Keeping chickens has become a popular hobby in recent years. This trend has even extended to cities and suburbs. It is not uncommon to know of at least one house that keeps chickens in your neighborhood.
If you are considering jumping on the chicken bandwagon, you will need to know what your chickens can eat. Along with chicken feed, chickens enjoy a variety of other foods as treats. Among these is popcorn. So, yes! Chickens can safely eat popcorn.
Chickens and Popcorn
Chickens will happily eat a wide range of foods, and popcorn is a favorite in the barnyard. Not only is it tasty for your chickens, but it is also healthy. Popcorn is low in calories, so if given to your chickens in moderation, it will not cause unwanted weight gain.
Health Benefits of Popcorn
Popcorn also has many health benefits for your chickens. It contains high levels of fiber and magnesium. While chickens do not need a lot of fiber in their diets, moderate amounts can aid in digestion. Magnesium is even more important in the chicken’s diet. Magnesium promotes healthy bone strength and is crucial for carbohydrate metabolism.
Popcorn also contains vitamins A, E, and K. Chickens need all three of these vitamins in their diets for healthy bodily function. A lack of vitamins A and E can lead to muscle weakness and lethargic chickens. A low level of vitamin K causes poor blood clotting ability. Poor blood clotting can lead to fragile chickens susceptible to internal hemorrhaging even from minor bumps or bruises.
How to Prepare Popcorn for Your Chickens
Chickens should not be fed all kinds of popcorn. You should only give them plain, air-popped, popcorn that you have prepared yourself. This means the popcorn should be free of salt, oil, sugar, cheese, and any other added flavorings.
Also, the popcorn should always be popped, don’t offer them just the raw kernels. Chickens can have problems digesting unpopped kernels of popcorn.
It is recommended that you give your chickens popcorn no more than once or twice per week as they also need to eat their regular food and pellets for maximum nutrition.
Dried Corn vs. Popcorn
Many people confuse dried corn with popcorn. Even though it may seem as though they are the same, they are actually two different products. Popcorn is made from specific types of corn, while dried corn is a form of yellow corn that is dried and added to chicken feed. The nutritional value of dried corn is different from popcorn as well.
Other Treats for Chickens
Like most pets, chickens benefit from a varied diet that meets all of their nutritional needs. Chickens need to have nutritional pellets and some kind of scratch every day. Nutritional pellets are enhanced with calcium and protein. Scratch is usually a mixture of corn, barley, and other grains.
Then there are treats. Chickens love treats! Here are some great choices for other treats to give your backyard flock:
What Never to Feed Your Chickens
Even though they are omnivores and will eat everything they can get their beaks on, there are some foods you should never feed your chickens. This list includes avocados, chocolate, citrus fruits, uncooked beans or rice, and salty processed foods like pretzels and potato chips. Potatoes that are green or have sprouted should also not be fed to your chickens. They contain solanine, a toxin that attacks the nervous system.
Can Chickens Eat Popcorn?
In conclusion, yes, you can feed your chickens plain popcorn. Not only will they enjoy it, but plain popcorn provides vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy flock!
Featured Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.