In my household, it’s rare that we have any cream cheese left over! But, as with most leftovers in the pantry or fridge, one question seems to cross every chicken owner’s mind: can my chicken eat that?
Now some foods are more obvious than others, leafy greens, root vegetables, etc. But, what about cream cheese? Can cream cheese make for a nice and tasty treat for your chooks?
Well, we put it to the test. Here’s whether chickens can eat cream cheese, whether it’s safe for chickens, and if it has any secret benefits!
Can Chickens Eat Cream Cheese?
Spreadable on bagels, a way to make soups and broths creamy, or even as a filling for baked goods, cream cheese is a true blessing to our taste buds.
It’s only right we don’t keep this glorious food to ourselves, right?
Chickens can indeed eat cream cheese, but it should only be fed to them in moderation, much like other treats.
In fact, adding a little bit of dairy to the diets of chickens as a treat is absolutely safe, and actually has some nutritional value due to the high protein content.
However, although chickens themselves aren’t lactose intolerant, too much dairy can still upset the digestive system of a chicken.
For this reason, it’s critical to only give small amounts of cream cheese to your chickens, so they can enjoy the taste and the protein without any negative consequences.
Check this video of chickens eating cream cheese to see for yourself!
Is All Cheese Safe For Chickens?
Although cream cheese is safe for chickens to consume in moderation, the same cannot be said for ALL types of cheeses.
Parmesan, cauliflower, string, and blue cheese all pose more digestive problems than cream cheese and should generally be avoided because of this.
Further to this, any cheese-flavored foods tend to contain additives, preservatives, and are highly processed. So, any artificially cheese-flavored foods should also be avoided!
Otherwise, chickens CAN have most other types of cheeses like brie, cheddar, etc.
Benefits Of Cream Cheese For Chickens
Look, cream cheese is relatively high in fat and salt, which is why its not exactly HEALTHY for chickens.
But, it’s nice to know that when you’re giving your chickens some cream cheese, they are at least getting some nutritional value, which can benefit them in these ways:
- Calcium for bone health and regular egg laying.
- Protein for egg-laying, feather regrowth, and development.
- Antioxidants boosts the immune systems of chickens.
- Fat gives cream cheese high-calorie content, good for extra energy in winter.
- Potential probiotic effects.
When in moderation, chooks can receive the benefits, with very little risk to their overall health. That’s why some chicken owners feed mac and cheese to their flock!
How To Feed Cream Cheese To Your Chickens
Instead of throwing a whole blob of cream cheese into the yard for your chickens, it’s best to first separate it into smaller chunks.
This helps each chook have a taste, and prevents one chook for wharfing down the entire block of cream cheese!
To keep the consumption to moderate amounts, you should look to feed no more than a half a teaspoon of cream cheese per chicken.
Another good way to use cream cheese in your chicken diet is to mix a few teaspoons of it in your next chicken-safe table scrap or fruit and vegetable mix. Add some seeds, some greens, and a few bits of cream cheese and mix!
Can Baby Chicks Eat Cream Cheese?
Baby chicks are much more sensitive to food than fully grown chickens. Not only can they not tolerate salty or sugary foods, but they are at a critical time in their life where they require a specific, formulated diet for optimal growth and development.
Cream cheese and other “treats” should generally be avoided until your baby chicks are at least 90 days old.
Some safe foods for baby chicks include oats, carrots, or small amounts of banana, but these should still be given in moderation and no earlier than 30-60 days old.
Look it’s not rocket science we’re talking about here. But, when it comes to feeding your chickens the right foods for their health and wellbeing, it’s just as important as it!
Just to be clear, cream cheese in small, moderate amounts is absolutely safe for your chickens to eat. Just be sure it’s only in treat-sized quantities!
If done correctly it means your flock can enjoy the benefits of the protein, calcium, and the delicious taste, without any nasty upset stomachs or other issues!
Happy backyard farming everyone.