So, now the question is, can chickens eat tomatoes? I have always been intrigued by the eating habits of my chickens. To my surprise, these birds seem to eat anything they can find. Whether bad or good, they don’t mind trying out everything. And this is really fascinating to anyone, especially the new chicken owners. But this is nothing extraordinary given that chickens are omnivorous by nature.
The answer is yes! Your chickens can enjoy tomatoes just like they will do with other food. Tomatoes are healthy and are laden with different types of essential nutrients. In addition, they are delicious, juicy, and easy to eat, of course, the ripe ones.
Being a proud owner of beautiful and vibrant chickens, you should know how to take care of them. One way of looking after your chickens is by providing them with a nutritionally balanced diet. With a well-balanced diet, your chickens will grow faster, become healthy and highly productive. And this is what you should be looking forward to every time you add new chickens to your existing flock.
But raising chickens can be a challenging venture, especially for newbies. This is because some chickens are a stubborn lot in one way or the other. For instance, some of your flock may compel you into running battles once they get loose from their living space. Others may turn out to be aggressive and cause a lot of problems to the less dominant ones.
If this happens so often, you must watch out for two essential things; water and food. In most cases, chickens fight for these two crucial commodities besides their living space. This is normal given that food, water, and shelter are basic needs not only for chickens but for humans as well.
To avoid such conflicts among your flock, you must consider providing them enough food followed by other basic needs. Since chickens eat virtually anything, you can include a few treats in their usual diet.
One of the most common treats you can feed your birds is tomatoes. In particular, red tomatoes make a tasty treat for most chickens. They will enjoy pecking at them, tearing, and swallowing them.
Just like all birds, chickens possess sharp and sturdy beaks to help them tear their food when eating. That is why you should provide only the ripe tomatoes to make their feeding effortless. Also, tomatoes in their ripe state are considered safe for them to eat, unlike the green ones.
Keep in mind that tomatoes belong to the nightshade family whose plants contain some toxic compounds. These compounds are hazardous and can affect your chicken’s health negatively. But the good news is, ripe tomatoes don’t have such toxic substances.
For that reason, you should not be worried about feeding your birds red tomatoes. That being said, do you think most chickens like tomatoes? Let’s find out how your birds will react to this type of treat.
Do Chickens Like Tomatoes?
You need to know that your table scraps are more suited for the chickens than your dustbin. What does this mean? It is simple and straightforward; instead of throwing away your table scraps, you can give them to your flock.
- There is no need to fill up your trash can with leftover food when your chickens can eat them. In the process of feasting on table scraps, your chickens will be helping you get rid of unwanted foodstuff. This is attributed to the belief that chickens help in recycling. You are reducing the amount of trash in your home.
- But you need to be on the lookout every time your birds are eating leftover food from your table. This is because some table craps may contain too much salt or sugar that can harm your birds. Likewise, some of the food may contain toxic substances, which might turn out to be dangerous to your chickens.
- For instance, raw beans, potato peels, and some parts of avocados contain toxic compounds that your birds should not ingest. Luckily for your flock, ripe tomatoes are not on this list of dangerous treats.
- There is a belief out there that plants or crops belonging to the nightshade family are dangerous to the chickens. The main reason for this allegation is the presence of solanine in such plants, tomatoes included.
- Since this is true, you need to draw a clear line between safe treats and toxic foods. Ripe tomatoes are considered safe and suitable to feed your flock. This is because they don’t have solanine. In this regard, they are absolutely safe for your feathered friends.
- That said, you should find the best way of keeping your birds healthy and safe. So you must always provide them with all things natural. Leftovers and food items found around your farm or ranch is the best option to offer them.
- Don’t forget to supplement their regular diet with juicy vegetables, mealworms, and treats such as ripe tomatoes. These types of foods will provide them with the much-needed nourishment to keep them healthy and productive. Furthermore, they will produce high-quality eggs with more durable shells in addition to helping them in the digestion.
Can Chickens Eat Green ( Unripe) Tomatoes?
- You should only give your birds what is natural to their diet. In this respect, green potatoes, green tomatoes, moldy, and rotten food leftovers should not be part of their diet. All these foods contain poisonous substances that can affect their health.
- Green tomatoes, in particular, shouldn’t be fed to any animals, especially chickens. In their unripe state, these tomatoes contain solanine. When your chickens eat them, the poisonous substance will get into their digestive system and cause health problems. Since you don’t want to risk the lives of your chickens, you should avoid such treats by all means.
- Raising chickens involves a lot of activities. Critical among them is the routine inspection of their food. This will help you moderate each type of food they eat while balancing their diet.
- As you may know, too much of something is bad. The same applies to a given type of treat for your birds. For example, eating a lot of tomatoes can cause serious health complications among your chickens. Too many tomatoes will affect the egg-laying ability of your hens, not to mention the quality of eggs.
Are Ripe Red Tomatoes Safe For Your Chickens?
Yes! Unlike the green tomatoes, the ripe ones are safe for your birds. This is true because they contain no traces of solanine. Your chickens will find them delicious and want to eat even more.
- This is where you should take precautions to control the number of tomatoes your birds can eat. Make sure that you supply them this treat in moderation and at specific days of the week.
- Most importantly, tomatoes should not be the staple food for your chickens. Instead, you need to introduce them as part of the diet and not the main food. From this information, you can happily say that ripe bananas are suitable and safe for your chickens to eat.
What are the Health Benefits of Ripe Tomatoes to Your Chickens?
- Tomatoes play a crucial role in your chicken’s life. They are rich in several essential nutrients that contribute to the well-being of your birds.
- Despite being botanically a fruit, tomatoes are generally prepared and consumed just like other vegetables. They are considered a good source of the antioxidant substance known as lycopene. This antioxidant is linked to several health benefits not only to humans but your chickens as well. In addition to that, tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins C, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and many more.
- Although they are red when mature, tomatoes come in various colors ranging from yellow, purple, orange, and green. Many subspecies of this fruit exist in different flavors and colors. But they all have the same type of nutrients.
- Typically, a ripe tomato contains several elements in different proportions. Water takes up to 95 percent, with the rest consisting mainly of fiber and carbohydrates.
- Below are some of the most common nutrients found in tomatoes:
- Carbs-They comprise 4 percent of the entire tomato. This percentage is equivalent to 5 grams of carbohydrates in a medium specimen of about 123 grams. Apart from that, there are other nutrients such as simple sugars (fructose and glucose), which make up almost 70 percent of the carbohydrates content. All these nutrients ensure that your birds stay active and energetic throughout.
- Fiber-Tomatoes are also a great source of fiber. One tomato provides almost 1.5 grams of fiber. Most of these fibers are insoluble and come in the form of lignin, hemicellulose, and cellulose. Collectively, these different forms of fibers aid in digestion when your birds eat ripe tomatoes.
Vitamins and Minerals
Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamin C-As an antioxidant and source of an essential nutrient; this vitamin is just right for your birds. A single medium-sized tomato is capable of providing almost 28 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) or the recommended dietary allowances.
- Potassium– Although it is found in tomatoes in minimal amounts, potassium is an essential nutrient for your birds.
- Vitamin K1-Commonly referred to as phylloquinone, and vitamin K1 plays a significant role in bone health. So when you give your chickens tomatoes to eat, their bones will stay healthy and strong throughout.
- Vitamin B9 ( Folate)-Folate is another form of vitamins, and it plays a role in promoting tissue growth as well as cell function.
Other Important Compounds Found in Tomatoes
Plant compounds and vitamin content can vary from one species of tomatoes to another. But the most common compounds that you need to know are as follows:
- Lycopene-This is a red component found in tomatoes, and it acts as an antioxidant for all animals.
- Beta Carotene-Also an antioxidant with the ability to give foods orange or yellow color. This will be converted into vitamin A when it is in the body.
- Naringenin-Found abundantly in the tomato skin, this compound is considered a flavonoid that acts as an anti-inflammatory substance. It can protect your birds from various diseases or reduce swellings.
How Often Should Your Chickens Eat Tomatoes?
- The best answer to this question depends solely on the availability of tomatoes, your schedule, number of chickens, and time of the year.
- To make it clear for you, you must provide your chickens with tomatoes in moderation. This means you should give them in small quantities and at specific intervals. Maybe two to three times a week will be enough to help them acquire essential nutrients not found in other foods.
- While giving your chickens this treat, you need to be careful not to spoil them. If you provide them with plenty of ripe tomatoes, they are likely to stop eating their natural food. On the other hand, too many tomatoes can lead to serious health complications. But you can avoid this problem by strictly following the right feeding schedule for your birds.
- You must also take into consideration the time of the year when it comes to providing your birds with tomatoes. They will eat more in winter compared to summer. Chickens eat more food in cold weather conditions to help their bodies produce enough heat. In this case, you should increase the number of tomatoes alongside other feed compared to what they eat in summer.
Will feeding tomatoes affect the quality of eggs? Yes. Tomatoes are rich in various nutrients. Some of these nutrients can determine the quality of the eggs produced by your hens. Tomato powder supplementation affects the concentrations of lipid peroxidation and yolk carotenoids. And this determines the taste of those eggs produced by those hens feeding on tomatoes.
Which fruits are not suitable for chickens to eat? There are several fruits that you should not give your flock of birds to eat. These include avocado, eggplants, apples with seeds, grapes containing seeds, and peanuts. All these types of foods contain toxic compounds that can harm your chickens.
Tomatoes, especially the red, juicy ones, are a perfect choice of treats for your feathered friends. To them, this fruit is yummy and easy to eat. Most significantly, it contains essential nutrients that benefit them in terms of health. Give them to your flock in moderation. Tomatoes are safe and one of the best treats for chickens.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!