Can Chickens Eat Peas and Reap the Nutritional Rewards?

Article Summary

  • Chickens can safely eat peas as they provide important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including protein, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and potassium.
  • Peas have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects that boost chickens’ immune systems, and their high fiber content aids digestion.
  • It’s safe to feed peas to chickens, but they should be served thawed and cooked for digestibility, as raw peas contain trypsin inhibitors that can disrupt digestion in large amounts.

Have you ever wondered if you can feed peas to your backyard chickens? As a nutritious vegetable full of vitamins and minerals, peas make a healthy treat and supplement to your flock’s diet.

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about feeding peas to chickens – from the nutritional benefits to how to serve them safely.

Can You Feed Chickens Peas?

Yes, chickens can safely eat peas. Both garden peas and snap peas provide important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that benefit chickens. Peas offer protein, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and potassium.

Peas contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects…

Peas contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects that can boost your chickens’ immune systems. The high fiber content also aids digestion.

So peas make an excellent addition to your flock’s diet. Just like other vegetables for chickens, be sure to feed them peas in moderation.

Are Peas Safe for Chickens?

Peas are safe for chickens to eat. However, you’ll want to serve them thawed and cooked for digestibility.

Raw peas contain trypsin inhibitors that can disrupt digestion in chickens if consumed in large amounts. But cooking deactivates the trypsin inhibitors.

Also, feed peas as only a supplemental treat. Too many peas could lead to loose droppings. But in moderation, most chickens tolerate peas well.

Finally, avoid feeding chickens moldy or rotting peas. Only offer fresh, properly stored peas to keep your flock safe.

Do Chickens Love to Eat Peas?

Chickens relish peas as a delicious treat! Both adult chickens and chicks enjoy pecking at whole fresh or thawed peas. The bright green color and fun round shape make peas an entertaining snack.

The sweet flavor and soft texture when cooked also makes peas appealing to chickens. You may see peas quickly disappear when you toss them into the coop or run.

…peas are a great way to add some excitement to your flock’s day.

For a nutritious boredom breaker between feedings, peas are a great way to add some excitement to your flock’s day. Chickens that enjoy foraging will be occupied searching for buried peas as well.

What Are the Nutritional Benefits That Chickens Can Get from Peas?

Here are some of the top nutritional benefits chickens receive from eating peas:

  • Protein – Peas contain amino acids for growth, muscle maintenance, and egg production. The protein in peas is highly digestible.
  • Vitamin A – Peas provide antioxidant Vitamin A for good vision, organ function, feathers, and eggs.
  • Vitamin K – This vitamin is necessary for blood clotting and bone health. Peas supply it.
  • Folate – Peas offer folate, a B vitamin crucial for red blood cell formation and growth.
  • Magnesium – Peas contain magnesium needed for bone strength and enzyme reactions.
  • Phosphorus – Phosphorus in peas keeps bones strong for laying hens. It helps balance hormones too.
  • Antioxidants – The carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in peas promote immunity.

Types of Peas That Chickens Can Eat

There are several varieties of peas chickens can eat:

  • Garden peas – Fresh or thawed garden peas are a great treat. Offer them shelled.
  • Snow peas – Snow peas are tasty served cooked or raw.
  • Snap peas – These plump peas with edible pods are safe for chickens to eat.
  • Split peas – Dried yellow or green split peas should be cooked before feeding.
  • Field peas – These legumes include black-eyed peas, crowder peas, and more. Cook them thoroughly before feeding.

Avoid canned peas preserved with lots of salt or sugar. But canned green peas rinsed of preserves work.

Can You Feed Your Chicken Cooked Peas?

Cooked peas are the safest way to feed this vegetable. Lightly steaming or boiling garden peas, snow peas, and snap peas deactivates compounds that can hinder digestion in raw peas.

The heat breaks down the peas’ skins as well so nutrients become more bioavailable to chickens.

Cook shelled garden peas for 5-10 minutes until bright green and softened. They can be served warm or at room temperature. Just don’t add any seasonings.


Chickens will readily eat peas you’ve cooked for your family as leftovers too. Cooked peas will keep for a few days refrigerated.

Can You Feed Your Chicken Raw or Uncooked Peas?

Raw peas are fine to feed as an occasional treat if digestion problems don’t occur. Some chicken owners report feeding their chickens raw snow peas, snap peas, and garden peas without issues.

But research shows the trypsin inhibitors in raw peas make the protein harder to digest. The phytic acid can bind to minerals as well.

So raw peas should not become a large part of your flock’s diet. Lightly cooking peas helps chickens absorb more nutrients. Monitor to ensure raw peas don’t cause runny droppings.

Can Chickens Eat Frozen Peas?

Frozen peas work well since chickens like them served thawed or just partially thawed. The freezing process doesn’t destroy nutrients like canning does.

Let the frozen peas partially thaw so they are easier for chickens to swallow. You can briefly microwave frozen peas to complete thawing or serve them thawed at room temperature.

Avoid frozen peas with added sugar, salt, sauces, or other flavorings. Stick to plain frozen sweet peas.

Can You Feed Your Chicken Dry Peas?

Dry peas, such as split yellow peas or green peas, provide plenty of protein and nutrients for chickens. But these legumes must be soaked and cooked before feeding.

Soak dried peas 8-12 hours, then simmer them for at least an hour until very soft. Cooking makes the nutrients more available and improves digestibility.

Allow the cooked split or dried peas to cool before feeding to your flock. They can be stored refrigerated for a few days.

Can You Feed Your Chicken Sweet Peas?

Chickens can eat fresh or frozen sweet peas, but avoid canned varieties packed in sugary syrups. The high sugar content isn’t healthy for chickens.

Rinse canned sweet peas thoroughly to remove added syrups, brines, and preservatives. Then they can make an occasional treat.

For the best nutrition, stick to fresh or frozen sweet peas without any flavorings or extras added. Cook them before feeding for digestibility.

How To Feed Peas To Chickens?

Here are some tips for serving peas to your flock:

  • Scatter whole peeled fresh or thawed peas in the coop, run, or foraging area so chickens can hunt and peck at them.
  • Chop cooked peas into bite-sized pieces. Mix the chopped peas into a grain-based feed or moist mash.
  • Hide whole peas in bushes, piles of hay, or under leaves for chickens to forage. This gives them exercise and enriches their environment.
  • Offer peas in a bowl placed inside the coop or run for free-choice snacking. Scatter them so all chickens get a chance.
  • Mix thawed peas into a homemade treat blend along with corn, oats, and bird seed or chicken scratch.

How Much Peas to Feed Chickens?

Feed peas in moderation as a supplemental treat a few times a week, not as a daily vegetable. About 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup portions of chopped peas 2-3x a week per chicken works as a guideline.

Monitor your flock as you introduce peas. Decrease portions if peas cause loose droppings. Some individual chickens may tolerate peas better than others.

Free-choice feeding of a pea snack bowl works for well-managed small flocks. Larger flocks will require more regimented pea servings so all chickens get their share.

Can You Feed Your Baby Chicks Peas?

Baby chicks can benefit from peas starting from 4-6 weeks old as they develop and grow feathers. The vitamins A, K, folate and minerals support chicks at this crucial stage.

Make sure to cook the peas thoroughly into a mash to make them easy for chicks to swallow and digest. Tiny pieces of cooked peas can be stirred into chick starter feed.

Limit portions to just a teaspoon or so per chick, once or twice a week. Too much can upset sensitive chick digestive systems. Keep monitoring as you slowly increase pea amounts.

This tasty vegetable makes a fun, healthy supplement to a balanced chicken diet. Happy pecking!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give chickens frozen peas?

Yes, chickens can enjoy frozen peas. Thaw them before serving, and consider mixing them with their regular feed or offering as a tasty treat. Frozen peas can be a refreshing and nutritious addition to a chicken’s diet.

Can chickens eat raw field peas?

Chickens can eat raw field peas, but it’s advisable to do so in moderation. Raw peas can be a healthy addition to their diet, providing essential nutrients. Ensure the peas are fresh and free from any contaminants before offering them to your chickens.

What peas are good for chickens?

Chickens can benefit from a variety of peas, including green peas, snow peas, and snap peas. These peas are not only safe but also offer nutritional value. Ensure they are fresh and free from any additives before providing them as a treat.

How much peas for chickens?

The quantity of peas for chickens depends on factors like the size of the flock and their overall diet. As a general guideline, treats, including peas, should make up around 5-10% of their daily diet. It’s crucial not to overdo it, ensuring they still receive a balanced and complete nutritional intake from their regular feed.