Can Chickens eat bread? On the homestead, chickens are often known as garbage disposals, eating just about anything they come across. They also have great instincts about what they can’t eat.
However, chickens are kinda like dogs in the way that they LOVE junk food! The thing about a chicken’s instinct is that it really only applies to stuff that is poisonous, toxic, and downright not edible. Most of us know that chickens WILL eat bread, but the question remains is it okay for chickens to eat bread?
Can Chickens Eat Bread?
Can chickens eat bread? Yes, they absolutely can. However, bread isn’t known for its nutritionally dense properties. It’s junk food. A filler.
With that said, chickens who eat too much bread might be too full to eat enough chicken feed or forage for more nutritionally dense foods. Chickens who eat too many treats or snacks may suffer from malnutrition, egg production may suffer in laying hens, and more.
So chickens can eat bread, it’s just a matter of balance. Chickens need a well-balanced diet to live happy, healthy lives. Giving your chickens too much junk food, and/or too many snacks could result in simply ruining their supper! Much like a child who eats too many cookies right before dinner time.
Learn more about what chickens can eat and read a list of what NOT to feed chickens!
Bread Is a Favorite Treat For Chickens
I don’t know about your chickens but mine love eating bread! Sometimes that’s a good thing. Because no one in my house really wants to eat the bread ends, except for the chickens of course!
Another great benefit of having mini velocraptor-garbage-disposals, is that they will even eat bread after it’s gone stale.
I have 3 teen boys in the house, you can imagine the bread bag gets left open on accident quite often around here. However, that stale bread becomes a snack for the chooks.
What Kind Of Bread NOT To Feed To Chickens
Chickens can eat white, wheat, whole grain, and even bread that contains seeds and nuts. They can eat fresh bread or even stale even bread!
Typically, the only bread they should NOT eat is moldy bread!
As a rule, chickens shouldn’t be given any type of moldy food. This is often one of those things that chicken keepers might say, “Oh I do that all the time and my chickens are fine”.
This kind of advice could be dangerous. You don’t know if these people know what to look for as far as chickens being sick. Community Chickens has listed some signs of mold poisoning. They say that the signs and symptoms might not always be readily apparent.
Issues With Eating Moldy Bread For Chickens
When you see mold on bread, the entire loaf should be thrown out! It’s not like cheese where you can cut an inch off and continue eating it.
Mold spores can travel by air, even in a bag of bread. In addition, mold spores have microscopic roots that can spread through porous bread. It’s safe to assume that spores have infected most or all of the entire loaf of bread. Even inhaling mold spores can be bad for not just humans but many kinds of animals including chickens.
Some mold produce poisons called mycotoxins. These can be dangerous to animals, especially is they eat a lot of them. These mycotoxins have the ability to not only affect chickens though they can affect humans as well.
Additionally, according to The National Library of Medicine, it’s a possibility that any sickness your chickens get could be passed down to you through eating their meat or eggs. So a smart choice is to keep your chickens healthy!
Healthier Snack Ideas
There are tons of natural foods that you can give to your chickens that are much healthier than bread. I’m not saying don’t give them bread. It’s fun to give them something they love!
However, it’s nice to have a list of healthy foods to offer. Regardless of whether something is healthier, please remember a well-balanced chicken feed will help your chickens live happy, healthy lives.
Natural Healthy Treats
- Chickens can eat apples. Just try to avoid the seeds. I like to chop these up for the chickens
- Pumpkin – There are a few good reasons for feeding pumpkin to chickens.
- Bug/insects – You can buy crickets, mealworms, or even find earthworms for them to eat.
- Fish – Chickens will actually eat fish, believe it not. If you have ducks, they are happy to eat them too.
- Cooked beans – Never give chickens uncooked beans!
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy
These frozen treat for chickens are perfect for summer and are really easy to make. They can help chickens not only keep cool but also keep busy!
Molting Season Snacks
My peanut butter dog and chicken treats are perfect for the molting season. They have the extra protein that the chickens need to re-grow their feathers for the wintertime.
Warm Wintertime Snacks
Chicken can eat bread, but in moderation of course! Giving chickens bread can be a fun snack but definitely not a meal! So give them a little bit of bread, but don’t spoil their dinner.
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