Can Chickens Eat Bean Sprouts? What You Need to Know

Article Summary

  • Chickens can eat bean sprouts as part of a balanced diet, as they are nutritious and packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein.
  • Raw bean sprouts should be fed in moderation to prevent digestive upset, while cooked sprouts are gentler on the digestive tract.
  • Bean sprouts are safe for chickens, and various types including mung bean, pinto bean, black bean, and green bean sprouts can be fed to them.

Chickens can absolutely eat bean sprouts as part of a balanced diet. Bean sprouts are a nutritious treat packed with vitamins, minerals and protein.

While bean sprouts offer many benefits for chickens, they should be fed in moderation. Too many raw sprouts could potentially cause digestive upset. Cooked sprouts are gentler on the digestive tract.

Below we’ll explore the nutritious content of bean sprouts, their benefits for chickens, and how to safely feed both raw and cooked sprouts. We’ll also look at which types of sprouts are chicken-friendly.

Are Bean Sprouts Safe for Chickens?

Bean sprouts are safe for chickens to eat. All types of bean sprouts including mung bean, pinto bean, black bean and green bean sprouts can be fed to chickens.

Raw sprouts are very healthy but should be limited…

Raw sprouts are very healthy but should be limited to prevent indigestion. Cooked sprouts are gentle on the digestive system and can be fed more liberally.

Chickens that free-range tend to self-regulate their sprout intake. Confined chickens may overindulge if given unlimited access to raw sprouts.

What’s in a Bean Sprout?

Bean sprouts are essentially germinated beans. They are packed with concentrated nutrition from the seed itself plus vitamins and minerals produced during the germination process.

Here are some of the top nutrients found in mung bean sprouts:

  • Protein – A 1 cup serving contains 5 grams of plant-based protein. This supports muscle maintenance and egg production.
  • Vitamin C – Bean sprouts have more vitamin C than oranges! This essential vitamin boosts immunity.
  • Iron – Necessary for oxygen transport in the blood. Helps prevent anemia.
  • Magnesium – Important for bone health and enzyme function.
  • Potassium – Supports nerve signaling and fluid balance.
  • Manganese and zinc – Trace minerals that act as antioxidants and immune supporters.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, sprouts provide digestive enzymes that improve gut health. Their crunchy texture makes them a fun, low-calorie treat.

Benefits of Feeding Bean Sprouts to Chickens

The nutritional content of bean sprouts makes them a smart supplement for any backyard flock. Here are some of the top benefits:

1. Boosts overall nutrition

The variety of vitamins, minerals and protein in sprouts helps balance your chickens’ diet. The sprouts deliver a big nutritional punch in a small serving.

2. Supports egg production

The protein and B-vitamins in bean sprouts can increase egg size and production. The folate may also deepen yolk color.

3. Strengthens eggshells

The calcium and vitamin D in sprouts leads to harder, less fragile eggshells.

4. Enhances feather quality

Sprouts provide nutrients like biotin, sulfur and zinc for enhanced feather growth and luster.

5. Improves gut health

Digestive enzymes and fiber keep your flock’s digestive tract in top shape for optimal nutrition absorption.

6. Provides antioxidants

Antioxidants like vitamin C and manganese neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and support overall health.

7. Offers natural foraging enrichment

Scattering sprouts in pine shavings or the run encourages natural pecking and foraging behavior.

Can Chickens Eat Cooked Bean Sprouts?

Yes, chickens can safely eat both raw and cooked bean sprouts. In fact, cooking makes sprouts easier to digest.

To prepare cooked sprouts for your flock:

  • Lightly steam or sauté sprouts until just softened. Avoid overcooking.
  • Mash or finely chop cooked sprouts to make them chick-sized.
  • Mix cooked sprouts into prepared feed or offer as a snack.

Feed cooked sprouts in moderation along with your chickens’ regular diet. A 1-2 tablespoon serving per chicken daily is a good amount.

Can Chickens Eat Raw Bean Sprouts?

Chickens can eat raw sprouts but they may cause loose droppings if fed in excess. Limit raw sprouts to a tablespoon or two per bird daily.

Raw sprouts are best fed as an occasional treat. Scatter them in the run or coop to encourage natural foraging behavior.


Free-range chickens that graze on sprouts growing in the garden will naturally limit their intake. Confined chickens may overindulge on unlimited raw sprouts.

What Type of Bean Sprouts Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat all varieties of bean sprouts including:

Mung Bean Sprouts

These are the most common sprouts found in grocery stores. They have a crunchy texture and mild nutty flavor.

Pinto Bean Sprouts

Pinto bean sprouts are similar to mung bean sprouts. They are slightly larger.

Black Bean Sprouts

These sprouts have a stronger bean flavor. Their color fades from black to green during germination.

Green Bean Sprouts

Sprouted green beans have a vivid green color and firm texture. Their flavor is reminiscent of fresh green beans.

Lima Bean Sprouts

Hardy and nutty lima bean sprouts are a good local choice for many backyard flocks.

Adzuki Bean Sprouts

Popular in Asian cuisine, these sprouts have a red hue and sweet flavor.

All of these options are nutritious and chicken-safe. For convenience, mung bean or pinto bean sprouts from the grocery store make a good starter choice.

How to Feed Bean Sprouts to Chickens

Here are some tips for safely incorporating bean sprouts into your chickens’ diet:

  • Introduce sprouts gradually to allow adjustment to the new treat.
  • Chop or mash sprouts into small pieces for easier eating.
  • Feed cooked sprouts more consistently as part of prepared feed or mashes.
  • Offer raw sprouts in limited amounts as a supplemental snack.
  • Scatter sprouts in the run or coop to encourage natural foraging behavior.
  • Avoid feeding sprouts that are old, wilted or slimy. Use fresh sprouts only.
  • Store uneaten fresh sprouts in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Compost any excess.
  • Provide ample fresh water to support digestion of this fibrous veggie.
  • Look for signs of loose droppings and reduce sprout quantities if necessary.

With a little care in preparation and portion sizes, bean sprouts make a nutritious, low-cost treat for chickens of all ages.

Can You Feed Bean Sprouts to Chickens Every Day?

While bean sprouts can be fed daily, they should be limited to small servings. Feed 1-2 tablespoons of cooked sprouts per mature chicken daily as a supplement to their main diet.

Limit raw sprouts to a few times per week. Scatter only as much as your flock will finish within a day.

It’s ideal to feed sprouts freshly picked from home sprouting kits…

It’s ideal to feed sprouts freshly picked from home sprouting kits. Store-bought sprouts last 5-7 days refrigerated.

To avoid waste, sprout small batches and compost any excess. This will provide your chickens with fresh sprouts daily.

Free-range chickens will naturally limit overindulgence on sprouts. Confined chickens will benefit from portion control.

Can Baby Chickens Eat Sprouts?

Bean sprouts can be introduced to chicks after 4 weeks of age. Until then, commercial chick starter provides complete nutrition.

For young chicks under 12 weeks old:

  • Finely chop sprouts into tiny pieces for easy eating.
  • Mix a tablespoon of cooked, cooled sprouts into chick starter.
  • Limit raw sprouts to a few times per week once chicks are 8 weeks old.
  • Avoid sprouts if chicks show signs of loose droppings. Their young digestive systems are delicate.

Once chicks reach 12-14 weeks, they can eat whole sprouts in similar portions to adult chickens. Keep a close eye to ensure sprouts agree with them.

With a thoughtful approach, bean sprouts, along with other vegetables for chickens, are a healthy, natural supplement for chickens both young and old. Follow basic feeding guidelines, and your flock will benefit from these nutritious nibbles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of sprouts can chickens eat?

Chickens can enjoy a variety of sprouts, including alfalfa, mung bean, radish, and broccoli sprouts. These sprouts offer a nutrient-rich addition to their diet, providing vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Can chickens eat alfalfa sprouts?

Yes, chickens can eat alfalfa sprouts. Alfalfa sprouts are a nutritious option for chickens, offering a good source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Introduce alfalfa sprouts gradually into their diet to ensure they adapt well to this healthy treat.

What beans are safe for chickens?

Chickens can safely consume a range of beans, including mung beans, lentils, and chickpeas. These beans are rich in protein and other essential nutrients. However, it’s important to cook the beans thoroughly before offering them to chickens, as raw or undercooked beans may contain compounds that can be harmful.

Can chickens eat broccoli sprouts?

Yes, chickens can eat broccoli sprouts. Broccoli sprouts, like other sprouts, provide a nutrient-dense boost to a chicken’s diet. They contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to overall health. Introduce broccoli sprouts gradually to ensure your chickens accept them, and consider them as part of a varied and balanced diet for your flock.