Yes, chickens can eat chickpeas. Chickpeas are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and some other key nutrients. Plus, chickens seem to go for crazy for them so go ahead and feed some to your flock.
Are Chickpeas Healthy for Chickens?
Chickens have different dietary needs than we do. But it’s easy to make sure your chickens have a great diet as commercial feeds are specially formulated to take care of their dietary needs.
Adding other foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, is a great way to provide some additional nutrition for your flock.
Any foods outside of their commercial feed are seen as “treat” foods, and chickpeas are one of the best treat foods you can give to chickens.
They are rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and are also high in protein. All stuff that’s beneficial to chickens, they can be used as “fuel” food to keep your chickens happy.
There are some concerns around eating chickpeas raw though. Raw chickpeas contain toxins and substances that can be difficult to digest and are toxic.
Only give your chickens chickpeas that have been properly cooked. This also applies to us, if you eat them raw you’re likely to suffer some stomach discomfort.
Related - Can chickens eat soy feeds?
Can Chickens Eat Hummus?
I know what you’re thinking, you have some hummus in the fridge you don’t want so you’re considering giving it to your chickens.
I wouldn’t advise giving chickens hummus. It’s primarily made from chickpeas, which as we know is fine, but it also includes a host of other ingredients. Most of which are not good for chickens.
It depends on what type of hummus you have, but it’s almost certainly going to have salt, pepper, oil, and some kinds of preservatives and additives.
I’m sure it wouldn’t do them much harm, but personally I wouldn’t give hummus to chickens. There are plenty of other foods that are much better for them.
Some Other Foods That Are Good for Chickens
If you want to give your chickens some other left-overs or foods you eat, here are some of the best foods for them:
Vegetables - Most vegetables are fine chickens. Things like broccoli, carrots, cabbage, jicama, etc provide a nice range of nutrition.
Fruits - Most fruits are also fine as they are typically nutrient-dense and packed with the good stuff. Try giving them some berries, melon, apples, bananas, etc.
Grains - I love feeding my chickens grains as it gives them something to scratch and forage for. You can feed your flock wheat, quinoa, corn, oatmeal, etc.
If you can encourage bugs and insects into your yard, this is also a good way to keep your chickens happy and provide some good nutrition.
Don’t forget that chickens need access to grit too. Chickens use grit, such as small stones and bits of granite to help them break up and digest their food.
Be Careful When Feeding Chickens Legumes (Uncooked Beans)
Chickpeas which are also called Garbanzo beans are part of the legume family. Other beans in the legume family include kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, peanuts, to mention just a few.
You may or may not be aware of this, but uncooked or raw beans are dangerous to both us and chickens. In fact, just a small amount of uncooked beans can be fatal to chickens and other small animals.
The reason for this is that beans contain a compound called lectin. Lectins are glycoproteins, which aren’t always harmful, but in the case of uncooked beans, they are.
Lectins exist to discourage animals and other pests from eating the plant. Much like some other fruits and vegetables, such as members of the nightshade family, produce toxins to deter pests.
It’s one of nature's miracles. But it’s a miracle that we have to carefully navigate!
Boiling and properly cooked beans neutralize the toxin and makes them safe to eat. Also, beans are more nutritious after being cooked, so it’s a win-win.
So, if you’ve heard various rumors about beans potentially being toxic to chickens, hopefully, that’s cleared up exactly when they are or aren’t dangerous.
Foods to Avoid Giving Chickens
So, chickpeas are good, uncooked beans are bad. Here are some other common foods that you should never give to your chickens:
- Tea and coffee
- Chocolate and foods with cocoa or chocolate in
- Candy and other sugary treats, this includes soda
- Any moldy or spoiled foods
- Foods high in fat or salt, greasy fast foods, etc
- Avocado skins and pits
This isn’t a complete list, but it does cover most of the toxic foods most of us have in our cupboards according to the RSPCA.
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are one of the better treat foods to feed to chickens. As long as they’ve been properly cooked and aren’t salted (I love roasted chickpeas but they’re heavy on the salt content) you should give some to your flock.
The important thing to remember is to make sure that your chickens are getting the bulk of their diet from a quality commercial feed appropriate to their age and needs.
Outside of their daily feed, it’s fun to try them on different foods. As long as you check whatever you’re given them isn’t toxic in any way, go for it.