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What Chickens Can Eat and What Chickens Can’t Eat

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We all want to give our animals the best that we possibly can. And, no one wants to give their animals things that will potentially harm them. 

So, I wanted to compile a list of things that chickens can or can’t eat so that you had them right at your fingertips.

This little FAQ has some of the most asked questions I’ve seen about what chickens can or cannot eat. It is not a comprehensive list but is what I’ve found through research.

NOTE: this is what I’ve found while doing research for myself and answering questions others have asked. If you have questions, doubts, or concerns please contact your local veterinarian for help.

Chickens CANNOT Eat These

First up… let’s talk about the questions people ask about foods that chickens shouldn’t have for various reasons.

Again, these are answers based on my own research and if you’re not comfortable with the answers then please ask your local vet.

Can chickens have alcohol?

No, I wouldn’t feed alcohol to chickens. 

Are chickens able to eat avocado?

Nope, these contain a compound called Persin, which can possibly be fatal to chickens. Best to be on the safe side and toss this in your compost instead.

Can chickens eat butter?

Nope, this is too fatty for chickens and shouldn’t be fed.

Are chickens able to chocolate?

No, this isn’t safe for chickens.

Can chickens eat citrus?

This is a grey area for chickens. Some will eat it and be fine and others won’t. Folks also say that it can cause soft eggshells. Best to just not give them any.

Are chickens able to eat any coffee or tea?

No, caffeine isn’t good for chickens.

Are chickens allowed to eat dry beans?

No, they contain a compound called hemagglutinin and that can cause blood clots in chickens.

Can chickens eat raw eggplant?

It’s a maybe sort of food. It’s in the nightshade family so may pose issues. if you feed it raw.

Are chickens able to eat maggots?

No, while they are bugs and chickens eat bugs, maggots can give them botulism.

Can chickens eat onions?

It can cause an off-flavor in your eggs. I wouldn’t feed it too much, and too much can cause anemia in chickens.

Are chickens allowed to tomato leaves?

No, the tomato leaves contain Solanine, which kills red blood cells and can cause heart failure.

Can chickens eat an uncooked potato?

Again, no, because the uncooked potato contains Solanine, which kills red blood cells and can cause heart failure.

Can chickens eat uncooked rice?

No, this can cause swelling in the digestive tract and potentially cause blocking which could kill your chickens.

Can chickens eat wild mushrooms?

These can be potentially toxic to chickens (just like humans) so it’s best to stick to store-bought mushrooms.

So, What CAN Chickens Eat?

We stick to basic chicken feed and scraps from the kitchen like lettuce, leftover food, eggshells, and just about all other scrap things (not citrus). We don’t typically use things on the “can’t” list or toss them to the chickens, but that’s mostly because we don’t usually use them.

Can chickens eat almonds?

Yep, they sure can!

Can chickens eat coconut?

Yep! They can eat leftover coconut.

Can chickens eat collard greens?

Yes, your chickens can eat collard greens.

Can chickens eat ants?

They can, but it’s not likely they’ll go hunting for them.

Can chickens eat cooked amaranth?

Yes, just make sure it’s not raw.

Can chickens eat apples?

Yep, you’re safe to toss out apple scraps. Just make sure you don’t give them any of the seeds as they contain trace amounts of cyanide.

Can chickens eat apricots?

If you remove the pit you’re safe to toss our apricot scraps to chickens.

Can chickens eat artichokes?

Yep, these are fair game as well.

Can chickens eat asparagus?

Yes, these are safe, but I’ve heard it can make the eggs taste different. Not exactly a pleasant idea.

Can chickens eat bananas?

Yep, they sure can eat these!

Can chickens eat mealworms?

Yep! And, you can even start your own mealworm farm at home! If you don’t want to raise your own then you can grab some here.

Can chickens eat basil?

Yes, if you have too much basil and need to get rid of some then it’s safe to give to the chickens.

Can chickens eat grapes?

Yep! Grapes are safe for chickens to eat. One great way to feed grapes to chickens is to freeze them as a nice cool treat for the summertime.

Can chickens eat bean sprouts?

Yes, these are good for your chickens.

Can chickens eat eggs?

Yes, we’ve fed our chickens cooked and raw eggs. The only thing to be mindful of is when feeding raw eggs it may encourage chickens to start pecking and eating the eggs they lay. Though, we’ve never had that issue.

Can chickens eat fish?

Yep, you can give them fish to eat.

Can chickens eat garlic and ginger?

Yes, chickens can eat garlic and ginger.

Can chickens eat green beans?

Yep, they can eat green beans.

Can chickens eat tomatoes?

Yes, chickens can eat the fruit of tomatoes. There’s no harm to them if they eat them. We usually toss our tomato ends in a scrap bowl for the chickens to eat on.

Can chickens eat grits?

Yep, we feed leftover grits all the time. 

Can chickens eat oats?

They surely can eat oats!

Can chickens eat okra?

Yep, chickens can and will eat themselves some okra.

Can chickens eat honeydew melon?

Yes, you can toss out honeydew melon to the chickens.

Can chickens eat pineapple?

Yes. They can eat pineapple leftovers.

Can chickens eat quinoa?

Yes, but only washed or cooked.

Can chickens eat radishes and radish greens?

Yes, they can eat both the radish and the radish greens.

Can chickens eat kale?

Chickens can eat kale, so if you have too much growing feel free to toss some to your chickens!

Can chickens eat bread?

Yep, we feed scrap bread pieces to the chickens.

Can chickens eat beets?

These are ok for chickens to eat.

Can chickens eat cabbage?

Yes, this is safe for chickens to eat.

Can chickens eat cantaloupe?

Yes, you can feed cantaloupe to chickens. Again, if you freeze pieces for summertime it will help to keep them cool.

Can chickens eat raisins?

Yes, chickens can eat raisins.

Can chickens eat raspberries?

Yes, chickens can eat raspberries and you can freeze them for treats too.

Can chickens eat strawberries?

Yes, chickens can eat strawberries and like other fruits, it’s a good thing freeze.

Can chickens eat seaweed?

Chickens can eat seaweed.

Can chickens eat celery?

Yes, chickens can eat this and they like it too.

Can chickens eat cauliflower?

Yep, perfectly safe to give chickens scraps of cauliflower.

Can chickens eat bell pepper?

Yes, these are safe for chickens.

Can chickens eat oranges?

Since it’s a citrus fruit they shouldn’t eat it.

Can chickens eat corn?

Yes, chickens can eat corn on the cob, corn off the cob, and corn husk.

Can chickens eat cornbread?

You can safely toss our cornbread leftovers to the chickens.

Are chickens able to eat cucumbers?

Yep, chickens can and will eat these.

Can chickens eat dog food?

While not my first choice, you can feed chickens dog food.

Can chickens eat cherries?

As long as you remove the pit these can be fed to chickens.

Are chickens able to eat leftover chili?

Yep, this is ok to toss out to the chickens.

Can chickens eat watermelon?

Yes, they can eat watermelon and they enjoy it when it’s frozen too.

Are chickens able to eat zucchini?

Yep, you can safely feed zucchini to chickens.

Can chickens eat sweet potatoes?

Yep, chickens enjoy eating sweet potatoes.

Can chickens eat string beans?

It’s safe to feed your chickens string beans.

Can chickens eat cottage cheese?

Yes, but not too much as they have issues digesting dairy.

Can chickens eat birdseed?

Yep, ours particularly like black oil sunflower seeds.

Can chickens eat mushrooms?

If they’re storebought mushrooms they can eat them.

Can chickens eat blueberries?

Yep, these are safe and particularly great if frozen during the summertime as a cool treat.

Can chickens eat popcorn or popcorn kernels?

Yes, they can eat both popcorn and popcorn kernels.

Can chickens eat carrots?

Chickens surely can eat carrots and they enjoy them too.

Can they eat onions?

I wouldn’t feed onions really… it can change the flavor of the eggs similar to asparagus.

Can chickens eat peanuts?

Yep! They can eat peanuts!

Can they eat cooked rice?

Yes, they can eat cooked rice.

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