Chickens can eat pecans, yes. Pecans, like most nuts, are a great source of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The only question I have is why you’d share such a delicious snack with them!
Are Pecans Healthy for Chickens?
Yes, like most nuts pecans are a great source of protein if you’re looking to give your laying hens a protein boost. They’re also rich in a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
According to Goodhousekeeping.com, just 1-ounce of pecans provides:
- 3 grams of fiber
- 3 grams of protein
- 3.9 grams of carbohydrates
- 20 grams of fats
Plus loads more goodness as I’ve already mentioned.
While they’re a great treat food, obviously nuts do not provide a good balance of nutrition chickens need to maintain optimal health and laying regularity.
Your chooks should be getting 90%+ of their dietary needs met with a good commercial feed. This leaves some room to treat them with other foods, of which nuts are one of the best.
What Other Nuts Are Good for Chickens?
Most nuts are great for chickens and other birds. If you want to see which other types of nuts your flock like, here’s some of the best:
Pistachios - A personal favorite of mine, so no chance of me sharing them. They’re great for chickens though, you can read more about the benefits of pistachios here.
Cashews - You can read more about why cashews are a great treat food here (but the shells are not).
Pine Nuts - One of the most expensive nuts, so a real treat if you’re sharing them. You can read more about pine nuts here.
Almonds - Who doesn’t love almonds?! Chickens sure love them, and they’re rich is good nutrition so it’s all good.
Hazelnuts - Not the most popular nuts. but a tasty treat for chickens if you find yourself with some.
Walnuts - Not to everyone’s taste, but chickens aren’t half as fussy as us. You can read more about the benefits of walnuts here.
How to Feed Pecans to Chickens
If you have a pecan tree in your yard or are sourcing them from somewhere and they still have their shells on, you need to crack those off and throw them away.
Chickens shouldn’t eat the shells.
You also need to check their freshness. A little on the stale side isn’t a big deal, but nuts can become toxic if they start to go moldy and this can cause some serious health issues.
With a batch of fresh pecans in your hands, all you have to do is break them up into smaller pieces and give them to your chickens however you want.
I like to scatter nuts on the floor to give my girls something to forage and scratch for. You can just add them to their feed too, either way, they’re going to get gobbled up.
What Should You Not Feed Chickens?
Nuts are great, as are a lot of other vegetables, fruits, and table scraps. There are some foods that are toxic to chickens though, and you need to be aware of these.
Here are some of the most common foods that are potentially harmful to chooks:
- Raw or undercooked beans - Unless properly cooked, beans contain harmful lectins that can be fatal.
- Green potatoes and tomatoes - Some plants in the nightshade family produce a toxin called solanine to warn off predators, and this is also harmful to chickens (and us).
- When tomatoes and potatoes are green, for example, they are producing solanine. Something to be mindful of if you’re growing tomatoes as the leaves, plant and unripe fruit are dangerous.
- Tea and coffee - Caffeine is toxic to chickens. If you recycle tea bags of coffee grounds in your compost heap keep your chickens well away.
- Chocolate - Chocolate is so delicious and addictive to us, yet toxic to so many pets and small animals.
- Sugary treats - Chickens don’t appreciate sweet treats like candy and soda, plus excess sugar can cause digestive issues and long-term health issues.
- Avocado - The large stone or pit as it’s called inside an avocado contains a toxin called persin, as does the skin.
Related - Can chickens drink beer? (Ever seen a drunk chicken?!)
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Pecans?
Chickens can eat pecans, yes. Pecans are a good source of protein and other good nutrition, like most nuts.
Chickens should have a good commercial feed available all day. As long as they get 90%+ of their diet from their formulated feed, you can give them some treats like nuts to add some variety into their diet.
9 Health Benefits of Pecans That'll Make You Go Nuts - GoodHousekeeping.com