What Foods Can Chickens Not Eat?

Chickens on grass

Chickens are omnivore animals and are also famous due to their foraging abilities. And because of it can eat a variety of foods, including insects, worms, fruits, vegetables, etc. However, as we know that each and every food will not be safe for them. And if they can eat a huge variety of foods, then there are several foods they cannot eat, and they have to avoid such foods. But ever you think that what foods can chickens not eat?

However, several foods that chickens cannot eat are available in our surroundings, and they have to avoid them. However, not all such foods will be harmful to chickens, but some can be fatal.


For example, chickens don’t have to eat chocolates, candies, citrus, green potato skin, dry beans, moldy or rotten foods, etc. However, not all foods are fatal for chickens, but they can cause internal damage.

However, let’s have a detailed look at what foods chickens don’t have to eat and their reactions if chickens eat them. And if you are curious to know about it, then navigate this article.

What Foods Can Chickens Not Eat?

There are several foods that chickens don’t have to eat, and also, we have to avoid offering such foods to chickens. Following is the name and detail of such foods that are harmful to chickens.

Members of the Nightshade Family:

Nightshade family or the Solanaceae family contain several edible vegetables for us like tomatoes and potatoes. However, both potatoes and tomatoes are suing as a staple food in several areas around the world.

But the leaves of both these plants shouldn’t be eaten by chickens. Not only this, but less ripe tomatoes, green potatoes and the skin of green potatoes are also harmful to the chickens. However, the green potatoes and the leaves of tomatoes and potatoes are harmful to us as well.

The reason is that the leaves of potatoes and tomatoes contain a toxic compound known as solanine. This compound is harmful to chickens and can cause gastrointestinal and neurological disorders in chickens.

Moreover, green potatoes also make this compound in the presence of sunlight. That’s why we have to avoid offering green potatoes to chickens. However, this solanine compound will break down when you cook the potatoes. And because of it, cooked potatoes are not harmful to chickens.


Onions for chickens

However, onions are harmful to chickens when you feed them in large amounts daily. As, in moderation and occasionally eating onions are healthy for chickens. Because onions are full of nutrients and minerals for chickens.

For example, onions are suitable for the colon health of chickens, bone health, controlling blood sugar level and reducing the inflammatory effect in the body.

But all these benefits a chicken has when he eats onions in small quantities and occasionally. Because if you feed onions daily to your chickens, then the result will be something else.

As, onions in large quantity can cause Heinz Anemia in chickens, in which a chicken can develop an unkempt look with weak legs and lethargy.

Moreover, many people claim that onions can spoil the taste of a hen’s egg.


However, avocadoes are also harmful to chickens if they consume them in large quantities. As the skin, bark, stone, leaves, and the green flesh of avocadoes contain a compound named person. And this compound is toxic to chickens.

Because if a chicken consumes it in large quantity, then respiration problem occurs in them. Not only this but a large amount of this compound can be fatal for chickens.

Rhubarb And Rhubarb Leaves:

Moreover, rhubarb leaves are toxic to chickens as well. Because it contains oxalic acid in high amounts, which bond the calcium in chicken’s blood. And this can cause kidney stones and failure in chickens.

Rhubarb And Rhubarb Leaves

Not only this, but calcium bonding in chickens will affect the egg formation in chickens as well. And also cause the weakness of bones.

Furthermore, rhubarb itself contains such compounds that can cause severe diarrhea in chickens. But this will happen if the chickens eat it in a large amount. A small amount of rhubarb is not harmful to chickens.

Any Food Containing Caffeine or Alcohol:

Now let’s discuss the effect of feeding caffeine, including foods, to chickens. Because feeding caffeine, including foods, is also harmful to chickens. For example, caffeine directly affects egg making and eggshell making chickens.

Because caffeine directly disturbs the calcium formation in chickens. However, caffeine is not harmful to chickens directly, but it can cause such health issues that can lead to death in chickens.

Moreover, the caffeine foods are chocolates, sodas, coffee drinks, coffee beans, green and black tea, etc.

Furthermore, we have to avoid giving alcoholic foods because these foods are also harmful to chickens. As, these foods can cause liver damage and gut problems in chickens. Moreover, we have to avoid feeding alcohol to chickens. Because feeding alcohol to chickens is a barbaric act.

Salty And Sugary Foods:

However, salt is necessary for chickens as they need it for proper body functioning. But as we know that moderation is the key to good health, that’s why we have to avoid giving too many salty foods to chickens.

Because excessive amount of salt can cause depression, diarrhea, weakness, feather eating, convulsions, swollen limbs, etc.

Similarly, sugary foods are also not beneficial for chickens as these foods are not the source of proteins, fiber, etc. Not only this, but sugary foods can cause fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome, difficulty in laying eggs, etc., in chickens.

Other Foods:

Moreover, several other foods are also available in our surroundings that chickens don’t have to eat. For example,

  • Apple Seeds
  • Azalea
  • Ferns
  • Foxglove
  • Holly
  • Lobelia
  • Lupine
  • Mushrooms
  • Rhododendron
  • Oak Leaves And Acorn
  • Junk Foods
  • Uncooked Beans
  • Uncooked Pasta

Read also: Can Chickens Eat Pomegranate Seeds?

A Final Thought:

As chickens are forager critters and can eat several things even, they can swallow stones as well. But still, there are several foods that are harmful to chickens, and they don’t have to eat them. So, if you wonder that what foods can chickens not eat?

Then the foods, including more concentration of salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nightshades, avocadoes, apple seeds, etc., contain toxic compounds for chickens.