Yes, chickens can eat hazelnuts, as long as you feed these nuts moderately. These nuts should not be a full course meal for them but only given as a healthy snack.
Hazelnuts are high in fats. These are considered superfoods for humans as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. But do they provide the same benefits to chickens? Here is a complete breakup on whether chickens can eat these nuts.
Are Hazelnuts Good for Chickens?
If your chickens eat cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts or hazelnuts, there is no harm. Chickens can eat any nuts, provided they are given in moderation.
Hazelnuts contain 5 grams of protein per 1/4th cup serving.This quantity aligns with the minimum RDA of protein in a chicken’s diet. But, as these nuts are also high in fats, you should limit their consumption.
Hazelnuts are roughly 60 to 80% of fat. This is the reason they should be given in moderation. Although they are healthy fats, too much fat content can lead to obesity and digestive issues in your flock.
If you are concerned about feeding chickens table scraps or leftovers containing hazelnuts, you must know that it is perfectly fine. But, do not feed them chocolates or other sugary foods containing hazelnuts, as these do not provide any health benefits to your flock.
Here is a brief on the health benefits of hazelnuts:
Health Benefits of Hazelnuts
If you ensure that your chickens eat nuts in small quantities as a tasty treat between meals, then they can benefit from the healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals. Here are the main nutritional benefits of hazelnuts for chickens:
- High in Protein
Chickens need approximately 20% protein from their daily diet. 20 whole kernels of hazelnut provide chickens with 4.2gm of protein. Feeding nuts along with seeds and different foods fulfill their daily protein requirements.
Sufficient protein in their feed boosts their eggshell quality and ensures healthy growth.
- High in Fiber
Hazelnuts are high in fiber – regular consumption of these nuts aids in better bowel movements. Fiber is also important for gut health and healthy digestive tract functioning.
- Plenty of Antioxidants
Hazelnuts are power-packed with different antioxidants. Vitamin E and selenium in these nuts aid in reproductive health and fight free radical damage.
- Plenty of Vitamins and Minerals
Hazelnuts are a great treat for your flock because of their amazing vitamins and minerals content. They are rich in Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Folate, and Manganese. These help in the overall growth and well-being of your birds.
All these nutrients can be derived from hazelnuts and other nuts. Ensure that you feed your flock many nuts in their diet.
Can Chickens Eat Hazelnut Shells?
Hazelnut shells are pretty hard. Chickens are unable to break the outer hard protective shell of this nut. So, you need to remove the shells and feed the soft inner nuts to your birds.
If you give them whole hazelnuts with the outer shell, they might just peck on it and leave. But, be mindful of not feeding them too many treats as it may harm them.
How to Feed Hazelnuts to Chickens?
Hazelnuts come with an outer hard protective shell. You need to remove this shell yourself and feed your flock, as chickens themselves are unable to break the shell.
Remember, once you remove the shell, the nut begins to oxidize. So, it is better to plan your flock’s feed and break open the nuts only when you plan to feed them. These turn stale very quickly.
Also, do not feed hazelnuts in large quantities to your chickens. At the most, two nuts per chicken are apt. Break open a handful of these nuts and mix them with other nuts such as pine nuts, sweet almonds, roasted peanuts, cashew nuts, and most nuts.
Crush all the nuts into small pieces and feed your poultry in-between meals or mixed with their vegetable scraps. You can even add these treats in their main meals in small amounts.
While these nuts are a great source of vitamins and different minerals, you must ensure that they are not salted or sugar-coated. Too much salt or sugar is not healthy for chickens. Salted nuts can make your birds drink too much water, proving to be fatal.
While feeding peanuts to your flock, ensure that you do not feed them raw peanuts. While peanuts are a good source of protein, raw peanuts contain an enzyme that is not good for them.
Your chicken’s diet can include various nuts including cashews, roasted peanuts, almonds, and most other nuts of the same family. Hazelnuts boost egg production, so you can add them occasionally or in limited quantities to their foods.
Baby chickens can be fed these nuts as well but in moderation. While raising backyard chickens, you can throw them a handful of these nuts as it will encourage their foraging activity.