Yes, chickens can eat mayonnaise. By this, I mean it’s not harmful in any way - but it’s also not exactly providing much in the way of good nutrition. So, don’t worry if you’re throwing them scraps with mayonnaise on, but don’t go out of your way to feed it to your chicks.
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Is Mayonnaise Good for Chickens
Like a lot of foods we eat, especially things like condiments, mayonnaise is not good for chickens. But it’s not harmful or toxic either, at least not in small amounts.
You have to remember that chickens are omnivores. In the wild, or even given the space to free-range, chickens will mostly eat plants and insects.
While there aren’t any ingredients in mayonnaise that are particularly harmful, it's not exactly the kind of stuff they are accustomed to eating.
Mayonnaise is typically made from egg yolks, vinegar, and various spices. It's high in fat, and is not a healthy option for chickens that rely on specific vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal health.
Why Chickens Don't Need a Condiments
I say this a little light-heartedly, but chickens do not need condiments with their food. Mayonnaise and other condiments are designed to add flavor to foods, right?
Well, chickens have very few taste buds compared to us, so they don't even appreciate the taste!
You don't need to give them ketchup and other sauces. Plus, it's pretty well known that some spicy sources like horseradish and mustard offend chickens.
Related - Should you give your chickens butter?
The “90/10 Rule” When Feeding Chickens
It's very important that you feed backyard chickens a balanced diet containing all the key nutrition they need. When you do, you should have very few health concerns and you'll get the best-tasting eggs.
As a general rule of thumb, chicken owners work to something known as the “90/10 Rule”.
What this means is that 90% of your chickens' diet should come from quality commercial feed. This ensures they are getting all of the key nutrition they need.
The other 10% gives you some room to feed them table scraps, leftovers, treats, and any other foods that are safe for chickens to eat.
It's fun feeding chickens different foods, not to mention the great way to recycle or reduce wastage. Make sure you're doing it in moderation.
Other Foods That Chickens Can Eat; Table Scraps, Treats, Etc
If you want to experiment with other foods and table scraps (or recycle leftovers), the good news is that most foods are fine for chickens.
Some of the most popular foods people share with their feathered friends are:
Vegetables – You have to be careful with beans and some vegetables discussed below, but generally speaking, vegetables are as awesome for chickens as they are for us.
Fruits – Most fruits are also fine as they are typically nutrient-dense and packed with loads of vitamins and minerals. Try giving them some berries, melons, apples, dragon fruit, etc.
Grains – I love feeding my chickens grains as it gives them something to scratch around for. You can feed your flock wheat, quinoa, corn, cereals, alfalfa, etc. as well as nuts like almonds, pecans, etc.
Some Foods That You Should NOT Feed Chickens
Chickens will try to eat most plants, foods, and other things they come across. While there shouldn’t be that many hazards in your yard, there are some foods you should be aware of.
This isn’t a complete list, but here are some of the common foods that are known to be harmful or toxic to chickens to avoid giving to them:
Avocado Pits/Skin – The flesh of an avocado is fine, but the skin and pit or stone contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. This toxin can cause some serious health issues, don’t give them to your hens.
Green potatoes and some nightshade foods – Nightshade plants use a toxin called solanine to defend against being eaten, this can cause chickens some health issues.
Tea and coffee – There are various toxins that are harmful to most animals. If you throw used coffee grounds and tea bags in your compost heap, be careful.
Chocolate and foods with cocoa or chocolate in – Chocolate contains compounds that are toxic to most pets.
Candy and other sugary treats, soda, etc – It’s hard for chickens to digest sugars and additives.
Foods high in fat or salt, greasy fast foods, etc. – Similar to sugary treats, fatty foods are bad for chickens’ digestive systems.
Any moldy or spoiled foods – It’s tempting to use chickens as recycling machines for foods you don’t want, just make sure you only give them food you’d be willing to eat yourself!
Now you know -, a little mayo is not a problem for chickens. If you're feeding your flock scraps with mayonnaise and other sauces on, don't worry about it.
Just keep in mind you should provide plenty of good quality feed for your chickens. This doesn’t mean you should start flavoring up the foods you give them, neither do they want you to!
Feeding backyard chickens is one of the easier aspects of raising chickens. All you have to do is provide them with good quality foods, and they'll happily munch them up.
Image credits - Photo by Carlos Lindner on Unsplash