Can Chickens Eat Nuts? A Complete Guide

Some people think that feeding hens nuts are fine & even advantageous, while others warn that it may cause more harm than benefit to the birds’ health.

The truth is that layers’ feed and other pellet feed for chickens probably already include nuts of some type. It is common practice to supplement animal meals with high-protein cake leftover from oil extraction.

Chickens can enjoy nuts as a pleasure and as part of a healthy diet, and it’s crucial to pay close attention to the quantity to give them, where nuts are best, and how the nuts must be stored before serving them.

Chickens have strong beaks that can easily crack nuts, and also most nuts seem to be soft enough to be eaten without any problems. Additionally, the gizzard is a heavily muscled organ that is more than capable of pulverizing sharp things like nuts. Due to their high protein content, healthy fats, & mineral content, nuts are a great addition to any diet. 

Types of Nuts you can Feed to the Chickens –

  • Hickory nuts:

While hickory nuts, along with walnuts & pecans, can be fed to chickens in moderation. It’s important to make sure you’re gathering the appropriate kind of nut, as several closely related species are deadly. They have a healthy amount of lipids, proteins, as well as other nutrients. 

  • Beech nuts:

In part because of the tannins they include, beech nuts get a distinctively bitter flavor. When fed in moderation, they are safe for chickens to consume. In the late autumn, you can spend a great deal of time foraging for food in the leaf litter under the deciduous trees on the lane. 

  • Chufa nuts:

Chufa nuts, commonly called earth almonds, are not nuts at all but rather tiny dried tuber. Its striped design, which goes back to Neolithic Egypt, is where their first use was documented. Although tiger nuts are safe for chickens to eat, they lack the proteins and lipids that true nuts provide and instead provide a wealth of healthy carbs instead. 

  • Walnuts:

Chickens can safely eat walnuts without any ill effects. only half a nut, twice or thrice a week at most. 

  • Peanuts:

Since peanuts are sometimes overly salted, they provide a problem. 

  • Almonds:

Almonds are one of the ten highest nutritious foods on the planet. Do not overfeed, and only give a few nuts at a time. 

  • Pecans:

Pecans are a good source of nutrition for poultry. Pecans, with their tender flesh, are safe for chickens to eat in their entirety. 

  • Hazel Nuts:

Squirrels are the primary consumers of these tiny round nuts in the United Kingdom. Even though hazelnuts & filberts are OK for chickens, you should chop them up before feeding them to your hens because they are too big for their beaks. 

  • Brazil Nuts:

The moderate consumption of Brazil nuts, which are a great source of Selenium as well as other trace minerals, is safe for hens. 

  • Chestnuts:

Chestnuts, a traditional holiday snack for humans, are always safest when cooked for chickens too. 

  • Cashews:

The cashew nut & cashew apple are both great for chickens. Because of their odd shape, you should wash them thoroughly, ensure they are not salty or flavored, and crush them before eating. 

  • Acorns:

Chickens must never be fed raw acorns since they are poisonous to them.

  • Macadamia nuts:

It’s safe to say that macadamia nuts are almost entirely composed of fat. They are hard and must be broken down into small pieces, although the occasional one is OK. 

  • Pistachio nuts:

Chickens have no natural ability to crack open the shells of pistachio nuts, although they can enjoy eating them if they are cracked. If there are any pistachio nut shells present, then chickens will reject the entire batch. You should only eat unsalted pistachios or rinse them thoroughly before feeding them.

  • Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are a safe & acceptable food for chickens. Even though they are somewhat pricey, any extras that you may have would be greatly appreciated by your flock. Just like other nuts, they provide healthy fats and essential minerals, and vitamins.

Can Chickens Eat Nuts

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Types of Nuts you should not Feed to the Chickens –

Chickens should never be fed acorns that have been salted, dry roasted, flavored, or a nut mixture that includes raisins. Trypsin, an anti-nutrient, is found in raw peanuts.

Never feed chickens nut shells since they are indigestible, certain nuts have harmful oils on them, and the shells themselves have no nutritional value.

Benefits of Peanuts for the Chickens –

Most hens will go wild for some peanuts. In fact, we can’t recall ever encountering a hen or rooster that wasn’t eager to devour any and all of them. 

Because of this, it’s crucial to give animals the perfect amount & roast the nuts properly. 

The chickens can’t tell when they’ve had enough or reject the nuts if they don’t agree with how they make them feel. 

Because all nuts taste good to them, they will eat until there are none left. Be careful not to drop all the nuts in one location, since there will likely be a struggle over them. 

Benefits of Nuts –

Chickens will benefit from a diet that includes nuts so long as you don’t overdo it. Most of the usual nuts you’ll be purchasing for your feathered companions are rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. 

As far as they are introduced to the flock’s food in measured doses, it will have nothing but positive effects. 

During the time of their molt, when new feathers are being grown, they are an excellent source of protein. 

Are Nuts right for the Chickens –

You can kill them with love or the wrong kind of food. Having excessive amounts of a good thing may be harmful, and just like humans are, so can chickens. When it comes to treats, more is usually not better. 

Protein and fat content are two areas where nuts excel as a snack. Chickens benefit from a reasonable increase in lipids and protein (for example, during the fall when they are molting), but an excessive increase might cause obesity (yes, hens can grow obese) and hinder their capacity to lay eggs. 

It’s also possible that kids could be poisoned if the food is not properly cooked.

Can Chickens Eat Nuts

Feeding guide of Nuts to the Chickens

They must have been stored properly, with no damp areas where mold could develop.

Many people believe that mold is the primary cause of nut toxicity in hens, which is true if the nuts are moldy. 

There is a good likelihood that the nuts have mold on them if they were kept in a damp or unsanitary environment. Nuts are especially susceptible because their shells often crack as they develop, letting in the elements. At that point, mold development is only a matter of time. 

Instead of picking the nuts oneself, it is best to buy them from a reliable vendor. The risk of mold is too great if the nuts are fallen from the branches and have been on the ground for any length of time. 

The nuts you purchase should not have any added salt, sugar, or other flavorings. 

However, unlike mold, this problem is easily remedied: simply wash the nuts under running water several times & give them a try. The birds should be OK to eat them if you can’t detect any salt, sugar, or other seasonings.

It’s also important to consider the size of the nuts you’re feeding your chickens; larger varieties, such as cashews, nuts, hazelnuts, etc., should be broken up first.

Even though the stomach of a chicken is a strong organ that can easily break down tough foods like nuts, it is still best to chop them into smaller pieces to prevent any gastrointestinal distress. Obviously, you shouldn’t offer the shells to the hens & should dispose of them yourself. 

FAQ 

Do Chickens like hazelnuts? 

The answer is “Yes” if you want your hens to eat hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are one of the most nutrient-dense nut options for your feathered friends without sacrificing flavor. 

Can you Feed Nuts to baby Chickens or Chicks? 

Chicks and young hens should not be treated to junk food too often; they need a high-quality chick crumb for at least 90% of their diet. From around the third or fourth week of life, young birds can start nibbling on chopped nuts. 

Do you need to break or chop nuts for Chickens?

Chickens do not experience choking. They seem to be able to gauge whether or not anything will fit down their throats by holding it in their beaks. However, hazel nuts & cashews are too weird in shape, so you may crush them before feeding them to the chickens. 

Do Chickens like Raisins and Nuts? 

In addition to being composed entirely of sugar, the mold that grows on the outside of some raisins can be toxic to hens. 

Conclusion 

Last but not least, you can give young chicks raw pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, etc., however, you can’t do it with peanuts. 

Trypsin, an enzyme found in raw peanuts, is toxic to birds. If you’re going to feed the chickens peanuts, you should acquire the roasted, shelled variety.

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