Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes? What’s Safe for Chickens and what’s not?
Chickens will eat just about anything you give them. This is why you need to be careful with what you are feeding them. Not all foods are good for chickens and some might kill them.
To raise a happy flock, an understanding of what is good for them and what isn’t is crucial.
Can chickens eat tomatoes?
Questions like this might arise when you are deciding what to feed your chickens. These are common worries especially for backyard and small scale chicken farmers.
Because you are not a professional, you will have to do most of the research yourself. Unfortunately, the internet isn’t very reliable in this case.
Looking to supplement your chickens feed with organic treats? Here are some do’s and don’ts:
Are tomatoes safe for your chickens?
Tomatoes: Can chickens eat tomatoes? Yes, they definitely can. Tomatoes are safe for chickens despite contradicting information about them on the internet. They contain lycopene, an anti-oxidant which lowers cholesterol and is good for the immune system.
The leaves of the tomato plant are not safe for chickens though. As a member of the Nightshade family, they contain a toxin called solanine. Also in this family are potatoes, peppers, eggplants and tobacco. Exposure to this toxin especially in high quantities might be fatal to chickens.
What other foods are safe for your chickens?
Pumpkin: Pumpkin is a great source of vitamins A and E, potassium and zinc. It is an excellent low fat and low calorie treat for your chickens. It is also high in antioxidants.
Sunflower seeds: The seeds of the sunflower plant contain vitamin E, protein, oil and antioxidants. Vitamin E protects chickens form coccidiosis and bronchitis which are both fatal for chickens if infected. The seeds have a high protein and oil content which is especially good to feed chickens during the cold months of winter and when they are molting. The antioxidants naturally boost the immune system.
Vegetables: Carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, zucchini are vegetables that add real value to a chicken’s diet. They are full of vitamins and minerals. They contain Vitamin A, D, E, C and calcium. They also contain phytochemicals that help them fight diseases and anti-carcinogens.
Calcium is great for your egg layers which they need to make egg shells. Carrots give the egg yolk a deeper orange color.
Fruits: Apples, pears, figs, peaches, watermelons. These fruits are also packed with vitamins, minerals and a lot of other chemicals that aid the immune system and keep your flock healthy.
Make your chickens a fruit salad, they will love it. Another favorite for chickens is rotten fruit. The wormier the better, worms are nutritious to the chickens. Apple seeds do contain arsenic but would only be fatal if consumed in high quantities.
Berries: Chickens love berries. With good reason, they are sweet, yummy and sumptuous. Who doesn’t love berries? They are also full of vitamins that are useful to them. They contain vitamin A, C and B complex.
Add a berry such as strawberries to some spinach leaves and serve to the chickens and they will stuff themselves. Having berry bushes in your chicken run can maintain a constant supply of berries for them
What isn’t safe for chickens?
Moldy food: Some types of mould are used commercially and are beneficial but some can be dangerous and produce toxins that are fatal to chickens and humans. Aspergilllus Flavus is a type of mould that grows on fruit, corn and nuts which produces a toxin called aflatoxin that can be fatal.
Chicken feed should always be stored in a cool dry place. You should never ever feed your chickens’ mouldy food. Fruit fed to chickens should not be mouldy either.
Dried or Raw Beans: Dried/raw beans contain a toxin called phytohaemaglutinin which is fatal to chickens and humans. Once eaten there is nothing that can be done for the chicken.
To avoid this keep your chickens away from bean plants. You should only feed them beans that have been soaked and boiled thoroughly.
Avocadoes: They are a healthy treat for your chickens especially because they contain nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, iron and potassium. They should however be given to chickens in moderation and only the fleshy part.
This is because they contain a toxin called persin which is concentrated mostly on the skin and stone. Some might leach into the flesh from the stone but in very small quantities. Either way, use it in moderation.
Raw Peanuts: They contain a Trypsin inhibitor which interferes with the enzyme Trypsin, and digestion and absorption of food in the intestines. Because of this, they are bad for squirrels and birds including chickens. They can even be fatal.
Chocolate: One of the components of chocolate called Theobromine is toxic to pets and chickens. It can cause heart problems or full cardiac arrest in chicken within 24 hours of consumption.
Now that you know what to feed and what not to feed your chickens, you can breathe easier. This list is far from exhaustive. Experience is the best teacher as they say. There is loads of information out there about what to feed or not to feed your chickens. Articles like this and experience will help you raise healthy chickens, no doubt.
Can chickens eat tomatoes?
Yes, they can. There is a treasure trove of information for you as a backyard chicken farmer in this article.