If you’ve recently bought yourself some food from Taco Bell, you might be tempted to give your chickens the leftovers like you would with other table scraps. Yet, as a responsible backyard farmer, you might stop and ask yourself “can chickens eat taco bell?”
Lucky for you, you’ve done the right thing by asking this question, as a lot of people won’t hesitate to feed their chickens almost anything without sparing a thought, even when it could be detrimental to your feathered friend’s health.
Here we weigh up if chickens can eat taco bell, what would be OK to feed them, and what you should absolutely avoid.
Can Chickens Eat Taco Bell?
The common adage “chickens can eat just about anything” is technically not wrong. As we all know chickens are omnivores and will generally swarm anything that you throw into the yard. But, just because chickens can eat some foods, doesn’t mean they should.
To put it simply, chickens can eat Taco Bell, from the tortillas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and nachos, but there are some parts of your meal you may want to avoid feeding them.
So, only feed your chickens the inner contents of the burritos, taco, or quesadilla — such as the vegetables, rice, meats, beans, and avoid feeding them the bread, sauce, fries, etc.
In general, you want to avoid feeding your chickens anything processed, but in low doses, it can be perfectly OK for your chicken to consume, such as with chickens eating hot dogs, pork fat, or hamburger meat.
However, if you are going to feed your chickens Taco Bell or other leftovers from takeaways or fast foods it absolutely needs to be a rare treat, and only in very small amounts so you don’t risk any harm to your chickens health or diet.
Is Taco Bell Unhealthy For Chickens To Eat?
The fact that a chicken can and will eat fast food, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for them. Chickens are surprisingly complex creatures, particularly hens as they lay up to an egg a day. To continue this behavior they require specific elements in their food, such as sufficient protein, fats, calcium, and other minerals.
When it comes to fast foods like Taco Bell, the food hasn’t really got any ingredients that are considered healthy for chickens. In fact, there are certainly some contents in Taco Bell that would be considered unhealthy for chickens to eat, such as:
- High trans fats
- High salt content
- Processed carbohydrates and sugars
Just like us humans, eating large quantities of these foods can lead to a variety of health issues. These foods can affect chickens in a very similar way. The consensus is, if you or your chickens are going to be eating processed foods then it needs to be only as a rare treat.
Ideally, the main bulk of what a chicken should eat every day should be a feed mix that contains all the proteins and nutrients necessary for growth and thriving, such as layer pellets or a seed mix. This should typically make up 90% of all the food that your chicken eats, leaving 10% of the daily diet for foraging, veggies, fruits, and occasional treats and table scraps.
Of course, feeding your chicken some leftovers can be extremely convenient and helps with producing zero waste. Plus — let’s be honest, we all know our chickens love us for it.
Can Chickens Eat Taco Meat
Most of the ingredients in tacos are considered unhealthy for chickens, particularly if they have absorbed any added sauce or salt. But, since chickens are omnivores, you may be wondering if your chickens can eat the actual taco meat, particularly if you’ve made your own ground beef taco mix.
Well, the good news is, chickens can actually eat taco meat, and if there have been no additives or preservatives, or anything processed in it then it could actually be considered healthy. Chickens actually do need a rather high intake of protein, particularly if they’re regularly laying eggs. This is usually up to about 16-18% of their diet. So, clean taco meat can actually be fed to your chickens as a treat to provide an added bonus of protein in their diets. But, just like anything, feeding them in moderation and not replacing their regular feed is the best approach.
What You Need To Be Careful Of When Feeding Taco Bell to Chickens
Aside from the fact that Taco Bell is considered to be unhealthy for chickens to eat in moderate quantities, there are also some ingredients within the foods that should be avoided.
Avoid feeding them fried food or sauces: limit your chickens to the contents of the burrito or quesadilla, including veggies, rice, meats, beans, etc. and avoid the extra carbs and sugars found in the sauces, fries, and bread. The same can be said for any other fast food, including if you’re feeding your chickens McDonald’s.
Always make sure that the food doesn’t contain onions or garlic in any large amount because the family of alliums contains chemicals called “thiosulfates” and “disulfides”, which are toxic to chickens and can lead to a condition called “Heinz Anemia” if consumed in large quantities.
Always take a conservative approach to feeding your chickens any fast foods or other processed foods, as it simply doesn’t contain enough essential nutrients for your chickens. Limit the leftovers from fast foods like Taco Bell to once a month, and only feed them a small portion as a treat.
To wrap things up, fast food like Taco Bell is considered unhealthy for your chickens to eat. However, if you are only limiting your chickens to the inside contents of the taco or burrito etc, such as the vegetables, rice, and meat, then it is OK to feed your chickens, but only in small doses and only as a very rare treat.
Remember, what you feed your hens is what comes out in the eggs. So, by feeding your chickens a healthy balanced diet, you will be able to enjoy healthy nutrient-rich and tasty eggs.