What foods are toxic to chickens?

What foods are toxic to chickens? Seeds or fruit pits? Hmm, the subject of what to feed and what not to feed chickens is genuinely an exceptional one. It can get highly confusing quite quickly but having proper awareness when you have a cute flock flapping around your yard is an absolute necessity.

Sadly, even if some treats are undeniably tasty to your chickens, they are actually forbidden to avoid hampering their health. This article is about what you must prevent providing your chickens as they are sensitive to most of the following that we will soon discuss.

Having said that, fortunately, there are still a ton of treats and meals that you can provide to your chickens even after you cross out the following don’ts. Thus, let’s dig a little deeper and see what the 350 taste buds in your chickens must live without.

Foods that are toxic to chickens:

One of the many downfalls of poor health control in chickens is letting them free-range. Once they get accustomed to foraging their own food around your backyard, they might consume foods that have an adverse effect on their health.

Don’t get us wrong, letting your chicken explore is undoubtedly vital to their well-being; however, keeping an eye on what they’re consuming is necessary too. Therefore, pet owners must avoid the following foods from their chickens’ diets at all times for their unfavorable consequences and toxicity levels.

What foods are toxic to chickens
What foods are toxic to chickens?

1. Unshelled Nuts

What foods are toxic to chickens? Before offering nuts to chicks, it’s best to remove the shell first. Additionally, it’s also necessary to chop them up in smaller bite sizes to avoid the chickens from choking. Another item to avoid is ground nuts or nut trees that could be scattered around your backyard.

When nuts are left around aimlessly, they may be affected by the weather and become too damp or consist of aflatoxins.

Such ingredients can cause aflatoxin poisoning in chickens, in addition to the loss of appetite, convulsions, infections, oral and dermal irritation, spasming, depression, and unfortunate death.

2. Tobacco

Tobacco consists of nicotine and should never be an option in chickens’ diets. Furthermore, owners must also keep chickens away from smokers at all times. Ingestion of tobacco in chickens can be fatal.

Few signs of chickens suffering from tobacco poisoning are vomiting, seizures, diarrhea, and hyperexcitability. These conditions also lead to incoherent heart, kidney, poor beak activity, and other deathly diseases.

3. Spinach

What foods are toxic to chickens? Spinach consists of oxalates and can prohibit adequate calcium absorption within chickens. Therefore, it leads to weaker egg binding and other health issues such as urine stones.

It’s known that small amounts of spinach may not contribute to such consequences; however, steering clear of spinach entirely isn’t the worst idea either.

4. Salt

To be honest, chickens require some salt in their regular diet although excessive amounts of salt can cause severe health issues. Salt poisoning causes weakness, excess urination, drinking, dehydration, diarrhea, abdominal swelling, and untimely death.

A few symptoms of such occurrences is that you could notice wetter bedding and liquid droppings. They may also be unusually disoriented and distressed.

5. Rhubarb Leaves

What foods are toxic to chickens? Like spinach, rhubarb leaves also consist of oxalate crystals that can be highly toxic to birds, including chickens. Ingestion of rhubarb leaves can cause vomiting and acute renal failures. This content can also effectively bind with the calcium and give way to urinary stones. The rhubarb stalks have lower levels of oxalate. However, it’s an advice to avoid rhubarb altogether.

6. Raw Beans

Raw beans contain phytohemagglutinin, a toxin that can cause health issues to chickens and humans. When chickens consume raw or uncooked beans, it causes poisoning, which gives way to health conditions such as pancreas, liver, intestinal relapse. High doses of raw beans can even be deathly.

7. Processed Human Foods

Sweet, salty, and greasy processed foods are a big ‘no’ for chickens. These have no nutritional value for chickens and equivalent to junk food for them.

8. Onion

Onions contain chemicals and thiosulphate, which is responsible for causing irregularity in birds’ red blood cells and anemia.

9. Fruit Pits

Seeds and pits of fruits such as plums, pears, peaches, cherries, and apricots consist of toxin cyanide. When ingested by chickens, these can cause respiratory issues, stumbling, tremors, seizures, weakness, distress, heart changes, and death.

Don’t get us wrong; it’s okay to offer these fruits as treats once in a blue moon to chickens. However, you must remove the pits and seeds before doing so.

10. Avocados

Owners must keep the pits, skin, and leaves of avocados out of chickens’ diets at all times. This portion can have the highest amounts of toxins than any other for chickens. Many different Guatemalan varieties must also be crossed out from consideration for chickens. These can cause death, respiratory issues, and weakness.

11. Alcohol

This is a no-brainer. It’s evident that alcohol has undeniably substantial demerits over the human body; thus, mere chickens can be of no exception. When chicken embryos absorb ethanol, it causes the baby chicks to suffer from growth and development issues.

Moreover, it also leads to immunity imbalance, organ failure, and damages to the gastrointestinal tracts and brains.

12. Citrus Fruits

The absorption of citrus items can interfere with calcium formation and absorption in chickens. This causes deterioration in egg production and construction.

However, there are two schools of thought about this issue. Some studies also show that some citrus values can have health benefits to chickens. On the contrary, most problems arise with the production of eggs.


What foods are toxic to chickens? Having such cute friends frolicking around in your backyard can truly bring out the best in us. However, it goes without saying that maintaining and keeping up with your flock’s demands and nutritional needs is a responsibility that you can’t slack on.

Providing chickens with a complete, filling and balanced diet consists of a few simple rules. Start with full, healthy meals, keep the treats to a minimum, and never overfeed your chickens due to your outpouring love.

You will notice that when your chickens acquire wholesome and healthy meals and treat with the exclusion of our listed foods, their well-being and moods will uplift, letting them live a long and happy life.

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