Foods To Avoid Feeding To Your Chickens

by Meghan H

Published April 12, 2021

Do your chickens come running when they see you enter their area with food? Chickens like to eat and making sure their dietary needs are met is one of the most important aspects of chicken-keeping. Aside from a complete, high-quality chicken feed, you may want to add some variety and also be aware of certain foods that should be avoided. The list of foods that should be avoided is actually quite short as chickens are foragers and have no issues with a wide variety of foods.

Feeding Chickens Kitchen Scraps What not to feed Chickens Meyer Hatchery

Kitchen foods to avoid feeding your chickens that can cause harm (and their specific toxins):

  • Chocolate (Theobromine and Caffeine)
  • Green potatoes or their peels (Solanin and Chaconine)
  • Dried or raw beans (Phytohaemagglutinin)
  • Avocado skins (Persin)
  • Moldy feed or any moldy food scraps (Aflatoxin)
  • Greasy, fatty, or very salty foods
Foods not to feed Chickens chocolate, avocado, citrus, lime Meyer Hatchery

There is not enough scientific evidence to strongly advise against citrus fruits, but I think you will find that most chickens just avoid them anyway.

Besides the above-mentioned, feel free to treat your flock to a wide variety of foods. You may be surprised to know that chickens are not vegetarians. It sounds cannibalistic, but chickens will have no problem pecking at your chicken dinner scraps or Thanksgiving turkey carcass. During molt, this offers them a nice protein boost as well!

Utilizing table scraps for your flock is a smart way to reduce waste and also reduce the feed bill of your birds. And your flock will thank you for the variety! 

Learn More On Our Podcast

In Episode 11 of The Coop, we talk all things Kitchen Scraps! In the warmer months, you’ll often find yourself with an abundance of fresh produce, from your garden, local farmers market, or grocery store. Instead of tossing your leftover scraps or taking them to the compost bin, consider treating your poultry!⁣


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