What vegtables can my chickens have?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Cheyenne D, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Cheyenne D

    Cheyenne D Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been reading about different veggies that chickens like and I found a few things to be a little confusing. First I read that they LOVE peas but then I read that they were toxic for chickens, also the same for tomatoes some say they love them and others say there bad for them. I was just wondering what I could give them and what I should stay away from before the gardening season really stars. Also I heard that ducks like peas too but are they good for them? It would be much appreciated if someone could tell me! thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    If you can eat it, they can eat it. I've kept chickens for 53 years & have never known or heard of one eating something that harmed them. The "treats chart"ou were referred to advises avoiding some things that are fine for chickens to eat. Part of the beauty of the internet is that it provides ready access to a great deal of information. The down side of this is the fact that the internet is completely unedited & not all the information available is valid.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don’t blame you for being confused. There is a lot of misinformation out on the internet. It’s not that people are being malicious, it’s more that things are misinterpreted or taken out of context.

    Practically everything we eat on a daily basis contains some type of toxin. Some of the great ‘treats” for chickens contain some type of toxin. One of the things that is often missed in these comments is dosage. How much would it take to actually harm you or them? Often quite a bit. There is a difference in poisonous (as in one bite and you drop dead) versus something that can be toxic in certain dosages.

    Are peas harmful to your chickens? You can get all kinds of answers to this on the internet and it is hard to determine which ones are actually credible. A lot of these sites make a distinction between garden peas and the flowers sweet peas. Supposedly the sweet pea (the flowering plant itself and the seeds) is harmful and should be avoided. I suspect the garden pea has been confused with the sweet pea is not nearly as harmful but I don’t know for sure. In any case, if garden peas they are cooked, the toxins are removed and are safe for you and your chickens.

    Tomato plants and potato plants are closely related. There is a whole lot of confusion about them. One of the great fantasies on this forum is that potatoes are harmful to chickens. Regular potatoes are not harmful. However, green skinned potatoes can be harmful to you and your chickens. When sunlight hits a potato it causes the skin to turn green because photosynthesis starts. It also causes a toxin called solanine to form. Solanine also causes the potato to taste bitter. You should not eat potatoes that have green skin and you should not feed these green ones to your chickens.

    How much would you have to eat for it to harm you? It will depend on how much solanine is in the potato, but supposedly an average sized human would need to eat about two pounds of the potatoes for it to be that harmful, though the weak, young, sick, whatever are more susceptible. Chickens are not nearly as large as humans so the amount they would have to eat to be harmed is less. It tastes bitter so they are unlikely to eat more than a bite or two anyway, but it is best not to feed green potatoes to your chickens or to your family.

    The potato vine and tomato vine contain solanine. You and your chickens should not eat them. But the tomato fruit does not contain solanine. It is perfectly safe for you and them. Feeding ripe red tomatoes will help darken the egg yolk too. Mine don’t get good tomatoes either but they get a lot of bad ones and they love them.

    Before someone gets confused. Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are not related. Sweet potato vines are great to feed the chickens.

    While I’m on the topic, apple seeds, plum pits, peach pits, and a lot of other fruit seeds contain cyanide. Really, they do. Some people freak out if they think their chickens might eat an apple seed. They shouldn’t. There is not enough cyanide in one fruit seed to harm a chicken, not even on a peach it. Yes, grown chickens will eat peach or plum pits. I have absolutely no problem with my chickens foraging in my orchard and eating fruit and seeds they find. They are not going to eat enough to harm themselves. When I make an apple pie or eat an apple, I’ll give the core with seeds to them. But when I make apple butter or plum chutney and have a lot of seeds, I put those on my compost pile and prevent the chickens from getting to them. Would my chickens eat enough of these seeds to harm themselves if they could get to a large pile of them? Probably not, but I take what I consider reasonable precautions.

    Another one that is often quoted on here is dried beans. Raw or undercooked dried beans do contain a toxin that is harmful to you and your chickens. Again, I don’t know the dosage level to cause harm so I try to avoid feeding these to the chickens. Cooking removes the toxin but it does take quite a bit of cooking to remove it. This toxin is not in the green bean pods and there is not enough of it, if any, in the immature bean seeds, just the dried ones. When I pull the bean plants from my garden at the end of the season and put them on the compost pile, I don’t worry if the chickens can find a few dried beans on them. I try to remove those anyway for me to use, but the chickens are not going to find enough to cause problems. I do avoid leaving large concentrated piles of dried beans where they can get to them. I don’t know if they would eat enough to harm themselves if I did, but again I consider that a reasonable precaution.

    What can and will your chickens eat from your garden? Practically anything you can. Ripe tomatoes, ripe peppers, not green potatoes, ears of corn even after you have cut off the kernels, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, and any kind of green leafy stuff like lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, bok choi, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower (including the leaves and heads). I’m sure I’m missing a lot of stuff.

    The key to it is moderation. Just like it is not really healthy for you to eat a whole lot of only one thing, they don’t need for their diet to consist mostly of one thing. It’s good to know that certain things like green potato skins are bad for them so you should try to avoid them, but with practically any of these things one bite won’t kill them.
     
  5. Campine

    Campine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens get all the spare and imperfect tomatos from the garden with no ill effects. In fact they eat about everything and I've never noticed any trouble. I once read in a book not to feed them cabbage, but I there was no explanation why and I almost think it was the author's attempt at humor (wasn't impressed with that book).
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    To me, that cabbage thing is really not understanding the difference in poison and toxic. Cabbage, like practically everything we eat, contains something that in huge quantities could cause damage in people, I think to the thyroid. But you would have to eat a few pounds every day for weeks for it to hurt you. I think constipation may stop you from eating enough to damage your thyroid. One bite won’t hurt you or them.

    Cabbage is great for chickens but like anything else, think in terms of moderation. Don’t make them try to live on cabbage. Give them some other things to eat.
     
  7. Cheyenne D

    Cheyenne D Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 23, 2012
    Thanks so much for clearing up about the tomato and peas. I was aware of the cyanide in fruit seeds though. your info was really helpful! :)
     

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