While most people keep pet chickens for obtaining their own batch of eggs, chickens make a great pet in other ways as well. They are low-maintenance in comparison to other house pets, do not make a fuss about their meals, and are quite content with simply playing around in your backyard.
If you’re feeling low, you can count on them to cheer you up by amusing you. Have you ever thought of feeding your chicken treats from your kitchen? What about walnuts?
Can chickens eat walnuts? Yes, chickens can eat walnuts. Along with a few other kinds of nuts, walnuts are perfect, crunchy treats for your chickens. Walnuts are rich in protein, fibers, and a number of vitamins and minerals that are great for your feathered pet’s health. Even black walnuts are safe for chickens to eat. However, you should keep in mind that these treats should only make about 10% of their diet.
What are the health benefits of walnuts for chickens? Are these safe for little chicks as well? If these questions have ever crossed your mind, you’re in the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about feeding walnuts to your chickens.
Do chickens like eating walnuts?
Before we move on to discuss the health benefits of walnuts for chickens, let us first find out whether or not chickens like eating walnuts.
If you have been the pet-parent of chickens for a while, you might already have noticed that as long as chickens are getting enough of their feed, they will peck on anything you throw their way.
However, some chickens also have a reputation for being picky eaters. If you happen to have more than one chicken in your backyard, some of them might be fond of walnuts, while the others will ignore it completely.
In case your feathered pets do not seem to like walnut, do not try to force-feed them. The whole point of treats is to make your pets happier, isn’t it? Try feeding them other nuts like pecan, cashews, hazelnuts, almond, pine nuts, etc. and see how they react to these.
Walnuts for chickens: what are the health benefits?
Surely the fact that your chicken likes walnuts isn’t reason enough to feed them these. You must also think about which nutrients they are adding to your pet’s diet.
So, are walnuts healthy for chickens? In order to find that out, you need to go through the nutritional chart of walnuts first. Take a look.
|Vitamin A||20 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.342 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.151 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.124 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.571 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.536 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||98 mcg|
|Vitamin C||1.3 mg|
|Vitamin E||20.84 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.7 mcg|
|Dietary fibers||6.8 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
It is evident that the list of walnut’s nutritional richness stretches quite long. But how many of these nutrients can benefit your chickens? Let’s find out.
Walnut contains vitamins A, B-complex, C, and K, all of which perform different chicken’s health functions. Vitamin A is essential for the maintenance of chicken’s overall health and boosts the ability to produce eggs.
It is also responsible for their healthy eyesight. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to reduced egg production in your chicken.
The Vitamin B series play a major role in your chicken’s health as well. While niacin has anti-inflammatory properties, riboflavin improves their eggs’ quality, and pantothenic acid keeps their skin healthy.
A deficiency of these vitamins could lead to diseases like Mouth cavity inflammation, Dermatitis, Perosis, Fatty liver and kidney syndrome, Bowed-legs, Hatchability problems, Poor feathering, etc.
Vitamin C is essential in the proper formation of your chicken’s blood vessels, connective tissues, bones, and feathers. It is also essential in the wound-healing processes and can fasten the pace at which your chicken’s bruises and cuts heal. A lack of vitamin C can lead to bone deformities and poor feathering in them.
Although chickens don’t need vitamin K in abundance, it is essential for their blood clot mechanism and bone metabolism.
Walnuts have an abundance of minerals, most of which are helpful for chickens. Calcium is important for its bones and egg health. Its deficiency can cause Rickets.
Copper keeps their digestive system healthy, while zinc maintains its feather health. Manganese improves their cartilage formation, while magnesium deficiency can lead to the sudden death of chickens.
Fibers make up about 10% of your chicken’s daily diet. They boost healthy gut bacteria production, regulate their blood sugar level, and improve their bowel movement. Walnuts are rich in fibers.
Walnut is a high-calorie nut. 100 grams of walnuts contain about 654 calories. Too many calories are not healthy for chickens, so it is best to feed them in moderation.
Debunking the myth that walnuts are toxic for chickens
While walnuts are not really toxic to chickens, the myth has been around for ages. But why? We’ll debunk it for you today.
Sometimes, when walnuts, or any nut, fall down from their trees and are left on the ground for days, they can grow moldy due to the action of fungi (aspergillus, penicillium, alternaria) on them.
This is because when these nuts go ripe, they split open, and a number of insects are drawn to their inner flesh. Moldy walnuts can upset the stomach of chickens and are therefore considered toxic for them.
As long as you’re feeding them walnuts that are properly stored and have no mold, they will not negatively impact their health.
Can chickens eat walnut shells?
While walnuts are completely safe for your feathered pets, their outer shells might pose a problem. Many people believe walnut shells to be a choking hazard for chickens. This, however, is not true. It is not possible for chickens to eat the shells whole with their small beaks; thus, there is no choking threat.
However, if the shells are broken into smaller pieces and mixed with walnuts, their sharp edges could lead to internal cuts and bruises in chickens. Therefore, it is best not to feed them to your chicken.
Can chickens eat black walnuts?
Native to North America, the black walnuts are a species of deciduous trees that belong to the walnut family. The fruits of these trees are known for their distinctive taste.
The black walnut contains an organic compound called Juglone, which is considered to be toxic for the plants and trees that grow around them.
The juglone toxicity is extended to animals like horses and certain canine breeds. However, for your chickens, these walnuts are completely safe. Some of them might even prefer these to regular walnuts.
Can chickens eat walnut leaves?
Chickens are not drawn to leaves of any plant or tree in general, and walnuts are no exception. However, if you do find your chicken pecking on their leaves, don’t worry, they are not toxic to them. However, they can taint the taste of their eggs, so it is best to keep these away from them.
Can chicks eat walnuts?
Baby chicks can eat walnuts, just like their parents. However, in the case of chicks, you need to be more careful about moderation than in the fully-grown chickens.
Walnuts for chickens: serving ideas
The first step of feeding walnuts to chickens is to break their tough shell open so that they can feed on the inner flesh.
You don’t need to salt the walnuts, since chickens don’t need it and it can dehydrate them. If you want to mix it up a bit, try adding other nuts like cashew, almonds, and pecan to their bowl.
That’s it; you can sit back and watch them enjoy their treat now.
Walnuts are one of the most nutritious nuts, both for you as well as your feathered pets. They are rich in protein, fibers, minerals, and vitamins, and are sugar and gluten-free. Chickens can eat both regular as well as black walnuts. Just make sure never to feed them their shells and keep moldy walnuts away from them.