As omnivores, chickens can eat a vast range of different foods, including fruits, meats, and vegetables. Chickens are also a great way to cut down on food waste as they can eat many things that we would typically discard. So when it comes to potatoes, can chicken eat them?
When wondering if chickens can eat potatoes, the answer is yes and no. It depends on the type of potato that you are feeding your chickens. Otherwise, you are presenting them with a food that has high levels of solanine, which is toxic to chickens.
Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Potatoes? Should Your Chickens Have it?
There are different types of potatoes, and they fall under different classifications. White, red, and yellow potatoes are part of the nightshade family. These potatoes have a naturally-occurring toxin in them called solanine. On the other hand, sweet potatoes are part of the morning glory family and do not have this toxin.
It is not safe for chickens to eat white, yellow, or red potatoes and they should not have them. If you feed these types of potatoes to your chickens, you put their health at risk. You can, however, feed your chickens sweet potatoes safely. Sweet potatoes have great nutritional value.
Where it might become a little confusing is that you can feed your chickens small amounts of leftover white, yellow, and red potatoes. This should only be done if the potatoes are cooked fully at temperatures reaching 400°F. If cooked this way, the solanine is removed.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are safe and good for your chickens and you do not have to worry as much about how they are prepared.
What to Look Out for When Feeding Chicken with Potatoes
If you want both your chickens and their egg production to be healthy, feeding them a balanced diet is essential. You should always remember to add extra foods in moderation to go alongside their regular feed. As when adding any new food to your chickens’ diet, there are certain things that you should watch out for when feeding your chickens potatoes.
There are very important things to look out for when feeding your chickens potatoes. Never feed them raw white, yellow, red potatoes. While the toxins do not immediately cause death, they build up and can cause lasting intestinal and organ damage.
Potatoes in the nightshade family can cause respiratory problems, seizures, gastrointestinal issues, and lead to death. When feeding your chickens sweet potatoes, make sure that you are doing so moderately. Otherwise, you may notice that your flock is experiencing diarrhea.
If your potatoes are green, never feed them to your chickens. There are higher levels of toxins when potatoes are green or begin to sprout. These should be thrown out immediately.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Salad?
When you own chickens, giving them leftovers can make for a great treat or an interesting addition to their regular diet. If you’ve made too much potato salad and you are not sure you are going to eat it, is it safe to give it to your chickens?
Chickens can eat potato salad, but it should be fed to them very sparsely. Chickens can consume the cooked potatoes and, surprisingly enough, they can eat mayonnaise as well. However, potato salad does not provide your chickens with any nutrients and is high in fat.
Depending on the recipe for the potato salad, there may be other things in there that your chickens should not consume often, such as salt, onion, or garlic. Carefully check the recipe, or the label if you’ve purchased it, to make sure that you are not putting your chickens at risk for health problems.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Plants?
Chickens like to forage. If you have chickens, you may notice that they’ll wander over and eat many of the plants that are in their reach. If you have a garden where you have potatoes growing, what happens if you allow your chickens to have access to them?
The answer to if chickens can eat potato plants is two-fold. Chickens cannot eat the white, yellow, and red plants. This part of the plant is extremely toxic to chickens. However, your chickens can eat sweet potato plants. The sweet potato plant is safe for your chickens and has nutritional value.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Chips?
Because chickens love eating crispy snack foods such as popcorn, you may be tempted to feed your chickens potato chips. Potato chips are made with large amounts of salt and oil. Some of them also have added flavors.
Chickens cannot eat potato chips. The levels of salt are too high for their bodies to process. If you feed them to your chickens, you put them at risk for serious health conditions. Additionally, if these flavors are added, they could be harmful to your chickens as well.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Skins?
Potato skins are one of the parts of the potato that we often discard. Whether it be before or after the cooking process, many people prefer to set it aside and just eat the potato flesh. Are potato skins a safe food scrap to feed to your chickens?
Chickens can eat cooked potato skins from white, yellow, and red potatoes. They need to be cooked to a proper temperature and should be fed in moderation. Never feed your chicken raw potato skins from these potatoes. You can feed your chickens both cooked and raw sweet potato skins, they will enjoy the flavor.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Peels?
If you have potato peels, you may feel that the only place for them is either in the bin or on the compost pile. Chickens, however, love to eat many different types of food scraps. So can they have potato peels?
Chickens can eat sweet potato peels. These provide them with nutrients and can be mixed in with other scraps. Chickens cannot eat the peels of white, yellow, or red potatoes as these are toxic to chickens when uncooked.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Leaves?
If you have chickens, you know that they will often get into your garden given the chance. If you have potato plants, some stems and leaves are above ground. Are these plants that you should allow your chickens to get near?
Chickens can eat potato leaves, but only if they are from sweet potato plants. These leaves have no toxins present in them that can harm your chickens. Whereas, the leaves of white, yellow, and red potatoes are extremely toxic and your chickens should not have access to them.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Flakes?
Potato flakes, or dehydrated potatoes, are usually something that you see in instant mashed potato packets. What makes these appealing is that they have a long shelf life and are inexpensive. Should this be something that you add to your chickens’ diet?
Chickens can eat potato flakes, but only in very small quantities. Once your chickens eat them and then drink water, the potatoes will rehydrate in their stomachs. Too many potato flakes can cause serious health issues for your chickens.
Can Chicken Eat Potatoes? Is it Safe?
Chickens can eat all parts of the sweet potato, both raw and cooked, and it is a great addition to their diet. This is because it is from the Morning Glory family and contains no toxins. It is not safe to feed them raw white, yellow, or red potatoes, as they are in the nightshade family. The plants of the nightshade potatoes are also extremely toxic.
This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on January 18, 2022.