Yes, chickens can eat tuna and it's perfectly safe for them to do so. In fact, tuna is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, it’s also low in fat and calories while being high in protein.
Is Tuna Good for Chickens?
It's no secret that chickens need a diet rich in protein to maintain optimal health and lay eggs at their best.
Layer feeds are around 16% protein, and they need even more protein when they're younger, molting, and at other stages of their lives.
Tuna is an almost pure-protein food. Combined with the wide variety of vitamins and minerals it also contains, it's a great treat for chickens.
The bulk of a chicken's diet should come from a good commercial feed, as well as plants and bugs they would find naturally. But tuna is one of the best treat foods you can give them for sure.
Can Hens Eat Canned Tuna?
Yes, hens and chickens can eat canned tuna. Fresh tuna is ideal, but obviously, most of us get our tuna from cans. Canned tuna is just as good for chickens, as long as it's not heavily seasoned and loaded up with additives.
The main thing you need to look out for is the salt content. Lots of canned foods are loaded up with salt so they last longer, but salt poses potential health issues, especially in large amounts.
Can Chickens Eat Tuna in Oil, Brine, and Other Additives?
Extending from the last point, chickens can eat tuna in oil, brine, spring water, and the other ways it's commonly sold. But just be aware that the additives are not ideal.
None should be toxic, or anything like that. Maybe garlic or onion could be a problem, but the most common types of tuna should be fine.
The general rule of thumb is, the cleaner, less processed, and fewer additives the tuna has the better it is for your flock.
Related - Can chickens eat mayonnaise?
The “90/10 Rule” When Feeding Chickens
It's crucial that you provide backyard chickens with a balanced diet providing them with all of the key nutrition they need to maintain optimal health.
To do this, you may have heard of the "90/10 Rule". This essentially means that you should make sure at least 90% of your chickens' diet comes from a good quality commercial feed.
The other 10% can be made up from treats like tuna, table scraps, leftovers, and other foods that are safe for them.
Chickens love eating different foods. It's a great way to bond with them, add some variety to their diet, and provide a wider range of vitamins and minerals.
Other Foods That Chickens Can Eat; Table Scraps, Treats, Etc
If you want to experiment with other table scraps and leftovers, the good news is that most foods are fine for chickens.
Here is a summary of some of the most popular and easiest foods to give to your chickens:
Vegetables – Most vegetables are fine chickens, and it’s a great way to use the scraps that you won’t eat. Veggies like sweet potatoes, carrot tops, cabbage, jicama, etc provide some great nutrition.
Fruits – Most fruits are also fine as they are typically nutrient-dense and packed with loads of good nutrition. Try giving them some berries, figs, apples, bananas, etc.
Grains – I love feeding my chickens grains as it gives them something to scratch and forage around for. You can feed your flock wheat, quinoa, corn, oatmeal, etc.
Some Foods That You Should NOT Feed Chickens
It’s more important that you are aware of the foods that are potentially toxic or poisonous for your flock, and some of these might come as a surprise.
According to the RSPCA and some other chicken welfare sites, the main foods you should avoid giving to your flock includes:
Avocado skins and pits – There is a toxin present in these parts of this fruit that is potentially harmful to most pets and small animals.
Raw Beans – The potential risks with beans are surprising to most people. Unless they are properly cooked, beans contain a toxin called lectin. Lectins are very toxic to chickens – and us – so never feed chicks beans that have not been cooked properly.
Candy and other sugary treats, this includes soda – Foods with high sugar content and preservatives are bad for chickens (and us).
Tea and coffee – Be careful recycling used grounds and tea bags in your garden, they’re potentially harmful to chickens.
Any moldy or spoiled foods – It’s tempting to use chickens as recycling machines for foods you don’t want, just make sure you only give them food you’d be willing to eat yourself!
Chocolate – There are compounds in chocolate that are harmful to most animals, keep it to yourself!
Next time you have some leftover tuna, or maybe you're just feeling generous, you now know that it's a great treat food for chickens.
Tuna is one of the healthier options when it comes to table scraps and leftover human foods.
The protein content in particular is great for laying hens. So, if you were looking for ways to add some variety to your chickens' diet, tuna is a great choice.
Image credits - Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash