Adding some vegetables to your chicken’s diet is a great way to add some variety to their diet, and more importantly some good nutrition.
Can chickens eat yams? Yes, chickens can eat yams. In fact, yams can be a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins, and minerals. Yams are a great choice for your backyard flock.
What's in Yams?
First of all, I have to point out the differences between yams and sweet potatoes as they’re often confused.
Yams are a very similar shape and size to sweet potatoes, but they’re much darker in color, dryer inside, and have a bark-like skin. They also taste sweet compared to a potato, but not as sweet as a sweet potato.
They’re a good source of fiber, high in potassium and manganese, and contain decent amounts of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Yams?
Certain types of yams are not safe to be eaten raw, so it’s not advisable you feed them to your chickens raw.
According to Healthline, some of the naturally occurring plant proteins in yams can be toxic when ingested from raw yams.
For this reason, it’s also recommended you don’t feed your flock the skins after peeling a yam.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Yams?
Yes, cooked yams are fine for chickens.
If you’re preparing some yams for yourself you can cook them in all the same ways you’d cook potatoes.
Frying, boiling, and roasting are probably the three most common ways to cook them. All of which is fine for chickens as long as you’re not added oils, salt, seasonings, or any other ingredients without being sure it’s fine for them.
How to Feed Yams to Your Chickens
As I’ve already mentioned, the important thing is that you’re cooking yams before feeding them to your flock.
If you boil or roast them they will be much softer and easier to break into smaller pieces to feed to your chickens.
You can either add some to their feed, scatter them in their run to give them something to scratch for, or just hold out pieces for them to take.
What Can Chickens Not Eat List:
Yams may be fine for chickens, but there are some foods that contain harmful toxins. Some of which might come as a surprise, as they’re fine for us!
Here are some of the foods you should never give to your chickens:
Raw Beans - Raw beans are very toxic to chickens, so if you’re growing them in your yard you need to keep them well out of pecking range.
Raw beans contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin breaks down when beans are cooked above a certain temperature, so cooked beans aren’t an issue.
Green potatoes and Tomatoes - There’s often some confusion around feeding chooks potatoes. The facts are then when potatoes are exposed to sunlight and turn green, this part of the vegetable contains a toxin that is harmful.
The same applies to green tomatoes, and the stalks, leaves, and other parts of the tomato plant. Potato peels are also fine, as long as they’re not green.
Avocado - This is the fruit most pet owners are aware of. The skin and pit contain a toxin called persin that’s toxic to chickens, cats, dogs, and other household pets.
Chocolate - There are a couple of compounds in chocolate that are toxic to most pets, chickens included; theobromine and caffeine.
These compounds are also found in tea, coffee, some carbonated drinks, and any foods containing chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the higher the percentage of theobromine, too.
Salty/Fatty Foods - Processed foods, fast food, junk food, all the types of foods we know aren’t the best for us are en worse for chickens.
Moldy Foods - Some molds are good, but food turning bad that is developing mold spores is not.
This type of mold is toxic to chickens and can cause them some serious health problems. It’s something to be aware of with their feed too, not just foods you’re giving them.
Related content - Here's why you can't give your chickens coffee grounds.
Foods Chickens Can Eat List:
A well-balanced diet is essential if you want your chickens to be healthy, happy, and productive layers.
The majority of their diet should come from their feed (approx 90%), but there’s some room to treat them with healthy snacks and table scraps.
Here are some of the foods that are safe for chickens and they’ll probably try and bite your hand off to get at:
Vegetables - Most vegetables are fine for chickens. Yams are one, you can also give your flock carrots, radishes, cucumber, and broccoli to mention a few.
Fruits - Fruits are typically nutrient-dense and provide a good range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Try them with some berries, banana, figs, and watermelon.
Grains - Chickens love grains, they’re great for them, and it gives them something to scratch around for. So, wheat, oats, rice, corn, etc.
Cooked Foods - If you’re cooking up some brown rice, pasta, or meat and make too much, why not share some with your flock. They’ll be more than happy to gobble up most table scraps.
Herbs - Herbs are great because they’re easy to grow, chickens love them, and they offer some pretty powerful health benefits. It’s worth investigating which herbs you want to give to your flock.
Yams are nutrient-rich vegetables that are great for chickens.
You do have to cook them though, there are some toxins in raw yams that are potentially harmful to chickens.
It’s worth picking one up next time you’re at the store to see if your flock like them if you want to add some variety into their diets.