Now the million-dollar question is, can chickens eat beans? Your chickens can feed on beans. But the state of beans that you can give them matters the most. Avoid raw or dry beans by all means. Instead, feed them cooked beans but in small quantities.
Feeding my chickens table scraps and leftovers provides them with more nutrients. Their commercial feed alone cannot enable them to achieve their dietary needs. For that reason, I have to feed them with different treats. Out of numerous tasty treats that chickens enjoy, beans are among them. Read on to learn more about the nutritional value of this unique treat.
Beans are one of the most commonly eaten and versatile foods across the world. Many varieties are grown in different regions today. As legumes, beans belong to the family of plants popularly referred to as Fabaceae. They are a rich source of many nutrients, especially proteins.
In general, legumes have several health benefits in both humans and chickens. They can lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar levels, as well as increase beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
Due to their nutritional composition, beans have the potential to enhance the diet quality while offering long-term health benefits to your birds. Most significantly, they are delicious and naturally nutritious food.
Different types of beans provide essential nutrients to your chickens. Besides, they are an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, and many nutrients. They are also naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free.
Common Types of Beans
Different types of beans are available all over the world. While this leguminous food doesn’t vary significantly in terms of nutrients, each type differs slightly in appearance and taste. Also, each category of beans has its distinctive texture, maturity, and cooking times.
Below are some of the most common types of beans found in different regions in the world:
Cranberry Beans: Are oval-shaped and medium-sized beans with red and tan skin. In most cases, they are called Roman beans. They are famous for their creamy texture, complete with a flavor such as that found in chestnuts. When cooked, the red specks in these beans disappear, leaving them with a uniform color. Cranberry beans are consumed mostly in Spain and Italy and are suitable for your chickens.
Black Beans: Medium-sized, matte black, and oval-shaped beans. Sometimes called turtle beans. When cooked, black beans taste sweet with a soft texture for your birds to enjoy. They are popular in South and Central America.
Great Northern Beans: Medium-sized beans with white skin and oval shape. The delicate flavor and can make a tasty treat for your chickens. Popular in France and the Mediterranean, Great Northern beans are suitable for preparing white bean casserole in addition to feeding your chickens.
Light-Red Kidney Beans: Kidney-shaped types of beans with pink or red glossy skin. These beans have a firm texture and are in cold bean salads, soups, and chili. They hold on well in dishes that need a long time to cook, including soups. Light-Red Kidney beans are in Portugal, Spain, and the Caribbean.
Dark-Red Kidney Beans: Similar to Light-Red Kidney beans, this type of beans has a deep glossy red outer skin. It also has a firm texture, and it holds up well in dishes that take a long time to cook. Dark-Red Kidney beans are in cold bean salads, soups, and chili. But you can just boil them for a while before feeding them to your chickens.
Pink Beans: Small, oval-shaped, and have pale pink skin. Used in preparing Caribbean Pink Beans. Flavored using sofrito, bell pepper, a mixture of tomatoes, onion, and garlic. But when feeding your chickens, you should not add all these ingredients because your birds cannot digest them.
Navy Beans: They are small in size and also oval shaped with white skin. Navy beans used in making the Boston Baked beans. They derived their name after they became a food of choice for the US Navy during the 2nd half of the 19th century.
Pinto Beans: These beans are of medium size with an oval shape. Furthermore, they have mottled brown and beige skin, making them a little bit different from Cranberry beans. They also lose their unique mottled appearance after cooking them. Pinto beans are the most popular type of beans in the United States and the rest of the American continent. Commonly used in the preparation of Mexican refried beans. When it comes to feeding your chickens, you can simply boil them for about 90 to 120 minutes.
Small Red beans: As their name suggests, Small Red beans are small with red skin. They are also oval-shaped with a delicate flavor, and their texture is softer than that for kidney beans. They are also popular in places such as the Caribbean and surrounding areas. When feeding your chickens, make sure to boil them for up to 90 minutes.
Why Should You Feed Beans to Your Chickens?
Numerous scientific studies reveal that beans and other legumes are highly nutritious. They are a perfect replacement for different types of meats, including red meat. This makes them the best source of non-animal proteins.
Bean Nutrition Facts
A single cup or a 165grams of cooked beans contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 168
- Fiber: 11,5 grams
- Protein:15.5 grams
- Manganese: 85% of the RDI
- Copper: 28% of the RDI
- Iron: 27% of the RDI
- Folate or vitamin B9: 70% of the RDI
Health Benefits of Beans
You can feed your chickens cooked beans to help them achieve their dietary needs. Beans can help supplement their staple food with nutrients such as protein, iron, folate, and manganese, among others.
Here are health benefits of beans to your chickens:
1. Beans are a Great Source of Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are commonly known as dietary starch. They are made of several sugar molecules bound together in the form of a necklace. These carbs are always rich in fiber, and you can obtain them from beans.
As a source of complex carbohydrates and protein, beans are examples of foods with a low glycemic index (IG). That is why they are a perfect choice of food to control certain chronic diseases in humans and chickens as well.
They are also a reliable source of complex sugars known as oligosaccharides. These sugars come in the form of non-digestible, fermentable fibers. This means that they can be broken down by friendly bacteria in the gut to produce gas and flatulence. In general, feeding your chickens on cooked beans can promote a healthy gut.
2. Beans are an Excellent Source of Beneficial Dietary Fiber
Beans are rich in soluble and insoluble fibers. In most cases, soluble fiber performs the function of trapping dietary cholesterol in the digestive tract, and any excess cholesterol is not absorbed. This action helps in decreasing LDL cholesterol levels.
At the same time, beans provide your chickens with a substantial amount of insoluble fiber. In their insoluble state, this type of fiber attracts water to the stool, and in the process, it helps control constipation and other digestive complications in your chickens.
3. Beans are a Beneficial Source of Plant-Based Protein
One of the best sources of plant-based protein is beans. Vegetarians use beans as an alternative to meat because of the protein is high.
They contain between 20 and 26% protein by weight. Beans have higher protein than in any other plant-based products.
Regular feeding your chickens on beans can provide them with plenty of protein. In fact, this is the cheapest means of giving your birds protein-rich foods compared to animal-based protein.
4. Beans are a Reliable Source of Essential Minerals and Vitamins
Since beans come in different varieties, you can also expect them to have various nutrients. That said, they are a good source of minerals such as potassium, which helps to manage blood pressure levels.
Other minerals include copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. All these nutrients play different roles in promoting your chickens’ health. They also have iron and water-soluble vitamins like thiamin, folic, riboflavin, and folate (vitamin B6), which play a critical role in keeping your birds healthy.
Which is the right way to prepare beans for my chickens? You should follow specific steps that will help you make beans for your birds. The steps you need to follow include cleaning, rinsing, soaking, and cooking. The best cooking method in this regard should be boiling because it makes the beans soft and free of additives.
Is it safe to feed my chickens dry beans? Even though dry beans are laden with nutrients, it is not advisable to feed them to your chickens without cooking. The main reason why you shouldn’t do that is that dry beans may kill your bird after eating them.
Your chickens can eat beans. Cook the beans well before allowing your chickens to feast on them. This treat has several essential nutrients that your flock needs to stay healthy and productive. Just like other supplementary treats, beans should be fed to chickens in moderation.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!