Several people domesticate chickens either out of love or to harvest eggs commercially. While maintaining coops does require hard work and experience, it is not an impossible task. Their maintenance depends on factors like diet, cleanliness, and mobility. Chickens are natural foragers and have bodies that can digest mostly everything from pulses and fruits to vegetables and bread. However, one question has been part of a fiery debate for years. Can chickens eat yogurt?
Can you feed chickens yogurt? Yes, chickens can eat yogurt. Even though yogurt is not the first thing that comes to our mind for chicken feed, it is not harmful if fed in moderation. Yogurt contains a balanced mix of nutrients to make your chickens healthy and happy. In addition to fats, proteins, and calcium, yogurt also enriches your chickens with probiotics, magnesium, vitamins, zinc, and more.
- Nutritional benefits of yogurt for chickens
- How to feed yogurt to chickens?
- Precautions to follow while feeding yogurt to chickens
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summing Up
Nutritional benefits of yogurt for chickens
Many people argue upon the nutritional benefits of yogurt for chickens. This is because chickens and humans have very different digestive systems. While humans can easily digest yogurt, chickens lack the enzymes that help digest dairy products as easily.
That said, yogurt does feature on the list of foods allowed for livestock. Thus, it is safe to feed chickens yogurt but in very limited quantities. When fed in moderation, chickens can benefit considerably from the goodness of yogurt.
Are you wondering if chickens like yogurt? Well, yes, they love it! This is why if you place yogurt in front of chickens, it will vanish instantly. So, how can yogurt benefit chickens? Read on to find out the vital nutrients that yogurt contains.
If you analyze a cup of plain yogurt, you find that it contains at least 8g of fats. This helps a chicken become active and contributes to overall health.
A cup of yogurt contains around 8.5g of proteins. This amounts to 3.5% of actual protein content. Chickens need around 16% protein in their feed to grow properly. Thus, the protein content is low in yogurts compared to other food but still helps in bone health.
This is another nutrient that is present in yogurt that is important for building strength. However, yogurt is quite tough to digest. Furthermore, it is quite expensive too. Instead, you can allow your chickens to feed on healthy grass since it contains calcium in large amounts.
Probiotics and Good Bacteria
Probiotics are important to destroy bad bacteria as well as gut bacteria in the body. Thus, yogurt can provide chickens with useful probiotics. However, it is better to feed them yogurt in controlled amounts since too much soft food does not help their digestive system.
Yogurt is also known to have potassium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins, and phosphorus in small quantities. These contribute to the overall well-being of chickens. However, these nutrients are not as beneficial to chickens as they are to humans.
How to feed yogurt to chickens?
Yogurts are quite readily available in grocery stores so it is not at all difficult to source. However, it is better to choose brands that do not add too many preservatives to yogurts. Chickens may not be able to digest additives properly. That said, here is how you can feed your chickens yogurt in the right manner.
Never overfeed yogurt
Yogurt is a decent snack for chickens as long as it is fed in controlled amounts. Too much yogurt will harm a chicken’s digestive system since it cannot handle dairy products well. So it is better to feed your chickens no more than 3/4th cup of yogurt in one serving.
Always choose plain yogurt
Plain yogurt is the only kind suitable for chickens. You must never purchase flavored yogurts for chickens. Flavored yogurts have foreign components like artificial sweeteners, colors, etc. These are not suitable for chickens. Chickens cannot digest flavoring substances and can fall severely sick if they consume them.
Try to source fresh yogurt
Feeding spoilt or leftover yogurt to chickens is quite common. However, it is not ideal for feeding them stale yogurt since it loses a lot of its nutritional values. Moreover, the lack of freshness can even cause more harm than good to your chickens.
Avoid homemade yogurt
Kitchen experiments are best limited to humans. Human digestive systems are equipped to handle different ingredients and nutrients. However, chickens’ digestive systems are averse to large quantities of milk solids or dairy in general. Thus, it is better to source yogurt from the market for feeding chickens.
Precautions to follow while feeding yogurt to chickens
Risks are common with most food items like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, etc. So, it is crucial to research the risks associated with certain foods before eating or feeding them to anyone, especially animals.
Animals have unique digestive systems that are quite unlike ours. Thus, you must be extra cautious while feeding them with different foods. As for chickens, yogurt is only good as long as fed properly and in the right quantity.
So, if you are feeding your chickens yogurt or want to, here are some precautions you must be aware of.
Do not give them flavored yogurt
This is strictly negative for chicken feed. Flavored yogurt contains additional sugars, preservatives, food colors, and more. These components may be safe for humans but are very harmful to chickens. In some cases, flavored yogurt can cause severe digestion problems and diarrhea in chickens.
Do Not Overfeed
As we mentioned earlier, chickens do not have the requisite enzymes to digest dairy products. Thus, you should give them yogurt and other dairy substances in extremely limited quantities. Overfeeding yogurt to chickens can cause bad gut health, poor production, digestion issues, and other health problems.
Do Not Feed Chickens Spoilt Yogurt
Yogurt gone bad belongs to the waste bin. You should never feed yogurt lying in your fridge for days to your chickens. Spoilt or foul-smelling yogurt may contain harmful bacteria that can even turn fatal for your flock. Thus, it is better to feed them fresh yogurt from the market.
Be Cautious While Serving
Chickens make a huge mess while trying to gobble up snacks. They love yogurts. Yes, that’s a fact. However, they will have yogurt smeared all over their faces, beaks, and bodies when they have it. You can avoid this mess by serving your chicken yogurt in open fields, grass, or in wide-rimmed containers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my chickens lay better eggs after eating yogurt? Absolutely not. If you overfeed your chickens yogurt, it can negatively impact their production rather than to improve it. Several breeders have tried this method, and it has never resulted positively. In most cases, chickens end up with intestinal problems and a very upset stomach.
How often can I feed my chickens yogurt? As already mentioned, you should include yogurt in your chickens’ diet in very limited quantities. It can make a healthy impact on your chicken only when fed in moderation.
You should feed yogurt only once or twice a week. Any more than that may do more harm than good. Plus, you must not feed more than one or half a cup of yogurt in one serving.
Are there any foods I should avoid feeding my chickens? Some foods are very harmful to chickens. You should avoid feeding your chickens foods like raw meat, oily food, avocado pits, potato peels, etc. Chickens cannot digest these foods and can fall very sick or even die after consumption.
Does yogurt make for a good treat for chickens? Yogurt is expensive for frequent treats and thus not a great option to feed chickens. However, if fed once or twice a week, it is not too harmful. You can consider alternative foods like fruits for treats.
Chickens are tiny beings that are playful, active, and quite low-maintenance. However, one vital element of growth is a balanced diet. You can ensure a balanced diet for your flock by researching the different foods that are suitable for them.
We also recommend consulting experienced breeders for tips to feed and maintain your chickens. Food is also a huge factor in the production quality of chickens’ eggs. Eggs cannot be healthy if your chickens are not.
That said, we are certain we have equipped you with some useful information on whether yogurt is a worthy addition to chicken feed or not. So, we wish great health upon your flock and hope you come back to us for more insightful information on how to care for your chickens.