Can Chickens Eat Mushrooms?

Can Chickens Eat Mushrooms

Many people are ignorant of the fact that chickens can eat mushrooms, whether they are store-bought or wild. If you’re wondering whether chickens eat mushrooms, look no further than this article! Cited from both scientific studies and owner experiences, you will learn exactly what mushrooms can be fed to chickens and how much.

How many of you like eating mushrooms? These fleshy, rubbery fungi can taste delicious once they’re properly cooked, can’t they? However, today, we’re here to talk about using mushrooms as a treat for our pet chickens. What do you think about it?

Chickens can eat mushrooms in moderation and always cooked. Mushrooms are not something they need to eat on a regular basis but should be fed to them on occasion as an extra treat.

Mushrooms are a great addition to any chicken diet, though they should be used in moderation because their high protein content may cause the hens’ eggs to hatch more chicks than necessary.

Mushrooms are healthy for the chickens’ hearts as well as their eggs. Store-bought mushrooms are the safest alternative for chickens unless you’re growing them on your own. However, make sure that your chickens are not pecking on mushrooms that are randomly growing in the wild, for they could be poisonous.

Are you wondering if chickens will like eating mushrooms? Or do you want to know how to prep mushrooms for your chickens? This article holds the answer to all your questions and doubts about feeding mushrooms to chickens.


Do chickens like eating mushrooms?

The first question that you should ask yourself every time you come up with an idea of a new treat for your chickens is: will they like eating it?

Just because chickens seem to be pecking and nibbling at anything they can find in their path, many people assume that they would eat anything offered to them.

But that’s not the truth.

In fact, chickens are often extremely picky eaters. Just like us, they also have individual tastes. So, there’s no general answer to this question.

You can only find out whether your chickens like eating mushrooms by serving them these as a treat. If they take to it, that’s great. But if they don’t, you should probably look for other treatment options.


Why do mushrooms make a great treat for chickens?

In the last section, we learned that whether your chickens will eat mushrooms or not depends on their individual taste. Now, suppose your chickens do find mushrooms appealing. Will you give them these treats right away, or would you consider the impact they will have on your pet’s health first?

A common question that most of the chicken-owners ask is: why should we give mushrooms to our pets? That’s that question we’re going to answer here.

We all know that chickens’ standard diet includes dry feed and grit that helps them with digestion. With a diet that bland, we can’t blame our feathered pets for wanting various snacks and treats.

However, since chickens have a small digestive system and, thus, a small diet, we must ensure that everything that we put into their system benefits them in some way or the other.

Nutrients Quantity
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.012 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.017 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.067 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.067 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)104 mcg
Vitamin B9 (Folates)9.1 mcg
Vitamin B12 (Choline)16.6 mg
Vitamin C3 mg
Vitamin D0.2 mg
Calcium2.9 mg
Magnesium8.6 mg
Iron0.5 mg
Phosphorus82.6 mg
Sodium4.8 mg
Potassium305 mg
Zinc0.5 mg
Copper305 mg
Selenium8.9 mg
Carbohydrates3.1 g
Sugar1.9 g
Fat0 g
Protein3 g
Calories35 kcal

Serving size: 1 cup (100 grams)

Most of us commonly add different seeds, fruits, berries, and worms to our chickens’ diet once in a while to spice it up. As indicated in the chart drawn above, mushrooms can rightfully be one of these treats because they are both tasty as well as healthy for your chickens.

They have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, and immunostimulatory properties. Moreover, they have anti-oxidant agents like Vitamin C, selenium, and Choline (Vitamin B12). The abundance of potassium in them also promotes the cardiovascular health of your chickens.

It has also been noticed that feeding mushroom to egg-laying chickens has a positive impact on their eggs’ health and quality. Therefore, we conclude by saying that mushrooms are great for their health when fed to chickens in moderation.


How to feed mushrooms to chickens?

The first and most essential step to feeding mushrooms to chickens is washing them thoroughly to eliminate any dirt or bacteria present on their surface. Although the store-bought mushrooms are considered safe, it can’t hurt to be extra cautious.

Once you have washed them properly, you can start prepping them for your feathered pets. Do you know how raw mushrooms have a rubbery texture?

Most chickens don’t find these mushrooms appealing and wouldn’t eat them. Therefore, to get them to eat mushrooms, you need to cook them.

Boil these mushrooms for about 10-15 minutes, as long as it takes for them to soften a bit. Let them cool down for a while, chop them into small, bite-sized pieces if necessary, and they’re good to serve.

Frying them is another alternative you can use for your chickens; all the water from the mushroom will evaporate in this process, leaving behind shrunken mushrooms for your chickens to munch on. However, make sure to put only a little oil, and never used butter for frying when you’re preparing snacks for your chickens since they have a hard time digesting high-fat food.


Can baby chicks eat mushrooms?

No, feeding mushrooms to baby chicks is not a good idea. These little birdies have a fragile digestive system and should strictly eat the starter feed specifically designed according to their nutritional needs until they are 10-weeks old.

Only after they’re over 10-weeks of age can you slowly start introducing other foods to their diet, including mushrooms.


Can chickens eat wild mushrooms?

According to the studies conducted on the variety of mushrooms, it is believed that about 20% of all the mushroom varieties that grow in the wild are poisonous to varying extent or degrees.

In fact, some of these varieties look exactly like the edible ones. Therefore, it is risky to eat any mushroom growing in the wild unless you know how to recognize the poisonous ones.


The impact of poisonous mushrooms on chickens

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your pet chickens if they ate a poisonous mushroom? There could be several bad consequences, beginning from mild digestive issues to organic failure and neurological problems.

In many cases, a strongly poisonous mushroom has also been known to kill chickens. Even if a wild mushroom is mildly poisonous, it could still potentially be carrying any number of parasites and microbes that can cause both short-term as well as chronic illnesses in your feathered pets.


Is there a way to recognize toxic mushrooms?

While it would take a seasoned professional to be fool-proof at differentiating between a toxic and a safe mushroom, there are certain red flags that you can keep in mind if you’re ever out in the wild with your pets:

  • Any wild mushroom that is white or light brown in color could be poisonous.
  • If the stem of a mushroom has a skirt-like structure growing around it, it is most likely poisonous.
  • Wild mushrooms that have gills could also have poison in them.
  • If you notice a bulbous sac growing on the base of a mushroom, stay away from them.
  • Lastly, but most importantly, if you find any trace of red on the stem or cap of a wild mushroom, they’re most certainly poisonous.

While these tricks and tips can keep you safe, you must remember that any mushroom growing in the wild, even if it doesn’t have any of the signs mentioned above, can still be toxic. So, unless you’re a professional at it, it is best not to pick any mushroom that grows in the wild, either for your chickens or yourself.


Store-bought mushrooms: The safest alternative for chickens

When it comes to mushrooms’ safety, the parameters are the same for us and our chickens. In other words, the mushrooms that are considered safe for us to eat are safe for them as well.

That’s why store-bought mushrooms are the safest for them. These are grown by the experts under a controlled environment and are, thus, free from all kinds of toxins.

Following are some of the mushroom varieties that are readily available in most stores:

  • Crimini mushrooms
  • Oyster mushrooms
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Black trumpet mushrooms
  • Chanterelle mushrooms
  • Porcini mushrooms
  • White button mushrooms
  • Reishi mushrooms
  • Shiitake mushrooms


Frequently asked questions

Is it safe for me to feed eggplants to my chicken? Yes, eggplants are safe for chickens to eat. However, you must remove all the leaves from it carefully, for all the green parts of the nightshade plants contain solanine, a toxin that can be lethal to chickens.

Will my chickens like eating sweet treats? Not really. Unlike humans, who have a diverse taste palate, the chickens have only 350 taste buds and cannot taste sweetness. Therefore, treats that are or aren’t sweet taste the same to them. They can also not taste salty or bitter food.


Conclusion: Can chickens eat mushrooms?

Being omnivore birds, chickens are open to eating a large variety of foods. And while you should stick to the standard feed for their daily diet, nothing stops you from trying different things out for their treats.

Mushrooms are another exotic and unusual choice for the chicken’s treat. Many chicken-owners are concerned that their pets might eat poisonous mushrooms and fall sick. However, it is to prevent such mishaps that we recommend you to feed your pets either store-bought mushrooms or the ones you grow by yourself. As a rule of thumb, mushrooms that are safe for you will be safe for your pets as well.

One thing you must keep in mind while feeding mushrooms to chickens is moderation. You must remember that too much of anything can be bad for them; mushrooms can benefit their health only if they’re eating them as a treat, not daily.

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