dangerous food for chickens

What You Should NEVER Feed Your Chickens

Having chickens isn’t just a great way to get delicious, ethically produced organic eggs, it also gives you a great way to dispose most of your leftovers. Chickens will gladly eat things you would simply throw away like that rice you couldn’t finish or those stems you don’t like in your salad. However you should know what scraps are good and which scraps you should never feed your chickens.

You can keep a list of these foods by the fridge and, when in doubt, just google it or call your vet!

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Processed foods

Processed foods are dangerous for chickens

You know they’re not healthy for you, why feed them to your chickens? Not only can chickens get very fat, very quickly, but salty foods can actually be deadly to your chickens. Greasy foods are also difficult to digest.


The avocado skin and seed are dangerous for chickens

This is a very dangerous one. Some people either fear avocados too much and don’t give their chickens any avocados at all or don’t know anything about it and will give them everything.

Avocados’ skin and pit contain persin, which is incredibly toxic to birds. It can lead to breathing difficulties and death in as little as 48 hours.

The flesh also contains persin but in very little amounts so you can feed them the flesh in moderation. Why you would feed them delicious avocado is beyond us but hey, you do you!


Lactose should never be fed to any chicken

Chickens are lactose intolerant so feeding them anything with lactose will lead to diarrhea. This includes milk, cheeses and anything else that may have lactose.

This however does not include yogurt. As we’ve said before, yogurt is a tasty way to keep them fresh and healthy. The same probiotics that make yogurt such a healthy treat for you are the same ones that digest the lactose, making it a great choice for your chickens, specially if it’s unsweetened!

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Chocolate and caffeine

Chocolate shouldn't be fed to chickens

Just like with dogs, chocolate can be fatal for your chickens. This is because of theobromine, which is harmful to dogs, cats and yes, chickens too. The darker the chocolate the more theobromine it’ll have.

Chocolate also contains caffeine, which is you should also avoid feeding your chickens. This includes coffee grounds and tea leaves too. If you use coffee grounds for your plants, make sure your chickens can’t feed off them.

When ingested, chocolate will cause diarrhea and vomiting in your chickens. It can also cause seizures and heart problems leading to death within 24 hours.

Green tomatoes and green potatoes

green tomatoes and potatoes are dangerous to chickens

Although some cooked potatoes are fine in moderation for your chickens, green tomatoes and potatoes are another thing you should never feed them.

Green potatoes and tomatoes contain solanine which is highly toxic for your chickens. and it’s always present in the plant’s leaves and stems. It affects the nervous system causing paralysis and death and isn’t altered by cooking it.

Anything you wouldn’t eat

You should never feed rotten tomatoes to your chickens!

As a very general guideline, you shouldn’t feed chickens anything you wouldn’t eat yourself. Rhubarb leaves? they’re toxic for you and they’re toxic for your chickens. Dry or uncooked beans? They’ve killed humans so they can kill your chickens too.

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You should also never feed raw eggs to your chickens. Although raw eggs pose no threat to their health, you don’t want to discover how delicious they are! If they do they’ll start eating their own eggs in no time.

Chickens should also never eat anything moldy. Although your chickens will gladly eat your stale bread or your overripe fruits, mold has aflatoxin, which can lead chickens (and humans) to develop cancer.

Some other “banned” chicken foods, like apple seeds for example, although dangerous in theory due to cyanide, are virtually impossible to kill your chickens unless you feed them way too much. In fact we couldn’t find a single documented case where a bird has died due to apple seed consumption.

Did we miss anything? What would you never feed your chickens? Let us know in the comments! Doesn’t have to be dangerous, maybe you wouldn’t feed them cooked chicken scraps! We’d love to know what you have to say in this controversial topic.


  1. Stan January 22, 2019
    • Tina January 22, 2019
    • Rick January 26, 2019
  2. Booth Templeton January 22, 2019
  3. Jaxx January 29, 2019
  4. Sylvia Belt February 4, 2019

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