Yes, chickens can eat peanuts, but several conditions apply before giving them these high-protein-packed nuts. Raw peanuts contain an enzyme called ‘trypsin,’ which can harm birds’ health. But, roasted and shelled peanuts can offer multitudes of benefits.
If you want to give your chickens and baby chicks peanuts, then ensure that you give them shelled and roasted ones. Some chickens may not react to the enzyme trypsin, while some may. So, it is better to be safe than sorry later.
There is more to whether chickens can eat peanuts or not. Let us find out here.
Are Peanuts Good for Chickens?
Peanuts are rich in fat and vitamins. Chickens can eat roasted peanuts, but they should not be salted. Furthermore, you also cannot feed chickens raw peanuts. Raw peanuts, salted roasted/unsalted peanuts, coated peanuts, or smoked peanuts can be bad for their health. You can feed chickens unsalted roasted peanuts that are properly shelled. Also, ensure that you feed chickens peanuts in moderation.
Peanuts are packed with nutrition. They are full of protein, energy, fiber, potassium, essential amino acids, and iron. The high levels of fat contained in peanuts help them grow. It also results in healthy egg production.
In fact, chickens love eating peanuts. Feed your chickens a diet of 90% healthy and good food and 10% healthy food that can also include treats (Source). These treats can be sweet fruits or nuts like cashews, almonds, and unsalted peanuts.
But, when feeding peanuts, you need to keep certain factors in mind regarding the peanut shells, salt content, coated peanuts, and raw peanuts. Below, we have explained the problems with each type.
Factors to Keep in Mind When Adding Peanuts to Chicken Feed
Peanuts are a great source of energy for chickens. They have high nutritional value. However, there are some factors to keep in mind.
Raw peanuts contain trypsin inhibitors, an enzyme that may lead to kidney and pancreatic damage in chickens. They should not be given raw peanuts. Raw peanuts contain peanut lectin which is also harmful for their bodies.
Do not feed your chickens salted peanuts as salt is believed to be dangerous for chickens, especially looking at the quantity added to the peanuts. Too much salt will make them drink too much water which is not good for chickens’ health.
Coated peanuts typically mean peanuts coated with chocolate. As chocolate is full of sugar, it is advised not to feed chickens coated peanuts to prevent the amount of sugar consumption.
Some people believe that the hard peanut shells do not provide any nutritional value to the birds. On the other hand, some believe that the peanut shells are full of fiber. Chickens may take time to remove the hard shells from the peanuts. So, it is absolutely fine to give them a few peanuts, shelled and unshelled, as treats to raise healthy chickens. Peanut shells may also lead to choking in some chickens.
These are the best for chickens and baby chicks. When you roast peanuts, ensure that you do not use any oil, butter, or salt. Any flavorings or added fat can be bad for their health.
Why should you Feed Peanuts to Chickens in Moderation?
If your chickens eat peanuts easily, then you must be careful about the quantity. Peanuts are high in fats. Consuming too much of fatty food can lead to obese chickens. Obese chickens suffer from many healthy problems, including fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome.
Feed your chickens roasted, shelled unsalted peanuts in moderation to get maximum health benefits from these nuts. Cooked peanuts are also good for chickens. They contain four times the amount of antioxidants than roasted or raw peanuts. But, eating boiled peanuts in large quantities can also lead to obesity, so, you need to watch the quantity.
Can Baby Chicks Eat Peanuts Safely?
Baby chicks are tender and delicate. Roasted peanuts can be hard. You need to be extra cautious while feeding baby chicks. These birds are like eating machines who will not know what to eat and how much to eat.
Chickens eat boiled peanuts as happily as roasted peanuts. But remember to give them only so much that they can easily digest. Feeding them in moderation will result in richer tasting eggs and healthy chickens.
Boiled unsalted peanuts are easier for baby chicks to eat and digest. But, you must take veterinary advice before feeding peanuts to your chickens diet.
All In All: Are Peanuts Healthy For Chickens?
So, all in all, you can feed chickens peanuts but in moderation. Also, remember that your chickens’ peanuts should be unshelled, roasted/boiled, unsalted, and uncoated.
Eating peanuts should be more of a treat for chickens than a part of their regular diet.