Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are popular due to their versatility. It can be used to make sauces, add to soups, and eat fresh. Also, tomatoes are easy to grow. When it comes to your chickens, you may wonder if you can feed them tomatoes.

So, can chickens eat tomatoes? Yes, chickens can eat tomatoes. They can eat both raw and cooked tomatoes. The fruit is nutritious and your chickens will benefit a lot from eating it. Due to their high amount of sugar, tomatoes should only be fed to your chickens in moderation.

Is It Safe For Chickens To Eat Tomatoes?

If you are wondering whether it’s safe for chickens to eat tomatoes, this article will clear up any confusion. Chickens can eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes. I don’t know why someone would ask if they could eat one of the most popular foods in the world without getting a strange look.

The only thing that could make tomatoes unsafe for chickens is when it’s unripe. Tomatoes contain a chemical called solanine that is toxic to humans and animals when consumed in large quantities or over long periods of time.

Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Tomatoes?

Chickens can eat tomatoes and they are very nutritious for chickens. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, B6. Tomatoes add vitamin c and vitamin A to the chicken’s diet. It will also prevent scaly legs if you feed your chickens tomatoes.

Nutrition Facts

Chicken Eating Food

A small (100-gram) raw tomato:

  • Calories: 18
  • Water: 95%
  • Protein: 0.9 grams
  • Carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Sugar: 2.6 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

Source: USDA

Below are some of the health benefits of feeding tomatoes to your chickens:

Prevent Disease and Illness

Tomatoes are a good source of antioxidants. The antioxidant is a compound that helps prevent free radicals from damaging the cells in the body.

When there are too many free radicals, the chicken will be more prone to becoming ill and having diseases.

Improve Digestion

Tomatoes contain a good amount of fiber, which is important for the digestive system. Fiber cannot be digested by the body. Instead, it will help bulk up the stool, making it pass through the digestive tract more easily.

Boost Immune System

Tomatoes have a good amount of vitamin C. This vitamin is important for the immune system. When the chicken gets plenty of vitamin C in their diet, it will boost their immune system.

When their immune system is strong, the chicken will be less likely to become ill.

Can Baby Chickens Eat Tomatoes?

Baby chickens can eat tomatoes, but you should wait until they are about 3 weeks old. Their digestive system has not developed enough to digest the tomatoes.

When they are born until they are 16 weeks old, chicks should be fed starter feed. The feed is formulated with the right amount of nutrition to support their health.

Once the chicks are about 3 weeks, you can start to introduce tomatoes to them. Make sure the tomatoes are ripe and give them just a small amount of it. If their mother is around, she will teach them how to eat it.

Also, be sure to provide them with plenty of grits. They need grit so that they are able to digest the tomatoes in their crop.

Can Chickens Eat Tomato Leaves?

The leaves of the tomato plant are toxic to chickens, and this includes both fresh and dried leaves. In small amounts, it won’t cause them harm.

However, in large amounts, tomato leaves can cause them harm. It would have to take quite a few leaves in one sitting (and digest them all) to affect their health.

This is because the toxin that causes harm to chickens is one that humans don’t get affected by at all. Tomato plants contain tomatine and solanine, which is where their toxicity comes from. Tomatine and solanine are present in extremely high levels in the stems, leaves, and unripe tomatoes.

Can Chickens Eat Unripe Tomatoes?

Unripe tomatoes or green tomatoes should never be given to your chickens. In their unripe state, the tomatoes contain the compound solanine, which is toxic to the chickens. 

Therefore, always make sure that the tomato is ripe first before giving any to your chickens.

How Do You Feed Tomatoes To Your Chickens

When it comes to feeding them tomatoes, you can give them just the tomatoes or mix them with other vegetables and fruits.

To feed them fresh tomatoes, make sure that it’s fresh and ripe. When the tomatoes are ripe, they will become red all around. Unripe tomatoes are green and contain solanine which is toxic to the bird.

Give the tomatoes a good wash to remove pests and chemicals from them.

Then cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Then toss them to your chickens.

Alternatively, you can give them the whole tomatoes. The chicken will peck and eat it.

Another method is to mix tomatoes with other vegetables and fruits. This is a good way to give your chickens a boost in nutrition.

Make sure all the fruits and vegetables are cut into small pieces. Then mix them together and toss them to your chickens.

How Often Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes?

Tomatoes should be fed to the chickens in moderation. While it’s packed with nutrition, it doesn’t contain enough nutrition to keep the chicken healthy. 

Tomatoes, like most other treats, should only make up 10% of their entire diet. The rest should come from commercial feeds. The feeds are formulated with the right amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary needs.

Therefore, give tomatoes to your chicken, once or twice per week.

Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat

Cauliflowers

Because of its digestive enzymes and nutrient density, cauliflower may be the most beneficial vegetable for chickens. You can either feed them raw or cooked cauliflower. If it’s raw, cut them into small pieces so it will be easier for them to eat and digest.

Lettuce

Plants are the ingredient of life, and lettuce is a good choice for chickens. It’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, potassium, amino acids, antioxidants, and more! Mixing it up with some fruits will help give your flock an extra boost in nutrition.

While there is a lot of variety of lettuce available, it’s recommended to feed them only romaine lettuce or butterhead lettuce. Chickens can eat iceberg lettuce, but it’s not good for their health due to the high amount of water content.

Radishes

Versatile, fun, and healthy – that’s radish! Its bright green color is a root vegetable great for your chicken. In fact, radish is loaded with vitamins and minerals making it a healthy addition to your chicken’s diet.

In addition to being a healthy treat for your chickens, these radishes will naturally increase egg shells’ calcium content and enhance your chickens’ well-being.

Conclusion

Unlike some other fruits and vegetables, tomatoes are safe for chickens to eat. However, they should only be given in moderation because they can cause stomach upset in large quantities. If you want to provide your chicken with extra nutrition in the form of tomatoes, try giving it to them at breakfast time when their digestive system is strong.