When it comes to potatoes, most people will remove the peelings or skin and eat just the flesh. Since the potato peels are edible, and you don’t want to waste them, you may wonder if you can feed them to your chickens.
So, can chickens eat potato peels? Yes, chickens can eat potato peels. However, when the peel is exposed to sunlight, it will turn green. This green color on the peel contains a toxin called solanine.
Are Potato Peels Poisonous to Chickens?
Whether the potato peels are poisonous or not will depend on what color it is.
When the peels don’t have any green color on them, it’s safe for chickens to eat.
However, when the peels are exposed to sunlight, they will start to turn green and produce a toxin called solanine. This toxin is extremely toxic to the chickens if they eat it.
What Is Solanine?
When it comes to potatoes, solanine is usually associated with.
Potatoes belong to the nightshade family of plants. Solanine is an alkaloid that’s found in many other plants such as eggplants, tomatoes, and capsicum.
Potatoes are usually the plant that solanine is commonly found in. When it’s growing in the ground or harvested, the peel will not be green.
When the potatoes are exposed to sunlight, they will turn green and produce solanine in the peel. For the potatoes, this is a defensive mechanism that they produce to avoid being eaten by insects and pests.
Not only is it harmful to the chickens, but solanine can also harm humans as well. Eating just a small amount of it will cause digestive issues for both the chickens and humans.
For chickens, if they consume a few potatoes with solanine, it will cause them to have diarrhea, nausea, and an upset stomach. In larger amounts, paralysis and death can occur.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Potato Peels?
Potato peels contain many nutrients that are essential to the chickens. Potato skins are a good source of fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamin B6 and C.
Therefore, potato peels are a healthy food to feed your chickens.
Below are some health benefits of feeding potato peels to your chickens:
Strong Immune System
Potato peels are high in vitamin C, which is important for a strong immune system.
Chickens that are fed food high in vitamin C will be less likely to become sick. If they do become sick, plenty of vitamin C in their diet will help them recover quickly.
Potato peels are a good source of fiber, which can help improve digestion. Since fiber cannot be absorbed by the body, it will bulk up the stool. This will make the food pass through the digestive tract smoothly. Also, fiber helps prevent constipation in chickens.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Potato Peels?
Baby chickens can eat potato peels, but it’s best to wait until they are about 3 weeks old. Under 3 weeks old, their digestive system has not developed enough to digest the peels correctly.
Instead, the chicks should be fed starter feed, when they hatch and until they are 8 weeks old. The starter feed is formulated with the right amount of nutrition to help the chicks grow strong and healthy.
Once they are about 3 weeks old, you can start to introduce potato peels to your chicks. Make sure to boil it first so that it will become soft. Then chop them up into small pieces, so it will be easy for them to eat and digest.
Also, ensure that you have plenty of grits available for the chicks. They require grits to help them break down the peels in their crop.
Can Chickens Eat Boiled Potato Skins?
Chickens can eat boiled potato peels, only if it isn’t green. Once the peels turn green, they will produce solanine. Unfortunately, solanine will not be removed from boiling the peels.
To ensure the potato peels are safe for your chickens, boil the peels only if it hasn’t turned green yet.
How Do You Prepare Potato Peels For Your Chickens
Potato peels are tough for chickens to eat. Most of them will simply leave the peels alone.
To get them to eat the potato peels and make it easier for them to digest them, you’ll need to cook them first. You have the option of boiling, roasting, or baking the peels. This will make the peel more tender.
When cooking the potato peels, make sure to not any seasoning to it. Salt and many other seasonings can harm the chickens.
Once it’s cooked, cut the peels into smaller pieces and toss them to your chickens.
How Many Potato Peels Should You Feed Your Chickens?
While the potato peels are nutritious, they should only be fed to them in small amounts. Potato peels don’t have enough nutrition that the chicken needs daily.
For an adult chicken, you can give them a handful of potato skins. For baby chickens, they should be served one small slice of peel.
Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat
Chickens can eat broccoli. This vegetable is high in many vitamins and low in fat, which makes them healthy food for chickens. Raw broccoli is a bit tough for them to eat, so it’s a good idea to cook them first. Once it’s cooked, you can either give them the whole broccoli or cut them into smaller pieces.
Celery makes a good treat for chickens. It’s a good source of vitamins B2, B6, C, and K. Also, it contains a small amount of fiber, calcium potassium. Remove the fiber from the celery first before serving them to your chickens.
Asparagus is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most chickens will not eat asparagus, so you can cook them and add them to a salad. If your chickens do eat asparagus, make sure to not feed them too much of it, as it can taint the taste of the eggs.
Potato peeling is nutritious and healthy for chickens to eat. Just make sure that the color of the peels doesn’t turn green. If it does, the peels are toxic and can harm your chickens.