So here is a quick list of items that should be off your chicken’s diet plan. Why? Well because some of them can be very toxic to you birds! Now I know a few of you will say “But my Grandma used to feed her flock….” Or “I have fed my chickens XYZ with no problem” and you may have been lucky there were no problems. Toxins build up over time and effect each individual differently.
All I am saying is, there is science to back the fact that dogs should not eat chocolate, right? Well the same goes for the items on this list….. There is scientific proof that by consuming once or due to a buildup of toxins over time, these foods can harm your feathered friends. So why risk it?
Foods that are OFF your chicken’s menu…….
Onion contain a toxin called thiosulphate, which destroys red blood cells. Eating too much onion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. It has been found that prolonged exposure can lead to a blood condition called hemolytic anemia, which is followed by respiratory distress and eventual death.
Avocado contains the toxin persin. What does it do? Persin causes myocardial necrosis (aka a weakening of the heart muscle.) That mean that over time your birds could develop cardiac distress and eventual heart failure While the debate as to what part of the plant you can feed your chicken (no skins or pits,) why risk any amount of persin!?!?! Better safe than sorry.
Potatoes contain solanine, which can be toxic to birds. Solanine effects the gastrointestinal tract, causing diarrhea and cramps. Cooking the potato does not eliminate the toxin. Some folks say not to feed the "green" part of the potato, but the depth that the green penetrates is not always visible to the human eye. To read more about potatoes and solaine click here. Sweet potatoes are fine as they are not in the same plant family as white potatoes.
Raw dried beans contain a toxin called hemaglutin. Symptoms of hemaglutin poisoning are similar diarrhea and vomiting. Yes, your chicken can throw up. To avoid exposure, make sure to thoroughly cook any beans that you choose to share with your birds. Hint, hint.... eggs shells...
Chocolate contains the toxin methylxanthines theobromine. What starts as diarrhea can quickly turn into a central nervous system issue causing seizures, as well as cardiac issues, which can both lead to death.
Apples (along with cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears) contain trace amounts of Cyanide within their seeds. While the fruit is fine for your bird, make sure that cores and seeds are not available to them.
Dairy products can give chickens diarrhea. Let's face it, chickens weren't meant to drink milk, thus they have no udders! If you do give dairy, such as yogurt, make it a rare thing.
Spinach and Citrus can interfere with calcium absorption, and we all know how important calcium is to chickens. If you don't you can read why calcium is important here.
Uncooked rice can cause crop/digestive issues if too much is consumed and then swells up. Now cooked rice..... My girls (and ducks) are all over that!!!
Remember, while these foods may not necessarily be fatal in small amounts, toxins can build up and cause damage to your bird's health or worse, death to your chickens. Don't risk their health.... Better safe than sorry!!!