Yes, peas are fine for chickens to eat. You can feed them to your flock either raw, cooked or frozen in the summer. It’s fun watching chickens peck and chase peas around, and they’re rich in good nutrition too.
Are Peas Healthy for Chickens?
Did you know that peas are actually legumes? They are not technically vegetables, although we treat them as veggies and it doesn’t really matter either way.
Being a legume, however, they are naturally higher in protein than most vegetables which is a small plus for chickens. 100 grams of peas will typically contain:
- 1.6 grams of fat
- 10 grams of carbohydrates
- 5.6 grams of fiber
- 5.5 grams of protein
- And loads of other good vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
This isn’t an ideal balance of nutrition for chickens. Laying hens require at least 16% protein in their diet – which will come from their commercial feed – so peas make a great snack food or treat.
Wait, Aren’t Raw or Undercooked Legumes Toxic?
I’ve mentioned a few times, and you’ll see this in the section below about foods chickens should not eat, a lot of raw or improperly cooked legumes are toxic to chickens.
This applies to beans mostly, and kidney beans in particular. I’ve done as much research into peas as I can, and I can’t find any evidence that peas are toxic raw.
How to Feed Chickens Peas
Speaking with other backyard chicken owners, they all say either raw or cooked peas are fine.
If you’re growing peas, you should remove them from their pods. Dried peas are going to be more difficult for chooks to digest, so I’d stick to fresh or cooked peas.
Just hand them over however you want. Chickens aren’t fussy, they’re going to peck away and eat them as soon as they can get their beaks into them.
If you needed any evidence that chickens will gobble up peas as quickly as they can, just check out this video:
Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
As I mentioned above, you should always check that foods are safe for chickens before going ahead and giving it to them.
I’ve put together a list of the most common foods that are toxic or potentially harmful to chooks. Take a look, and make sure they never get near any of these:
Chocolate – Choc is toxic to most small pets, and this includes chickens. There are a couple of compounds in chocolate that can cause some serious health issues – keep it locked away for yourself.
Raw Beans – Unless beans are properly cooked they’re actually very toxic to chickens, even fatal.
Tea and Coffee – If you recycle tea bags and coffee grounds in your compost heap – keep your chickens well away. These also contain the same harmful compounds as chocolate.
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes – When potatoes and tomatoes are green they have a toxin called solanine present. This toxin isn’t present when they’re ripe, but it’s something to be aware of.
Avocado Pits/Skin – The flesh is fine (and delicious) but the skin and stone of an avocado contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. This can cause some serious health issues, don’t give it to your flock.
Greasy/Salty Foods – It’s tempting to give your leftover junk food to your chickens, but don’t. It’s harder for them to process greasy foods, and they don’t need added salt in their diets.
Sugary Treats – Chickens do not benefit from sweet foods, candy, soda, etc. They are more likely to have digestive issues than enjoyment.
Foods That Are Good for Chickens
If you’re wondering what other foods are good for chickens, you’re spoiled for choice.
Most fruits, vegetables, and a lot of foods in between are fine for chickens. Here are some of the foods backyard owners commonly feed their chooks:
Vegetables – Vegetables contain a good range of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other healthy nutrition. Try offering your flock some broccoli, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, lettuce, etc and they’ll gobble them up.
Related – Here’s why broccoli is great for chickens.
Fruits – Most fruits are nutrient-dense and great for chickens. Try offering them some banana, grapes, berries, apples, figs, and even dragon fruits if you have those near you.
Grains – Grains make up an important part of chicken feed. Oats, wheat, rice, corn, cornmeal, etc are all fine. If you scatter then it gives your flock something to scratch around for too which they like.
Herbs – Herbs are great because they provide some unique wellness properties, and most are easy to grow yourself. I have lavender (smells awesome) and parsley in my yard, both of which my chooks love.
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Peas?
Yes, you can feed your chickens peas. Peas are interesting, as I explained above they’re actually edible legumes, not vegetables.
This means they have a different nutritional profile to vegetables. They’re still nutrient-dense through and provide a healthy snack for chickens.
As long as your flock has a good commercial feed available all day and get at least 90% of their diet from this, you have some room to experiment with different treat foods.
The health benefits of peas – BBCGoodFood.com
Image credits – Header image by Tina Xinia, pea image by Mikołaj Idziak on Unsplash.