Chickpeas can be found in almost every household around the world in some form or another. Whether it’s canned chickpeas or hummus, this amazingly nutritious legume has become a worldwide staple.
But, can chickens partake in the amazing joys of chickpeas or hummus?
Fair enough question for any chicken owner who’s looking to bolster their flock’s health and wellbeing.
Look no further. Here’s whether chickens can eat chickpeas and hummus, what benefits there really are for chickens, and things to be aware of.
Can Chickens Eat Chickpeas?
Alright, here’s the lowdown on whether chickens can, or SHOULD eat chickpeas (or garbanzo beans).
For us humans, chickpeas are not only delicious but are incredibly nutritious too. Being a rich source of protein, vitamins, and other minerals.
When it comes to chickens eating chickpeas?
What you need to know first: you should only feed cooked chickpeas to your chickens, not raw.
Raw chickpeas, like many other legumes, contain toxins and difficult-to-digest substances in their raw form. This doesn’t mean they’re deadly to your chickens at all doses, but it’s certainly not healthy for them.
The good news? Cooked chickpeas are perfectly safe for your chickens to eat and are even considered healthy for them in normal amounts.
Can Chickens Eat Canned Chickpeas?
As we know, canned food doesn’t always replicate its fresh counterpart.
When it comes to canned chickpeas, most of the time they contain added sugars, preservatives, and additives. These compounds may help with the shelf life of the product, but they are not considered healthy for chickens.
However, even inside the can, the actual chickpeas are still considered highly nutritious for chickens.
So, as long as the canned chickpeas have been handled and cooked properly, they are safe for your chickens to eat.
Still, fresh chickpeas are considered much healthier than canned chickpeas for chickens as they are less processed and have fewer additives.
Can Chickens Eat Hummus?
For all those hummus lovers out there who own chickens, there’s bound to be a point in your life where you think to yourself: I wonder if my chickens can eat hummus?
Well, although hummus is like 95% chickpeas, which ultimately contains some pretty good nutritional value, it’s the other 5% of ingredients that can be considered unhealthy to chickens.
Added ingredients like garlic, salts, sugars, oils, and preservatives, are known to be unhealthy for chickens, and therefore hummus should generally be avoided.
In any moderate amount, it’s not likely hummus will make your chickens sick, but if they eat too much of it or have a lot over time then it can be dangerous.
Benefits Of Chickpeas For Chickens
So, if you’ve considered feeding your chickens your leftover cooked chickpeas, you’ll want to know exactly what benefits your chickens are going to be getting. Otherwise, what’s the point, right?
As long as your chickpeas are cooked they are safe for your chickens to consume, in moderate amounts of course.
Not only will your chickens love them, but chickpeas are known to have several health benefits for chickens, including supporting growth, digestion, and egg production.
Growth & Development
Protein is one of the key macronutrients in a chicken’s diet.
Chickpeas are between 15-25% protein, so you can see why they can be beneficial to your chickens, being key drivers of growth and development.
Due to their high protein levels, they certainly meet your chickens recommended daily protein intake, helping with the growth of new feathers, egg-laying, muscle development, and more.
It’s due to its high protein content that chickpeas are often fed to hens as a grain substitute in many commercial operations.
Chickpeas, amongst other legumes, are super-rich in fiber. Great for any type of food digestion, whether you’re a human or a chicken!
Fiber aids the body in absorbing nutrients, helps eliminate toxins, and can reduce the risk of some illnesses.
Similarly, the high amount of vitamins within chickpeas helps maintain a chicken’s metabolism and general wellness.
Protein intake and your chicken’s egg production go hand-in-hand. After all, frequent laying of eggs is the reason why your hens are constantly on the lookout for high-protein foods.
Often when chickens eat other safe table scraps, they forgo their high protein levels as they generally eat slightly less of their normal feed. When it comes to chickens eating chickpeas, they contain just as much protein, if not more than their normal formulated feed.
So, feeding your chickens chickpeas as a treat or within a healthy fruit and vegetable mix will ensure they are still getting adequate protein.
How To Serve Chickpeas To Chickens
Rule number one: Only serve cooked chickpeas to your chickens, in their whole, unprocessed form.
Other than this one rule, you’re free to feed your chickens chickpeas however it suits you:
- As a treat: Feed small amounts of cooked chickpeas to your flock as a high-protein treat.
- Within a safe food mix: Add some cooked chickpeas within a weekly or biweekly fruit and vegetable mix for added protein!
- For commercial use: chickpeas can be used as a substitute for other grains, but this is only really done in commercial farming, under agriculturally directed conditions.
You should also note, that chickens can eat chickpeas whole, crushed, or halved, so long as they are cooked. Roasted or boiled chickpeas, it doesn’t matter, but just make sure they are no other unhealthy ingredients along with them!
Can Baby Chicks Eat Chickpeas Or Hummus?
Just to be clear, baby chicks are particularly vulnerable creatures, and require a very high protein and macro-intensive diet to develop healthily and properly.
For this reason, you should always be cautious of what you’re feeding any young chick, particularly under the age of 4 weeks.
From 12 weeks old chickens can safely have cooked chickpeas in normal amounts. Although it may be safe for chicks to consume chickpeas under the age of 12 weeks, it’s generally recommended to avoid feeding your chickens any type of table scrap until 12 weeks old.
Under no circumstances should ever give baby chicks hummus. As harmless as it sounds, the quantity of salt, oil, and additives contained in it is simply too much for their digestive systems, and it would be considered dangerous.
So there you have it.
The key takeaway?
So long as they are cooked and only fed in moderation, chickpeas are safe and healthy for chickens to eat.
Although hummus is pretty much all chickpeas, the additional ingredients can be considered unhealthy for chickens, so unfortunately they’ll have to miss out on this one.
Still, there are plenty of benefits of feeding chickpeas to your chickens and they’ll absolutely love you for it!