Can Chickens Eat Table Scraps?

By Chicken Pets on
Can Chickens Eat Table Scraps?

Picture your flock of feathered friends clucking and pecking happily as they nibble on a cornucopia of unexpected treats from your kitchen. Wondering if these enthusiastic taste-testers can really enjoy your table scraps safely? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this fun and informative blog post, we’ll explore the world of chickens and table scraps, highlighting the importance of a balanced diet, the nutritional value of different food items, and how to serve up these delightful morsels. So let’s venture into the land of backyard chickens and discover if sharing your leftovers could potentially turn your hens into culinary connoisseurs!

Can chickens eat table scraps?

Yes, chickens can safely eat table scraps, but with some important considerations. It’s essential to ensure that the portions and types of scraps provided are in line with their nutritional requirements and not harmful to their health. Remember to avoid harmful foods like chocolate, avocado, and anything too salty or heavily processed, while focusing on healthy, natural choices to supplement their regular diet.

Just like humans, chickens need a balanced diet

Chickens, much like their human counterparts, thrive on a well-rounded and nutritious diet. Striking a balance between providing the right nutrients and enough energy is essential to keep your feathered friends in tip-top shape. The foundation of their diet should be a high-quality chicken feed, specifically formulated to meet their needs.

This chicken feed should account for around 80-90% of their diet, ensuring that your flock receives the essential vitamins, minerals, and protein needed for healthy growth and egg production. The remaining 10-20% can be made up of a variety of treats, like fruits and vegetables, to add variety to their diet and keep it interesting. By paying close attention to what you’re feeding your chickens, you can ensure their health, happiness, and productivity.

Nutritional value of table scraps for chickens.

Feeding table scraps to chickens can provide some nutritional value if done thoughtfully and in moderation. Many scraps can be packed with vitamins and minerals essential for chickens’ growth, overall health, and well-being. The key lies in providing the right types of table scraps to ensure they derive the most benefit from these extra treats.

Fruits like apples, berries, and melons are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as providing hydration, which is beneficial to chickens, especially during hot weather. Vegetables such as leafy greens, peas, and carrots contain essential nutrients that can boost your flock’s health. Cooked grains like rice and pasta can provide a healthy source of carbohydrates for energy, while an occasional serving of lean meats or fish can increase protein intake, contributing to healthier feathers and better egg production.

While table scraps can be nutritionally valuable, it’s important to be cautious when choosing which ones to share with your chickens. Some foods can be harmful or have little to no nutritional value for them, such as processed or salty foods. By selecting nutrient-rich scraps and avoiding harmful items, you can successfully supplement your flock’s diet with delicious and wholesome treats from your kitchen.

Nutrition table of table scraps for chickens.

Nutritional ValueDepends on the type of table scraps; some can provide vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates or protein, while others may have little to no nutritional value.
Suggested Serving SizeTable scraps should make up no more than 10-20% of a chicken’s diet, with the majority being high-quality chicken feed.
Safe Feeding PracticesAvoid harmful foods such as chocolate, avocado, and overly salty or processed options; focus on natural, nutritious items.
PreparationCut up scraps into small, manageable pieces; cook or blanch any tough vegetables to make them easier for chickens to digest.
Potential RisksConsumption of toxic or improper table scraps may pose health risks; feeding too many table scraps can lead to an unbalanced diet and potential health issues.
HydrationSome water-rich table scraps like fruits and vegetables can provide extra hydration, especially beneficial during hot weather.
DigestionChewing and digesting some table scraps may be challenging for chickens; take care to offer items suitable for their digestive systems.
Seasonal AvailabilityVariety in table scraps will depend on the season and their availability in your area, allowing chickens to enjoy seasonal treats.
Other BenefitsFeeding table scraps can help reduce food waste, increase variety in a chicken’s diet, and improve the bond between you and your flock.

Feeding Table Scraps: Dos and Don’ts

To keep your backyard chickens clucking with delight and staying healthy, we’ve compiled a helpful list of dos and don’ts to follow when feeding them table scraps:


  • Do provide a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cooked grains for added nutrition and excitement in their diet.

  • Do monitor the serving size, limiting table scraps to 10-20% of their total diet.

  • Do cut table scraps into smaller pieces to make it easier for your chickens to eat and digest.

  • Do blanch or cook certain vegetables, like asparagus or broccoli, to help with digestion and encourage consumption.


  • Don’t feed your chickens chocolate, avocado, or excessively salty foods, as these can be harmful to their health.

  • Don’t offer heavily processed or junk food items, as these provide little to no nutritional benefit.

  • Don’t assume all table scraps are good for chickens; always research to ensure the items are safe and nutritious.

  • Don’t forget to maintain a clean feeding environment, removing any uneaten table scraps to avoid spoilage or attracting unwanted pests.

Engage and Observe Your Flock

Introducing table scraps to your backyard chickens is a fantastic opportunity to engage with your flock and observe their individual preferences. You’ll quickly learn which treats they favor and may even notice positive changes in their health and behavior from the added nutrition.

Take time to inspect your chickens regularly for any signs of illness or imbalance caused by improper feeding practices. Look for symptoms such as lethargy, feather loss, changes in egg production, or abnormal droppings. By keeping a watchful eye and maintaining a healthy balance in their diet, you’ll ensure the happiness and well-being of your backyard chickens for years to come.

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