You may have heard that chickens love to eat tomatoes and their close relatives, the tomatillos. If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably seen at least one of your tomato plants pecked clean by your hungry backyard hens, and it’s true that chickens like to eat tomatoes. But can chickens eat tomatillos?
The answer is yes—but only if they are ripe. Like most types of fruit, tomatillos are safe for chickens to eat when they’re ripe, but not before. The green fruits contain solanine, a chemical compound that can cause mild symptoms of poisoning in both people and animals. It’s likely that eating unripe tomatillos won’t hurt your hens, but to be on the safe side, you should wait until they turn yellow or purple before giving them to your flock.
Is It Safe For Chickens To Eat Tomatillos?
Tomatillos are safe for chickens to eat because they are high in Vitamin C and dietary fiber.
However, one common concern is whether or not tomatillos can make your chicken sick since they contain a substance called solanine, which is found in all members of the nightshade family. This substance can cause digestive problems but only if consumed in large amounts or over time (such as daily feeding). So it’s important to feed these fruits sparingly!
In a short answer: yes! Your birds will enjoy eating tomatillos but don’t overdo it. It is safe for you to feed them in moderation.
What Are The Benefits Of Tomatillos For Chickens?
Tomatillos may not be as common in the average household garden as some of these other veggies, but they are definitely worth growing and giving to your chickens! Here are just a few of the benefits that chickens get from eating this delicious fruit.
– Tomatillos contain more vitamins than tomatoes. The tomatillo has 5 times the vitamin C of tomato and twice as much calcium. It also contains a good amount of iron and has more fiber than most fruits or vegetables.
– Tomatillos can help protect against cancer and boost immunity. The phytochemicals in tomatillos have been shown to prevent cancer and boost immunity in humans; the same should be true for your birds.
– Tomatillos help your chickens lay eggs with stronger shells. The calcium content in tomatillos is almost double that of tomatoes and it is highly bioavailable to your birds (in other words they absorb it easily). This helps them lay eggs with tougher shells that are less likely to break during incubation.
Can Chickens Eat Tomatillos Husk?
The husks of tomatillos are not safe for chickens to eat. I learned this the hard way a couple of years ago when I discovered that my chickens had eaten many tomatillo husks from a pile of scraps that I had left in their pen.
One chicken died and two others became very ill. The symptoms included diarrhea and weakness to the point where they were unable to walk up a ramp into the hen house. The two sick birds were separated from the flock for several days, and then carefully reintroduced after they recovered.
The reason for this is that tomatillos husk contains a toxin known as solanine. It is toxic to the chickens and makes them very ill and can even kill them.
Therefore, make sure to remove the husk when feeding tomatillos to your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Tomatillo Leaves and Stems?
Just like the husk of the tomatillo plant, the leaves and stems contain solanine as well.
If your chicken mistakenly ate some leaves or the stems of the plant, they may have a digestive problem such as diarrhea.
On the other hand, if they ate a large amount of the leaves or stems, they can become very ill and even death can occur.
For that reason, it’s best to feed your chickens just the fruit of the plant.
How Do You Prepare Tomatillos For Your Chickens
Preparing tomatillos for your chickens is simple, and you don’t even need to cook them!
This can be a fun treat for your chickens, as eating cooked food is not part of their regular diet.
To prepare the tomatillos, simply remove the husks from the fruit and rinse them under cold water.
Once they’re clean and dry, slice them into small pieces, or cut them into quarters. Then give them to your chickens as an extra treat!
How Often Can Chickens Eat Tomatillos?
You can feed tomatillos to your chickens regularly since they are a good source of nutrition and won’t cause any harm. However, if you are feeding fresh tomatillos, you should limit how much you give at once. Just like with any other treat you give your chickens, it’s important to limit how much fresh food you give them at one time. If you give too much fresh food, it can disrupt the pH of their digestive tract which will result in diarrhea and possibly death.
How Much Tomatillo Should I Feed My Chickens?
If you are giving tomatillos as treats, then you need to limit how much each chicken gets per day. The rule of thumb is that treats should make up no more than 10% of their diet on any given day.
Chickens can eat and enjoy tomatillos, but they should only eat them on occasion. Unlike their favorite foods of corn and tomatoes, these little green fruit can potentially cause chickens a lot of trouble if too many are eaten.