Can chickens eat cherry tomatoes? Yes, tomatoes make an awesome addition to a chicken’s diet. You should share cherry tomatoes when you can - but never the leaves and greens of a tomato plant.
Can Chickens Eat Normal Tomatoes?
Yes, "normal" tomatoes are also great for chickens. As far as I can tell - unless there are some super rare types of tomatoes I don’t know about - all tomatoes are awesome for chickens.
I know I’ve given my chicks cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, beef tomatoes, and some others I’m probably not sure of the exact name of. They always eat them up in a hurry without issue.
Can Chickens Eat Unripe Tomatoes?
Unripe tomatoes are generally fine. It depends on how unripe we’re talking, but I’m going to assume they’re reddish and just a little hard for you.
If you grow tomatoes and your chickens have found your patch, they are going to eat them ripe or not. Trust me.
As long as the tomatoes are not moldy, rotten, or treated with any pesticides and so on, they should be fine. With that said, I wouldn’t give my chooks unripe tomatoes on purpose, just because they aren’t as nice as ripe ones.
Can Chickens Eat Tomato Leaves, Flowers, and Plants?
This is where you need to be really careful because the answer to this is a firm - no.
The leaves, flowers, stalks, and other parts of the tomato plant contain solanine. Solanine is harmful to chickens, as I explain in more detail below.
The good news is that the leaves are very bitter (so I’m told), and chickens will generally only try them once or a small amount and learn. Still, you should go out of your way to make sure they can’t get their little beaks on anything that isn’t the fruit of the tomato plant.
Can Chickens Eat Green Tomatoes?
Green tomatoes are basically tomatoes that are unripe. Not a little unripe as I covered above, but very unripe.
The greener the tomato, the closer it is to the leaves and stalks in nutritional content. This means green tomatoes contain solanine, which is harmful to chickens as discussed above. Therefore, green tomatoes are potentially harmful to chickens. You should make sure they don’t eat them.
Are Tomatoes Good for Chickens?
Yes, tomatoes are very good for chickens - and for us for that matter.
While on topic, to put the age-old debate to rest about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, I refer to Healthline:
Despite botanically being a fruit, it’s generally eaten and prepared like a vegetable.
So, a tomato is a fruit. You heard it here via Healthline, and that’s about as trustworthy a source as you can find online.
Anyway, back on topic. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate, and are packed with antioxidants. All the good stuff to help your chickens get a balanced and healthy diet.
Formulated chick feeds do a great job of providing them with most of the nutrition they need. But you can’t beat adding fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet to round off their diet.
Why Is Solanine Bad for Chickens?
Solanine is an interesting compound, some vegetables and fruits contain solanine as a way of defending themselves against being eaten!
There are a few members of the Nightshade family that contain solanine, such as some peppers, potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes. It’s almost always located in the green stuff, like the leaves, stalks, and any green or unripe areas on the veggies.
This is why chickens should never eat green potato peels, the leaves, flowers, and other parts of any of the plants I’ve mentioned above.
While a small amount may go unnoticed, if a chick digests too much solanine they can experience the following signs (known as solanine poisoning):
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Burning and discomfort in their throat and digestive tracts
- Inflammation in their joints
- General aches and pains
In severe cases where a chicken or some other small pet has eaten a large amount of solanine, they can develop a fever, paralysis, and it can even be fatal.
Is Solanine Destroyed by Cooking?
If you’ve heard or think that cooking foods containing solanine will help, according to Wikipedia it does not. At least, not enough that it will make food safe to eat.
Don’t throw green tomatoes into boiling water or the fryer with some other scraps thinking it’s going to be ok. Bin those green tomatoes, potatoes, and any other scraps you think may contain solanine, it’s just not worth the risk.
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Yes, backyard chickens can eat cherry tomatoes - and all tomatoes for that matter.
The important thing you need to be aware of is that you should only feed your chicks ripe tomatoes that are not moldy or degrading in any way.
You should also be very careful not to let your chickens eat the leaves, flowers, or other parts of a tomato plant. That means not letting them loose around your plants, because some chickens don’t know this and they’ll help themselves!
The green part of the plant contains a harmful chemical known as solanine. Solanine has pesticidal properties and can cause some serious health issues when consumed.
I hope you found this article interesting and helpful. If you’re looking for other healthy scraps to feed your chicks, check out;