Sweet potatoes are awesome vegetables. They are lower in carbohydrates than normal potatoes while being higher in antioxidants, vitamins, and some other important nutrients.
Can chickens eat sweet potatoes? Yes, chickens can eat sweet potatoes. More than that, they love eating them and will benefit from all the good nutrition they’re packed with.
How Healthy Are Sweet Potatoes? Are They Safe?
As a starchy root vegetable sweet potatoes are heavy on the carbs, which is great for boosting energy levels.
Like most vegetables, they’re also packed with a range of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrition (source).
The most important thing to be aware of as an owner of a backyard flock is that unlike normal potatoes, sweet potatoes do not produce solanine.
When normal potatoes are exposed to direct sunlight they turn green. They do this to defend themselves against insects as solanine is a toxic substance.
This substance is also toxic to chickens, which is why a lot of owners are cautious about feeding their flock spuds and peels.
Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Yes, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of nutrition for chickens and in my experience, they love eating them.
The peels are great too if you usually throw those away.
Are Cooked or Raw Sweet Potatoes Better?
Chickens will be just as happy to see raw or cooked sweet potatoes. Just be sure to chop them up into pieces small enough for them to easily eat and swallow.
Don’t forget that chooks don’t have teeth. They can’t break up raw vegetables before swallowing them, although once it enters their gizzard it’ll get chewed up.
How to Feed Sweet Potatoes to Your Chickens
Sweet potatoes are tough when raw, so you’ll need to chop or grate them to make sure your chickens can safely swallow the bits you’re feeding them.
If you can boil them first, it’ll soften them up and make it a lot easier to feed to your flock. Either way is fine though. See which your chickens seem to prefer, that’s the real test.
What Can Chickens Not Eat List:
Sweet potatoes are fine for chickens, as are most fruits and vegetables. There are some foods that chickens cannot eat however as they contain harmful toxins.
Here are a few of the most dangerous foods that you may have not been aware of:
Raw Beans - Raw beans are talked about a lot because a lot of people grow beans in their yards and were not aware of how dangerous they are.
Unless beans are cooked above a certain temperature they contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin which can be deadly to chickens.
Avocado Skin - I always raise awareness of how toxic avocado skin and the pit inside this fruit is to pets like chickens, dogs, and cats.
We don’t eat the skin because it’s so tough, not because we know it’s toxic. Not many people are aware that the pit and skin contain a toxin called persin that is dangerous to household pets.
Tea and Coffee - I’m not suggesting you’ll take a cup of tea or coffee out for your flock! A lot of homesteaders and gardeners use tea bags and coffee grounds as compost matter. Don’t let your chickens anywhere near it if so.
Chocolate - Chocolate is off the menu for chickens for the same reasons as tea and coffee, it contains two compounds that are toxic to chooks; caffeine and theobromine.
Keep any foods with chocolate or cocoa in well away from your flock.
Spoiled/Moldy Foods - Some molds are cultivated in foods as they’re “good” molds. Any mold spores that are growing as a result of food going bad, however, are “bad” molds.
Keep an eye out for foods and feed that your chicks have access to that may be damp or prone to spoiling before they eat it.
Foods Chickens Can Eat List:
Chickens require a balanced diet to produce large eggs and stay healthy. This is easily done by feeding them a quality feed for the most part.
It’s fun giving them some treats too though, here are some foods that are safe for chickens:
Vegetables - From a nutritional standpoint, it’s hard to beat vegetables. Most vegetables are fine - just be careful with plants in the nightshade family - try giving your flock some carrots, peas, peels, cabbage, etc.
Grains - Some of the ingredients in commercial feeds are grains. Some extra wheat, corn, oats, soybeans, etc will be much appreciated by your flock. It gives them something to scratch around for too when scattered.
Cooked Foods - Some foods need to be cooked before giving it to chickens, such as meat and pasta. You can also give them some rice, lentils, and other foods that don’t contain any of the foods they can’t eat.
Herbs - They might not eat the strong-smelling herbs like rosemary and mint, but mine gobbles up most others. You can pick a herb for its health benefits, or just to add some variety into their diets.
You can add sweet potatoes to the “safe to eat” list for your chickens because they love them.
Better than that, they’re packed with good nutrition and don’t produce the harmful toxin solanine like regular potatoes.
Raw, cooked, the peels, whatever you can spare, they’ll be more than happy to gobble up what you give them.