Chickens are tough birds that enjoy most foods; they are, after all, omnivores. Still, as a chicken keeper, you want to ensure that your birds are healthy, well-fed, and naturally, you will have lots of questions concerning nutrition. But what about peas? Can you feed these small green legumes to your flock and are there any considerations if you wanted to do so? With these questions in mind, I spent some time researching the topic. Below, you will find all that you need to know.
So, can chickens eat peas? Chickens can eat peas; they are safe to eat either cooked, raw, or frozen. Peas are fun food for your birds, as they like to peck and chase after them, it helps that they are packed full of nutrients and provide many valuable vitamins and minerals. However, peas should be fed in moderation and as treats; never to replace their normal and regular feed.
Few foods are off-limits to chickens; the general rule is that if something isn’t suitable for human consumption, it’s not fit for the consumption of poultry birds.
Reasons why chickens can eat peas is because there is no evidence suggesting that peas are harmful to chickens.
Peas are safe to consume, even raw, even though many legumes are toxic to chickens and humans alike.
Most chicken keepers report that feeding peas to chickens does no harm to them. One important note to consider is that dried peas are not great for your birds. They are too hard for your chickens to digest; and aside from that, they are not very tasty.
Let us now take a closer look at why you may want to offer peas to your chickens from time to time and how to go about doing so, in a fun way! We will also be looking over some other great options for treats and foods you will want to avoid. So, be sure to keep on reading!
Are Peas Healthy For Chickens?
Peas are healthy for chickens, but should only ever be a snack, as they alone do not provide everything that chickens need to obtain through their diets.
Laying hens need at minimum 16% protein, their commercial feed supplies all the protein they need.
Not many people are aware that peas are not vegetables but legumes. Legumes contain more protein than vegetables, which has its advantages, but it’s still not enough. Consider the following:
100 grams of peas contains
- 1.6 grams of fat
- 5.6 grams of fiber
- 10 grams of carbohydrates
- 5.5 grams of protein
Peas also do include a mixture of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The main ones are as follows:
Vitamins In Peas
|Vitamin A||801 IU|
|Vitamin C||14.2 mg|
|Vitamin K||25.9 mcg|
Minerals In Peas
Peas certainly have their advantages and are healthy for humans as part of a balanced diet; they are healthy for chickens too.
As you can see above, chickens can also acquire some much needed Calcium through consuming peas; a mineral essential to successful egg production.
However, it’s not good for chickens to overindulge in peas. The bulk of their diet must still come from pellets.
Can Chickens Eat Frozen Peas?
Yes, chickens can eat frozen peas; they are a welcome treat on a hot day and do not harm your birds.
Frozen peas are delicious; that is, since they are picked at the height of their freshness and flash frozen, all the green goodness can stay locked up in a bag for months on end.
Frozen peas are usually sweeter and more tender than the fresh peas you would get at the farmers market; this makes them more desirable to your back yard chickens.
It’s ideal to grow peas, as you can pick them from their pods and offer them to your chickens, if you are not growing peas, frozen peas are convenient and flavorsome.
On a hot day, frozen peas are perfect; they are like ice cream for your chickens.
Do Chickens Enjoy Eating Peas?
Many chickens seem to enjoy eating peas; they are like little balls that are fun for chickens to chase.
If you threw some peas on the ground, stand back and observe as your flock runs around pecking after the peas.
You can incorporate the legume into their playtime:
Pick up your chickens and stand on a chair, toss some peas into the air. Your birds will jump to grab them; this game is known to last for an hour sometimes longer.
Roll some peas onto a hard surface, like your porch, make sure that your chickens see what you’re doing, or it won’t work. If they know what you’re doing, they will run after the peas in no time, and they are enjoyable to watch.
Chickens enjoy pecking at rotting logs for some reason; pack treats like peas inside an old rotting log. Present your birds with the wood and watch as they peck at it for ages.
Pecking For Treats
Make some holes in the ground, then place some peas along with other treats and cover everything with hay. Your chickens will pick up the aroma of the treat and will spend time searching for the treats.
How To Feed Chickens Peas
When feeding peas to your chickens, it’s okay for them to eat peas raw, fresh, and frozen. If you happen to grow peas, you can remove them from their pods and feed them to your birds as they are.
Dried peas are a challenge for your hens to digest, so it’s best to offer fresh or cooked peas to your hens.
Chickens are not fussy about their food; they don’t look at the presentation. Your hens will immediately peck away and eat the peas as soon as they can get their beaks on them.
As mentioned in the above subheading, you can incorporate peas into their playtime and enjoy observing how they go after the legumes.
Peas are a fun shape, and you can toss them and roll them, and your birds will have fun running after them.
Otherwise you can look at add some peas and mix it in with their regular feed. Its a great way to provide variety, and also boost the nutrition of their diets!
Other Foods That Are Good For Chickens
When it comes to feeding treats to chickens, you are spoiled for choice, and it helps that they are omnivores and can eat from both plant and meat sources.
Most fruits and vegetables are safe for your flock’s consumption, we will look at unsuitable foods, but let’s explore the safe foods first:
Insects And Grubs
Chickens do best when they are able to forage. In doing so they will naturally feed off the land – eating many insects and bugs that provide not only protein but a wide range of other vitamins and minerals.
You can also purchase grubs like Mealworms on Amazon for a great price. These are excellent treats that chickens simply love! they are also easily stored and can be provided as and when needed.
Vegetables are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other proper nutrition. Leafy greens are excellent for feeding your birds. You can offer your birds broccoli, sweet potatoes, lettuce, squash, and most other vegetables – they will devour them.
Many fruits are rich in nutrients and healthy for your chickens. You can offer fruits like banana, berries, figs, grapes, apples, and dates – there is no end to what you can offer in terms of fruit.
Grains are an essential part of chicken feed examples include oats, rice, corn, cornmeal, and wheat.
You can scatter them around your chickens, and it gives them something to run after – they like to be playful with their food.
Herbs have medicinal properties, and many are easy to grow yourself, you can even grow them indoors. Hens love lavender, parsley, and basil.
Foods That Are Not Safe For Chickens
It’s always a good idea to make sure foods are safe for chickens before giving it to them.
Consider the following list of foods you should not give to chickens:
Chocolate is a no-no for chickens; it’s harmful to most small animals. Chocolate contains toxic compounds and can cause serious health issues; it is best to keep chocolate to yourself and away from your birds.
Raw beans or beans that are not adequately cooked are harmful to chickens and can even be fatal.
Green Potatoes/ Tomatoes
Potatoes and tomatoes that are green contain a toxin called solanine. This toxin isn’t there when tomatoes and potatoes are ripe.
The flesh is perfectly safe for chickens to consume, make sure that they don’t eat the pit or the skin as they contain a toxin called person, which can give your flock health issues.
Tea And Coffee
Tea and coffee contain the same toxic compounds as chocolate, so if your compost heap contains either, make sure to keep your birds away.
It does no good to offer sugary treats to your chickens, this includes, candy, soda, lollipops, gummy bears, etc. These artificially sweet foods will only cause digestive issues for your hens.
Chickens love food scraps, but it has to be the right kind of food scraps. Junk food should never be a part of your flock’s diet as it contains too much fat and salt, and it’s hard for your birds to digest.
Peas are perfectly fine for your chickens to eat, as long as they are fed as a treat and not their primary food.
Peas, being legumes, are higher in protein than vegetables, but it’s still not enough for laying birds that require 16% protein in their diet. 100 grams of peas only contains 5.5 grams of protein.
Chickens get all the nutrition they need from chicken feed pellets. The commercial feed contains all the food these birds need to remain healthy and happy, and it’s developed in a way that matches each stage of development.
Feeding peas to your flock doesn’t need to be a chore; you can incorporate it into their daily fun activities.
Chickens are fun-loving and enjoy foraging for their food. If you hide peas along with other treats around the yard, that will give them plenty to do, and they enjoy being kept busy.
Peas are a great way to bring color and variety into their diet. Your flock should get 90% of their food from a commercial feed, so the 10% leaves room to experiment with different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and grains.
Feeding healthy snacks to your birds brings spontaneity and enjoyment into your life, too; if you grow edibles, it’s good to know that your bids are benefiting from your hard work.
Wondering what else chickens can eat? Check out my comprehensive guide below:
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.