Can Chickens Eat Tuna?

While there are several food options for chickens like mealworms, grains, bread crumbs, desiccated coconut, etc., we will talk about a particular item—tuna. That’s right! It might sound odd, but you can feed fish to your chickens. 

Tuna and other types of fish (herring, cod, salmon, sardine, etc.) are safe for chickens and beneficial for their overall health. Tuna is a good source of amino acids, protein, and fat while containing minerals like phosphorus and calcium. 

To keep your chickens highly productive, it’s essential that you rear them in optimal conditions and feed them a balanced diet. Chickens need an extra protein-rich diet consisting of tuna to stay healthy and lay eggs at their best. 

If you own a poultry farm, this article will prove immensely helpful for you. Let’s get to know more about how to add nutrition to your flock’s diet with the help of tuna. 

How To Feed Tuna To Your Chickens?

Chicken eat tuna fish in various forms, be it roasted, raw, stewed, boiled, or cooked fish. Chickens usually prefer tuna when it’s mixed with oil. Besides that, you can also throw in some breadcrumbs into the mixture. Your chickens are surely going to love the dish!

Just like humans, chickens eat tuna salad as well. Finely chop up some leftover vegetables, add bits of shredded tuna, and watch how your chickens will relish it. Don’t be surprised if you witness them fighting for it!

Another way of feeding your chickens this fish is by giving them tuna scraps. The fish could be raw, cooked, or boiled. It doesn’t make any difference to them as chickens eat raw tuna. Along with the meat, the fish bones carry nutritional properties as well. 

Fishheads are also a much-loved delicacy among hens. However, you may consider grinding the head so your birds can digest it easily and enjoy the many health benefits

How Does Tuna Benefit Your Chickens?

As mentioned earlier, tuna contains various other nutrients like minerals and amino acids. The calcium in tuna is good for your chickens’ bone formation and strength. It is also essential for the growth of young chicks.

The fish is also rich in omega-3, which boosts egg production. When your chickens eat healthy fats, the result shows in the healthy eggs they lay. In addition, tuna contains protein which is good for the overall health of your flock. It helps improve the quality of their meat. 

Having said that, there’s one thing that you must remember. As tuna contains fat, it is recommended not to make it a part of the hen’s regular diet. Excessive tuna consumption may lead to your chickens getting obese. You can feed them in moderate frequency, say once or twice a week. 

Can Feeding Tuna Have Side Effects On Your Chickens?

As the saying goes, excess of anything is bad. The same applies to the food you feed your chickens. Tuna has high quantities of vitamin D, mercury, and fats which are otherwise suitable for your flock’s health, but an overdose can prove harmful. 

Chickens do not require a lot of mercury in their body. A high dose of the chemical can turn toxic and cause mercury poisoning in chickens. Common symptoms of mercury build up include diarrhea, mouth ulcers, organ hemorrhage, weakness, and intestine inflammation. 

Similarly, a little vitamin D is enough for chickens to grow, but too much vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia. It’s a condition where the amount of calcium in the blood builds up and starts affecting gout, liver, and heart. 

Another side effect of feeding your chick tuna regularly is obesity. An unhealthy increase in weight can lead to other health complications as well. 

Going by the details above, it’s clear that you need to check how often you are giving tuna to your chicken. Make sure you add other ingredients with tuna, like vegetables rich in fiber. This way, you can balance the minerals and vitamins to ensure the optimal health of your birds. 

Fresh Or Canned Tuna: Which One’s Better?

While fresh tuna is an excellent option for yourself, it might not work well with your chickens. Fresh tuna has higher mercury content than canned tuna. You know by now how harmful an overdose of mercury can be for chickens. 

On the flip side, when chickens eat canned tuna, it isn’t always the best option as it contains preservatives and salts. In this case, you must check the type of tuna you’re giving them. Light tuna usually contains less mercury when compared to white albacore tuna. So, light tuna is more suitable for your birds. 

Secondly, check the amount of additives or preservatives in the product—the fewer the additives, the better for your poultry’s health. Pick canned tuna products with less oil and seasonings. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, tuna fish can be a great addition to a chicken’s diet. Chickens need protein to produce healthy eggs, and tuna perfectly fits the requirement. The minerals and vitamins in tuna also play a crucial role in the growth of your chickens. 

The only crucial thing that chicken owners need to be careful of is the amount you’re feeding and the frequency. If fed weekly, canned tuna could do health wonders to your flock!

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