Yes, chickens can eat shrimp. In fact, backyard chickens can eat most seafood and they love picking apart crustaceans and shellfish. If you have leftover shrimp, I’m sure your flock will be more than happy to finish them off!
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Is Shrimp Healthy For Chickens?
Chickens have different dietary needs from us and they require a very different balance of nutrition to maintain optimal health.
This doesn’t mean that they will not benefit from the good nutrition in shrimp and other seafood though.
Shrimp actually makes for a very nutritious snack for both us and chickens. It’s tasty too, in my opinion at least.
Although, chickens don’t have nearly as many taste buds as us, so whatever you think about the taste of shrimp - it isn’t a big deal to them.
Shrimp is low in calories while being rich in a wide range of vitamins and minerals. It’s also one of the best sources of iodine, which is important for thyroid function and brain health.
Much like most seafood, shrimp is also a good source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which have a wide range of health benefits.
So, as I said, chickens have specific dietary needs. At least 90% of their diet should be met with a quality commercial feed, but shrimps are an awesome treat.
Can Chickens Eat Dried Shrimp?
Dried, raw, or cooked, I think you’ll find that most chickens are not fussy when it comes to eating shrimp.
I know some backyard chicken owners that buy dried shrimp as it’s easier to store and feed to chickens and other animals. But fresh shrimp is just as fine.
As long as it’s no deep-fried, heavily seasoned, past its best, or cooked in any of the unhealthy ways - shrimp is a great snack for chickens, dried or not.
How to Feed Shrimp to Your Chickens
It will come as no surprise to anyone who is raising chickens if I tell you that they’re not fussy about how they get their food.
Fresh, raw, cooked, or dried, you can give whole shrimp to your chickens and they’ll happily eat it.
Chickens are great foragers and very adept at finding enough food scavenging around in the wild. So, picking apart a shrimp and eating the good fleshy part is no trouble for them at all.
You can give them the tails, shells, legs, (the eyes freak me out a bit personally) and they’ll peck away and eat what they want.
Can You Give Chickens Prawns?
Often confused with shrimp, prawns are closely related to shrimp but do have some nutritional differences so it’s best to check before giving them to your chooks.
I’ve looked into it and can tell you without any doubt that prawns are fine for chickens. They tend to be bigger than shrimp on average, so that’s even better for greedy chicks.
Can Chickens Eat Seafood in General?
If you have leftover shrimps or prawns, you’re probably a seafood lover, right?
So, I may as well address chickens and seafood. Generally speaking, it’s perfectly safe and to feed seafood to chickens (as long as it’s fresh).
This includes squid, octopus, mussels, clams, etc. Not the types of everyday foods most people are giving to their chickens, but it may come up on occasion.
It’s a good idea to wash seafood as it tends to be very salty. Try to avoid giving them any heavily seasoned foods, too.
Other Table Scraps and Leftovers Safe for Chickens
If you want to experiment with other leftovers and table scraps, the good news is that most foods are fine for chickens.
Some of the most popular foods people share with their feathered friends are:
Fruits – Most fruits are also fine as they are typically nutrient-dense and packed with the good stuff. Try giving them some berries, melons, apples, bananas, 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, oatmeal, etc.
Foods That Are Toxic/Poisonous and Should Be Avoided
It’s more important you know which foods are potentially harmful to your chickens and should be avoided.
There aren’t many, but the foods you should absolutely avoid letting your chickens consume as confirmed by the RSPCA are:
- Avocado skins and pits
- Green potatoes and some nightshade foods
- Tea and coffee
- Candy and other sugary treats, this includes soda
- Foods high in fat or salt, greasy fast foods, etc
- Chocolate and foods with cocoa or chocolate in
- Any moldy or spoiled foods
Most of the bad stuff really. As a rule of thumb, don’t give your chickens anything you wouldn’t eat, and keep the sugary and fatty stuff to yourself.
Related - Here’s where to find fishmeal for chickens and why it’s good for them.
If you have leftover seafood, be it shrimp, prawns, or crab meat, it’s fine for chickens to eat. Not only is it fine, but they’re going to be more than happy to take it off your hands!
Just keep in mind the “90/10 rule” that applies to feeding chickens. This means that 90% of their diet should come from a quality feed, and the other 10% can be from treats and other foods.
This ensures they’re getting all of the good nutrition they need to maintain optimal health and lay eggs at their best. While allowing you to have some fun and add some variety into their diet.
Image credits - Photo by Matt Connor on Unsplash