what chickens can eat

When we first got chickens, I was told that they would be thrilled to eat our table scraps. But I wasn’t really sure what chickens could eat, or what they would like and dislike. Then I found a great list at Backyardchickens.com, which tells you everything that is safe to feed your chickens, and what you should never give them. I was glad to learn that our flock could eat almost anything we had to throw at them! Here’s what the experts recommend…

Safe Food For Chickens:

  • Apples
  • Peeled Bananas
  • Cooked Beans (though I read this can make the eggs taste funny.)
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Breads
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cereal (not a sugary kind)
  • Cheese (including cottage cheese, not too much though)
  • Cooked meat, including chicken
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Cooked Eggs
  • Eggplant
  • Fish/Seafood
  • Fruit
  • Grains
  • Seedless Grapes
  • Cooked Grits
  • Lettuce and other Leafy Greens
  • Melon
  • Oatmeal (raw or cooked)
  • Cooked Pasta
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Pomegranates
  • Popped Popcorn (no butter or salt)
  • Cooked Potatoes (no green skins!)
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Raisins
  • Cooked Rice
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Cooked Turnips
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt (plain is best)
  • Milk (sour or curdled is fine)

Do NOT feed your chickens:

  • Raw potato peel
  • Citrus (very little is okay, but go easy on it)
  • Dried or undercooked beans
  • Avocado skin or pit
  • Raw eggs (encourages them to eat their own eggs)
  • Sugary stuff
  • Really salty stuff
  • Rotten or moldy food

You can string up larger pieces of food (like a head of cabbage) for the chickens to peck at for fun, or you can put them in a wire container that they can peck the food through. Alternatively, you can also throw scraps into a large tray or bowl, or container of some sort. Whatever you do, it’s best to try to keep the food off of the ground to keep it out of manure.

Feeding your chickens table scraps is a great way to save a little money on feed, and your chickens will go crazy for your leftovers!