Peanuts are one of the tastiest, most convenient snacks you can eat. They're easy and full of protein, but can chickens eat peanuts also?
Wanna know what we found out? Scroll down a little and find out!
Can Chickens Eat Peanuts?
Yes, chickens can eat peanuts. As long as you feed peanuts that are not raw and are unsalted they are a healthy snack when fed in moderation. Peanuts should be fed in moderation due to their high caloric count and aflatoxin.
Can chickens eat peanut shells?
Yes, chickens can eat peanut shells. The shells can be very good for them too since they have a lot of antioxidants which are known to provide a wide variety of health benefits.
The best way to feed shells is to first roast them (yes, chickens can eat roasted peanuts) and then crush them up. In this form you can even feed them to baby chicks, in moderation. The shells do contain a high amount of cellulose and fiber, the latter which can lead to constipation and other digestive issues if fed too much.
Can chickens eat boiled peanuts?
Yes, chickens love boiled peanuts and it's generally safe for them to eat. However, just like regular peanuts, make sure they are plain and have no added salt.
Boiled peanuts are actually more beneficial for a chicken's health and wellbeing than either roasted or raw peanuts. In fact, according to Peanut-Institute.com, boiled peanuts have been known to have up to 4 times the amount of antioxidants as their unboiled counterparts.
Can Chickens eat Raw Peanuts?
No, chickens should not eat raw peanuts. Peanuts are not nuts, but are legumes. And they contain trypsin. Trypsin has been shown to affect growth, gut health and overall health for chickens, poultry and even squirrels.
Can Chickens eat Roasted peanuts?
Yes, chickens can eat roasted peanuts. Roasting peanuts, boiling peanuts or otherwise cooking the causes substances such as trypsin to be significantly decreased making peanuts a safe snack for feeding chickens.
Can chickens eat unsalted peanuts?
Yes, chickens can eat unsalted peanuts. Salted peanuts, however are not safe for feeding to your chickens.
Are peanuts toxic to chickens?
Peanuts, and some other nuts, contain a substance called aflatoxin. Consuming aflatoxin can lead to Aflatoxicosis, sometimes known as "turkey X-disease". Aflatoxicosis can cause a whole host of problems in chickens ranging from a suppresses immune system, to organ damage, and a reduction or complete shut down of egg production and loss of quality.
Generally, this condition is a result of poor quality chicken feed, feed that is not stored properly, and the overconsumption of foods high in aflatoxin, like corn (including popcorn at times), rice, and, yes, peanuts.
With that being said, there have been studies that show roasting peanuts can reduce aflatoxins by almost 90% at 200ºC (392ºF) and boiling or pressure cooking rice can destroy between 50% and 70%. To be safe, we recommend feeding your chickens roasted or cooked, boiled or roasted, peanuts, if you feed your chickens peanuts at all.
Please keep the dangers related to aflatoxin and aflatoxicosis in mind while reading the rest of this post.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
So, are peanuts bad for them?
In general, peanuts are not bad for chickens to eat. However, many prepackaged peanuts are going to be sold coated in a lot of salt or some other kind of flavor enhancer. You do not want to feed anything like that to your chickens as they can vary from "not great" to "dead cluck". There are too many different types of additives to list here. So, suffice it to say skip them all and opt for plain, unsalted peanuts (unless you know for certain it is harmless and safe).
Are there health benefits in peanuts for chickens?
Sure, peanuts are chock full of protein and good fats. They also contain a lot of vital vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
|Total lipid (fat)||32.1||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||31.10||g|
|Fiber, total dietary||12.80||g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||3.61||g|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||5.99||mg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||4.47||g|
- Calcium: bones and egg shell strength
- Fiber: only small amounts or they can become constipated, get a blockage, etc; enery, growth, and digestive health, reduce cholesterol, controls blood sugar, digestive health
- Folate (B Vitamin): folate deficiency; helps blood formation; healthy feathers & size
- Magnesium: bone development, cellular metabolism
- Potassium: temperature control; hydration & electrolyte regulation, metabolism; heart health/heart disease preventative
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why won't the birds eat my peanuts?
If your chickens are not eating the peanuts you give them it means they are either spoiled or may have some sort contamination, like mold. The other option, which is more likely, is that you may have just given them too many and they are full.
Q2. Can you wash salt off peanuts for birds?
You can try, but if they have been roasted or boiled in salt, it may not do much good. It's best to give your chickens peanuts that have never been salted.
Q3. Can I feed birds peanut butter?
Peanut butter is, for the most part, fine for your chickens to eat. The things that we would caution you on with peanut butter is the risk of aflatoxin, although it is likely low since peanuts are usually roasted first. We would also remind you of the high fat content in peanut butter which can become a health issue. And last, but not least, peanut butter can be very sticky and be a choking hazard.
Q4. Do peanuts make chickens lay bigger eggs?
Yes, peanuts can make chickens lay bigger eggs up to a certain point. A study out of California from 2004 showed that adding 2, and then 4, ounces of peanuts to a hen's daily diet increased the height, width, and weight of the egg. However, in each instance that the amount was increased to 6 oz, the hens stopped laying altogether.
Q5. What kind of nuts can chickens eat?
Most nuts are safe for chickens to eat. However, they are generally high in fat and calories so should only be fed as a snack and in moderation. The one thing you should be aware of is whether or not the nuts contain tannins; like acorns, for example.
Tannins are "antinutrients" and can cause your chickens' bodies (and yours, in high enough quantities) to "reduce [it's] ability to absorb essential nutrients from food." They have also been linked to cancer and liver damage.
So, if you're wondering if chickens can eat all nuts, they can't
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.