Although jalapenos are considered a vegetable in most households due to their sour and somewhat pungent taste, they are actually fruits. While we enjoy jalapenos in our salads and pizza, can our feathered pets enjoy these peppers as well?
Can chickens eat jalapenos? Jalapeno peppers are a great way to add flavor to your chicken’s diet. They’re nutritious for them and act as a natural de-wormer. They are great treats that can be fed to chickens in moderation. However, the leaves, stems, and stalks of jalapeno plants should not be given as they contain solanine which is poisonous. As with any new foods, make sure you monitor their health after giving jalapenos to your flock.
Chickens can eat jalapenos. They are safe for your pets as long as you are discarding the plant part of the vegetable. In fact, the jalapeno seeds are known for their high protein content and are often added to bird foods.
The fleshy part of the pepper is packed with fibers and other nutrients that help in making your chicken healthy and active. It strengthens their immune system and acts as a natural dewormer. Jalapeno peppers are particularly good for laying hens.
In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about feeding jalapenos to chickens.
Do chickens like eating jalapenos?
If you’re about to feed jalapenos to your chickens, what’s the first question that comes to your mind? We’re certain most of you must be wondering whether or not will your pets like eating jalapenos. Well, let us tell you that 9 out of 10 chickens tend to enjoy eating jalapenos, which means your feathered pets will most likely eat them happily as well.
Although jalapenos are not as hot and spicy as the other chili pepper varieties, many pet owners are still concerned about them being too spicy for their pets. However, this is not something you should be worried about because the chickens’ taste palates are very different from ours.
While our tongues have about 8,000-10,000 taste buds, the chickens have only about 300-350 of these on their tongue. These birds do not have any capsaicin receptors to be able to taste the spiciness of food. Therefore, jalapenos are completely safe for them to eat.
Are jalapenos healthy for chickens to eat?
Is the mere fact that chickens like eating jalapenos enough for you to start feeding them these fruits regularly? Not really. Before including any fruit or vegetable into your pet’s diet, you must find out if it can meet any of their nutritional needs or not.
So, can jalapenos fulfill the nutritional needs of chickens? Yes, they certainly do, and we’re going to tell you how.
Before we talk about the health benefits of eating jalapenos for chickens, let’s quickly go through the table that lays down the nutritional composition of these fruits:
|Vitamin A||55 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.07 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.3 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.32 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.42 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||27 mcg|
|Vitamin C||120 mg|
|Vitamin E||3.6 mg|
|Vitamin K||19 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||12 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.25 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||15 mg|
|Potassium, K||251 mg|
|Sodium, Na||3 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.14 mg|
|Selenium, Se||0.41 mcg|
|Copper, Cu||0.05 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||26 mg|
|Total fat||0.37 g|
|Dietary fibers||2.8 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Now that you’ve learned of the nutritional richness of jalapenos, it is time for us to explore the benefits they can have for your feathered pets.
Chickens need plenty of Vitamin A in their diet to maintain their reproductive and overall health. Vitamin A can also promote their healthy eyesight. Jalapenos contain Vitamin A and beta-carotene, a plant pigment that keeps their feathers bright and shiny.
Jalapenos also contain most of the Vitamin B variants that can help your chickens in several ways. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) maintains their appetite, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) promotes healthy egg production in them, and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is said to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help them in fighting against inflammatory diseases. Lastly, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) is responsible for keeping your pet’s skin healthy, building their immunity against diseases like mouth and feet lesions and dermatitis.
Vitamin C in jalapenos plays a key role in the smooth functioning of their immune health. Vitamin E is essential for the chickens since its deficiency in their diet can lead to Encephalomalacia (Crazy Chick Disease) in them. Luckily, jalapenos contain enough of this vitamin for your pets.
Jalapenos also contain Vitamin K, which plays a vital role in the blood clotting and wound healing processes in their body. If your chickens do not contain enough Vitamin K in their diet, they could potentially bleed to death from a minor cut or wound.
Calcium and Phosphorus are the two minerals responsible for maintaining the egg quality and hatchability of your chickens. Additionally, Calcium also strengthens their bones. Iron and Copper prevent them from diseases like Anemia, while Zinc boosts their feather health. Carbohydrates are the main source of your pet’s energy, and Protein is essential for many biological processes in their body.
In light of all the aforementioned health benefits that jalapenos offer to your pets, it would suffice to say that they’re healthy for them.
Are the jalapeno seeds safe for chickens to eat?
As we’ve already mentioned that jalapenos are botanically categorized as a fruit, does the idea of feeding jalapenos to your chickens along with their seeds worry you?
Considering how apple and orange seeds contain amygdalin that can harm your pet’s health, it is understandable why you would have doubts about feeding jalapeno seeds to them.
However, as far as jalapeno seeds are concerned, you have no reason to worry. Their seeds contain no toxic compound that can be detrimental to your pet’s health and can be consumed safely by them.
Can chickens eat jalapeno tops?
While the seeds inside jalapenos are safe for your pet’s consumption, what about jalapeno tops (calyx)? Can your chickens eat them as well? Absolutely not.
The calyx of jalapenos can be lethal to your pet’s health because of the presence of solanine in it. Since jalapenos are fruits of a nightshade plant, all the green parts of their plant are rich in solanine, a naturally occurring glycoalkaloid poison meant to keep all kinds of pests away from their fruits.
While solanine cannot cause any major harm to humans in small amounts, this poison can be hazardous to your pets. Therefore, you must always remove the calyx of a jalapeno before feeding it to your chickens.
Can chickens eat the leaves of the jalapeno plant?
In the previous section, we discussed the green parts of jalapeno plants (and all other nightshade plants) being rich in solanine and, thus, dangerous for your chickens. The same is true about their leaves. Therefore, never feed them jalapenos along with their leaves.
In fact, you should also avoid planting nightshade plants in your garden. And if you already happen to have these plants, make sure your chickens never go too close to them.
Like the jalapeno leaves, the stalks and stems of their plants are also lethal for chickens and should never be fed to them.
Jalapenos for chickens: Feeding Ideas
The first and most essential thing that you should keep in mind before feeding jalapenos to your chickens is to always purchase organic jalapenos for them.
This is because most commercially-grown jalapenos are sprayed with toxic chemicals like pesticides and insecticides to keep them safe from all kinds of insects. And if these pesticides find a way into your pet’s body, they can make them terribly sick.
The benefit of using organic jalapenos is that these fruits are grown in a safe and organic environment and contain no chemicals. This is true not just for jalapenos but for all fruits and vegetables.
Coming back to feeding jalapenos to chickens, the first step is to wash them. If you have organic jalapenos, a quick wash will remove all the dirt from it. But in the case of regular jalapenos, a more thorough wash is required.
Once these fruits are washed, it is time to chop them. As you already know, chickens have no teeth, large chunks of any fruit or veggie can be difficult for them to eat and digest. Therefore, make sure that the jalapenos are finely chopped for their convenience.
Then, your jalapenos are ready to be served to the chickens.
Conclusion: Can Chickens Eat Jalapenos?
So, chickens can indeed jalapenos safely, along with their seeds. However, all the other parts of the jalapeno plants should be off-limit to your pets since eating them can lead to solanine poisoning in the chickens.
Jalapenos will provide your chickens with various health benefits, including protein and balanced dietary content. They are also a natural dewormer that works by quickly killing intestinal worms. It is best, however, to plant these peppers only in areas of the garden where they are not accessible to your chickens as they can harm them if ingested.