There comes a time where you’re sitting at the table trying to finish your McDonalds when you realize you’ve simply bought too much to feed the family. Maybe you have burgers, fries, or nuggets leftover and you might be thinking: Can my chickens eat McDonald’s?
While chickens will swarm just about anything in the yard, it’s also your responsibility to feed them appropriate foods and treats.
Let’s go through whether you can feed your chickens McDonald’s as a treat, what’s safe and what’s not, and what you need to be careful of.
Can Chickens Eat McDonald’s?
Chicken’s are omnivores, meaning they will eat both meat and vegetables and anything in between, and I really mean ANYTHING. But, when it comes to feeding your chickens treats you still want to be sure they are getting some kind of nutritional value, and that it’s actually safe for them to consume.
So, put simply, chickens can eat McDonald’s, and will happily have a go at a burger, fries, and even nuggets. But, it’s certainly not healthy for your chickens and offers very little in terms of proper nutritional value, as it’s mostly just processed foods, high in fat, sugar, and salt.
If you are going to give your chickens a sample of your McDonalds you can try giving them only the parts which offer some kind of nutritional benefit. Although this is somewhat scarce in fast foods, the healthiest and safest parts are the salad fillings and the meat.
In ordinary cases, feeding your chickens hamburger meat can be considered protein-rich and nutritious, but only when it’s not processed and free of sauces and seasonings.
Can Chickens Eat Chicken Nuggets?
Although chickens will eat chicken McNuggets, it enters the realm of an ethical debate. Some say that chickens can safely eat chicken, others say it’s simply wrong and can lead to disease and sickness.
Putting the ethical controversy aside, chicken nuggets are simply unhealthy for chickens to consume as they are packed with salt, fat, and preservatives, all of which in high doses are considered unhealthy or unsafe for your chicken to consume.
Sure, giving your chickens literally one bite won’t do them harm, but it certainly won’t do them good either! This goes for other processed meats too. For example, chickens will eat hot dogs, and although it’s a good source of protein, it should still be fed to your chickens very sparingly.
Can Chickens Eat McDonald’s Fries?
You may be thinking, fries are just potatoes so they should be OK to feed your chickens right?
Ordinarily, chickens are fine to consume potatoes or home-baked french fries as a treat. These forms of potatoes do still hold some nutritional content, although should still be fed only as a rare treat. But, when it comes to McDonald’s fries or other deep-fried fries, the oil and fat content is simply too high to be considered safe to feed your chickens.
So, Is It Safe To Give Your Chickens Mcdonalds?
Before looking at what’s considered unsafe, let’s bring it back to basic chicken nutrition. Chickens require a balanced diet to stay healthy, and to keep laying eggs regularly. This means giving your flock high-quality feed, which is packed full of protein, nutrients, minerals, and contains grains, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
The bulk of your chickens’ diet, up to about 90%, should consist of your normal layer pellets or seed mix. Fruits, vegetables, and other chicken-safe table scraps should make up the remaining 10 percent to add a variety of nutrients into your chicken’s diet.
Such a diet will provide your feathery friends with the proper amounts of protein and nutrients they require to grow and stay happy and healthy.
So, although chickens will enjoy eating leftovers of junk food — not to mention how convenient it can be for owners when it comes to recycling food waste and cutting down on feed costs–, it’s not a good idea to do it regularly.
If you’re going to feed your chickens fast foods like Taco Bell or Mcdonalds as an occasional treat, it’s important to get rid of the most unhealthy elements of the food, like sauces, fries, and bread, and just feed them the meat and vegetables.
This will drastically cut down the unhealthy ingredients, reducing your chicken’s intake of excess fats, salt, processed sugars, and processed carbohydrates.
Careful Considerations When Feeding Mcdonalds to Chickens
If you’re planning on giving your chicken Mcdonalds as a treat even just once keep the following points in mind:
- Make sure any meats are not moldy or undercooked. This can cause food poisoning or other complications.
- In moderation, cooked meat is fine for chickens to eat. However, this isn’t a necessity for chickens as with dogs, for example.
- Try to avoid giving your birds fried skin, burger buns, sauces, or fries. All of these foods are loaded with large quantities of fat and carbohydrates, which are extremely bad for any avian health.
- Never give your chickens desserts from McDonald’s, such as pies, cookies, and ice cream. These are packed full of processed sugars which are harmful to your chooks.
- Don’t give your chickens Mcdonald’s food that has onions. These contain thiosulfate, which can lead to Heinz anemia if consumed in high doses.
The final takeaway here (pardon the pun), is that Mcdonald’s in any amount is considered an unhealthy treat for your chickens. Although in small amounts it may be completely harmless for your chickens to consume, it doesn’t contain any valuable nutrients and therefore should be given to your chickens at the lowest priority.
For other ideas on household, pantry, or refrigerated chicken-safe snacks check out the comprehensive guide to safe table scraps for your chickens.