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Can Chickens Eat Peas

Peas are nutritional for chickens, but there are limitations. They can eat them frozen, cooked, or raw. However, eating too many peas could be toxic.

It would not be an ideal nutritional balance for chickens, or it should be avoided. The following includes more details: 

1. Peas are legumes and not vegetables, which makes a difference. 

Legumes and vegetables are both full of nutrition. However, legumes naturally have more protein than most vegetables. And thus, this fact is a beneficial plus for chickens. 

Typically, 100 grams of peas have 1.6 grams of fat, 5.6 grams of fiber, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 5.5 grams of proteins, and plenty of other antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Now, this is not an adequate nutritional balance for chicken.

Peas just make a wonderful snack for chickens. A laying hen, for instance, needs a minimum of 16% proteins in their diet, which they receive from their commercial feed. On the other hand, eating a lot of undercooked or raw legumes are toxic toward chicken. 

2. Sweet peas are toxic to chickens

Sweet peas may be fragrant and delicate darlings of the spring garden with clinging tendrils and paster flowers. However, these plants are dangerous to chickens. So, chickens can become seriously ill or even die from eating sweet peas. 

Every part of the sweet peas plant is toxic to dogs, horses, chickens, and humans. According to Texas A & M University Cooperative Extension, the most poisonous parts of these plants are the seeds and flowers. Sweat peas can cause paralysis, seizures, or death due to sweet peas affecting the central nervous system. 

Chickens usually stay away from toxic plants due to their bitter taste. Nevertheless, we still should not plant sweet peas where chickens can get to them. They should not be able to freely roam the entire yard. Chickens of free-range can remain in a tiny enclosed area. Otherwise, we can grow sweet peas in an enclosed location where chickens can not get to them. 

There are a plethora of common landscaping plants that are deadly to chickens, and they include: 

  • Clematis- the US Department of Agriculture plant that is in hardiness zones five through 11
  • Oleander (Nerium)- US Department of Agriculture plant that is in hardiness zones nine through 11
  • Privet (Ligustrum)- US Department of Agriculture plat that is in hardiness zones five to nine
  • Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)- US Department of Agriculture plant that is in hardiness zones three through nine
  • Blue-green algae- formed in dirty water bowls, and thus, cleaning water bowls should be done at least once a week. 
  • Wild plants are also in fields and pastures. 
  • Annual common cocklebur (Xanthium pensylvanicum) 

Being aware of this is very important to know, especially when and if there are plans to raise chickens on pastures. It is also important to know about these plants when and if deciding to do DIY making or mixing f commercial feed. 

3. Other toxins may be sprayed on or around peas as on other food in gardens. 

Besides poisonous plants, a plethora of household substances, including herbicides, slug baits, fertilizers, and pesticides, are sprayed on or near gardens/garden areas. So, chickens should not be around when spraying these products.

Also, since the residue of these products could be on vegetables and legumes in the garden, it is critical to thoroughly wash these foods with tons of running warm water before serving these foods to chicken, other animals, and humans. 

4. Peas must be taken out of the pod. 

For easier digestion, peas must be taken out of pods. Also, sticking to cooked or fresh peas are better for chickens, but dried peas are harder for chickens to digest. Otherwise, chickens can eat pea pods if the pods are chopped roughly. 

Afterward, we can hand peas over as desired to them. Chickens will gladly peck away and eat them immediately after they get peas on their beaks. 

Other Important Things to Know about Chicken and Peas

As previously mentioned, peas, with the exception of sweet peas, are very healthy for chickens. They contain tons of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Their main nutrients are as follows for 100 grams of peas (100 grams of peas should be enough for chickens without the risk of them overindulging in eating peas): 

Vitamins

       Vitamin             Amount         
Vitamin A801 IU
Vitamin C14.2 mg
Vitamin K25.9 mcg
Thiamin0.3 mg
Niacin2 mg
Folate63 mcg
Choline29.7 mg

Minerals

Minerals               Amount in milligrams
Calcium27 
Iron1.5
Magnesium39 
Potassium271
Selenium1.9

With these tons of nutrition, peas definitely will have their health advantages for chickens and us. So, these foods can be a great part of us humans and chickens’ diets. 

A large portion of the chickens’ diet, however, should come from pellets. Eating a certain limited of peas is only a good idea because this food has very much-needed nutrition in their diets, and that nutrition is calcium. 

Like every living animal, chickens must have building life blocks, including carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, fats, vitamins, and clean water. And without the right combination and amounts of these groups, any living creature will suffer from various health issues that range from malnutrition to obesity. Therefore, the basic nutrients for chickens include the following: 

  • Protein- plant-based protein is mandatory for growth and energy
  • Vitamins and minerals- are critically important for a fully functioning living being.
  • Enzymes- assist with absorbing and digesting the necessary nutrients from food.
  • Fats- required for absorbing certain vitamins and to have other important functions of cells.
  • Carbohydrates- required as a source of energy.

These essentials are found in commercial feed for chicken and are already mixed in appropriate quantities. So, at least 90% of chickens’ nutritional needs should come from their commercial feed.  

Making Our Own Chicken Feed with Peas

In uncertain times especially, many of us are looking for more self-sufficiency in doing things. One way we can do this is by making or mixing our own chicken feed that includes peas. First, we must have the required equipment along with various nutritional food to freshly grind into grains. The required equipment includes a commercial flour mill or heavy-duty feed. Also, having a storage bin is needed to store bags of grains. Building a storage bin with areas for each grain and a lid for the top is the way to go. Also, if deciding to dispense the grains by using a sliding gate at the bottom, it will be easier to rotate the grains.  Other than that, completely cleaning out the bins once or twice annually will prevent pest infestations. 

We can know the feed composition if mixing the feed from bulk ingredients, which is good for those wanting to avoid corn or soy or wanting to use non-GMO versions of these grains. Also, it is very important to ensure a balance between all the nutrients required. 

Some of the general ingredients to put into chicken feed alfalfa meal (high protein), corn, field peas, wheat, and barley/oats (less than 15 percent of the entire diet)

Frozen Peas and the Enjoyment of Them

Chickens can also eat frozen peas. In fact, frozen peas are a wonderful treat on a hot day for them. Frozen peas are packed at the top of their freshness, and with them being flash-frozen, we can have a bag of peas for them with all their green goodness for months. Ice cream for us on a hot day is like frozen peas on a hot day for chickens. 

Many chickens seem to have fun eating peas for other reasons as well. Just observing how chickens chase peas like little balls is one main reason why they seem to have fun eating them. And with that in mind, we can throw peas on the ground and observe how they run after the peas.

So, it is a good idea to incorporate peas in their playtime. The following includes some great examples of how to incorporate them eating peas and having fun simultaneously: 

Chicken Jump

Stand on a chair with your chickens in your arms and throw peas in the air. Then, watch how they will jump and grab the peas. This could be an enjoyable activity for these birds for an hour or so. 

Racing

We can roll peas on our porches or another hard surface while making sure the chickens see what we are doing. If they know what we are doing, they will likely run after the peas, which is a fun sight to see. 

Rotting Log

For some reason, chickens love to peck rotting logs. So, it is a good idea to pack peas in a rotting log. Then, show the chickens the wood and watch as they peck away. 

Peck for Treats. 

Another wonderful idea is to put peas in different small holes in the ground, pick up the chickens, and take them to or near the holes, so they can see the peas. Then, watch them peck away. Another idea is to put these treats vicariously on the ground, cover them with hay, take the birds to the area, and let them peck. 

Read More about popular types of chicken breeds

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