What Not to Feed Your Chickens

What Not to Feed Your Chickens


Some people feed their chickens anything, not knowing that some foods are toxic to chickens. We all know that chocolates are dangerous to dogs; these too are dangerous to chickens. The following foods are not advisable to feed to your chickens and some contains toxic compounds.

There are other foods that you can feed your chickens which are safer and healthier; so keep these away from your fowls.

Here are the different foods that you should NOT feed your chickens.

Apple seeds

Do not feed your chickens with apple seeds, also avoid feeding them with pits or seeds from apricot, cherry, peaches, pears, and plum because they all contain small amount of cyanide.


A lot of people feed their chickens with avocadoes which is not a good idea. Avocado is not good for chickens, the peel and the pit of this fruit contains a toxic compound called persin. This compound can be very toxic to chickens and other birds.


Chocolate is toxic to some animals including dogs and chickens. This food contains a toxic compound called theobromine, so avoid feeding your chickens with chocolate.


Feeding your chickens with citrus will result to thin-shelled and fewer eggs. Citrus can interfere with calcium absorption.

Dairy products

Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are bad for chickens. Chickens cannot digest milk sugars that can cause diarrhea.

Dried or raw beans

Dried beans contain hemaglutin which is a natural insecticide that is harmful to chickens. If you’re going to feed your chickens with beans make sure that you cook them first.

Eggplant leaves, rhubarb leaves or stalks, and tomato leaves

These plants all belong to the nightshade family which can be toxic to chickens. Do not feed green tomatoes and immature eggplants. Ripe tomatoes and eggplants can be feed to chickens, because the solanine is no longer present.


Onions have a compound called thiosulphate which is toxic and it can destroy red blood cells. Feeding your chickens with a large amount of onions can cause jaundice or anemia or it can lead to death.


Do not feed your chickens cooked or raw white potatoes (skins or flesh). Potatoes belongs to the nightshade family, they contain a toxic compound called solanine. This toxic compound can destroy red blood cells and can cause heart failure.

Solanine can be destroyed when you cook potatoes at high heat, but solanine levels won’t be decreased by boiling. Do not also feed your chickens the vines and leaves of a potato plant.


  • Caffeine
  • Foods that have been sprayed with chemicals like herbicides and pesticides
  • Junk food
  • Moldy or rotten food
  • Salty, sweet, and fried food
  • Tea bags
  • White rice, pasta, and bread

All of these foods are bad or your chickens; they can be toxic or can damage your chickens’ systems. Some toxic compounds do not immediately take effect or kill your chickens once they have consumed it. It will take a while for the symptoms or signs to be apparent.

Some of the symptoms can be hemorrhaging, internal congestion, visceral gout, diarrhea, convulsions, kidney failure, rapid heartbeat, and poor egg quality and quantity. The symptoms will depend on your chickens’ overall health, condition, age, size, and how much, how often, and what you feed them.

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Image credit: Jim Crossley via Creative Commons