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What Not To Feed Your Chickens And Avoid – Must Read

What Not To Feed Your Chickens And Avoid – Must Read

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Several foods can be harmful to your chickens. Here we will discuss some of the foods not to feed your chickens and avoid and everything you need to know about them.

One of the best things about keeping backyards chickens is that you can feed them almost anything. Chickens tend to peck on everything they come across.

However, not everything is safe to give to your feathered friends. Some foods that are thought to be good for chickens could be the opposite. Keep reading to learn more.

Foods You Should Not Give Your Chickens

As mentioned earlier, not everything is safe for your chickens to eat. Some foods with think we think are safe can be harmful to chickens. Here are some of the foods we should avoid giving our birds.

What Not To Feed Your Chickens And Avoid

Dried And Raw Beans

It would be best not to feed your backyard chickens raw or dried beans. Dried beans are harmful and are known to create serious illnesses that can even lead to death in human beings.

For chickens, they will most likely cause death. Kidney beans are the worst culprit. However, any beans which have not been appropriately cooked are potentially lethal for your birds and should be avoided.

Uncooled beans contain a compound known as phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin is harmful to chickens and may lead to death.

A serious illness will occur once your bird eats a few uncooked beans and will progress rapidly, killing it within an hour. Once eaten, there is nothing you can do to save your chicken. 

Although backyard chickens tend to avoid raw beans, you can be safe by keeping any bean plant out of the way of your flock. If you want to give any beans to your birds, then make sure that they are thoroughly cooked.

Cooking in a slow cooker or soaking alone is not enough because the beans may not reach high temperatures that can deactivate the toxins. In addition, you should avoid using dried beans for sprouting.

Moldy Foods

Like human beings, chickens should not be fed moldy foods. Some molds are suitable, though. For instance, Penicillin was developed from a mold, and some types of cheese have mold injected into them. However, most molds, including one that grows on soft fruits like tomatoes, produce toxins. 

Some molds, such as the aspergillus flavus that grows on apple corn, produce a harmful substance known as aflatoxin, which can contribute to liver cancer in human beings and animals, including chickens.

So, how do you prevent this? It is simple! Just avoid giving your chickens any rotten food or that that has any signs of mold.

In addition, it is also important to make sure that your chicken’s feed does not become damp, as it is one of the mediums in which molds and other toxins flourish. Mold feed can easily kill your chickens.


What Not To Feed Your Chickens And Avoid

Nearly everyone loves avocados and will enjoy eating them. However, it is a controversial food when it comes to feeding chickens.

You might have probably come across information on the internet stating that avocados as a whole are harmful to chickens. That is not entirely accurate.

It is incorrect to say that birds are particularly susceptible to persin, a toxin carried by the avocado.

However, if an avocado is consumed in large amounts, it can cause your chickens to have heart problems then, followed by difficulties in breathing.

Worse still, it can result in death within 48 hours. Persin is ] in the stone and the skin of the avocado. It is also in the leaves and bark of the tree.

The avocado flesh has fewer amount amounts of the compound, although it still contains some amounts because persin is fat-soluble and leaches into the flesh from the stone.

Generally, avocado is a good source of nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and potassium. However, you will have to balance that with the fruit that has toxins that are potentially lethal to chickens.

Therefore, if you want your backyard flock to enjoy eating avocado, give them only the flesh in great moderation. 

Green Tomatoes and Green Potatoes

Nearly all chickens love mashed potatoes and will eat them to the fullest. Leftover cooked potatoes are suitable for your chickens to eat, although they contain very few nutrients and are not one of the best treats for backyard chickens.

However, green potatoes are a different case. Green potatoes and green tomatoes have toxins known as solanine and chaconine, which are found in the sprout, the peel, and the flesh.

Therefore, any part of the green potato is harmful to your chicken. The same applies to unripened tomatoes. Cooking does not alter the solanine in green potatoes.

Therefore, you should not think it will be altered if you cook your potatoes thoroughly. It can cause paralysis and drowsiness and even lead to death.

Potatoes usually go green whenever they are exposed to light. Therefore, make sure they are kept in a calm and dark place.

If your leftover potatoes have already sprouted or gone green, then you should not feed to your backyard flock.

In addition, you should avoid throwing green potato peeling onto your compost heap if your birds have access to it. 

Green potatoes are also harmful and should be avoided. However, they are slightly different in that once they are ripened, the level of solanine in them will reduce.

You can feed them to your chickens if they are ripe. However, this should be done in moderation.

What Not To Feed Your Chickens And Avoid


It is no secret that chocolate is harmful to some mammals, particularly cats and dogs. But did you know that chocolate can be harmful to your chickens too?

It contains toxic elements known as caffeine and theobromine. The two elements are also in some drinks, such as colas, tea, and coffee. 

It is right to say that feeding your hens some leftover chocolate cake or a few pecks of chocolate will probably not harm them.

This will depend on how much cake they eat and how much chocolate the cake contains. Chocolate causes heart problems in chickens, ranging from an irregular heartbeat to a full cardiac arrest.

A chicken that has consumed chocolate may die within a short time, mostly within 24 hours. Therefore, there is no need to be kind and kill your chickens.

Do yourself and your chickens a favor by keeping the chocolate for yourself.

Apple Seeds

Backyard chickens should not be allowed to eat cherries, apples, and other stone fruits whose seeds contain cyanide.

However, there could be no problem if your birds eat small amounts of the seeds. The problem comes when they are allowed to eat many seeds containing cyanide.

It would be best if you did not spend your time picking seeds out of the apple cores, but instead, be cautious when feeding apples to your flock. Apples should only be given as a treat and not part of the diet.


You could probably have heard of or read somewhere about how onions can harm your backyard chickens. Onions contain a toxin known as thiosulphate.

This toxin is harmful to chickens and can destroy their red blood cells. Your chicken will most likely develop anemia jaundice if many red cells are destroyed. You can avoid this by keeping the onion scraps in a compost pile. 


You are probably wondering how lettuce is on this list. Lettuce is healthy for humans because it is a low-calorie-dense food. It also contains a lot of water.

However, it may not be good for your chickens. Feeding your chickens too much lettuce can lead to diarrhea.

Therefore, it is always good to give them lettuce in small amounts. Also, you should go for lettuce that has less amount of water.


Like lettuce, spinach is also a healthy vegetable for humans. However, it can be harmful to your backyard flock.

It does not have much water like lettuce, so it might not lead to diarrhea if your birds consume a lot of it.

Overeating spinach will prevent calcium absorption in chickens. Spinach contains many minerals and vitamins but does not have calcium in large amounts. 


Rhubarb can be dangerous for your birds to eat if it is not cooked correctly. The stems and leaves of the rhubarb plant have oxalic acid, which can be harmful to you as well as chickens. To be safe, put rhubarb scraps in your compost bin that chickens can not have access to. 

Chickens Should Not Eat Anything That Has Been Treated With Chemicals

You should not give your chickens anything that has been sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals.

These chemicals are harmful and can lead to various health issues in your birds and even eventually cause death.

To be safe, you should avoid using chemicals on your garden or lawn if your flock has access to it. 

Which Vegetables And Fruits Are Good For Chicks?

Here is a list of vegetables and fruits that you can give your birds:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Vegetable peels
  • Fruit Peels
  • Squash
  • Melon
  • Chickweed


If you have been asking yourself the kind of foods you should not give your chickens, you are now answered. The foods on our list are harmful to your chickens and can even lead to their death. 

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