Can Chickens Eat Olives? A Guide for Chicken Keepers

Close-Up Photo Of Olives

Article Summary

  • The color of olives (green, black, or kalamata) doesn’t affect their safety for chickens; pitting is the main consideration.
  • Olives can be a nutritious snack for chickens, providing vitamin E, protein, healthy fats, and trace minerals.
  • Cured or brined table olives like pitted kalamata, green, black, or sliced ripe olives are safe choices; avoid those with herbs, spices, or hot peppers.

Olives are a tasty treat that we humans love to eat. But can our feathered friends enjoy them too? Let’s break down the details on feeding olives to backyard chickens.

Does Olive Color Matter for Chickens?

The color of olives generally does not make a difference in their safety for chickens. Green, black, or kalamata olives are all fine options. The main consideration is making sure they are pitted before feeding them.

Are Olives Healthy for Chickens?

In moderation, olives can be a nutritious snack for chickens. Here are some of the benefits they provide:

  • Good source of vitamin E – An antioxidant that supports immune health
  • Decent protein levels – Around 1 gram per olive
  • Healthy fats like oleic acid – Can aid in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Trace minerals like iron and copper

So olives are a solid addition to a balanced chicken diet. Just don’t overdo it.

Best Types of Olives for Chicken Treats

Most cured or brined table olives are safe for chickens to eat. Some good choices include:

  • Pitted kalamata olives – Rich taste chickens love
  • Pitted green olives – Nice firm texture
  • Chopped black olives – Classic flavor
  • Sliced ripe olives – Mild sweet taste

Avoid specialty olives with lots of herbs, spices, or hot peppers, as these can irritate chickens’ sensitive digestive systems.

Can Chickens Eat Olives Raw?

Absolutely! In fact, raw pitted olives are the best way to feed them. Chickens will enjoy the texture and rich olive flavor.

Cooked or canned olives may be too mushy or salty for chickens…

Cooked or canned olives may be too mushy or salty for chickens’ preferences. So for a yummy treat, fresh raw olives are the way to go.

Are Canned Olives Safe for Chickens?

Canned olives are not recommended for chicken treats. The brining liquid is much too salty, and can cause kidney problems if over-consumed. Plus, the mushy olive texture is less appetizing.


If you want to share olives from a jar, drain and rinse them very well first. But raw fresh olives are healthier and tastier for chooks.

Can Chickens Eat Olive Seeds and Pits?

No, olive pits and seeds should not be fed to chickens. The pits are a choking hazard, and can even cause internal tears and injuries. Make sure to pit olives before giving them to your flock.

Chickens will enjoy the flesh, skin, and meat – no need to give them the hard inner seed. Pitted olives are a much safer treat.

Are Olives Generally Safe for Chickens?

Yes, most olives are perfectly safe for chickens, as long as a few guidelines are followed:

  • Remove pits to prevent choking/injury
  • Rinse canned olives to reduce sodium
  • Chop large olives to avoid whole consumption
  • Feed only in moderation, not daily treats

Following these tips will allow enjoyment of olives without any risks!

Preparing Olives for Chickens

Get your olives ready for chicken treats with these easy steps:

  1. Acquire a bag of raw fresh olives, ideally with pits
  2. Pit the olives yourself, removing any seeds
  3. Rinse and drain the olives briefly
  4. Chop or slice large olives into smaller pieces
  5. Portion out a few pieces per chicken as a special snack

And that’s it – prep is super simple! Then you can feel good knowing your chickens are enjoying a fun, nutritious treat.

How Much is Safe?

As a general rule, 1-2 olives, 2-3 times per week is a fine amount for a treat. Too many can cause diarrhea, as chickens don’t tolerate high fat well.

For larger chicken breeds, 3-4 olives is alright. But, just like other fruits, moderation is still key, so they don’t miss out on balanced nutrition from their regular feed.

Can Baby Chicks Enjoy Olives?

It’s best to wait until chicks are at least 12 weeks old before offering any olives. Their digestive systems are quite delicate when young.

Once they reach adulthood, they can start to enjoy olives in moderation like the rest of the flock. The nutrients and flavors will be a nice bonus to their diet once matured.

So in summary, olives make a nutritious and yummy occasional treat for chickens. Just be sure to pit them, chop any large pieces, and feed in limited quantities. Following these tips, chickens can safely enjoy this tasty food from the human kitchen!

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods can chickens not eat?

Chickens should avoid certain foods, including chocolate, caffeine, salty snacks, sugary treats, and anything spoiled or moldy. Onions, garlic, and citrus fruits are also best kept out of their diet due to potential toxicity.

Can chickens have olive oil?

While small amounts of olive oil are generally safe for chickens, it’s crucial to use it sparingly. Olive oil is high in fat, and excessive consumption can lead to health issues. Introduce it gradually and as an occasional treat, ensuring it doesn’t replace the nutritional balance of their regular feed.

Can chickens eat autumn olives?

Yes, chickens can eat autumn olives. Autumn olives, also known as Elaeagnus umbellata, provide a source of nutrition for chickens. However, as with any new food, introduce them gradually to observe how the chickens respond. It’s essential to ensure that the olives are free of pesticides or chemicals before offering them to your chickens.