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Should Chickens Eat Bread?

Should Chickens Eat Bread
Should Chickens Eat Bread

Chickens really should not eat bread. It isn’t necessarily bad for them – especially the higher grain breads – but it certainly isn’t good for them either.

Chickens are omnivores, meaning they can eat both plant and animal material. And while bread is technically made of plant and animal material, the baking process changes the dynamics of the raw materials.

In other words, your flock would be much better off if you just sprinkled wheat seeds on the ground or even used the seeds to grow sprouts, rather than mixing and baking a loaf of bread to feed them.

Chickens Vs People : Fundamental Differences

It can be confusing to understand the differences between people food and chicken food, especially when there are so many areas where our diets overlap.

For example, fresh fruit.

You would be hard pressed to decide who enjoys a juicy slice of watermelon more; me or my chickens. In both cases, the watermelon has value in both nutrition and taste.

But, chickens will also scratch and peck their way through cow manure in order to devour any fly larva that may be wiggling around in the poo.

Clearly, this is unacceptable for humans!

This illustrates another difference. Fruits and vegetables that have spoiled and ceased to be edible for human consumption can still have significant value for your flock.

# Note #

Just because your flock will eat table scraps, this does not mean your should treat them as a sort of living garbage can. Use caution and research before feeding them something from the table.

Is Bread Bad For Chickens?

Technically speaking, bread is not inherently bad for chickens. A small piece of bread will probably be of no consequence to a healthy adult chicken.

However, it has no real value for them either.

Think of it like cake for us. It is tasty and quite appreciated. And so long as it is eaten in moderation, it makes a great treat.

But you don’t want to eat to much of it in one setting and you really don’t want to eat it every day.

Chickens And Table Scraps

It always makes me shake my head when every article I read refers to ‘table scraps’ as a sort of all-encompassing term.

The range of ‘leftovers’ from the typical family table can be quite extensive and not all of it is good for a chickens’ health.

For example, while leftover tomatoes are definitely appreciated by your feathered friend, tomatoes with salad dressing on them is not.

Also, one should remember that chickens don’t have teeth – meaning they can’t chew their food. They will grab something and if it passes the test, they will simply swallow it whole. So please keep this in mind when feeding them scraps.

# Note #

It should be remembered that any scraps that your flock does not eat, will most certainly be appreciated by any number of vermin in the area. Don’t feed the rats – they will bring friends!

Chicken Diet – Resources For Help

There are a number of ‘lists’ online of what a chicken can and can not eat. I must admit a certain admiration for the individuals that put together such comprehensive lists.

However, it has been my experience that these lists are not always accurate.

If you are debating whether or not to feed something new to your flock, consider posting a question on a chicken forum.

Chances are, there is someone who not only lives in your region, but has your exact same breed and age of chicken. Being able to communicate with someone who has real world experience with your exact situation can be extremely helpful.

That being said, a healthy flock is a resilient flock. Always make sure to provide a high quality feed, fresh clean water and the opportunity to forage as much as possible.