During the fall and early winter, if you have a pecan tree growing in the backyard, you’ll notice the nuts are starting to cover the entire ground. If you are raising backyard chickens and letting them roam freely in the yard, you may wonder if chickens can eat pecans.
Can chickens eat pecans? Yes, chickens can eat pecans. The nuts are packed with healthy fats and protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Due to their naturally sweet flavor, it makes a tasty treat for your chickens.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Pecans?
Pecans are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrition. For that reason, pecans are healthy for chickens to eat. However, you’ll want to feed this sweet and delicious treat to them occasionally. It’s high in fat content and too much of it can cause the chooks health issues.
One ounce (28 grams) of pecans contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 196
- Protein: 2.5 grams
- Fat: 20.5 grams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Fiber: 2.7 grams
- Copper: 38% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Thiamine (vitamin B1): 16% of the DV
- Zinc: 12% of the DV
- Magnesium: 8% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 6% of the DV
- Iron: 4% of the DV
The above data is from the USDA.
Below are some of the health benefits the chicken can get from eating pecans:
Pecans Help Promote Healthy Digestion
Pecans are high in dietary fiber and are important for a healthy digestive system. Fiber helps promotes regular bowel movement and prevent constipation. This will make food travel through the digestive system smoothly.
Pecans Are High in Fat
Pecans are especially high in fat content. Fats are bad for chickens when too much is fed to them. However, there are times foods high in fats is good for chickens. During the winter months, chickens are outdoors in the extreme cold all the time. By having eating food high in fat content, it will help provide warmth in the winter.
Pecans Have Antioxidants
Pecans are a good source of antioxidants and are important for the well-being of the chickens. It helps protect the cells in the body from damages created by free radicals. These molecules can come from the normal metabolism in the body, foods that the chicken eats, and even smokes from cigarettes.
Can Chickens Eat Pecan Leaves?
Pecan leaves contain a toxin called juglone. This toxin acts like cyanide and when ingested by the chickens, it can be very poisonous to them.
However, due to their low concentration of toxin, it’s not enough to actually kill the chickens. In a small amount, it may cause digestive problems such as diarrhea and upset stomach. In a large amount, it can be fatal for the chickens.
If you have a pecan tree in the backyard, most of the time, the chickens will just scratch at the leaves. This is no cause of concern.
On the other hand, if the chickens are pecking at it, it’s best to remove them from the area.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Pecans?
Baby chickens can eat pecans, but it’s a good idea to wait at least they are 2 weeks old. This will give them time for their digestive system to develop.
When feeding pecans to chicks, feed them only in moderation. At this age, you’ll want to feed them chick starter feeds. This type of chicken feed has been specially formulated to provide everything the baby chicks need.
Therefore, pecans should be fed as supplement foods to their main diet.
You can simply mix the pecans in with the chick starter feed to give it a nutritional boost.
Along with both the feed and pecans, provide them with shell grit as well. Like all birds, chickens do not have teeth to help them grind the food. Instead, they require grit which helps to aid the digestion process. These grits will help grind the food.
You’ll need to provide shell grit which is specially ground for baby chicks. These can be found at the local pet store or online pet shop.
How To Feed Pecans To Chickens
Pecans are tough and will be too hard for chickens to eat them whole. To make it easier for them to eat, break them into bits and pieces.
If you give them pecans as a whole, they sometimes will swallow it whole and could cause them to choke on it.
Once the pecans are broken into smaller pieces, simply toss them to the chickens and they will eat it.
Another way to feed pecans to the chickens is to mix it with their feeds. This is a great way to add additional nutrition to their feed. Make sure to break the pecans into smaller pieces and mix it in with the feed.
Once mixed, place the feed into their feeding bowl and feed them to the chickens.
How Many Pecans To Feed Chickens
Pecans should be fed to the chickens in moderation. These nuts do not have enough nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary needs. Feeding them just the pecans or too much of it could affect their health severely.
Pecans should be given to them as treats. These nuts should make up only 10% of the chicken’s main diet. The rest should come from quality commercial feeds. These feeds are formulated with the correct amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary requirements.
Therefore, feed pecans to the chickens once or twice per week. This should be enough for them to eat without causing any serious health issues.
Besides, you should try to rotate pecans with other tasty foods throughout the week. This will ensure the chickens are getting plenty of nutrition that pecans don’t offer.
Other Nuts That Chickens Can Eat
Similar to pecans, walnuts are rich in antioxidants and a good source of fiber, fats, and protein. Walnuts have a tough outer shell and only the inside of the walnut should be fed to the chickens.
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E. This makes them an excellent treat for the chickens. However, you should only feed almonds to them in moderation. Almonds contain a high amount of fat content and it could lead to health issues such as kidney failure and obesity.
Cashew nuts are rich in copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, protein, and phosphorous. This nut will make a good treat for the chickens. It’s a good idea to avoid salted cashews as too much salt can be bad for them. Fresh unsalted cashew is best for the chickens.
Can chickens eat pecan pies?
Yes, chickens can eat pecan pies but only in moderation. Pecan pies are delicious, but they are also high in sugar content. Chickens can tolerate a small amount of sugar in their system. When they ingest too much sugar, it will start causing them health issues such as liver damage and obesity.
So if you have some leftover pecan pies and want to share some with your chickens, just remember to give each chicken a small piece of it.