Can Chickens Eat Corn Cobs?

By Chicken Pets on
Can Chickens Eat Corn Cobs?

Yes, chickens can eat corn cobs. Corn cobs are safe for chickens to peck at and can provide a degree of entertainment, as well as a source of fiber. However, there’s little nutritional value in the cob itself once the kernels are removed, so it should be considered more as a treat than a staple in their diet.

Quick Summary

  • Chickens can eat corn cobs.
  • Corn cobs can act as a fibrous treat but contain minimal nutrition.
  • Feeding corn cobs is safe in moderation and a good use of kitchen scraps.
  • Make sure to remove any uneaten cobs to prevent spoilage and attract rodents.

Overview of Corn Cobs

Corn cobs are the central core of an ear of corn, onto which kernels are attached. After the edible kernels are removed, the cob itself is mostly insoluble fiber with small amounts of residual corn starch and sugar. It’s important to note that cobs do not provide a significant nutritional contribution to a chicken’s diet.

Benefits and Risks of Corn Cobs for Chickens

While corn cobs can be a source of fiber for chickens, which is necessary for a healthy digestive system, they are not a significant source of nutrients. There is a risk if chickens consume large pieces of cob, as it could potentially cause an impaction in their digestive tract. It’s essential to monitor your chickens to ensure they are not attempting to eat large pieces of cob.

Feeding Guidelines

To safely feed corn cobs to chickens, introduce them as a supplement to their regular diet. It’s best to offer small pieces to prevent choking hazards or digestive blockages. Do not substitute corn cobs for their balanced feed, and always ensure your chickens have access to fresh water. Remove and discard any cobs that have not been eaten after a day to maintain coop cleanliness and deter pests.


If corn cobs are unavailable or if you are looking for alternatives, chickens can enjoy a variety of other safe treats like watermelon rinds, leafy greens, and cooked squash. These alternative treats provide additional nutrients and hydration, which can be beneficial to the chickens’ overall diet.

Expert Opinions

Poultry nutritionists often recommend a balanced diet for chickens, which includes a high-quality commercial feed as the bulk of their nutrition. Treats like corn cobs can be introduced but should not exceed 10% of the chicken’s daily intake. Consultation with a veterinarian can provide tailored advice for specific flocks and their dietary needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

After learning that chickens can eat corn cobs, backyard poultry enthusiasts might have additional questions regarding their safe consumption and benefits. Here are some common questions that may arise:

How often can I give my chickens corn cobs?

Corn cobs can be given to chickens as an occasional treat. It’s recommended to offer them no more than once a week to prevent digestive issues and to ensure a balanced diet.

Should I cut the corn cobs into smaller pieces before feeding my chickens?

Yes, cutting the cobs into smaller pieces can help prevent choking hazards and make it easier for chickens to peck at the remaining kernels and fibrous parts of the cob.

Can baby chicks have corn cobs?

Baby chicks should not be given corn cobs as they require a specialized, nutrient-rich diet. Corn cobs don’t provide the necessary nutrition and can also be a choking hazard for young birds.

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