Can Chickens Eat Hazelnuts? (Are They Safe?)

Do you reckon the deliciousness of an earthy and toasty hazelnut can be experienced by your chickens?

After all, chickens love seeds, grains, vegetables, and fruits, so why not nuts too?

Look, you may have been left with a few too many hazelnuts on your hands. You may simply be curious. Either way, if you’ve ever wondered if chickens can eat hazelnuts you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s whether it’s safe for chickens to eat hazelnuts, what health benefits they actually have for chickens, and the best way to feed hazelnuts to your flock!

Can Chickens Eat Hazelnuts?

Nuts are often regarded as superfoods. Being rich in protein, fiber, and omega-3, healthy fats. So, is there really anything in them that could be considered harmful to chickens?

Well, chickens can eat hazelnuts and they’re even considered healthy when given in any normal amount.

Hazelnuts are made up of 15% protein, which is in line with the minimum protein needed in a chicken’s diet. They are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants for overall health and wellbeing.

However, hazelnuts are roughly 60-80% fat, which is why they should only be fed to your chickens as a treat, or mixed fruits and vegetables in a chicken-safe table scrap meal.

What About Foods With Hazelnuts In Them?

If you’ve been baking with hazelnuts and you’ve got leftovers, you may be wondering whether it’s safe feeding your chickens foods with hazelnuts in them.

Well, the hazelnuts within the food itself are completely safe to eat. But, often foods like hazelnut tarts, hazelnut shortbread, or hazelnut cookies simply contain too many unhealthy ingredients to be considered OK for your chickens to eat. 

The most obvious reason why baking is bad for chickens is that it has too much sugar for chickens or too much fat. Other baking ingredients can actually be considered healthy. From chickens eating pecans, to chickens eating nutmeg or clove spice. Chickens can also consume fruit and nut mixes too.

Nutritional Benefit Of Hazelnuts For Chickens

If chickens are only eating small amounts of hazelnuts they will be able to benefit from the healthy aspects of the hazelnut, without overindulging and experiencing any unhealthy impacts.

This is because even a small amount of hazelnuts still contain a wondrous amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Not to mention being packed full of protein and fiber too.

Here are the main nutritional benefits of hazelnuts for chickens:

High In Protein

Hazelnuts are a solid 15% protein, which is in line with how much protein a chicken needs in its daily diet. This is comparable to the protein content in seeds, which is where most of a chicken’s protein comes from. From flax seeds, to chia seeds, to more

High In Fiber

Fiber makes the world go round. Well, the world of a chicken’s digestive tract. Hazelnuts are high in fiber, which is known to have several positive effects on chickens. Fiber is essential for gut health, and the performance of the chicken’s whole digestive system.

Plenty Of Antioxidants

You always hear just how good antioxidants are for us, so they have to be good for our chooks too, right?

Absolutely. Antioxidants, specifically from Vitamin E & Selenium but from others too, have a pivotal role in overall health, egg production, and reproduction in chickens.

A Variety Of Vitamins & Minerals

There are countless more vitamins and minerals that hazelnuts have, like Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Folate the list goes on.

But, they would all be spelling the same story: hazelnuts are healthy for chickens in normal amounts.

How To Serve Hazelnuts To Your Chickens?

You’ll know this if you have your own hazelnut tree, but the natural hazelnut comes in a pretty protective shell.

Chickens on their own usually don’t have the strength or tenacity to break through these shells. So, first things first is to get rid of those shells! You can then peel the hazelnuts and crush and grind them into small pieces.

When you’re left with crushed hazelnut pieces, you can either give a handful of them to your chickens as a healthy snack or add some to their normal daily feed or other fruit and vegetable mix. You only need one or two hazelnuts per chicken for it to be considered a normal amount.

It’s important to note though, that as soon as you crack open the shell and peel the outer layer the nut itself starts to oxidize and its shelf life dramatically shortens. For this reason, it’s recommended to crack open hazelnut shells in the days before you plan on consuming them to keep them at their freshest.

That’s All Folks

Being so highly regarded as a superfood, it’s no surprise that hazelnuts are indeed OK for chickens to eat.

But look, just like with anything, you need to be sure it’s always in moderation. It’s essential that chickens eat at least 90% of their diet from their normal formulated feed. This ensures they won’t run into any nutritional issues and will keep up with healthy regular laying.

But, if you want to bolster your chickens’ health and wellbeing, a small handful of crushed hazelnuts can go a long way. High in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. High in chicken satisfaction.

I’m happy to report it appears my chickens love hazelnuts just as much as I do.

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