Chickens are omnivore animals and safely consume meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and insects. However, that doesn’t mean your flock should eat all types of these essential foods.
As we all know, the healthier the chicken, the better the outgoing product will be, so it is crucial to research foods before feeding them to chickens rather than listening to myths.
Today, we look into tomato greenery, foods to avoid, and why feeding these particular foodstuffs to your chickens can be detrimental to your flocks’ health.
Can chickens eat tomato plants? Even though tomatoes are highly nutritious for chickens, the plants are not. Like all nightshade family members, it is essential not to feed tomato greenery, including flowers, stems, and leaves, due to solanine, which is highly toxic to chickens.
While some sites claim cooking the foliage can make it chicken-friendly, it is best to bypass this practice and avoid greenery altogether for your flocks’ safety.
Albeit, don’t let this put you off feeding ripe red tomatoes to your chickens as they are full of nutritional contents including vitamin C, E, K, potassium, folate, and lycopene, which are essential for your chickens’ health.
Tomatoes also contain beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A once in the chickens’ digestive system, vital for chicken bones.
You may like: Can Chickens Eat Hot Peppers?
Will Chickens Eat Tomato Plants? (Leaves or Peels)
Chickens are free-range animals, so they may try tomato greenery if given the opportunity; however, they will likely only sample it as it tastes bitter to chickens, so their instinct is to avoid eating it.
Not all chickens will do that 100% of the time, so the safest thing to do is avoid having it around your chickens.
How to Prevent Chickens from Eating Your Tomato Plants?
While some people provide their chickens with their own habitat, some prefer to keep their chickens free to explore.
While this is fantastic for your soil fertilization and comes with many benefits, it can also come with consequences, including chickens getting into things they shouldn’t – including tomato greenery.
The best and easiest way to avoid your chickens from consuming the plant is to fence the plants off wholly.
A simple fence will generally be enough of a deterrent. There are multiple ways to do this:
-Use two to four stakes in the ground to prevent chickens from accessing the plants
-Insert a tomato cage over the plants
-Erect a simple chicken wire fence to surround the area. Ensure the plants don’t poke through the fence or grow through it. For extra durability, you can try hardwire cloth.
If fencing isn’t an option, you can try planting chicken repellent herbs or placing citrus peels and juice around the area’s surroundings.
What Not to Feed Chickens?
Just like humans, some foods are unfit for chicken consumption:
Coffee Grounds: Because chickens are small animals, coffee grounds can cause hyperactivity, kidney damage, altered heartbeat, and even seizures.
Potato peels, sprouts, and green patches on potatoes: These potato elements can be lethal to chickens and cause serious health issues due to their high solanine presence.
Rhubarb or Rhubarb Leaf: Due to rhubarbs oxalic content, rhubarb can cause hypocalcemia in chickens, resulting in soft-shelled eggs, or worse, egg binding in laying chickens
Apple Seeds: These seeds contain cyanide which prevents the delivery of oxygen to vital tissues
Dry, Uncooked Beans: Always thoroughly cook beans as when they are raw, they have hemagglutinin which is lethal to chickens even in small amounts. Just two or three beans can be life-threatening to chickens.
Uncooked Rice: Grains can swell in the chicken’s stomach, causing blockages in the digestive system.
Mold: Any foods with a hint of mold, including moldy chicken feed, should be disposed of entirely. Some molds are toxic to chickens, while others are not. The problem is that it’s tough to differentiate them, and it’s not worth the risk.
Chocolate: Because of chocolates’ theobromine and caffeine content, chocolate can induce minor and major heart problems in birds.
Conclusion: Can Chickens Eat Tomato Plants?
No, do not offer tomato plants to your chickens, including stems, flowers, and leaves. As stated, chickens tend to naturally bypass the greenery due to the bitter taste, albeit it’s best to avoid containing chickens in an area where tomato plants are readily available as a precaution.
Continue to research all foods before feeding them to your chickens, and you will have happy, healthy chickens and a fantastic egg supply.
And remember, like always, the main source of food for chickens should be their chicken feed.