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Don't Feed Guacamole to your Chickens!

There are lots of healthy chicken treats you can offer to your flock. However, guacamole isn't one of them.

Chickens can (and will!) eat almost anything. As omnivores (meaning animals that obtain nutrients and energy from both plant and animal matter), chickens who are offered a wide variety of foods as treats will be happier and lay more nutritious, delicious eggs.

The list of things that are okay for chickens to eat is way too long to list here, but you can find a comprehensive list here

The list of things that they shouldn't eat isn't nearly as long and I've included anything that could be a problem for chickens (or ducks) here

"Toxic" doesn't mean immediately fatal, but some toxins do build up in the body and can affect different birds differently depending on their age and overall health, so it's best to steer clear of these few things. 

Especially since there's so much else that's perfectly fine for a backyard flock to enjoy as a snack.

Fortunately, the list of things that shouldn't be fed to a flock is much shorter - and very easy to remember if you remember this....


Don't feed guacamole to your chickens! 


Coincidentally, most of the ingredients in guacamole are things that chickens shouldn't be eating. So, don't share. Eat it all yourself. 

Although the jalapeno, cilantro and chips (unsalted, please!) are fine for chickens, the rest of the ingredients are things that should be avoided when you're a chicken. 

And before you ask about the jalapeno being too spicy for chickens, I should tell you that they lack the taste receptor for "hot" or "spicy", so they will happily chow down on all kinds of hot peppers, cayenne and other spicy foods.

So here's the rundown of some of the common ingredients in guacamole and why they're not good for chickens to eat.


Avocado


All parts of the avocado plant are toxic to most birds, including chickens, and several other types of animals as well. The toxin persin can cause what amounts to a heart attack. So, no avocado for chickens.

Onion


Onions contain the toxin thiosulphate which can cause anemia and ultimately death if ingested in large enough amounts. So skip the onions too.


Tomato


Tomatoes are in the nightshade family and all parts of the plant are toxic.  Chickens shouldn't be allowed near the tomato plant stems and leaves which contain the most toxin, and should never be fed green tomatoes. 

However, fully ripe fruit in moderation is okay on occasion as a special treat. There's far less of the toxin in the ripened fruit.  My chickens love tomatoes - and I do treat them with some bug-eaten snacks from the garden from time to time.

Lime


Citrus fruits can cause soft-shelled eggs and weak legs in chickens and ducks since they leach calcium from the bones, so citrus should be limited. 

My chickens and ducks aren't fond of citrus anyway and usually leave any orange slices or chunks that might be in a fruit salad I give them.

Sour Cream

Since chickens can't digest milk sugars, they shouldn't be given cheese, sour cream or other dairy products except as the occasional treat because overindulging can give them diarrhea.

Salt


Like humans, chickens shouldn't have excess salt in their diet. Of course they need some for their body to function properly, just like we do, but overly salted foods shouldn't be fed to chickens.


I Should also Mention...

Lettuce


While we're on the subject of treats to stay away from, while leafy greens are super excellent treats, iceberg lettuce should be limited. 

It's a good source of hydration since it's mostly water, but not very nutritious compared to things like kale, spinach, arugula or other types of lettuce. 

Rice and Beans


Cooked rice and beans are both okay for chickens, dried uncooked beans are not. They contain a hemaglutin which is harmful. However, fresh, canned, fully cooked or sprouted beans are fine.

Chickens shouldn't have chocolate either, so skip the mole sauce.

I hope this handy guide has made it a little easier to figure out which kitchen scraps are okay to feed your chickens and which aren't. 

Like my mom and my grandmother used to, I keep a bowl next to the cutting board when I'm cooking and nearly all the tips, and tops, ends and scraps go into it for the chickens.  

It cuts down on food waste, reduces my chicken feed bill - and makes my girls so happy! 

But if you love your girls, don't feed guacamole to your chickens.  Happy Cinco de Mayo!

List of Healthy Treats
List of Treats for Every Season
List of Toxic Treats

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