Feeding chicken table scraps is an easy way to keep your birds happy and reduce feed costs. But not all scraps are healthy for chickens. Potato peels make for easy feed, but they aren’t all created equal. While some are safe, others contain chemicals that could disrupt your chickens’ digestive systems. Can chickens eat potato peels? The answer is that it depends on the type of peel. Let’s look at what you need to know about feeding potato peels to your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Potato Peels?
Not all parts of potatoes (and not all types of potatoes) are safe for chickens to eat. White and yellow potatoes contain a chemical called solanine that can be toxic for chickens. This chemical causes the green color that you sometimes see in potato peels. But sweet potatoes don’t contain this chemical and are entirely safe.
Solanine1 causes stomach upset in chickens. In large quantities, it causes inflammation, itching, vomiting, diarrhea, paralysis, fever, and even death. Since solanine is bitter tasting, many chickens will spit it out once they taste it. This lowers the risk of poisoning, but you should still ensure that this chemical isn’t in their food. It’s found in all nightshade vegetables, and it’s toxic to humans too. It is why we cut the green parts off potatoes before we eat them.
Also, cooking potatoes doesn’t remove the solanine, so chickens should not be fed any part of a potato peel that’s turned green.
Edible Parts of Potatoes
Chickens can eat the leaves of potato plants and the flesh of potatoes. They can even eat potato peels, as long as they haven’t turned green, which happens from excessive exposure to sunlight. Sweet potatoes are safe for chickens in their entirety.
Other Foods That Are Toxic to Chickens
There are other table scraps that are toxic to chickens beyond green potato peels.
Table Scraps That Are Safe for Chickens
It is fine to feed table scraps to your chickens, as long as these don’t make up their entire diet. Here are a few common household foods that are safe to feed chickens.
Chickens can eat potato peels as long as they don’t contain any green pigment. The green pigment contains a chemical that’s toxic to chickens. Both red and white potatoes can contain this chemical, but sweet potatoes do not. While most chickens love potato peels, there is a risk when feeding them. Many other table scraps are safe to feed chickens and don’t pose a risk to their health.
Featured Image Credit: PetKeen.com