It is not easy to tell the types of foods your chickens enjoy, mainly because they spend a lot of time pecking at just anything. Chickens are omnivorous, which means that they consume just about anything they come across, but that doesn’t mean that they should be fed anything and everything.
Chickens enjoy some snacking from time to time, and there are some treats that you can feed them, but what about popcorn? Many chicken keepers wonder if it is safe for chickens to eat popcorn, mainly because most chicken feeds contain some dried corn in them.
Can Chickens Eat Popcorn?
Absolutely yes! Chickens can eat popcorns, and for the most part, the chickens are going to be feeding on a touch of corn anyway. The corn that makes popcorn is a little different from the corn they feed on every day, but that doesn’t stop the chickens from going crazy for this treat.
Chickens can be fed popcorns, but as a treat, and with moderation, and it should never be used in place of their regular healthy feed. As long as the popcorn is popped and unsalted, then you can feed it to your chickens; salt can interfere with the chickens’ health.
If cooked properly, popcorn treats can be both delicious and healthy for your chickens. Popcorn is a very beneficial source of magnesium and fiber, and your chickens will go crazy for it! When it comes to the type of popcorn, you can feed your chickens.
However, it becomes a little complicated on whether all popcorn is safe for chickens to consume. Popcorns fed to chickens should have absolutely no flavor, salt included. All the popcorn that chickens feed on needs to be straight popcorn. If you feed them popcorn with flavorings, there is a chance that they will love the popcorn, but the amount of sodium they get from that diet is not a recommended amount.
How to Feed Popcorn To Chickens
There are a few things to consider before feeding popcorn to your chickens, such as the popcorn being popped. Chickens prefer their popcorn all puffed up and soft because they cannot physically break the hard and small kernels down.
It is also essential that the popcorn is plain and unflavoured, with no additives such as butter, salt, or even sugar, which means that you can’t just use the store-bought pre-popped popcorn.
Popcorn and Dried Corn for Chickens
Most people don’t know the difference between dried corn and popcorn, which is why they question the safety of feeding popcorn to your chickens. Popcorn and dried corn are two very different things since you can’t use kernels of any corn to make popcorn, which is its unique variety.
Chicken feed corn is mostly yellow dent corn that is advisable to feed chickens during winter when foraging is rare. The kernels from popcorn have different nutritional value compared to the yellow dent corn. It is also the lowest in sugar levels, and even though it is considered a whole grain with other vital nutrients, it is not a regular chicken’s diet, but just a treat.
Can Chickens Eat Popped Popcorn?
Chickens will love to have a popcorn treat once in a while, so yes, chickens can eat popped popcorn. The change in texture appeals a lot to chickens, but you should be careful not to overfeed them popcorn. When feeding popcorn to your chickens, pay attention not to feed them butter, flavorings, salt, or sugar, so it is advisable to use plain air-popped popcorn for the reasons below;
Is Popcorn a Healthy Treat for Chickens?
Popcorn can be a healthy treat for chickens, but only when it is air-popped and doesn’t contain any sweeteners, salt, or flavorings and additives. Popcorn is a whole grain treat that is low in calories, but it is high in magnesium and fiber. Organic popcorn, on the other hand, is high in Vitamins K, E, and A, which makes popcorn the best option for a whole grain snack for your chickens.
When it comes to how much popcorn chickens can eat, a couple of handfuls for a group of chickens, once or twice a week, is an okay amount. Popcorn also acts as a light snack, especially if your chickens need to eat more of their regular feed. Popcorn should make up for at most 10% of the chickens’ diet and should not be used to replace the standard healthy diet. If you use popcorn as a substitute feed for your chickens, they will suffer from malnutrition.
An ounce of popcorn has around 110 calories, 12 from fats and minimal vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. As such, popcorn is not very nutritionally rich, and it should not be relied upon to provide nutritional value for your chickens. While popcorn serves as a sweet snack for your chickens, it should be for now and then and not a staple in the chicken’s diet.
Butter is a dairy product that is associated with causing gas in your chickens due to not being able to process the milk used in making butter. If there are too many popcorns treats with butter, the dairy causes bloating and diarrhea for the chickens and eventually causes dehydration and lethargy. Dairy products such as butter can be fuel for chickens’ flatulence, which might not be as funny as it sounds. So stay away from butter when making popcorn treats for your chickens.
Salt is vital for chickens as it keeps them hydrated and gives them a healthy thyroid.
Salt in chicken feeds also helps in the promotion of a healthy immune system. It contributes to muscle development and also helps in laying eggs for some chicken. As such, if your chickens have a commercial diet, they are already getting the required salt for their bodies. Too much salt in chicken feeds can cause kidney diseases as the chicken’s kidneys cannot filter out all the salts. The salt build up in the kidney can lead to kidney failure or even death in chickens, so let the popcorn treats be salt-free.
What about flavorings and sweeteners
Sugar is not healthy for humans, it definitely isn’t fit for chickens, and as flavorings are mostly made with sweeteners, they aren’t good for them either. When you feed your chickens a lot of sugar, they get very obese, affecting their egg production. Also, when the chickens get accustomed to having sweeteners in their feeds, they tend to become a bit picky, and they might not eat anything else any other way.
Can Chickens Eat Popcorn Seeds?
There is no significant difference between popcorn seeds and corn seeds, except that popcorn seeds are lower in sugar. If you are a popcorn farmer, fresh off the cobb popcorn is a very nutritious and healthy treat for your chickens. When popcorn is fresh, it is also high in proteins and very moderate in carbs levels.
This type of popcorn is soft before it’s dried, making it very easy to digest for chickens. When you grow your own popcorn, you can also make freedom boosters for your chickens by hanging a cob or two from twine for them to peck at. As corn cobs are a great deal of fun for chickens, even an entire cob for the chickens to pick at and roll around is as much a treat.
Chickens and Unpopped Popcorn
After making a lot of popcorn, it is evident for several kernels to be left, but can chickens eat unpopped popcorn? Kernels are unpopped popcorns that are tough and a bit dried up. They result from water escaping from the inside of the popcorn instead of building up to burst, which makes kernels harder than any other type of dried corn.
When you feed kernels on your chickens, their gizzards can break the kernels down eventually, but there are some risks involved. It is effortless for chickens to choke on these kernels, and even though some chickens use the unpopped kernels as grit, they may lack enough grit to break them down. When this happens, chickens have a tough time passing the undigested corn, and if your chickens are smaller than average, they could die from this.
Roosters and Popcorn
Roosters are laying eggs, and they feed on the same feeds as other hens. Roosters need a little more calcium, and their growing pullets can use some more proteins. Basically, there isn’t much that your hens will eat that rooster won’t eat, as roosters will also prefer popcorn treat with their meals.
You don’t have to worry about separating your roosters from the rest of the hens when feeding them popcorn treats. Roosters will appreciate popcorn treats the same way other hens would be they popped, fresh, or on the cob.
Baby Chickens and Popcorn
Baby chicks have a very tricky diet, which is why they shouldn’t just be fed popcorn treats. If you are raising your chicks in a brooder, they shouldn’t have any treats until they are old enough for a healthy diet. Chicks that are raised by the mothers could already be shown how to eat these treats, but for them to easily digest the popcorn and kernels, they need the grit as well.
Baby chickens require a lot of vitamins and nutrients to grow, and as they are in a susceptible stage, too many treats could be harmful and challenging for them to eat. Some popcorn could be too large for chicks to eat, and they pose a choking hazard, so best give them nutritious herbs and bugs instead.
If you are a chicken keeper wondering what to feed them, chickens can eat popcorn, and they love it! Your chickens will appreciate the change in texture and the variety of changes in their diets!
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