Mixing up your flock’s diet with table scraps and foods you have spare is a great way to bond with them and let them try out some new foods.
You have to be careful about what you give chickens though. Not that careful as there are few things they can’t eat, but in terms of moderation as treats should be kept to a minimum.
Can chickens eat French fries? Yes, chickens can eat French fries - and they’ll happily do so. Fries are not great from a nutritional standpoint though, so I’d make it a rare treat at best.
Are French Fries Bad For Chickens?
They aren’t really that bad for chooks, not much worse than they are for us. Which isn’t saying a lot as French fries aren’t exactly a healthy food choice.
I’m not trying to make you feel bad if you love a portion of fries. However, the issues associated with French fries are that they’re high in fat content, fried in oils, and often have salt on them.
All of these things lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, higher blood pressure, weight gain, and some other health issues.
Now, a few fries here and there isn’t going to hurt. But don’t forget how much smaller a chicken is to you. They need to consume a much smaller amount to push their recommended amounts of fat, salt, etc over their daily limit.
My advice is, a chip or two here and there is fine as long as you’ve not added any salt or other stuff. There are just so many better choices to give your flock though, like some leftover fruits and vegetables.
Want to see some chickens enjoying a few French fries? Check the video below:
Can Chickens Eat Potatoes?
Everyone knows that French fries, fries, and chips are made from potatoes. You may have heard rumors that potatoes are bad for chickens, but this is a common misconception.
Well, it’s not so much of a misconception as it is a bit misleading.
The thing is, potatoes are part of the nightshade family, and there are some risks associated with giving nightshade plants and vegetables to your chickens.
This is because this family of plants produces a harmful toxin called solanine to stop insects from eating them.
Solanine is also harmful to chickens. Even in small amounts, it can cause some gastrointestinal issues. In large amounts, it can cause paralysis, fever, and even be fatal.
In regard to potatoes, the only time they contain solanine is when they turn green. This is usually when they poke out of the ground and are exposed to direct sunlight - also meaning they can be eaten by insects and bugs on land.
Pretty clever, right? So, as long as you have fresh white or red potatoes, they are perfectly safe for chickens.
This means chips, fries, even potato peels, etc are not toxic as long as they were not made or cut from green potatoes.
Even then, solanine can be destroyed through cooking. But it’s just not worth the risk honestly, stick to foods that you know are very safe and healthy for your chooks.
Related - Can chickens eat sweet potatoes? Hint: sweet potatoes don’t produce solanine.
What Other Foods Are Good for Chickens?
Chickens can eat most vegetables, fruits, herbs, and other table scraps (in moderation remember).
Here are some of the healthiest options that you’ll rarely see a chicken stick their beaks up at:
Pumpkin - It’s always a shame to see so many pumpkins going to waste over Halloween. Let your neighbors know you’ll gladly take them off their hands.
Spinach - A superfood that’s packed with great nutrition. One of the better leafy greens to give them.
Cucumber and Radish - I group these as they are two of the most water-dense vegetables. A good choice in summer to help keep your chooks hydrated.
Broccoli/Brussel Sprouts - Two awesome veggies that most people I know don’t like, but chickens love them. IF you have any leftovers send them right to their feeder.
Most Herbs - Herbs are interesting because each offers unique health and wellness benefits. It’s well worth looking into which herbs would benefit your flock.
Most Fruits - There are so many fruits chickens love. Start with apples, oranges, grapes, and berries.
Foods That Are Bad/Toxic for Chickens
It’s easier to list the foods that are potentially harmful to chickens as there’s a lot less they can’t eat than they can.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but a few of the most common foods to avoid are:
- Raw beans
- Coffee & Tea
- Avocado pits and skin
- Green potatoes and tomatoes (as mentioned above)
- Moldy foods
- Salty/greasy foods
If you have something else that hasn’t been mentioned here, it’s always a good idea to quickly check. See if you can find a reliable source online, or if you’re really unsure give your local vet a call.
Like a lot of human foods and table scraps, French fries are not toxic, poisonous, or harmful to chickens in small amounts.
Your chickens should be getting at least 90% of their diet from a commercial chicken feed. Outside of this, you have some room to treat them. While there are loads of better options a few fries won’t do any harm.
In defense of French fries - HarvardMedicalSchool