fbpx

Can Chickens Eat Potatoes?

Sharing is caring!

Chicken Treat Ball
Chicken Treat Ball

The question is, can chickens eat potatoes? Yes! Chickens find potatoes tasty and delicious. They can spend a lot of their time pecking at this treat without getting bored. Despite all that, you should feed them potatoes in moderation. Too much of any food can easily upset the balance in your chicken’s digestive system. 

I’m not surprised when different people question what chickens can eat. For them, it comes as a surprise to see their flock eating almost everything that’s in front of them. Perhaps they don’t realize that chickens are omnivorous animals, just like human beings. Moreover, these birds consume a wide range of foods, including grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, and even grass.

Being one of the several omnivores in the animal kingdom, chickens can technically eat everything and anything coming their way. This statement gives you an idea of how their ancestors survived in the wild. 

Their diet might have consisted of various bugs, dead animals, plants, and live rodents, among others. This must be interesting, given that they have managed to carry on this trait to this day. 

However, they have choices when it comes to what they eat. Sadly, some of their options have removed from them since they were first domesticated. 

Regardless of this disruption, chickens still enjoy different foods from different sources. No wonder some people say that what you can eat, your chickens can eat as well. And one of such delicacies is the potatoes.

When faced with a delicious plate full of potatoes and layer mash, your chicken is more likely to eat potatoes. You should not be surprised because chickens like trying on new foods just like we do. In the wild, they would not get such an opportunity to enjoy a meal of this kind. This is because everything there is about survival, so the fittest manages to stay on a little longer.

The best thing about feeding your chickens potatoes is that you can give them raw or cooked potatoes. Either way, rest assured that your birds will devour this meal and even want more. For that reason, don’t throw away cooked potato leftovers when you can turn them into a treat for your chickens. 

Before you give them this treat to eat, make sure that it is free of spices and excess salt. Anything salty is not right for your birds because it can affect vital organs in their bodies. 

Feeding your flock raw potatoes is also a good idea. Chickens love pecking at raw potatoes, and you will have done them a favor by simply feeding them this treat. Likewise, you may consider making a mixed treat using lettuce, carrots, and other safe vegetables for them to enjoy.

A mixed treat comprising different foods is the way to go if you want chickens to have a balanced diet. With this type of treat, you can rest assured that your flock will appreciate it so much.

Should You Feed Your Chickens White or Sweet Potatoes?

Farm Fresh Sweet Potatoes
Farm Fresh Sweet Potatoes

Don’t be carried away by the name. White and sweet potatoes are not the same. They don’t belong to the same family? White potatoes come mainly in two colors, which can be yellow or white. They belong to the nightshade variety of plants, although they are not toxic to your chickens, whether cooked or raw. 

But the greener part on the white potatoes should not be given to chickens by all means. Also, the leaves, flowers, and vines should not be fed to chickens because they contain toxic compounds. But the good news is that your chickens will just ignore them and go for the potatoes.

When it comes to sweet potatoes, things are somehow different. This species of potatoes belong to the morning glory family and not nightshade family as the white variety. Apart from that, the entire parts of the sweet potato plant are safe for your birds to eat. 

So, make sure that you give them vines, stems, leaves, flowers, and tubers or peels provided that they are fresh. The afore-mentioned parts are only dangerous if you store them improperly before feeding them to your chickens

Your birds are likely to choose the safe potatoes from the spoiled ones. But you should not just mix bad and good potatoes, assuming that they will select only the good ones. With this information at the back of your mind, you can feed your chickens potatoes, both sweet and white.

Are Potatoes Safe For Your Chickens?

Honestly speaking, there are a lot of conflicting stories out there regarding potatoes. Some people are skeptical about this treat. They claim that it contains poisonous compounds that can harm chickens. 

A few are not even aware of this allegation because they tend to feed their birds all their scraps. For them, every table or kitchen scrap is okay for their chickens to eat. This can be very dangerous.

In particular, white potatoes should be on the spot. Being a member of the nightshade family, white potatoes, including their vines and stems, have solanine. This is a compound known for its toxic properties and can harm your birds if you are not careful enough. Solanine is a natural neurotoxin and pesticide with the capability of causing death among chickens.

If your chickens ingest it, they can experience convulsions, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, or even death. The fatality of this poisonous substance comes about when your birds consume it in large amounts. 

Areas that have highly concentrated levels of solanine include the peel (of the green potatoes), leaves, and the eyes of the potatoes. That said, it is sensible that you check these potatoes properly before feeding your flock. At the same time, you should discard the leaves, potato skin, vines, and stems when considering scraps for your chickens. 

Even though some folks claim that white potato is toxic, rest assured that it is not entirely fatal. In other words, it may not affect your chickens if you prepare it well. This begs the question, are potatoes safe for your birds to eat? 

You can make potatoes safe for your birds to consume. The best way of ensuring that they are safe is by cooking or baking them. Through cooking, toxic compounds reduced or eliminated. 

This method applies to the skin and flesh, which are the two most essential parts of potatoes for the chickens to eat. Heat destroys most of the toxic compounds, leaving the entire potato and skin safe and delicious.

What is the Nutritional Value of Potatoes?

SEED POTATOES - 1 lb German Butterball
SEED POTATOES – 1 lb German Butterball

Everyone knows potatoes because this is a widely consumed food due to its availability and ease of preparation. Potatoes became a popular dish throughout the world, and different societies have different ways of preparing it. Some prefer eating it in the form of stew. While others like it when cooked as fries and so on. 

Potatoes contain quite a few nutrients that are vital for the growth of your chickens. They are a great source of vitamins C, potassium, iron, and vitamin B6, among others. Unfortunately, potatoes have no sodium but are fat and cholesterol-free with 110 calories. 

As such, there are many reasons why you should eat or feed your birds this treat. Potatoes are a perfect option for you if you want to experience a gluten-free diet. So, you can use them in place of bread or pasta. 

Compared to bananas, this type of food is highly nutritious and tasty. Most likely, your chickens will find it irresistible. Also, potatoes are starchy, meaning that they are rich in carbohydrates to provide your flock with energy. Since your chickens spend most of their day time while active, a dish prepared from potatoes will keep them energetic throughout.

You should feed your flock cooked potatoes. Nutritional experts have a different opinion. Cooked potatoes lack most of the essential nutrients that are destroyed by heat. 

This is the reason such a treat is considered starchy with a minimal amount of nutrients. But raw potatoes remain the ultimate choice of treats for your birds because they contain most of its nutrients. And the main reason why you need treats beside the main dish is to supplement your chicken’s diet with more nutritious foods. 

However, cooking is beneficial, given that certain types of potatoes contain toxic substances. So, cooking will destroy solanine in white potatoes, leaving this dish safe for consumption. 

To get solanine from the white potatoes, you need to boil them at a temperature of about 338 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, solanine and other toxic compounds will degenerate after a few minutes. While this is a good idea, the nutritional value of the boiled potatoes will go down drastically.

How Do You Prepare Raw Potatoes For Your Chickens?

Since chickens can eat raw potatoes, you need to know how to prepare them. The most convenient way of making this food is by chopping them up into small pieces. This way, your birds can swallow them easily.

As a reminder, chickens don’t have teeth, so they cannot chew their food. Cutting potatoes in small pieces is the only way to help them eat this treat without difficulties. Don’t forget to remove the green potatoes because they might be containing solanine, which is lethal to your birds.  

On the other hand, you can slice a few potatoes and string them up. Then place them where your chickens can peck at them. Hanging cubes of potatoes will not only make it easy for your birds to find them but will also keep them entertained. At the same time, it will make your birds active and distracted all day long. 

Chicken Health Handbook
Chicken Health Handbook

Most likely, your chickens will not eat uncooked potato skin because they are too rubbery and thick. This should tell you that you need to cook potato skins so that your chickens can eat them as well. 

As a reminder, you need to feed them potatoes and their products in moderation. After all, this is not their main diet but just a treat. In the case of the white potatoes, throw away the green parts, flowers, and vines. 

How Many Potatoes Should You Feed Your Chickens?

You need not worry when a handful of green potato peels sneak past. This is because it will not harm or kill your birds in such minimal amounts. Ensure that you vary their diet from time to time while limiting their exposure to toxic substances in the future. 

Despite the danger posed by harmful potato scraps, you need to know that other scraps are safe for your chickens. These scraps are delicious and healthy. Your birds will find them quite tasty and a better option for them to peck. Regarding the number of potatoes your chickens need, you feed them what is reasonable. Too much of this treat can lead to serious health problems. 

Related Questions

Between sweet potatoes and ordinary potatoes, which of these two categories is safer for your chickens? Both are safe, although sweet potatoes seem to be the safest and for good reasons. In comparison with the ordinary potatoes (white potatoes), sweet potatoes don’t have solanine in their peels, leaves, or even vines. This should tell you that you can feed your chickens all the parts making up the sweet potato plant. But both types of potatoes are nutritious and tasty treats for your birds.

Which parts of the potato are suitable for your chickens to eat? It also depends on whether you are feeding them sweet or ordinary potatoes. For the sweet potatoes, all parts are ideal, including the leaves, skin, and vines. White or ordinary potatoes are also safe only that there are a few parts you should not feed your birds. They include the peels, leaves, and vines, not forgetting the flowers. These parts contain solanine, and you understand pretty well how lethal this compound can be if ingested by your chickens.

In Conclusion:

Potatoes are also an excellent option to include in your chicken’s diet. They contain vital nutrients and are easy to prepare when feeding your flock. Besides, they are available and affordable, although you need to feed them to your birds in moderation.

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!

Sharing is caring!