Tomatoes are a popular fruit due to their high amount of nutrition and great taste. These fruits are very versatile and can be used in salads, soups, stews, and to make smoothies. Since this fruit seems healthy and full of nutrition, you may be wondering if you can feed tomatoes to chickens.
Can chickens eat tomatoes? Yes, chickens can eat tomatoes, but only riped ones. Unripe tomatoes contain a substance called solanine which is poisonous. In large amounts, it can cause them health problems, even death can occur. Riped tomatoes are high in antioxidants and a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. You can feed chickens either raw or cooked tomatoes.
Is it Safe For Chickens To Eat Tomatoes?
Yes and no as it depends on the maturity of the tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes are bad for chickens. They contain solanine that can harm them and it can even kill them. Be sure to avoid feeding them to the chickens.
What you can feed them instead are riped tomatoes. As it riped, the solanine will no longer be in the tomato plants.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are low in calories, but high in vitamins and minerals. This makes them an excellent and healthy treat to give the chickens.
Here are the nutrients in a small (100-gram) raw tomato:
- Calories: 18
- Water: 95%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.9 grams
- Sugar: 2.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.2 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
The above data is according to USDA.
Below are some of the health benefits chickens can get from eating tomatoes:
Tomatoes Provides Hydration
Tomatoes have a lot of water content in them. With about 95% water content, this is an excellent treat for chickens to keep them hydrated.
During the summer months, when it’s usually warm to extremely hot, chickens will lose a lot of water from their body. This is from being active constantly foraging for foods. By putting out whole tomatoes for them throughout the day, the chickens will peck at it and bite pieces off it. Not only will they get hydrated, but the nutrition in the tomatoes as well.
In the winter, tomatoes can still be fed to them to keep the chickens hydrated.
Tomatoes Promote Healthy Digestion
Tomatoes are a good source of fiber. Food that is high in fiber will help promote healthy digestion.
Fiber promotes regular bowel movement in the chickens. This in turn will make the foods they eat easier to digest and move smoother through their digestive tract.
Tomatoes Prevent Illness
Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C. This nutrition is important in preventing chickens from becoming ill and promoting a healthy immune system.
During the winter months when it’s cold, chickens tend to get sick often. Also, during the spring when it rains often, the temperature tend to fluctuate a lot, chickens are prone to becoming sick as well. By feeding them plenty of tomatoes and other food high in vitamin C, your chickens will be less vulnerable to getting sick.
If they do become sick, letting the chicken eat plenty of tomatoes will help them get back to good health quickly.
Can Chickens Eat Tomato Leaves & Stems?
No, you should never feed the leaves and stems of the tomato plants. These parts of the tomato are part of the nightshade family and they contain toxins that can harm the chickens.
Therefore, while the stems and leaves seem edible and tasty to the chickens, you should always avoid feeding the chickens.
If you have a garden full of tomato plants, make sure the chickens cannot get to them.
How To Feed Tomatoes To Chickens
Due to their soft texture, there are a couple of methods in which you can feed the chickens. Most chickens will eat just about anything you give them.
Below are the different methods in which you can feed tomatoes to the chickens:
Feeding chickens fresh whole tomatoes. This is the easiest method to feed chickens. Simply wait for the tomatoes to ripen and throw them to the chickens. Or you can place it in their feeder bowl and let them eat from there.
Mixing tomatoes with chicken feeds. One way to get an extra nutritional boost in the feeds is to mix the tomatoes with their feeds. Wait until the tomatoes are riped, then slice or dice them into bits and pieces. Add them to the feeds and give it to the chickens.
How Much And How Often To Feed Tomatoes To Chickens
Tomatoes should be given to them in moderation. Tomatoes don’t offer enough nutrition to keep the chickens healthy.
Like other vegetables, tomatoes should only be fed to chickens 10% of their main diet. The rest should come from quality commercial feeds.
Other Fruits That Chickens Can Eat
Bananas are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are great for keeping chickens active throughout the day. You can hang the bananas from a branch and they will peck at it all day long. However, bananas should only be fed to them in moderation due to their high sugar content.
While grapefruit is a citrus fruit, chickens can eat them. However, most chickens will avoid eating them. To get them to eat grapefruit, you can cut them into small pieces and mix it in with their feeds.
Apples are very tasty and pack a lot of nutrition that the chicken’s diet requires. During the fall season, these fruits make an excellent treat. You can feed apples to them either raw or cooked.
Can chickens eat tomato soups?
Yes, chickens can tomato soups and they will enjoy it too. Not only are they getting plenty of nutrition that the tomatoes provide, but it will keep them hydrated too. Due to it being a soup, it can get messy feeding it to them. Therefore, you can mix the tomato soup with their feeds or other vegetables to make the consistency of the soup thicker.
Can chickens eat ketchup?
Chickens can eat ketchup, but it’s not recommended that you do. While tomatoes are the main ingredients in ketchup, it also has preservatives added to them. This isn’t healthy for chickens. In a small amount, ketchup won’t harm them, but in large amounts, it could.