Can Chickens Eat Raw Potatoes? Avoid the Green

Written by Farm Animals

Most of the time, you can ask yourself if chickens can eat something and say yes in confidence. However, when you begin to ask yourself: can chickens eat raw potatoes, hesitate  because it can be lethal!  Let’s start with a general overview of what not to feed your chickens and why followed by a little bit about solanine and finally what you can do with the raw potatoes and your chickens.

What NOT to Feed Your Chickens

1. Raw green potato peels

NEVER eat or feed your chickens green potatoes. They contain a dangerous chemical called solanine I will mention later. Not only are green potatoes too hard for your chickens to pick at, but they will kill them. So, don’t feed this to them.

2. High-sodium foods

You shouldn’t eat high-salt foods and neither should your chickens. However, it’s more dangerous in chickens who have smaller kidneys and can easily undergo salt poisoning. This is pretty easy to avoid with chickens: simply avoid feeding them junk food or salty leftovers.

3. Citrus foods

Not only do chickens generally hate eating citrus foods. They aren’t very good for them. They have dangerous components that will kill them or make them sick with too much consumption. Plus, citrus foods typically have thick, leathery peels that chickens just won’t eat.n-fact, because of the peel, most livestock won’t eat citrus foods.

4. Dried or undercooked beans

Again, if you won’t eat it, your chickens won’t. When’s the last time you chowed down on a bowl of dried beans? Chickens prefer to eat things that are soft and can be torn by their beaks. Plus, these beans aren’t easily digested in this form. On top of all of that, raw or dry beans have hemaglutin which can kill birds.

5. Avocado Skin and Pit

First of all, avocados are very fatty fruits. This is bad for egg and meat production. To add to that, the skin and pit are toxic in large quantities. Luckily, there’s no hope of your chickens eating either the skin or pit because they’re too hard.

6. Raw eggs

This would be weird. Cannibalism is not good for their health.

7. Candy, Chocolate, Sugar

Highly processed and sweetened foods are not good for your chickens ever. In small quantities, it’s fine if you need to throw out some leftovers, but don’t add it to their diet. This is terrible for egg and meat production and their health in general.

Solanine and Green Potatoes

Chickens love a variety of vegetables, but they’re either raw lettuce or cooked vegetables. To start, draw the distinction between white and sweet potatoes because they are very different. Raw white potatoes come from the nightshade family and are not toxic in any form.  The green parts, vines, and flowers are toxic though, so remove them. 

Sweet potatoes are a member of the morning glory family and the whole plant can be eaten by chickens. So, don’t worry about the raw sweet potatoes and their leaves, stems, vines, flowers, or raw sweet potato peels.  The only way they can be dangerous is if you store them poorly and they mold up. 

Now, about the peels or raw potatoes in general, it’s a myth that a small quantity will kill your birds.  The reality of it is that it takes a large quantity of them to kill them.  When a potato is green, it generally means don’t eat it, because it’s making solanine. This will affect your nervous system if you eat large quantities of this. However, this isn’t the only plant with it. Chili peppers, ball peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and tobacco also have solanine. Of course, they have smaller quantities than green potatoes.

Humans would have to eat four and a half pounds of green potatoes in one sitting to have any of the neurological effects, but a chicken is much smaller, so it would take a smaller amount to cause an effect. However, have faith in your chickens in their ability to avoid these plants. They know not to eat them.

What to do with your raw potatoes

Give them to your chickens, but chop them up small, and just don’t give them the green ones. You can even string up some cubes and put them along the walls of their cage to keep them entertained. They probably won’t eat the raw potato skin though because they’re too thick and rubbery for them to eat. Cooked, they’d be ok. But, they’ll just turn away from uncooked potato skins.

Can chickens eat raw potatoes? As you can see, they can. It just all depends on what type of potatoes they are in terms of color. If they’re green, throw them out. If they’re white or sweet, just cube them up or cook them for your birds!

Shelley Howard

Shelley Howard

Shelley Howard has been writing professionally since 2010. She writes about homesteading, health and travel for various online publications.
Shelley Howard

Last modified: May 30, 2018

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