Cheese is versatile and a popular food in most households. They can be used on sandwiches, add to a meal, and make desserts. Cheese is safe for humans to eat, but what if you want to give some to your chickens?
Can chickens eat cheese? Yes, chickens can eat cheese. Cheese is packed with nutrition, especially calcium to help chickens grow strong. It’s also great for hens laying eggs as they need the calcium to lay strong and healthy eggs. However, cheese can be harmful to chickens if it’s fed to them in large quantities. This is due to the high content of fats. If cheese is fed to them occasionally, you won’t have to worry about this dairy product harming the chickens.
Health Benefits of Cheese for Chickens
Cheese is a healthy and excellent source of many nutrients. For chickens, cheese has a lot of nutritions that the chickens can benefit from.
While cheese has a lot of nutrition, due to its fatty content, it should be fed to them in moderation.
Below are some of the health benefits the chickens can get from eating cheese:
Cheese Helps Promote Muscle Development
What protein does for the muscle is build, repair, and make it stronger. Cheese contains a high amount of protein. Protein is vital to the health of the chickens as it’s involved with the proper functions of the organs. One particle is the muscle and this is very important to the chicken’s overall health.
Chickens are active creatures and always foraging for foods or moving around. Some of their muscles will tear during the process and protein will help repair it.
Cheese Promote Bone Health
The bones of the chicken are very important as this what gives the chickens their structure.
Cheese is a good source of calcium which is needed for bone health. Calcium helps strengthen the bone and keep them from becoming weak and brittle.
Cheese Have Fat Content
Cheese has a very high-fat content and isn’t recommended for feeding chickens. However, if it’s fed in moderation, it should be fine.
During the winter months, when it’s usually cold, chickens need a lot of fats to help keep them warm. Therefore, feeding them food high in fatty content will help build up their fat reserve for the winter.
Again, make sure to feed them strictly cheese. Mix their diet with other different food too so they’ll get other nutrition in their body.
Is It Safe For Chickens To Eat Cheese?
Cheese do not contain any toxins or any harmful substances so it’s safe for chickens to eat it.
However, too much cheese can be harmful to their health. The reason for that is that cheese is quite fatty and could cause the chickens to become overweight if given in large quantities.
Also, the fatty content is hard on the digestive system. It will make it hard for the chicken to digest it.
Cheese and other dairy products isn’t a common food to give chickens. Due to the content of the cheese, it can be harmful to them. Their digestive system isn’t designed to digest dairy products in large quantities.
Also, dairy products contain sugar in the form of lactose. Unfortunately, chickens lack the enzyme in their body to digest this sugar.
If chickens are allowed to eat cheese and other dairy products for a prolonged period of time, they may start to develop digestive problems. The chickens may experience diarrhea and abdominal pain as the most common symptoms.
Overall, cheese is safe for chickens to eat but only feed them in moderation.
What Type Of Cheese To Feed Chickens?
There are many different types of cheese available on the market. It differs from how it’s made and where it came from. The majority of cheese sold in grocery stores is from cows.
Another type of cheese that’s available and healthier for chickens is goat cheese. Goat cheese is better than cheese made from cow’s milk due to having less lactose and sodium. Also, the fat content in goat cheese is much lower and will make it easier for the chicken to digest.
Shredded Cheese Or Block Cheese?
Shredded cheese will be the better choice as it will be easier for the chicken to pick and eat it.
As for block cheese, they tend to be too tough for chickens to eat. However, cheese like mozzarella is fine to feed them as a block. Mozzarella cheese is soft and it’s easy for the chickens to peck and eat pieces of it.
Can Chickens Eat Moldy Cheese?
Yes, chickens can eat moldy cheese and it’s recommended that they do. Moldy cheese is also known as blue cheese and it’s made from culture penicillin. This is what gives the cheese their colorful blue or green streaks.
What makes moldy cheese an excellent treat for chickens is their antibacterial properties. These properties help strengthen their immune system and increase the chickens’ immunity.
How To Feed Cheese To Chickens
There are a couple of methods to feed cheese to the chickens. Below are some of
Feeding Chickens Whole Block Of Cheese
Feeding the chicken cheese block isn’t something that’s recommended since it’s hard for them to eat it.
However, if you want to keep the chickens occupied for a long time, feeding block cheese is a great option.
There is a lot of cheese available, but the ones you want to feed them are soft cheese. These include goat cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
Feeding Chickens Cut or Sliced Cheese
This method is the best way to feed cheese to the chickens. The cheese is small in pieces and easy for them to eat.
Most types of cheese sliced will be fine for the chickens to eat.
Mixing Cheese With Chicken Feeds
A great way to boost the nutrition of the feed is to add cheese. Since chickens like cheese, they won’t mind it being mixed.
Before adding the cheese to the mix, you need to cut the cheese into smaller pieces first. Try to cut the cheese to about the size of their feed.
Once it’s mixed, simply add to their feeding bowl and feed them to the chickens.
How Many Cheese To Feed Chickens
Due to their high-fat content, cheese should be fed to chickens occasionally. Feeding them too much cheese could cause them health issues.
Also, cheese doesn’t have enough nutrition that the chickens require each day. Cheese should make up just 10% of their main diet. The rest should come from quality commercial feeds. These feeds have been formulated with the proper amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary requirement.
Therefore, cheese should be given to them as treats. It will make a great supplement to their main food, especially calcium and protein.
Other Dairy Products For Chickens
Milk is a dairy product that’s safe for chickens to drink. It has about 90% water content so it should be easy for them to digest it.
There are many different types of milk on the market. The one that’s preferable for chickens is goat milk. Goat milk has less fat and doesn’t contain too much sugar.
Other than goat milk, you can give them skimmed low-fat milk. This is milk, but the fat content has been skimmed from it, thus the name.
Yogurt is another dairy product to feed the chickens. What makes yogurt healthier than milk is its bacteria content. Yogurt contains healthy bacteria and this helps them with digestion.
When feeding them yogurt, make sure it’s plain and not sweetened. Greek plain yogurt is the best choice for them as it contains less sugar than regular yogurt.