Chickens could be described as being miniature trash bins. Maybe it sounds funny, but for their health, things are not as easy as they seem. Now, the reason why they could easily gain this name is because they are able to eat almost anything that they stumble across or almost anything you feed them. Well, almost everything. For example, have you ever wondered: can chickens eat tomatoes?
Generally, we can feed chickens almost anything we can find around the house. We can give them oats, grains, fruits, seeds and veggies. Sometimes, we even give them worms to eat as a supplements to complete their diet and to maintain an equilibrium in the nutritional value they need to take in on a daily basis.
Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes? Are They Safe For Them?
As owners of such intelligent animals, it would only be normal to worry about the food we are giving them. It is normal to wonder whether the food we feed them is beneficial for their health or on not.
Are tomatoes safe for chickens? Tomatoes are delicious and healthy for us but do they have the same effect on chickens?
Unfortunately, tomatoes are not suitable for chickens, especially the green ones. And, as a matter of fact, neither are eggplants. Usually, when it comes to the food you give to your chickens, you should definitely stay away from all the plants that are included in the so-called nightshade family. These ingredients contain a toxic compound named solanine. The same substance is contained in the leaves of these vegetables, as well as in the potato peels (green potato peels). These foods could all be really harmful which is why it is best if they would be avoided. However, it is reported that you can feed the nightshade vegetables to your flocks if they are thoroughly cooked.
What Other Foods Should You Cut Off The List?
If tomatoes and eggplants took you by surprise, there are more foods that you should avoid feeding to your chickens. Here are few of them:
- Salty foods – We know that they are harmful for people so why would they be okay for animals and chickens, in particular? Your pets could get diseases such as water-deprivation, sodium ion intoxication or salt toxicity. Chickens have really small bodies and they cannot take in great salt quantities. They can tolerate a percentage of 0.25% of salt in the water they drink. If the amount of water they are taking in is restricted then it is extremely easy for them to get salt poisoning.
- Citrus – Chickens can be extremely sensitive to all the fruits that are high in vitamin C. However, this happens to some types of chickens, not all of them. Some researchers believe that it is because of the combination between vitamin C and citric acid that chickens often get feather plucking.
- Onions – They are extremely dangerous for your chickens because they contain a substance that called thiosulphate which destroys the red cells of the blood. Of course, you can give them a small amount of onions, once in a while but if you give them large amounts frequently, they might get anemia or jaundice. Sometimes, this can also result in death. So pay attention when handling onions near your chickens.
- Beans – We’re not talking about all beans, only those that are under cooked or dried. Whether they are dry or raw, they all contain a poisonous substance which is called hemaglutin. In the case of birds, it is toxic. However, cooked beans are good for your chickens, the cooking process will neutralize the effects of this poison, making the beans safe.
- Dry rice – Avoid feeding your chickens dry rice because it will affect them harshly when it comes in contact with moisture. To be more specific, the rice might swell up after the chicken has swallowed it, causing gut problems.
We hope that we managed to clear up your dilemma related to whether chickens can eat tomatoes or not and that we succeeded in explaining clearly why this fruit is not recommended. Also, remember to take into consideration all the other pieces of advice that have been mentioned so that you can have a flock of healthy and happy chickens.