Pea pods are fine for chickens to eat. It’s a good way to reduce wastage and provide a healthy snack for your hens. Just chop them up so it’s easier for your hens to eat, and they’ll munch them up in a hurry.
If you’ve been throwing away the pods, here’s a way you can put them to much better use:
Should You Feed Your Chickens Pea Pods?
You should at least see if your chickens want to eat them, that’s my advice.
Obviously, there are various types of peas and the pods vary in size and how easy they are to eat. Your chickens may or may not eat them, but they’re safe for them to do so.
Pea pods that are known to be edible to us include snow peas, sugar peas, snap peas, and some others. We don’t commonly eat the pods of garden peas, although I did find some soup recipes that use them.
Whatever type of pods you have, giving them to your chickens is a much better option than throwing them away.
The pods are rich in nutrition, just peas are. They’re not as good as the actual peas, and a lot less palatable – at least to us – but still edible and make a great snack.
How to Feed Pea Pods to Chickens
If you’ve observed your chickens eating other fruits and vegetables, you’ll know they are great at breaking and tearing up foods with their beaks.
Young pods and some varieties are softer than others and you can get away with just giving them to your chickens as they are.
Mature garden pea pods can be quite tough though so I’d chop those up to give your hens a little help.
I know some backyard chicken owners cook the pods to soften them, some chop them up, and some even hang them to make it easier for their chicks to peck at.
The best advice is to see what works for your hens. Chickens are notorious for either gobbling something up as quickly as they can or turning up their beaks and ignoring it.
Other Foods Chickens Can Eat
Now you know, pea pods and fine and a good way to reduce wastage. There are plenty of other foods that are also great for chickens though.
Here are some of the foods backyard chicken owners commonly give their flock:
Fruits are one of the best sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re easy to feed to chickens, and we can often give them our leftovers. You just need to be careful with the seeds and leaves of some fruits, such as apricots, nectarines, cherries, etc.
Vegetables are also a great source of nutrition. Chickens will happily finish off leftover or spare cabbage, kale, carrots, sprouts, yams, sweet potatoes, etc. I even covered how much my chickens love baked beans here.
Grains and chickens go hand-in-hand. You’ll notice commercial feeds contain a lot of grains, a few more will not do any harm. If you have some spare corn, barley, oats, etc they’ll give your chickens something to forage for.
Some Foods Chickens Can Not Eat
Chickens are munching machines, so it’s up to us to make sure they don’t munch anything that might be harmful to them.
Here are some of the foods that you shouldn’t give to chickens. It’s not a complete list, so always be careful with new foods:
Chocolate – Chocolat and any foods containing cocoa are toxic to chickens and most small pets. This is because there are a couple of compounds in chocolate; theobromine and caffeine – and they’re capable of causing serious health issues.
Coffee and Tea – Caffeine is also present in tea and coffee, which, along with some other compounds is why they’re bad for chickens. It’s not like you’d serve your hens a cuppa, but you might recycle them in your yard.
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes – Nightshade vegetables such as potatoes and tomatoes produce a toxin called solanine. This toxin is potentially very harmful to chickens. It’s only present in potatoes when they’re green, but it’s something to be aware of.
Spoiled or moldy foods – Mold spores are toxic to chickens, which doesn’t really come as a surprise. It’s something to keep in mind when leaving food out for them.
Raw Beans – This often comes as a surprise, but raw beans contain a toxic compound called lectin. This toxin is destroyed when beans are cooked, but it’s potentially fatal so be very careful.
Avocado Pits/Skin – The dangers of avocado skin and the seed of the fruit is well-known to most pet owners. It’s OK for chickens to eat the flesh, but don’t give them the whole fruit.
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Pea Pods?
Yes, chickens can eat the pods as well as the peas.
One of the best things about chickens is their willingness to eat scraps and parts of vegetables we don’t, and this is a perfect example.
Image credits – Photos by Tina Xinia, Jan Antonin Kolar, and Artem Makarov on Unsplash