My Chickens Ate Styrofoam (Will They Be OK?)

I honestly thought I’ve seen it all when it comes to chickens and their appetite. I mean, chickens eat gravel, dirt, stones, and grass, so I should have guessed that chickens would eat styrofoam.

If you’ve just seen your chicken eat styrofoam, whether it was from food packaging, a bean bag bean, or other disposable, don’t panic – some of us have been there.

If your chicken has eaten styrofoam, chances are they will be OK. Unless they really went to town on it it’s going to pose very little risk to your chooks.

Nonetheless, here are all the details you’ll need if your chickens ate styrofoam if they’ll be OK, and what you can do to help.

Chickens Ate Styrofoam?

I wish I was joking, and I’m sure you wish you were too. Did you really just see your chicken eat styrofoam? 

We should have seen it coming, as chickens will peck windows, eat dirt, and chickens will even eat snakes, so why not styrofoam?

The truth is simple, chickens do eat styrofoam, whether they think it’s nutritious or whether they think it’s an insect – who really knows?

Luckily, so long as your chickens have only eaten a small amount, it’s very likely it will cause them no harm. Still, you should make every effort to avoid your chickens eating styrofoam as it certainly won’t be doing any good! 

Is It Ok If My Chicken Ate Styrofoam?

You would think that with the appearance they have, styrofoam would be toxic or harmful to ingest. Luckily, these small white spongy synthetic pieces aren’t toxic or poisonous to chickens. So long as your chicken hasn’t eaten too much, they should be completely OK.

If your chicken has eaten a fair amount of styrofoam, it may be at risk of crop impaction, similar to when a chicken eats too much hay. If your chicken can’t clear their crop, its contents ferment, causing bacterial and/or yeast infections. This only happens when they eat large amounts of Styrofoam, though so is very uncommon.

So, if you discover a half-eaten delivery package or loose bean bag beans, don’t panic. If they haven’t eaten too much your chickens will be completely OK. 

What To Do If Your Chicken Ate Styrofoam

Although styrofoam is rarely deadly to chickens, or even noticeably harmful, you still don’t want to encourage your chooks to eat any of it altogether

If you’ve just seen your chicken eat styrofoam you should follow these steps to prevent any further consumption and help your chickens:

  1. First, remove any further styrofoam within a chicken’s reach.
  2. Secondly, gather your chickens that you suspect ate some styrofoam and separate them. This way it’s easier to observe any signs your chicken is troubled.
  3. Although chickens will normally be OK if they eat a bit of styrofoam, keep an eye on your chickens for the next 12-24 hours. If anything doesn’t look right or seem right, seek professional advice from a vet. 
  4. After the scare is over, take extra care to dispose of any styrofoam properly, and keep your backyard environment as clean and as clear of rubbish as possible!

Signs That Your Chicken Is Sick

While styrofoam isn’t in any way poisonous to chickens, blocked crops or intestines can cause future complications if not treated at the spot. Here are a few symptoms you might want to look out for if your chicken(s) ate styrofoam.


Eating inedible things like styrofoam will probably take its toll on the digestive system. This extra intake of energy might leave your chicken lethargic and tired for no apparent reason.

Change In Behavior

If you notice your chicken acting oddly, then this might be a sign. If it’s unfriendly, aloof, or aggressive, it might be a slight call for help as it experiences unfamiliar discomfort.

Loss of Appetite

Chickens often have a good appetite. Holding back from eating can also be another symptom of digestive discomfort.

Pale Comb

A chicken’s comb—or wattle—is often bright red. If it loses its hue and turns to pale pink then you should know that something is definitely wrong.

Reproduction Problems

Having difficulties laying eggs can be another form of the problems that come along with a blocked or infected crop.


Seeing your chickens eating styrofoam can cause quite a panic. I mean, it is quite an unnatural substance so it’s a fair assumption that it would be bad for chickens.

However, if your chicken has eaten styrofoam, so long as they haven’t gone to town on it, then they will normally be completely fine without any observable symptoms.

Nonetheless you should still keep a close eye on your chickens, and observe for impacted crop or any other sickness. If you suspect there is any problem don’t hesitate to contact a professional vet for advice. 

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