So, now the question is, can chickens eat tomatoes? I have always been intrigued by the eating habits of my chickens.
To my surprise, these birds seem to eat anything they can find. Whether bad or good, they don’t mind trying out everything.
And this is really fascinating to anyone, especially the new chicken owners. But this is nothing extraordinary given that chickens are omnivorous by nature.
The answer is yes! Your chickens can enjoy tomatoes just like they will do with other food. Tomatoes are healthy and are laden with different types of essential nutrients.
In addition, they are delicious, juicy, and easy to eat, of course, the ripe ones. Being a proud owner of beautiful, vibrant chickens, you should know how to care for them.
One way of looking after your chickens is by providing them with a nutritionally balanced diet. With a well-balanced diet, your chickens will grow faster, become healthy, and be highly productive.
And this is what you should look forward to every time you add new chickens to your existing flock.
But raising chickens can be a challenging venture, especially for newbies. This is because some chickens are stubborn lot in one way or the other.
For instance, some of your flock may compel you into running battles once they lose their living space. Others may become aggressive and cause many problems to the less dominant ones.
If this happens so often, you must watch out for two essential things; water and food. In most cases, chickens fight for these two crucial commodities besides their living space.
This is normal, given that food, water, and shelter are basic needs for chickens and humans.
To avoid such conflicts among your flock, you must consider providing them enough food followed by other basic needs. Since chickens eat virtually anything, you can include a few treats in their diet.
One of the most common treats you can feed your birds is tomatoes. In particular, red tomatoes make a tasty treat for most chickens. They will enjoy pecking at them, tearing, and swallowing them.
Like all birds, chickens possess sharp and sturdy beaks to help them tear their food when eating. That is why you should provide only ripe tomatoes to make their feeding effortless.
Also, tomatoes in their ripe state are considered safe for them to eat, unlike the green ones. Remember that tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, whose plants contain toxic compounds.
These compounds are hazardous and can affect your chicken’s health negatively. But the good news is ripe tomatoes don’t have such toxic substances.
Therefore, you should not be worried about feeding your birds red tomatoes. That being said, do you think most chickens like tomatoes? Let’s find out how your birds will react to this treat.
Do Chickens Like Tomatoes?
You must know that your table scraps are more suited for the chickens than your dustbin. What does this mean?
It is simple; instead of throwing away your table scraps, you can give them to your flock. Filling up your trash can with leftover food is unnecessary when your chickens can eat them.
While feasting on table scraps, your chickens will be helping you get rid of unwanted foodstuff. This is attributed to the belief that chickens help in recycling.
You are reducing the amount of trash in your home. But you need to be on the lookout whenever your birds eat leftover food from your table.
This is because some table craps may contain too much salt or sugar that can harm your birds. Likewise, some of the food may contain toxic substances, which might be dangerous to your chickens.
For instance, raw beans, potato peels, and some parts of avocados contain toxic compounds that your birds should not ingest. Luckily for your flock, ripe tomatoes are not on this list of dangerous treats.
There is a belief that plants or crops from the nightshade family are dangerous to the chickens. The main reason for this allegation is the presence of solanine in such plants, tomatoes included.
Since this is true, you must draw a clear line between safe treats and toxic foods. Ripe tomatoes are considered safe and suitable to feed your flock.
This is because they don’t have solanine. In this regard, they are absolutely safe for your feathered friends.
That said, you should find the best way of keeping your birds healthy and safe. So you must always provide them with all things natural.
Leftovers and food items found around your farm or ranch is the best option to offer them. Don’t forget to supplement their diet with juicy vegetables, mealworms, and treats like ripe tomatoes.
These foods will provide them with the much-needed nourishment to keep them healthy and productive.
Furthermore, they will produce high-quality eggs with more durable shells, helping them in digestion.
Can Chickens Eat Green (Unripe) Tomatoes?
You should only give your birds what is natural to their diet. In this respect, green tomatoes, moldy and rotten food leftovers should not be part of their diet.
All these foods contain poisonous substances that can affect their health. Green tomatoes, in particular, shouldn’t be fed to any animals, especially chickens.
In their unripe state, these tomatoes contain solanine. When your chickens eat them, the poisonous substance will enter their digestive system and cause health problems.
Since you don’t want to risk your chickens’ lives, you should avoid such treats by all means.
Raising chickens involves a lot of activities. Critical among them is the routine inspection of their food. This will help you moderate each type of food they eat while balancing their diet.
As you may know, too much of something is bad. The same applies to a given type of treat for your birds.
For example, eating a lot of tomatoes can cause serious health complications among your chickens. Too many tomatoes will affect the egg-laying ability of your hens, not to mention the quality of eggs.
Are Ripe Red Tomatoes Safe For Your Chickens?
Yes! Unlike green tomatoes, the ripe ones are safe for your birds. This is true because they contain no traces of solanine.
Your chickens will find them delicious and want to eat even more. This is where you should take precautions to control the number of tomatoes your birds can eat.
Make sure that you supply them with this treat in moderation and on specific days of the week. Most importantly, tomatoes should not be the staple food for your chickens.
Instead, you must introduce them as part of the diet, not the main food. From this information, you can happily say that ripe bananas are suitable and safe for your chickens.
What are the Health Benefits of Ripe Tomatoes to Your Chickens?
Tomatoes play a crucial role in your chicken’s life. They are rich in several essential nutrients that contribute to the well-being of your birds.
Despite being botanically a fruit, tomatoes are generally prepared and consumed like other vegetables.
They are considered a good source of the antioxidant substance known as lycopene. This antioxidant is linked to several health benefits not only to humans but your chickens as well.
In addition, tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and many more.
Although they are red when mature, tomatoes come in various colors, including yellow, purple, orange, and green.
Many subspecies of this fruit exist in different flavors and colors. But they all have the same type of nutrients.
Typically, a ripe tomato contains several elements in different proportions. Water takes up to 95 percent, with the rest consisting mainly of fiber and carbohydrates.
Below are some of the most common nutrients found in tomatoes:
They comprise 4 percent of the entire tomato. This percentage is equivalent to 5 grams of carbohydrates in a medium specimen of about 123 grams.
Apart from that, other nutrients, such as simple sugars (fructose and glucose), comprise almost 70 percent of the carbohydrate content. All these nutrients ensure that your birds stay active and energetic throughout.
Tomatoes are also a great source of fiber. One tomato provides almost 1.5 grams of fiber. Most of these fibers are insoluble and come from lignin, hemicellulose, and cellulose.
Collectively, these different forms of fibers aid in digestion when your birds eat ripe tomatoes.
Vitamins and Minerals
Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as:
As an antioxidant and source of an essential nutrient, this vitamin is just right for your birds.
A medium-sized tomato can provide almost 28 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) or the recommended dietary allowances.
Although it is found in tomatoes in minimal amounts, potassium is an essential nutrient for your birds.
Commonly referred to as phylloquinone and vitamin K1 plays a significant role in bone health.
So when you give your chickens tomatoes, their bones will stay healthy and strong throughout.
Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Folate is another form of vitamin, and it plays a role in promoting tissue growth as well as cell function.
Other Important Compounds Found in Tomatoes
Plant compounds and vitamin content can vary from one species of tomatoes to another. But the most common compounds that you need to know are as follows:
This red component is found in tomatoes and acts as an antioxidant for all animals.
Also an antioxidant with the ability to give foods orange or yellow color. This will be converted into vitamin A when it is in the body.
Found abundantly in tomato skin, this compound is a flavonoid that acts as an anti-inflammatory substance. It can protect your birds from various diseases or reduce swellings.
How Often Should Your Chickens Eat Tomatoes?
The best answer to this question depends solely on the availability of tomatoes, your schedule, number of chickens, and the time of the year.
To make it clear to you, you must provide your chickens with tomatoes in moderation. This means you should give them in small quantities and at specific intervals.
Maybe two to three times a week will be enough to help them acquire essential nutrients not found in other foods.
While giving your chickens this treat, you must be careful not to spoil them. They will likely stop eating their natural food if you provide them with plenty of ripe tomatoes.
On the other hand, too many tomatoes can lead to serious health complications. But you can avoid this problem by strictly following your birds’ feeding schedule.
You must also consider the time of the year when providing your birds with tomatoes. They will eat more in winter compared to summer.
Chickens eat more food in cold weather conditions to help their bodies produce enough heat.
In this case, you should increase the number of tomatoes alongside other feed compared to what they eat in summer.
Will feeding tomatoes affect the quality of eggs?
Yes. Tomatoes are rich in various nutrients. Some of these nutrients can determine the quality of your hens’ eggs.
Tomato powder supplementation affects the concentrations of lipid peroxidation and yolk carotenoids. And this determines the taste of the eggs produced by those hens feeding on tomatoes.
Which fruits are not suitable for chickens to eat?
There are several fruits that you should not give your flock of birds to eat. These include avocados, eggplants, apples with seeds, grapes containing seeds, and peanuts.
All these types of foods contain toxic compounds that can harm your chickens.
Tomatoes, especially the red, juicy ones, are a perfect choice of treats for your feathered friends. To them, this fruit is yummy and easy to eat.
Most significantly, it contains essential nutrients that benefit them in terms of health. Give them to your flock in moderation. Tomatoes are safe and one of the best treats for chickens.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!