Cooked lima beans are fine for chicken and they’ll happily eat them, yes. Raw lima beans, however, and this applies to most beans, are toxic to chickens and can even be fatal in some cases.
Are Lima Beans Healthy for Chickens?
Beans in general are a healthy food choice, and lima beans also known as butter beans are one of the better beans from a nutritional standpoint.
They are high in protein, fiber, and a range of vitamins, and minerals. While being low in carbs and sugars.
This makes lima beans a decent treat or snack food for chickens. Do keep in mind, however, that your chickens need to get most of their dietary needs met with a quality feed.
Even healthy foods like lima beans are to be given in moderation, usually at the end of the day as a treat.
Be Careful When Feeding Chickens Legumes (Uncooked Beans)
Lima beans are part of the legume family along with other beans like black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and peanuts to mention a few.
Generally speaking, raw or uncooked legumes contain toxins that are harmful to chickens. And us for that matter.
Different beans contain different toxins. Kidney beans, for example, contain some seriously harmful toxins that can be fatal to chickens in small amounts.
These toxins are destroyed through cooking the beans, otherwise, they wouldn’t be safe for us to eat. But it’s something to be aware of when feeding chickens beans.
Lima beans aren’t as toxic as kidney beans, but you still need to properly cook them before eating them yourself or giving them to your chooks.
According to HuffPost, lima beans contain a toxin called linamarin. This toxin decomposes into hydrogen cyanide when consumed, much like some stones/seeds in fruits.
Pretty scary stuff, make sure you always cook your beans properly or buy them already cooked.
Some Other Foods That Are Good for Chickens
Feeding different foods to chooks is fun and a great way to spend some time with them. If you want to find out what else they enjoy, here are some of the foods that are good for chickens:
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 – Fruits contain a wide range of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other good stuff. Most are fine for chickens, try them on berries, figs, melons, and bananas and I’m sure you won’t see any going to waste.
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.
Herbs – Herbs are interesting because they are leafy greens and have some unique wellness properties depending on which herb you choose.
Don’t forget that chickens need grit to break up and digest their food too. Grit is basically just stones and bits of granite, you can pick up a bag of this from any pet food store.
Some Foods That Are Bad for Chickens
Now you know how to safely feed your chickens beans. There are some other foods that seem harmless enough but are actually potentially dangerous to chooks.
Here are some of the foods you should avoid letting your chickens get their beaks into:
Chocolate – One of my vices, so I’m happy to keep it to myself. Jokes aside, a couple of compounds in chocolate; theobromine and caffeine are harmful to chickens, cats, dogs, and some other pets.
Tea and Coffee – I know you’re not going to make a cuppa for your flock. This is more directed at people who use coffee grounds or tea bags for composting in their yard.
Spoiled or moldy foods – It’s tempting to try and recycle foods that are out of date by giving them to your chickens. Only do so if they’re still fine though, as in you would be happy to eat them. Mold spores are toxic to chickens so look at the food carefully.
Greasy/Salty Foods – Not toxic as such, but not recommended either. Chickens require quality nutrition to stay healthy and lay their best eggs. The last thing you want is an overweight junk food-dependent chicken!
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes – Potatoes and other members of the nightshade family often cause confusion. When potatoes and tomatoes are green they have a toxin called solanine present. This toxin isn’t present when they’re white so they’re perfectly fine then.
Sugary Treats – You’re not spoiling your chickens in a good way by giving them candy, soda, and sugary foods. You’re more likely to just give them digestive issues.
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Lima Beans?
Lima beans are fine for chickens, and in fact, they can be a great source of nutrition.
You have to be very careful when handling legumes though, as they can be potentially very toxic when raw or undercooked. If you’re unsure, it’s best not to feed them your flock, no loss there.
Image credits – Photos by Andriyko Podilnyk and Joey Huang on Unsplash