Yes, chickens can eat cornmeal. Cornmeal is basically dried ground corn. Most chickens eat corn, grains, and cereal grains as they are included in most commercial feeds.
The best thing about cornmeal is that it’s affordable, there are some places you can pick it up in bulk, and it’s easy to feed to backyard chickens.
What Is Cornmeal?
Cornmeal can refer to any type of corn that’s been ground down and dried to make a fine powder-like consistency.
Most cornmeal on sale in the U.S. is made from dent corn. This is the common type of corn we consume either individually or on a cob.
The interesting thing is just how many different foods use cornmeal as an ingredient. It’s found in pizza bread, bread coatings on fish and meat, cakes, loads of stuff you’d never have thought.
Is Cornmeal Healthy for Chickens?
One of the reasons why grains are included in chicken feeds is because they provide some important nutrients.
Still, there’s some controversy in general about whether or not grains are healthy for chickens, and us.
Personally, I think grains are fine for chickens. I know some people have adopted a grain-free diet for their chooks, much like some people choose to adopt a paleo diet.
The bottom line is that grains are the world’s biggest source of food energy and they do provide some great nutrition. So, adding some cornmeal to your chicken’s diet is only going to help them.
Related – Can chickens eat quinoa?
What Is Chicken Scratch?
Chicken scratch is basically a feed that’s designed to give chickens something to scratch around for while providing some of that important nutrition they need.
Some typical ingredients are sunflower seeds, wheat, milo, millet, barley, and other grains. Which is why cornmeal can be used with/or to make a scratch for your flock.
A scratch mix is basically a treat food. Think of their commercial feed as the main staple of their diet, and scratch as some dessert that they also get to forage around for.
Some Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
While we’re talking about feeding backyard chickens different foods, it makes sense to cover some of the foods they should not eat.
This isn’t a complete list, but it covers most of the common foods that you might have considered sharing:
Green potatoes and tomatoes – There is often some confusion around potatoes. When they’re green, they possess a toxin that’s harmful to chooks.
The same goes for green tomatoes and the rest of the tomato plant. When ripe, they’re fine though.
Chocolate – As with most household pets, there are compounds in chocolate that are toxic to chickens.
Coffee and Tea – Caffeine and some other compounds in these are bad for chickens. No morning brews for your flock! (or on a more serious note, no coffee grounds and old tea bags used for composting).
Salty/Greasy Foods – Chickens don’t need added salt and greasy foods. They can cause some digestive issues and generally don’t provide enough decent nutrition.
Raw Beans – Unless beans are properly cooked they’re actually very toxic to chickens, even fatal.
Some Foods That Are Great for Chickens
The list of foods they can eat is really long. Here are just some of the healthiest foods to share with your flock:
Fruits – Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – plus they’re usually really easy to digest. Try giving them bananas, berries, grapes, apples, and figs.
Grains – Chickens love scratching around for grains – and as I explained, cornmeal is perfect for this. You can also give them corn, rice, oats, and wheat.
As long as 90%+ of your flock’s diet is coming from a good commercial feed, there are loads of other foods you can give to your chickens to mix up their diet.
Stuff they can scratch around for like cornmeal is super fun because it gives chickens something to forage for – which is what they do best!
If you can get your hands on some cornmeal, add it to the list of foods you give to your backyard chooks.
Resources – Can Chickens Eat Cornmeal?
So, what is cornmeal anyway? – RealSimple.com
Image credits – Corn photo by Phoenix Han & chicken scratch photo by Jesse Schoff on Unsplash