Can Chickens Eat Potatoes?

Can Chickens Eat Potatoes Featured Image
Chickens can eat potatoes, but some types of potatoes and parts of a potato are toxic to chickens. Fresh potatoes that have been prepared properly are usually safe for your flock.

Chickens are omnivores and typically aren’t picky about what they eat. Chicken owners often feed any leftover veggies as kitchen scraps to their chickens to supplement their diets.

However, there are certain types of potatoes, and parts of potatoes that should never be fed to chickens.

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Potatoes?

Not every potato is created equal – some are safe for your chickens, and some have hidden dangers.

All in all, fresh potatoes that have been properly prepared are safe, and as long as the poisonous parts have been discarded, they are safe to provide to your chickens in moderation.

White potatoes are members of the family called Solanaceae and include any potatoes that are red, white, or yellow (not including sweet potatoes). Chickens can consume these potatoes in small amounts, but there are parts of these potatoes that should never be fed to chickens.

chickens eating potato
Chickens can eat potatoes depending on the type and how it was prepared

Solanine is contained in the green parts of potatoes but can also be found in potato skins. Solanine affects the nervous system and acts as a natural pesticide so it’s important to limit the quantity and frequency of feeding potatoes to your chickens.

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Moldy potatoes (and any moldy fruit or vegetable) is toxic to your chickens and should never be fed to them. If you wouldn’t eat it, then your chickens shouldn’t eat it.

What Parts of the Potatoes are Okay to Feed to Chickens?

The safe part of the potato in white potato varieties are the flesh, provided they are fresh and properly prepared.

As members of the nightshade family, some parts of white potatoes are poisonous to chickens – namely the leaves, flowers, and stems. These should always be discarded as they are highly toxic.

You should never feed chickens green potatoes or potato skins or peels that have cuts, appear wrinkled, or have “eyes” on them, as these lead to high toxicity of the harmful compound solanine in chickens, which can kill them.

How Many Potatoes Should You Feed Your Chickens?

Potatoes are a carbohydrate and need to be fed in moderation as they can cause weight gain or other health problems.

In general, you should never feed more than 5% potatoes in a chicken’s diet.

Can Chickens Eat Raw Potatoes?

Yes – chickens can eat raw potatoes, but they should not be fed any potatoes that are turning green, showing signs of sprouting, or have an appearance to suggest poor storage. Signs of poor storage include wrinkles, cuts, numerous eyes, green color, mold, and is soft to touch.

Preparing raw potatoes is easy. Simply remove the skins, and any eyes on the flesh of the potato, and thoroughly rinse them in cold water.

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Dice the potatoes into small pieces and provide them to your chickens. Never provide them with more than what they will eat in a day, and be sure to clean up any potato that remains uneaten for the cleanliness of your chicken coop.

Can Chickens Eat Cooked Potatoes?

Chickens can eat cooked potatoes and often enjoy them as they are easier to consume than raw potatoes. You can serve them mashed potatoes (that were not prepared with salt, butter, or milk), and roasted or boiled potatoes that were not cooked with fat.

Chickens should never consume excess salt because that can cause dehydration, and your chickens cannot process lipids or milk, so it is important that these are not added prior to feeding to your flock.

cooking potatoes in pot
This is the easiest way to cook potatoes for chickens. No salt required!

There is a myth that suggests boiling or cooking potatoes removes solanine and can make green potatoes safe to eat, but cooking will only remove small amounts and does not make a potato safe for either you or your chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family and do not contain solanine, therefore every part of the sweet potato plant is safe for chickens to consume.

Not only do they get amazing health benefits from sweet potatoes, but chickens really enjoy the sweet flesh of both raw and cooked sweet potatoes.

As with any starchy carbohydrate (even a complex carb like sweet potato), you should feed in moderation.

Can Chickens Eat Potato Skins?

Potato peels, skins, and eyes have the largest concentration of solanine and are the most toxic to your chickens. Never feed potato skins to your chickens, especially if you see eyes, or if they are soft to the touch, or have a green color.

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potato skins crossed out

If you do, you are risking poisoning your chickens to death.

What Health Benefits do Potatoes Offer for Chickens?

Potatoes offer incredible nutritional value and include important vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that chickens need. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin b6, calcium, and potassium and are good for your chicken’s immune system.

Christina

A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina recently moved across the globe to Austria, where she bought land specifically to build a small house with room for a backyard chicken coop. Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for a flock of hens owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of chickens, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Chicken Care Taker in 2022.

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