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Chickens can eat deer corn, yes. Deer corn is an inexpensive way to provide some decent nutrition for chickens. It’s not a substitute for a quality commercial feed, but it’s fine in small amounts to bulk out their diet.
What Is Deer Corn?
I’ve seen a few different corn products labeled as deer corn. Basically, deer corn is corn that has either been grown specifically to feed deer, or batches of corn that are not fit for human consumption but is fine for deer and other animals.
Some farmers are concerned about the potential threat of starvation for the deer population. So, they set aside part of their crop fields to grow corn that will be given to deer.
Others will simply find themselves with batches of corn that has spoiled in some way and is ok to feed to animals, but not for us to eat.
This is why it’s a lot less expensive to buy deer corn than regular corn. It still gives animals a healthy dose of carbohydrates, so it’s fine for chickens.
Is It Ok To Feed Deer Corn to Chickens?
Yes, the bags of deer corn I’ve seen are fine for chickens. It’s always a good idea to see what it says on the bag though, there isn’t a standard for deer corn and it’s often marked as not suitable for human consumption.
Chickens have a very different digestive system from us. They don’t have teeth, so you may think they’d have a problem with hard corn - it’s quite the opposite.
When they eat food, it travels down their oesophagus into their crop. The crop is like a large pouch at the front of their chest. You will often see it bulging towards the end of the day after munching all day.
Overnight, food passes from crop through to an organ called the gizzard. This is where food gets “chewed” up. It’s also the reason why chickens need to eat grit, as it’s the grit that’s used to help break up hard foods like deer corn.
From here, food is finally passed through to their small intestine where it’s finally digested and all the good nutrients are absorbed by the chicken.
Related - Can chickens eat whole corn? What about corn on the cob?
Where to Buy Deer Corn?
It’s not always easy to find deer corn in local stores. It is easy to find it online though (what isn’t easy to find online, right?).
Here is an example of deer corn for sale on Amazon. It’s available in huge bags of 20lbs if you want to buy in bulk, too.
Other Foods That Are Good for Chickens
Feeding chickens isn’t difficult. Not least because they eat just about everything and anything, but because the bulk of their diet comes from commercial feeds.
There’s a 90/10 rule when it comes to feeding chickens. This means, 90% of their diet should come from a quality commercial feed, and 10% can come from table scraps and other foods you give them.
If you’re looking for foods to give to your flock, here are some of the best:
Vegetables - Almost all vegetables are great for chickens as they contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Some of the best are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, jicama, etc.
Fruits - The same applies to fruits, they’re a great source of good nutrition. See if your flock likes apples, melon, berries, etc.
Grains - Chickens love scratching and foraging for grains, they also provide some great nutrition, too. Grains like quinoa, oats, corn, etc are great.
You can read more about the best foods for chickens in the blog.
Some Foods That Are Bad for Chickens
Most foods that are fine for us are also fine for chickens. There are some foods that are not though, some foods are potentially toxic and should be avoided.
Here are a few of the most common foods that are potentially harmful to chickens:
Tea and Coffee - Caffeine is potentially harmful to chickens, so tea and coffee are on the banned list. There are also some other compounds in these drinks that can be harmful.
Candy, Chocolate and Sweet Stuff - It’s pretty well-known that chocolate is bad for most pets. This is due to a compound called theobromine, which is also in coffee. Candy doesn’t contain this compound, but sugary treats are bad too.
Nightshade Vegetables/Plants - Most members of the nightshade family are able to produce a toxin called solanine that is harmful to chickens (and us). This means potatoes and tomatoes, although only when they’re green, some peppers, eggplants, etc.
Uncooked/Raw Beans - Beans are a strange one. Unless cooked properly, they contain a toxin that I’m told can be fatal even in small amounts. You can read more about which beans and why here.
Moldy/Spoiled Foods - Mold spores are toxic, which isn’t really a surprise. If you’re leaving food out, chances are it’s going to get gobbled up. If not though, keep an eye on it.
There you go, not a complete list but some of the worst foods for chickens. It’s always good to quickly check before feeding your flock anything just to be on the safe side.
Deer corn, whole corn, cracked corn, corn on the cob, all forms of corn are fine for chickens. Most chicken feeds have corn in as it’s such a good fuel food, so it’s not going to be new to them.
The important thing is to balance out their overall diet as I explained above. As long as you’re on top of that, you’ll have a bunch of healthy and happy chickens.
What is deer corn? - GoneOutdoors.com