Chickens can eat pistachios, yes. Just make sure you break the nuts into smaller pieces if necessary, make sure they’re unsalted, and remove the shells. They’ll likely gobble them up as fast as you can feed them.
How Healthy Are Pistachios for Chickens?
Nuts, in general, are a great source of protein, fats, and minerals - and pistachios are no different.
According to Healthline, they are packed with good nutrition. Just a 1-ounce serving will deliver:
- 3 grams of fiber
- 6 grams of protein
- 13 grams of fat
- 8 grams of carbohydrates
And a wide range of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other good nutritional content.
After reading this you might be more tempted to keep them for yourself!
But, on a serious note, chickens have very different dietary requirements to us. Pistachios provide some important nutrition in small amounts.
Laying hens require at least 16% protein from their overall diet. Nuts are high in protein, so you can consider them as a protein-boosting snack.
Related - Can chickens eat cashews? Plus how to avoid cashew toxicity.
Do Chickens Like Nuts?
Generally speaking, chickens love nuts. In fact, most birds love nuts. Which is why you’ll see most bird feeding blocks are made up mostly from nuts and grains.
When sharing nuts packaged for human consumption, you should always try to give them nuts that have not been salted or treated with any seasoning.
If they are salted, you can just give them a quick wash. I’ve done that before with cashews, it’s really not a big deal.
Some backyard chicken owners or bird enthusiasts say peanuts can be harmful. I’ve read into this a great deal and discussed it with some friends, the reason people say this is because there’s a toxin that can be present on peanuts called aflatoxin.
This toxin grows when nuts aren’t stored in the right conditions. It’s basically a form of mold, and it can develop on peanuts as well as other nuts including pistachios.
Manufacturers test for it, and honestly, it’s not a big deal as long as you’re not feeding chickens or birds nuts that are well past their best.
Don’t let them sit out in damp conditions too. This really shouldn’t be a problem with greedy chickens (as I’m sure you’re aware), although in feeders for small birds they can sit for days.
The golden rule of thumb when feeding chickens is to not give them any scraps you wouldn’t eat. By this, I mean anything that’s past it’s best. Chickens aren’t little trash cans, despite how they behave sometimes!
Can Chickens Eat Pistachio Shells?
They will probably try if you give them the shells, but you shouldn’t.
A little-known interesting fact - pistachios are one of the few nuts commonly sold in their shells because their shells split while growing, making it easy to season and cook them as they are.
This removes the step of removing the shells that a lot of nuts have to go through, helping manufacturers cut costs.
If you try to eat the shell you could break a tooth as they’re incredibly hard. Not to mention that you’ll have some stomach issues trying to digest them.
So, take the shells off and discard them just as you would if you were going to eat them.
Some Foods You Shouldn't Give to Chickens
While we’re on the topic of feeding scraps and foods you have leftover to chickens, here are some foods to avoid giving to your chooks:
- Raw beans
- Green tomatoes and potatoes (white potatoes are fine)
- The pits and skin of avocados
- Coffee grounds
- Raw eggs
- Sugary treats and soda
- Greasy/junk food
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Pistachios?
Generally speaking, nuts are great for chickens. I covered a few exceptions and some of the things you need to be aware of, but it’s fine to feed pistachios to chickens.
Just remember that most (at least 90%) of their diet should come from a good commercial feed. Scraps, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc are treats. Even when they’re packed with good nutritional content like pistachios.
9 Health benefits of pistachios - Healthline.com