhere I read they are toxic to chickens....might want to check on that.
  5. WillsC

    WillsC Chirping

    Mar 4, 2012
    We have a lot of 150 year old live oaks here and they drop lord knows how many acorns. I do see the chickens pecking at them but not sure if they eat them. The muscovies on the other hand eat them by the dozens all year round with no ill effects..I love all the free food.

  6. rikithemonk

    rikithemonk Songster

    Apr 19, 2012
    Mont Dora Florida
    I know that they are toxic to pigs, if enough are eaten.

  7. Acorns are discussed in the reprint of "Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps."

    The main concern is that they may discolor the yolks of layers' eggs.

    the author recommends feeding up to a handful per bird per day. He recommends drying them and crushing the shells, but says they can eat them green, also.
  8. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Songster

    Nov 16, 2011
    east Tennessee
    thanks for that info.

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