Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes?

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Chickens can definitely eat tomatoes provided they are fresh and ripened. You should never feed tomato leaves and vines to chickens as these can be poisonous. 

It is important to understand the health benefits as well as the health issues that can come from any particular food. Tomatoes are often fed to chickens as a chicken treat, but is it good for your chicken’s health?

This article covers everything you need to know about feeding tomatoes to chickens, including the health benefits and potential dangers, so you know what is safe for your chickens to consume.

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Tomatoes?

Feeding tomatoes is definitely okay as a treat as long as your chickens otherwise have a balanced diet. However, tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and the leaves and vines are not safe to eat as they are poisonous.

flock of chickens eating tomatoes
Tomatoes (including cherry tomatoes) are safe for chickens

Additionally, unripe tomatoes should never be fed to your chickens as they contain solanine, which is the same harmful substance found inside the leaves and vines of the tomato plant.

Additionally, chickens have beaks but do not have teeth, so they cannot chew the same way that people can. It is imperative that any treats you give are in bite-size pieces, especially to baby chicks.

As with any treat, hens and roosters are prone to overeating, so you will want to make sure you don’t feed them too much and cause unintentional weight gain.

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You should never feed moldy tomatoes or peelings to your chickens as this can cause digestive issues. Be sure any produce is fresh and do a quick visual inspection for mold prior to feeding.

Feeding organic fruits and veggies to your chickens as part of their regular diet is best, as some pesticides can be harmful to chickens if consumed in large amounts. If you do have to serve conventional produce, always wash any produce to reduce the amount of pesticide that may be present.

What Health Benefits do Tomatoes Provide for Chickens?

Backyard chickens who are given tomatoes as part of their diet will obtain a natural boost to their immune system. Tomatoes are a wonderful source of antioxidants and a good source of fiber as well as carbohydrates.

Tomatoes are known as a superfood because they also contain vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and are a great source of potassium!

All of these are important for chickens to consume to ensure their digestive system is functioning well with all of the essential nutrients that they need.

Can Feeding Hens Tomatoes Affect Their Eggs?

Egg-laying hens who eat too many tomatoes can have an adverse effect on their eggs and will influence the taste of their eggs, as well as the frequency at which they lay eggs. Aim to should feed your laying hens tomatoes in small quantities for this reason.

Do Chickens Like Tomatoes?

Our feathered friends love tomatoes and would eat them right off the vine if they encountered them in your garden or in the wild. They enjoy fresh raw tomatoes as well as cooked tomatoes.

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2 chickens eating cherry tomatoes
Any fresh tomatoes will generally be gone within 20 minutes

If you feed too many tomatoes, your chickens may neglect their normal feed in favor of this treat, so you should only feed tomatoes two to three times per week.

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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