In this article, I share all there is to know about sweet feed and whether or not your chickens should be eating it. As you probably know, chickens can eat almost anything, but that doesn’t mean they should.
For this reason, it’s important we examine the type of food they eat. Having said that, let’s get into the topic.
Can chickens eat sweet feed? Yes, chickens can eat sweet feed, but only as an occasional treat. It is essential to be aware that sweet feed is not a replacement for chicken feed as it lacks the nutritional value chickens need for their growth and development.
While it varies from brand to brand, sweet feed combines grains, various vitamins, minerals, molasses, and supplemental protein.
While this is quintessential for horses and cattle, the content is problematic for chickens who consume large portions regularly.
Not only is the protein content too high for chickens, but it also lacks the nutritional values that compose a chickens balanced diet.
Chickens consuming large amounts of sweet feed will be prone to various issues, including nutritional deficiencies and decreased egg production or soft, deformed shells due to calcium deficiency.
While it may be cheaper to replace chicken feed with sweet feed in the short term, the ongoing health issues will be detrimental to your finances in the long run.
If you have your chickens and horses together, it’s okay if the chickens eat a small quantity of sweet feed, but do ensure they aren’t ingesting an excessive amount to avoid the issues I just mentioned.
Another thing to be aware of is that chicken feed is toxic for horses, so keep horses away from it at all times.
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Can Chickens Eat Sweet Feed as a Treat?
Technically speaking, yes, but you should only feed sweet feed to your chickens as a treat with moderation.
However, because it contains little nutrition for chickens, there is no benefit other than it’s cheap and easy to bulk up the chicken feed.
Instead, consider providing various threats to your chickens, such as leafy greens, cooked beans, corn, and pumpkins.
Stick to the 90/10 rule – 90% commercial chicken feed and 10% treats for a balanced nutritious diet.
Do Chickens Eat Horse Pellets?
The pellet shape is fine for chicken consumption (As you are likely aware, nutritious chicken feed is available, especially for chickens).
But still, the answer is dependent on what the pellets contain.
Do not go out of your way to feed horse pellets to your birds, but if your bids and horses are in the same habitat, check the ingredients to ensure there is nothing lethal to chickens.
It is highly improbable, but best to be safe.
Chickens will likely peck away at scrap horse pellets, and that will be fine as long as it’s in moderation.
Look out for excessive protein supplementation and high fiber pellets if your chickens are ingesting horse pellets in large amounts, as this can cause digestive problems for your flock.
Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
Never feed your chickens raw, dried, or undercooked beans. Beans naturally contain hemagglutinin which is highly toxic – even lethal, to chickens.
To avoid this, ensure you thoroughly cook all beans. Eating just a couple of raw beans can kill your chicken within an hour. Once ingested, there is no way to save the bird.
While the flesh is okay for chickens, most people avoid supplying avocados to their birds as the skin and pip contain high doses of a chemical called Persin, which is toxic and potentially life-threatening to your flock.
Persin can induce heart problems, breathing issues and cause a swift demise. The flesh also contains persin but in much smaller doses.
Some types of mold are okay for chickens to consume, but the problem is some are deadly to chickens, and it’s not easy to know what one is safe and what ones could potentially kill your chicken.
Moldy food can also cause highly wet feces. Therefore, it is safest to ensure your chicken feed stays dry and all foods provided are mold-free.
All green parts of the potato, raw and cooked, contain solanine and chaconine, both poisonous to chickens.
Ensure skins, flesh and even sprouts are void of green to ensure a healthy flock. Keep your potatoes in the dark environment to avoid becoming green.
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and chickens. Some recognize that flavored chocolate items such as chocolate cake may not be harmful to the birds, though it is best to avoid this altogether as a precaution.
Conclusion: Can Chickens Eat Sweet Feed? (Horse Feed)
Yes, chickens can eat sweet feed or horse pellets but in moderation. But if you have the options, it’s best if they don’t, as it won’t provide any significant nutritional value. Chickens’ main source of food is their chickens’ feed and should be the majority of their food.
Also, remember that chickens should have a balanced diet to grow strong and healthy, so when not feeding chicken feed, all other types of food should only be used as a treat.
Remember that chickens eat almost anything, so it is up to us to judge what’s best for them.