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The Definitive List of Chicken Treats: What Can Chickens Eat?

chicken treats

We all love to give our hens tidbits, but just what can chickens eat?

I’m sure you’ve wondered what treats you can safely give to chickens, so we have put together this definitive list containing over 200 snacks.

If you want to search for a specific snack you can use our tool below. Or you can reference our chicken treat chart below.

In this guide, we will also teach you how to decide which treats your chickens should have and how much is good for them.

Chicken Treats

Our Choice for All-In-One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Run Chicken

  • Works Rain or Shine so you don’t have to let them out in inclement weather.
  • Go ahead and get those extra hours of sleep or go on vacation, our door has you covered.
  • Protect your Chickens from Predators with our self-locking feature

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

Happy Grubs: More Calcium Than Mealworms

  • Increase Egg Production
  • Stronger Egg Shells
  • Healthy Feathers

There are several reasons why you should limit food – obesity is one of them. We will explore this a bit more as we go along.

Chicken Treat Tool

Chapter 1

Chicken Treat Tool


Chicken Treat Tool

Chapter 2

Chicken Treat Chart


Chicken Nutrition 101

Chapter 3

Chicken Treat Chart


Chicken Treat Tool

What Chickens Can and Cannot Eat:

Broccoli: Yes. Broccoli is safe to feed your chickens. It is high in numerous vitamins and low in fat; mine prefer it cooked. You can give it to them in a suet cage to keep them pecking all day.

Bananas: Yes. Very nutritious, and most hens love them! High in vitamins B6, C & A also contains niacin, iron, magnesium, and other trace elements. Now you know what to do with those brown, spotty bananas!

Grapes: Yes. High in B vitamins plus A & C; also contains many trace elements such as calcium and copper. Give in small amounts once/a week as the sugar content is high. Rough chop first to aid digestion.

Pineapple: Yes. Although high in vitamins and minerals, pineapple is not a favorite with most chickens. Excessive consumption can cause bezoars (fiber balls) to occur in the crop. Feed sparingly as high in sugar.

Tomatoes: Yes. Chickens love tomatoes! Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, K & B9, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Chickens cannot eat the plant, leaves, or flowers; they are poisonous as they contain solanine.

Celery: Yes. A great source of vitamins B2, B6, C & K. High in trace minerals such as molybdenum, it also contains potassium, fiber, and calcium. Not a favorite though, try chopping it up to make a more acceptable celery treat.

chickens eat strawberries, chicken treats

Strawberries:  Yes. Strawberries are a favorite treat; they are high in trace elements and vitamins A, C & B9. Also contains an anti-inflammatory component called quercetin; rich in antioxidants.

Apples: Yes. Apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, so remove seeds if you can. Chop apples to aid digestion, although they will peck at windfalls. Apple sauce is good too.

Grass: Yes. Long strands of grass can cause crop impaction, so feed short grass clippings as long as the grass has not been treated with chemicals.

Rice: Yes. White rice has little nutritional value; brown or wild rice is better. Never feed uncooked rice as it will absorb water in their gut and expand, causing possible blockages or perforation of the intestine.

Oranges: Yes. Oranges do have some amazing health benefits. Chickens do not, in general enjoy oranges, though; you could try adding it to a fruit salad…

Asparagus: Yes. Asparagus is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Chickens generally will not eat it, but if they do, make sure they don’t eat too much as it can taint the taste of the eggs!

Crickets: Yes. 100 grams of crickets contains 12.9 grams protein, 5.5 grams fat, and 5.1 grams of carbohydrates, plus numerous minerals and trace elements. A very healthy snack but feed in moderation because of the high protein content.

Onions: No. Although onions contain many vitamins and minerals, chickens really should not eat them. Large amounts of onions can cause hemolytic anemia.

Potatoes: Yes. Potatoes cooked or raw can be given to chickens, except for the green areas which contain solanine (it is poisonous).

Leaves, plants, and flowers should not be eaten – the potato is a member of the nightshade family and, as such is toxic.

Bread: Yes. Bread soaked in milk is something that used to be given when fattening hens for the pot. They do love bread, but it is nutritionally poor for them. Feed in moderation.

Chocolate: No. Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to chickens – and who in their right mind would share their chocolate with them!?

Cabbage: Yes. Very healthy and is packed full of trace minerals and vitamins. You can hang it as a tetherball or stuff the leaves into a suet container where they can pluck at them whenever they want.

Popcorn: Yes. Surprisingly, popcorn contains a high number of vitamins, including A, E & K. It has a lot of minerals, too, plus fiber, as long as you don’t add salt or sugar to your corn.

Raisins: Yes. Feed-in extremely small amounts. Large amounts of raisins can make your birds very sick with renal failure. They will also put on weight quickly due to the sugar content.

Blueberries: Yes. Chickens can eat all sorts of berries, and blueberries are one of their favorites. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, blueberries also contain antioxidants. Be aware that their poop will turn blue!

chicken eating cucumbers, chicken treats

Cucumbers: Yes. Cucumbers are a great treat on hot days. They contain a lot of water, so it’s a good way to stay hydrated. Healthy too – full of vitamins and minerals, also contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Cooked Rice: Yes. Rice is approximately 85-90% carbohydrate with very small amounts of minerals present. Although chickens can have it as a snack, it is of little nutritional value to them.

Avocado: No. The leaves, skin, and stone all contain person, which is highly toxic to chickens. Technically the flesh is ok to eat, but I wouldn’t just in case…

Cherries: Yes. Cherries are full of vitamins – A, C, E & K, minerals too. They also contain choline which is essential for a chicken’s health. Cherries fresh or cooked (no added sugar) – they will eat all.

Pumpkin: Yes. Pumpkin seeds are said to aid in the prevention of worms. Pecking at a pumpkin will keep them busy for hours.

Meat: Yes. Trim off excess fat from the meat. You can give them whole carcasses of turkey or chicken they will pick them clean—great source of protein.

Banana Peels: Yes. They can eat the peel but generally don’t. If you use a food processer to grind them small enough, they will eat them.

Cheese : Yes. Good source of protein and calcium. Feed in moderation as it’s a dairy product, and chickens cannot process dairy well.

chickens eating strawberries, chicken treats

Watermelon: Yes. Stacked full of vitamins and water, watermelon is a refreshing treat for hot summer days. If you puree it, then freeze it; your girls will enjoy watermelon slushies.

Carrots: Yes. Raw or cooked, carrots are full of goodness. They can eat the greens too (I usually roughly chop them). Don’t give canned carrots; they are likely high in salt.

Cantaloupe: Yes. Scores highly for vitamins A & C, lots of B vitamins too. They will pick the rind clean, and the seeds are good too. Like most fruits feed in moderation; otherwise, they may get diarrhea.

Peaches: Yes. They love peaches; this is another fruit high in nutritious goodies. The pits contain cyanide so remove them before feeding to the hens.

Sweet Potatoes: Yes. Extremely healthy and packed with vitamins. The girls are unlikely to bother with them unless they are cooked, so minimal salt or butter addition, please.

Kale: Yes. Another healthful item. Vitamins and minerals abound. It can be given cooked or raw. I usually stuff a suet holder full of leaves and leave it for them to peck at.

Melon: Yes. Very healthy. They can pick at the rind and eat the flesh and seeds which they adore. Remember to feed in moderation, or they get diarrhea.

Flowers: Yes. This is a yes and no answer. Some flowers are healthy for them, others not so. In general, they seem to avoid toxic plants, but you should check your garden first.

Mealworms: Yes. Mealworms are very high in protein, so moderation, please. A great healthy tidbit especially for the time of the molt. Worms can be given fresh or dried.

Eggs: Yes. Of course, they love eggs! Give eggs scrambled so they don’t recognize them as ‘eggs’; you don’t want them to start egg eating.

Cereal: Yes. They can, but should they? Many kinds of cereal contain added vitamins and minerals but are high in carbohydrates. Several brands are also very high in sugar.

Cat Food: Yes. Cat food dry or wet should be fed as a rare treat. It can be fed to poorly birds in very small amounts and not every day.

Dog Food: Yes. Dog food should only be given as a rare snack. It can also be used when your hen is sick.

Potato Peels: Yes. Contains vitamins but is high in carbohydrates. Chickens can eat them but not green skins which contain solanine as this is toxic to hens.

Eggplant: No. They cannot eat the plant, leaves, or flowers as they contain solanine which is toxic to hens. Whilst several online places state they have fed them to chickens without ill effects; I would not.

Peanuts: No. We are erring on the side of caution here. Peanuts can be bad for some small birds and mammals, there’s no reliable information on chickens. When in doubt: don’t feed it to them!

Bell Peppers: Yes. It’s another member of the nightshade family, therefore, containing solanine. So no to leaves, plants, and flowers. The fruit is ok to feed them, but not a favorite.

Green Beans: Yes. Well-cooked beans only. Raw or undercooked beans contain phytohemagglutinin which can be deadly to your flock. As few as 3 beans can be deadly.

Kiwi: Yes. Kiwis are healthy but contain a lot of sugar, so feed only in moderation. Kiwis contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Pears: Yes. Pears are healthy and relatively low in sugar so they are a great snack for your flock. I have never found my hens to be particularly interested in pears, however.

Nuts: Yes. Nuts do contain some saturated fats, so don’t feed too many. They are high in omega fats so that’s good. Rough chop before feeding. Never feed moldy nuts to chickens as the mold causes respiratory problems.

chickens eating oats,chicken treats

Oats: Yes. They can eat raw or cooked oats. Some research indicates that oats fed to pullets help to reduce feather picking. Oats contain vitamins and minerals also some protein.

Oatmeal: Yes. Warm oatmeal mixed with a little plain yogurt and birdseed is a great treat for a cold winter’s day. Not every day though.

Zucchini: Yes. Zucchini is a good source of vitamins and minerals, the seeds are supposed to be helpful in worming chickens. I slice them lengthways and let them peck away at the flesh and seeds.

Mango: Yes. Very nutritious but high in sugars and carbohydrates so feed sparingly. Great made into frozen slushies for hot summer days.

Potato Skins: Yes. Potatoes skins are ok as long as they aren’t green (see potatoes for more detail).

Beans: Yes. Cooked only. Raw or undercooked beans are highly toxic to chickens.

Cauliflower: Yes. The stems and leaves of the cauliflower are healthy and chickens will eat them. I have yet to get them to eat the white head.

Sunflower Seeds: Yes. Sunflower seeds are very healthy. In general birds (including hens) prefer the black oil sunflower seeds over the grey or striped seeds. Great treat for the oil and fat content.

Pumpkin Seeds: Yes. Pumpkin seeds are said to aid in the prevention of worms. Pecking at a pumpkin will keep them busy for hours, they can also eat the flesh too as it contains vitamins and minerals.

Cantaloupe Seeds: Yes. Cantaloupe seeds are edible and healthy for chickens. You can feed them raw with all the stringy bits – the girls love them.

Lettuce: Yes. Most lettuce is good for hens but avoids iceberg lettuce (it has around the same nutritional content as cardboard and may give them diarrhea).

Spinach: Yes. Spinach is packed full of vitamins and minerals but it also contains oxalic acid, which can cause some serious health problems for your chickens. It can be fed sparingly – little and not too often.

Yogurt: Yes. Chickens don’t process dairy products very well. However, yogurt contains live cultures which are valuable to intestinal health, so a little every now and then won’t hurt them.

Peppers: Yes. Pepper plants, leaves, stems, and flowers are toxic – containing solanine. Chickens can eat fruits that are healthy, but not generally a favorite.

Raw Potatoes: Yes. As long as the potatoes are not green, small amounts will be ok. You should feed it to them infrequently though.

Watermelon Rind: Yes. A real favorite! The chickens love to pick the rinds clean of any flesh. Full of goodness for them but high in sugar content.

Radishes: Yes. These little flavor bombs are packed with vitamins and minerals. Chickens can eat them – chop roughly first to enable digestion. They will also eat the leaves too.

Orange Peels: Yes. Although citrus is full of goodness, most hens remain aloof. They can eat it but generally choose not to.

Walnuts: Yes. As with all nuts, chop roughly before giving it to the hens. Nuts are full of nutrition and as an occasional thing are usually welcome.

Corn: Yes. Chickens love to peck at an ear of corn once you are done with it! They can have corn canned, frozen, fresh, or on the cob and they will eat it all.

This is an end-of-the-day food otherwise they would fill up on the corn and ignore their ration.

Almonds: Yes. Chop roughly before feeding to the hens. Ensure the nuts aren’t moldy. Almond flour can also be eaten.

Chicken: Yes. A great source of protein. Many folks will throw the carcass to the chickens who will pick it clean. Remove the skin first as this is very high in fat.

Peas: Yes. Peas are a healthy snack and you can get the hens to chase after them too! They are not a huge favorite but they do enjoy them occasionally. Peapods are ok too if roughly chopped.

Moldy Bread: No. Moldy food should never be given to chickens.

Peanut Butter: Yes. Yes, they can have peanut butter, but in moderation, as it is very high in fats, carbs, and protein. I would tend to give it around molting time because of the high protein content.

Brussels Sprouts: Yes. A good source of nutrition. They can have sprouts and excess leafy foliage. I tend to rough chop for ease of eating.

Corn Husks: Yes. Corn husks have no nutritional value whatsoever. My girls will leave them.

Rhubarb: No. All parts of the rhubarb plant contain high amounts of oxalic acid which can kill your flock.

Coffee Grounds: No. Contains small amounts of caffeine which should be avoided. No nutritional value was noted.

Quinoa: Yes. An old biblical grain that is a powerhouse of goodness. Quinoa is much more nutritious than the same amount of rice.

Fish: Yes. Chickens will eat fish raw or cooked. Fishermen will often toss the guts to the chickens. High in protein and minerals. The Swedish Orust chicken breed survived on fish in the wild.

Garlic: Yes. A superb additive for water and feed. Some folks say it taints the eggs – others say not (I have never had a problem). As with all things moderation.

Fruit: Yes. In general, chickens love fruit. Fruit is generally high in sugars so feed sparingly as excess sugar may cause gastric upsets.

Cooked Potatoes: Yes. As we have mentioned before, potatoes are fine as long as they aren’t green. However, they have a  limited nutritional value.

Pecans: Yes. As with all nuts, chop roughly first to aid digestion.

Plums: Yes. Plum seeds contain minute amounts of cyanide so remove them first. High in sugars, so feed sparingly.

Citrus: Yes. Chickens can eat citrus but will they? Citrus is very healthy but most hens avoid any citrus fruits.

Chia Seeds: Yes. Very nutritious, but small. To make them go further mix with other seeds and spread over the coop floor and watch those girls work it.

Pomegranate: Yes. Pomegranates are very healthy. Chickens will eat the seeds happily and peck at the remaining husk.

Squash: Yes. Squashes are a staple treat here for the hens. They love to peck at the flesh and eat the seeds. They are highly nutritious and will keep the girls busy for a good long time.

Grapefruit: Yes. They can eat it, but won’t. In general, they avoid all citrus fruits.

Spaghetti Squash: Yes. As with squashes, a firm favorite of hens. It can be cooked or given to them raw.

Pickles: No. This is processed food and as such will contain high amounts of either salt or sugar.

Pasta: Yes. High in carbohydrates so feed sparingly. It is fun to watch them slurping up spaghetti though!

Peanut Shells: Yes. They can eat them; however, they have no nutritional value.

Uncooked Oatmeal: Yes. Chickens can eat uncooked oatmeal, however, they prefer warm oatmeal. This should not be given to them every day.

Ham: Yes. Chickens will eat ham; however, it is very high in salt. You should feed sparingly (once a week no more).

Safe Treats for Baby Chicks

The list of treats you can feed baby chicks are about the same.

Eggs: Yes, just like with chickens, chicks will gobble them up.

Worms/Mealworms: Chicks love both kinds as much as their adult counterparts.

Tomato: Yes, chicks will munch on these babies all day.

Strawberries: Yes! Now it is high in sugar so feed in moderation.

Watermelon: Yes. Chicks and chickens love watermelon on a hot summer day.

Apple: Yes. Something about apples that chicks go crazy for.

Grapes: Yes. Chicks love grapes.

Lettuce: Yes. Toss out any leftover lettuce that might be going bad. Your chicks will love pecking at it.

Cucumber: Yes, chicks adore cucumber. Plus it can keep them hydrated.

Squash: Yes! Squash is an awesome treat for you little ones.

Kale: Kale is a great alternative to spinach! It’s extremely nutritious.

Crickets: Yes! These are great training for your chicks to clean your backyard of any pests or insects that will eat your garden.

Bananas: Yes! Bananas have plenty of vitamins that are great for chicks.

Spaghetti: Spaghetti is safe for both chicks and chickens! Feel free to toss out while they are free ranging!

Chicken Nutrition 101: Basic Feed Requirements

Chickens Eating Corn
Like every living creature, chickens need the building blocks of life: protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins – and don’t forget clean water.

Without the right combination of each group, any creature can suffer from things like malnutrition and on the other end of the scale obesity.

We did an in-depth guide on poultry feed here so for more information please read that. But here’s a brief recap on the essential nutrients for chickens:

  • Protein: Plant-based protein is necessary for energy and growth.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Vitally important for a fully functioning creature.
  • Enzymes: Aids with digestion and absorption of the necessary nutrients from food.
  • Fats: Needed for absorption of certain vitamins and for other vital cell functions.
  • Carbohydrates: Needed as an energy source.

All of these you will find in commercial chicken feed, ready mixed in the appropriate quantities. Chickens should get at least 90% of their nutritional needs from their feed.

Different feeds are mixed for different stages of their life, so be sure to read the labels.

Birds that are allowed to free-range will gather much of the nutrients they need from their environment and ‘top up’ from the feed supply as needed.

Hens that cannot, or are not allowed to, free-range must rely on the feed to supply all of their bodily needs, so a good quality feed is essential.

Our Choice for All-In-One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Run Chicken

  • Works Rain or Shine so you don’t have to let them out in inclement weather.
  • Go ahead and get those extra hours of sleep or go on vacation, our door has you covered.
  • Protect your Chickens from Predators with our self-locking feature

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

Happy Grubs: More Calcium Than Mealworms

  • Increase Egg Production
  • Stronger Egg Shells
  • Healthy Feathers

How Much Should You Feed Your Chickens and How Often?

The best answer for the ‘how often’ piece of the question really depends on you and your daily schedule. My personal feeding routine can be found here.

In terms of how much to feed them, most animal nutritionists will tell you that the average hen will eat around 1.5lb of feed each week.

This is an average; they will eat more in winter, less in summer.

If they are free-range they will eat less. Bigger birds will eat more, and bantams less.

Hens more, roosters less… you get the idea!

Most folks feed their hens ‘free choice’. That means you hang the feeders all day and allow the birds to eat whenever they want.

Very few hens will actually park themselves at the feeder and stuff themselves all day. In general, hens are not known for overeating.

Free choice is good for the keeper since you don’t have to fuss with filling up feed buckets at set times of the day. It also helps to limit bullying at the feeder.

If the food is available at the feeder all day long, the hens that get bullied can get something to eat while the bigger girls are busy doing something else.

Always make sure you have more than one feeder if you have more than 6 hens and that the feeders are far apart so a bully hen can’t ‘guard’ both.

However, some folks like to set out rations for their hens and if you choose to do this that’s fine, just ensure they are all getting enough food.

If your ration food and feeding time look like a riot in progress, you need to feed more.

Limiting their feed is not economical for you or them. It will affect the condition of the bird and her egg-laying ability.

One problem with set time feedings is that the more timid flock members usually get bullied out of food.

More assertive hens will keep them away from the feeders so keep an eye on this.

Chickens Eating Homemade Flock Block

How Many Treats Should You Feed Them?

As a good rule of thumb, you should not give hens more than 10% of their daily nutritional requirements in treats.

The best time to give a snack is in the evening when they are soon going to roost and they have consumed the bulk of their daily nutrition needs.

They will go to bed happy and content.

Tossing down a handful of corn or scratch into the coop will keep them busy for a good while.

I love to hear them murmuring to each other when they are hunting for the seeds, it’s quite relaxing. Wintertime is perhaps the only time you can really break this rule.

Hens get bored and will pick on each other, so giving them a head of broccoli, cabbage, or lettuce as a tetherball will give them something to do, exercise, and healthy food!

On exceptionally cold mornings I will make oatmeal for them mixed with some birdseed, a little yogurt, and some dried oregano.

I wouldn’t eat it, but they love it and it gives a kick start to their morning!

How to Check if a Treat is Good for Your Chicken

Chickens Eating Pellet Feed
How do you assess whether or not treats are good for your hen? We have provided a chart for you with the usual things people ask about for snacks, but what if you can’t find it on the list?

Assessing food for your hens is not that difficult and can actually help you to look at food differently for your own diet. Here are some types of things to avoid:

  • Anything that is high in refined sugars, so cookies, muffins, etc. These items can cause obesity in humans and chickens, and feed very little if at all.
  • Chickens cannot digest large amounts of salt, so chips or crisps are not on their diet list. Too much salt can kill a chicken by causing things like electrolyte imbalance or heart failure.
  • Highly processed foods, so salami, pizza, store-bought bread, etc. Just about all processed foods are high in salt and/or sugar and low in nutritional value.
  • Moldy food. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t give it to your chickens. Some molds are highly toxic and can kill poultry easily.
  • Alcohol: never, ever!
  • Chocolate: save your chocolate for you, it is not for chickens.
  • Caffeine: Many places say you should not feed coffee to hens, but don’t tell you why; caffeine is the answer. Although the amount of caffeine left on the grounds would be small, caffeine is toxic to them.
  • Teabags: They are high in tannins and definitely not good for chickens.
  • Pesticide-laden produces: Fresh produce is great for them, it’s healthy and nutritious. But the stuff humans spray with is generally not good. If you don’t buy organic you would ideally wash the item before giving it to the chickens.

So, what do you look for in treats? They need to be healthy – mealworms, fresh fruit, veggies, scratch, cracked corn.

The amount should be no more than the hens can finish in 20 minutes of ‘snacking’.

Depending on where you live you can also feed some leftovers to your hens.
Think about what you are feeding them. You should avoid things like starches, fats, and sugars.

If you feel you must give them a nightly treat, invest in a bag of scratch grains (it will last a long time and the hens enjoy it).

FAQs about Chicken Treats

How many snacks should I give them?

Once a day is good, in the evenings – it will get them in the mood for bedtime.

Remember, 100% of their intake is one-third of a cup maximum, and treats should not be more than 10%, so you are looking at 1-2 ‘beakfuls’ at most.

Will feeding snacks affect egg laying?

It can. Too many treats make a hen fat and fat hens can have problems laying eggs. Obese hens have a tendency to lay oversized eggs.

That may sound good, but in fact, it can lead to things like egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis, both can be life-threatening to your hen.

Can they eat meat?

Yes as long as you trim the excess fat off. Many folks will throw the carcass of a cooked chicken or turkey in for them to pick over.

Should I give them a flock block?

Flock blocks are a great treat for wintertime.

Read the label first before you buy; several flock blocks have ‘hidden sugars’ in them and you should avoid these.

Can chickens eat potatoes?

Yes, chickens can eat potatoes. Both white and sweet potatoes served raw are great for chickens. However, avoid feeding them any green potatoes. Green potatoes have a compound called solanine which can be fatal if too much is ingested.

Can chickens eat blueberries?

In case you missed it in the chart we answer here. Absolutely! Chickens love blueberries, and blueberries are low in sugar as well!

Can chickens eat peaches?

Yes they can! As with any treat please feed in moderation.

Can chickens eat plums?

Yes, chickens adore plums just as much as peaches or any other fruit. You’ll see them digging into these juicy morsels and peck it clean!

Chicken Treat Chart

Treat Can Chickens Eat
Acorns No
Almonds Yes
Apple Cores No
Apple Peels Yes
Apple Seeds No
Apples Yes
Arugula Yes
Asparagus Yes
Avocado No
Baked Potatoes Yes
Banana Peels Yes
Bananas Yes
Bean Sprouts Yes
Beans Yes
Beet Greens Yes
Beet Leaves Yes
Beets Yes
Bell Peppers Yes
Blackberries Yes
Blueberries Yes
Bread Yes
Broccoli Yes
Brown Rice Yes
Brussels Sprouts Yes
Butter No
Cabbage Yes
Cantaloupe Yes
Cantaloupe Rinds Yes
Cantaloupe Seeds Yes
Carrots Yes
Cashews Yes
Cat Food Yes
Cauliflower Yes
Celery Yes
Cereal Yes
Cheese Yes
Cherries Yes
Cherry Pits No
Chia Seeds Yes
Chicken Yes
Chocolate No
Chocolate Cake No
Cinnamon Yes
Citrus Yes
Coconut Yes
Coffee Grounds No
Cooked Beans Yes
Cooked Oatmeal Yes
Cooked Pinto Beans Yes
Cooked Potatoes Yes
Cooked Rice Yes
Corn Yes
Corn Husks Yes
Corn On The Cob Yes
Crickets Yes
Cucumber Peels Yes
Cucumbers Yes
Dairy No
Dates No
Dog Food Yes
Dry Oatmeal Yes
Dry Rice No
Earthworms Yes
Eggplant No
Eggs Yes
Fish Yes
Flowers Yes
French Fries No
Fruit Yes
Garlic Yes
Ginger Root Yes
Goat Feed Yes
Grapefruit Yes
Grapes Yes
Grapes With Seeds No
Grass Yes
Green Beans Yes
Green Onions Yes
Green Peppers Yes
Green Tomatoes Yes
Ham Yes
Hot Peppers Yes
Kale Yes
Kiwi Yes
Kiwi Skin Yes
Leeks No
Lentils No
Lettuce Yes
Mango Yes
Mango Skin Yes
Marshmallows No
Mashed Potatoes Yes
Mealworms Yes
Meat Yes
Meat Scraps No
Melon Yes
Moldy Bread No
Nectarines Yes
Nuts Yes
Oatmeal Yes
Oats Yes
Olives No
Onions No
Orange Peels Yes
Oranges Yes
Pasta Yes
Pea Pods Yes
Peach Skins Yes
Peaches Yes
Peanut Butter Yes
Peanut Shells Yes
Peanuts No
Pears Yes
Peas Yes
Pecans Yes
Peppers Yes
Pickles No
Pineapple Yes
Pinto Beans No
Plums Yes
Pomegranate Yes
Pomegranate Seeds Yes
Popcorn Yes
Popcorn Kernels Yes
Popped Popcorn Yes
Potato Peelings Yes
Potato Peels Yes
Potato Skins Yes
Potatoes Yes
Pumpkin Yes
Pumpkin Seeds Yes
Quinoa Yes
Radish Greens Yes
Radish Leaves Yes
Radishes Yes
Raisins Yes
Raspberries Yes
Raw Broccoli Yes
Raw Cabbage Yes
Raw Carrots Yes
Raw Corn Yes
Raw Eggplant Yes
Raw Fish Yes
Raw Green Beans No
Raw Meat Yes
Raw Potatoes Yes
Raw Pumpkin Yes
Rhubarb No
Rhubarb Leaves No
Rice Yes
Rolled Oats Yes
Shrimp Yes
Shrimp Shells Yes
Soybeans No
Spaghetti Squash Yes
Spinach Yes
Squash Yes
Strawberries Yes
Sugar Snap Peas Yes
Sunflower Seeds Yes
Sweet Potato Skins Yes
Sweet Potatoes Yes
Tomato Plants No
Tomatoes Yes
Tuna No
Uncooked Oatmeal Yes
Walnuts Yes
Watermelon Yes
Watermelon Rind Yes
Watermelon Seeds Yes
Wheat Yes
Worms Yes
Yogurt Yes
Zucchini Yes

Chicken Treats Summary

Treats should be just that – treats.

Chickens, like dogs, will always plead for more.

They may even make you feel guilty about rationing, but remind yourself that you are looking after their health and well-being.

They don’t need treats every night, they will still greet you at the gate whether or not you have goodies, hens are like that!

Let us know in the comments section below what your hen’s favorite treat is…

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

Happy Grubs: More Calcium Than Mealworms

  • Increase Egg Production
  • Stronger Egg Shells
  • Healthy Feathers

Even More Questions About Chicken Treats

Do you have some more questions about chicken treats and what is safe to give your birds?

We’ve gathered additional questions about treats to keep you on track.

Combine this with the recommendations above to have all the information you need. 

What Are Some Treats for Chickens?

If you want to give your chicken greens, consider turnip greens, chard, kale, and lettuce.

Watermelon, blueberries, and strawberries are also good treats, as long as you give them in moderation.

Other yummy treats include broccoli, carrots, beets, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and kale. Check out our list above for a comprehensive list. 

What Can’t Chickens Eat List?

Don’t feed your chickens junk food, dry beans, citrus, green potato skins, chocolate, candy, avocadoes, or anything rotten or moldy. 

What Is a Chicken’s Favorite Food?

Chickens have a lot of favorite foods, including green veggies, pasta, banana, raisins, and cereals.

Just make sure to use moderation when giving your chicken treats

What Human Food Can You Give Chickens?

Some human foods that will quickly become your chickens’ favorites include wilted salad greens, cottage cheese, cheese, fruit, yogurt, fish skin, pork or beef scraps, popcorn, cooked vegetables, rice, and baked goods. 

What Is Poisonous to Chickens?

The pits and skin of avocado have persin, something that is toxic to chickens.

Dried and uncooked beans have hemagglutinin, another substance that is poisonous to chickens.

They also shouldn’t have citrus juice, citrus skins, coffee, liquor, sugar, or salt.

Avoid rhubarb, as it has anthraquinones, which can be laxatives for your chickens.

Foods that are mold, rotten, or very salty can also be toxic. In the best-case scenario, they will make your chickens’ feces excessively wet.

READ NEXT: Automatic Chicken Coop Door: What to Know Before Buying


Chicken Treats


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60 thoughts on “The Definitive List of Chicken Treats: What Can Chickens Eat?

    1. Betty, the author states they give cooked oatmeal mixed with bird seed and yogurt….so I would imagine going by that, that it’s fine.

  1. Good list. I love the search bar. Just wondering why peanuts, tuna and meat scraps are all on the “no” list? They are all really good sources of protein and perfectly fine for chickens to eat. Unsalted nuts of any kind are actually a great treat. Also, beans such as lentil, pinto, etc. are fine as long as they are cooked (or sprouted). Other than that, this is a really helpful guide.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Great to hear from you.
      I’ve mentioned about peanuts in a previous comment 🙂 If they are unsalted you can feed them, however the majority these days come salted.
      Again with tuna lots of people buy it processed and it contains salt which is very harmful to your hens. However, fresh tuna is fine…

  2. I have an nut and berry bird seed. It does have peanuts in it. Why can’t they have unsalted peanuts ? There is a layer scratch containing peanuts also ?

    1. Hi Kaycee,
      As mentioned in the article, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. You can feed your hens the occasional peanut just make sure it is unsalted.

  3. how do you make the treats that you hang in the pen? What holds it together? coconut oil, bacon grease? I’d like to make a few to hang in the upcoming winter month.

  4. A free range chicken has adopted our patio as home. She’s missing feathers along the back of her neck & between the shoulders plus she’s really skinny. I put a blanket down which she promptly pooped on & I’ve given her canned corn & green beans. It’s 30 degrees during the day, 20 at night. What can I do for her to make her comfortable – I have no means of purchasing supplies.

    1. Hi Connie,
      Make sure she has plenty of water and feed her up. If you can’t buy any supplies then choose some of the foods mentioned here.
      Also keep her warm during the evening, you can bring her inside to keep her warm if needed.

    2. hi, I would leave out some shelter for her too, if you have any old boxes or crates you could turn on their side? A cat box is even better. If you can get straw from somewhere to layer it great, else maybe crumpled newspaper. So she is warm and feels safe, as well as fed 🙂

  5. My chickens love grapefruit, but it’s a Chinese grapefruit breed, not too acidic. I think it’s “Honey” or “Sweety” cultivar, but not sure. So, yes, they love grapefruit, but not the very acidic ones! They like sweet oranges, In the beginning I have to cut in very small pieces (juice bags) and give them in my hand. I give them to protect them from influenza and cold, in small quantities.

  6. “brown, spotty bananas”, are the bananas that we should eat. If you eat them when the skin is yellow, it’s not the good timing. A fruit should be eaten ripe, or you will eat starch. Ask a nutrition doctor or a naturopathie doctor!

  7. I would make my girls a “salad” vegetable and fruit scraps on a bed of mixed cabbages with dab or two of peanut butter and yogurt “dressing” and a sprinkle of dried meal worm and sunflower seed “crunchies” with one ear of corn. They free ranged during the day and this was a happy way to get them back in the coop. Y’all chicken would poke her head through the dog door to cluck to me, that they were ready for their salad. The kitchen door would open and with great pomp and circumstance, Y’all chicken would walk ahead of me announcing to the other hens that salad was being served in the main dining room.

  8. Uncooked rice is not dangerous, it’s an old wives tail that uncooked rice hurts birds – this was made up to stop people throwing rice at weddings as it would lead to people slipping.
    Uncooked rice is perfectly fine.

  9. Ivan assuming that if chix can eat shrimp and shrimp shells that they can also eat lobster shells??

  10. Can my chickens eat uncooked beans? I have many packages of them that were given to me. Yellow split pea’s, navy beans, & lentils. I’m getting mixed information ?

    1. I know that many types of uncooked beans are harmful to chickens so I would be wary of that. If they only ate a few they would be fine, but I advise not to feed in excess.

  11. Love your list! Can you make it into a pdf file so I can Save it and print it? That’s would be awesome!!!
    Katie – new to raising chickens- we have 5 and love it!!

  12. I bought a few cans of whole kernel corn to freeze and give to my 4 chickens but it has 8 grams of sugar in each can of corn .I was wondering if they can still eat it .

    1. That is up to you if you want to try it out. I have heard too much sugar like with humans is not good. But in moderation they should be okay.

  13. In the hot times we make icepops for the girls out of frozen peas corn and any other frozenveg we might have in the freezer. What we do is stuff a load into a plastic chineese container,top up with water and freeze then the next day give it them just before it starts getting hot . Our lot seem to love em

  14. I’m new to chickens. Just adopted 3, 1 1/2 yr old hens and very thankful I found this forum, great info! I’m learning so much! Thank you Claire!

  15. Can chickens eat the suet packs sold for bird feeders? Any restrictions on ingredients? Sunflower seeds? Peanuts? Thanks!

  16. Much debate on whether raw eggplant is safe for chickens, as it is in the nightshade family. Cooked is safe for chickens

  17. Can chickens eat corn meal? Either as a scratch and peck or mixed with daily food? I see corn is ok, just wanted to check specifically for meal.

  18. I have one chicken who just showed up at my house so I adopted her. A silver Laced Wyandotte, I call her Chikchik. Her favorite treats are seedless grapes and mealworms.

  19. Hi, what is your resource that bananas are so high in vitamin A? Bananas have very little vitamin A, it’s lower than any other vitamin they contain.

  20. I’d like to know what fruit tree leaves are edible for chickens. While I feed mine fresh grape leaves as a treat (in a mix with greens from dandelion, plantain, grass, clover, wild lettuce, prickly lettuce and black medic from my meadow-like lawn), I’d like to know if I can add young apple, pear and cherry leaves occasionally. Thanks for the info!

  21. If they are allowed to roam in a yard with rhubarb plants, will they know not to eat them? Would it be best to block them from access to that part of the yard?

    1. Our chickens free range and did not touch the rhubarb plants at all even when scratching in that garden bed. We did refrain from putting the rhubarb leaves in the compost pile, instead choosing to discard them in the woods.

  22. Cooked potatoes and potato peels: Don’t never ever feed raw potatoes or peels to chickens. The sprouts and green areas of skin can be poisonous. Remove very green peels and sprouts and put the peels in a microwave for about 5 minutes; then cool and they’re safe for feeding…

  23. Apple seeds, and many other fruit seeds or pits such as almonds, apricots, peaches, pears and cherries, contain amygdalin, a substance that releases cyanide when it comes into contact with human/animal digestive enzymes. Eating too much of these fruits can have a toxic effect…

  24. In your list of acceptable treats, it states “No” for acorns. I have a lot of Oak trees in my yard, that produce thousands upon thousands of acorns every year. Will my chickens know not to eat them? Do I have to try to rake them out of their fenced area?
    I look forward to your response, want to keep them safe!
    Thank you

  25. I wish you would address the subject of cancer in chickens. I have lost 3 chickens to this and after sending a carcass to the local Vet School (Davis, California), for a necropsy, I was shocked to learn that she had ovarian cancer. Furthermore, I was told that this is common (35%) in hens over 2 years. Just wondering why this was never addressed on this site. Or did I miss it? Other than that, I have found your column to be very interesting and informative!

  26. This list was very helpful! It is my go to list whenever I want to feed my chickens a treat. A little trick I found out is that if your chickens won’t eat a fruit itself, you can squeeze the juice of the fruit into their normal food, and they will eat it all up! So far I’ve tried it with strawberries and oranges, and they love it!

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