Can Chickens Eat Tomatillos: Safe Or Risky?

Article Summary

  • Tomatillos can be a nutritious and tasty treat for chickens, providing various health benefits when fed in moderation.
  • They are an excellent source of vitamin C, which supports immunity and helps reduce stress in chickens.
  • Tomatillos contain vitamin K, phosphorus, and magnesium, promoting bone strength among chickens.

Tomatillos can make a nutritious and tasty treat for chickens. As with any human food offered to chickens, moderation is key. Here’s what you need to know about feeding tomatillos to chickens.

Are Tomatillos Good for Chickens?

Tomatillos present a range of health benefits for chickens. Firstly, they serve as an excellent source of vitamin C, a crucial element that supports immunity and helps in reducing stress. Additionally, tomatillos contain vitamin K, playing a vital role in blood clotting. The presence of trace minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus further contributes to the nutritional value.

Furthermore, tomatillos are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. This can be particularly beneficial for maintaining the overall health of the chickens. Another advantage is the inclusion of good amounts of dietary fiber, promoting effective digestion in the poultry.

So yes, incorporating tomatillos into your chickens’ diet can be a nutritious choice when done in moderation, offering a variety of essential nutrients that contribute to their well-being.

Benefits of Tomatillos for Chickens

  1. Boosts Immune System Health – Tomatillos are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants, contributing to the enhancement of the chickens’ immune system.
  2. Promotes Bone Strength – The vitamins K, along with phosphorus and magnesium found in tomatillos, play a crucial role in promoting bone strength among chickens.
  3. Supports Blood Health – Tomatillos contribute to blood health through the presence of iron and vitamin K, aiding in functions such as clotting.
  4. Improves Digestion and Gut Health – The inclusion of fiber and antioxidants in tomatillos helps improve digestion and overall gut health in chickens.
  5. Provides Hydration – With a high water content, tomatillos contribute to the hydration of chickens, supporting their overall well-being.
  6. Adds Variety to Diet – Incorporating tomatillos into the diet adds variety, reducing boredom and stress among chickens. This not only enhances their nutritional intake but also contributes to their mental well-being.

Are Tomatillos Poisonous to Chickens?

Tomatillos are not poisonous or toxic to chickens. All parts of the tomatillo plant, including the fruits, leaves and stems, are safe for chickens to consume.

NOTE

As with any human food, moderation is important as too many tomatillos could lead to loose droppings. But they can be fed to chickens without any concern for poisoning.

What Type of Tomatillos Can Chickens Eat?

Any variety of tomatillo is safe for chicken consumption. This includes common green tomatillos as well as purple, red, yellow or orange cultivated varieties.

Heirloom, organic or conventionally grown tomatillos are all fine for chickens. Just avoid any that are spoiled or moldy.

Can Chickens Eat Raw Tomatillos?

Yes, chickens can safely eat raw tomatillos straight from the plant. Make sure to wash them first to remove any dirt or debris.

Some people prefer cooking tomatillos before feeding to chickens to soften them up. But raw is perfectly fine and retains more nutrients.

Which Parts of Tomatillos Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat all parts of the tomatillo plant:

  • Fruit – This is the edible part humans consume. Offer tomatillos whole, chopped or mashed.
  • Leaves – These are safe for chickens to forage on in the garden.
  • Stems – Ok for chickens to nibble on if they have outdoor access.
  • Seeds – Fine for chickens to ingest though seeds may pass through undigested.

So feel free to give your flock tomatillos fruits, tops, leaves or stems. It’s all healthy for chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Tomatillo Seeds?

Yes, chickens can safely consume tomatillo seeds without issue.

Tomatillo seeds are small and pass right through a chicken’s digestive system undigested. So while the seeds provide little nutritional value, they are not harmful for chickens to eat.

NOTE

Some owners prefer scooping out seeds before feeding tomatillos to avoid loose droppings. But it’s not necessary – seeds in moderation are fine.

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Tomatillos?

Tomatillos are safe and healthy for chickens to consume. Both green tomatillos and purple, red or yellow varieties provide important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Moderation is key, as too much of any treat can cause loose droppings. But a few tomatillos a week is beneficial.

Be sure to wash store-bought tomatillos and remove any spoiled pieces. Also offer fresh water after feeding. Then enjoy watching your flock relish this tangy, nutritious treat!

What to Look Out for When Feeding Tomatillos to Chickens

When offering tomatillos to your flock, keep these tips in mind:

  • Wash thoroughly to remove pesticides if store-bought.
  • Check for signs of mold or spoilage and remove any pieces.
  • Start with small amounts to avoid loose stool.
  • Monitor to ensure no chickens show signs of allergic reaction.
  • Prevent fighting by scattering treats in different areas.
  • Remove uneaten portions within 24 hours.
  • Have fresh water available at all times.

Following these guidelines will help provide your chickens with healthy, safe tomatillo treats.

How to Prepare Tomatillos for Your Chickens

Here are some simple ways to prepare tomatillos to feed your flock:

  • Rinse whole tomatillos under cool water and pat dry.
  • Chop or mash tomatillos to make it easier for chickens to eat.
  • Mix diced tomatillos into a grain-based feed for added nutrition.
  • Skewer tomatillo chunks on treats balls along with other fruits or veggies.
  • Hang whole tomatillos from a treat ball for pecking and foraging activity.
  • Add pureed tomatillos to homemade chick crumble for baby chicks.
  • Stuff whole small tomatillos into a treat-dispensing toy.

Get creative with how you serve up this nutritious treat!

Never Feed Tomatillos to Chickens That Have Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients

It’s important to never feed chickens tomatillos that have been prepared with any seasonings, oils or other ingredients that can be harmful.

Avoid tomatillos cooked with:

  • Seasonings – salt, black pepper, chili powder, onion/garlic powder.
  • Fats/Oils – butter, margarine, olive oil, vegetable oil.
  • Sauces – ketchup, hot sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings.
  • Dairy – cheese, sour cream, cream.

These ingredients are not toxic in small amounts, but can cause digestive upset in chickens. Stick to plain, unseasoned tomatillos.

Beware of Pesticides on Grocery-Bought Tomatillos

Commercially grown tomatillos may be covered in pesticides, so either buy organic or wash very thoroughly before feeding.

To remove pesticides:

  • Mix 2 tablespoons white vinegar + 2 cups water.
  • Soak tomatillos for 15 minutes.
  • Scrub well with a vegetable brush.

This will make store-bought tomatillos safe, healthy treats for your chickens to enjoy.

How Much Tomatillos Can You Feed Chickens?

Tomatillos should be limited to occasional treats. For a average sized hen, feed:

  • Baby Chicks – 1-2 small cubes per chick, 2x a week.
  • Adult Hens – 2-3 chunks or 1 whole tomatillo, 2-3x per week.
  • Roosters – 3-4 chunks or 1 whole tomatillo, 2-3x per week.

Monitor droppings when first feeding tomatillos and reduce amount if stool becomes loose.

Can You Feed Tomatillos to Chickens Every Day?

Dried Tomatillos on Blue Containers
Dried Tomatillos on Blue Containers

It’s best not to feed tomatillos to chickens daily but rather 2-3 times a week at most.

Tomatillos are healthy but high in water content. Too much can lead to wet droppings. Plus, chickens enjoy variety!

TIP

For a daily treat, offer smaller portions of tomatillos as part of a mix with carrot pieces, squash, berries, melon etc. This provides exciting variety.

Can Baby Chickens Eat Tomatillos?

Yes, baby chicks can safely eat tomatillos in moderation starting from 2-3 weeks old.

For the first week, feed crumbled hard boiled egg yolks. Then transition to tiny diced pieces of tomatillo 2-3 times per week.

Just monitor chick droppings when introducing new treats. Stop feeding if diarrhea occurs and try again in a few days.

Clean Up After Feeding Tomatillos to Your Chickens

Always promptly remove any leftover tomatillos within 24 hours of feeding to prevent rotting and mold growth.

Also pick up any pieces that get scattered in bedding to keep coop sanitary. Rinse waterers and feeders to remove any tomatillo residue.

And as always, provide plenty of clean, fresh water! This will help your chickens properly digest their yummy tomatillo treats.

In summary, tomatillos can be a nutritious, safe addition to your chickens’ diet when fed properly and in moderation. Follow these tips for healthy, happy chickens that get to enjoy a fun new snack!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are tomatillo plants poisonous to chickens?

Yes, tomatillo plants, like tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, contain solanine, which can be toxic to chickens. It is advisable to keep chickens away from tomatillo plants.

What vegetables should you not feed chickens?

Certain vegetables can be harmful to chickens. Avoid feeding them onions, garlic, and members of the nightshade family, including tomatoes and tomatillos. Additionally, raw potatoes and potato peels should be avoided due to their solanine content.

Why can’t chickens eat tomatoes?

Tomatoes, like other nightshades, contain solanine and tomatine, which can be harmful to chickens. These compounds may cause digestive issues and affect the nervous system. It’s best to refrain from feeding chickens tomatoes to ensure their well-being.

Is there anything chickens can’t eat?

Yes, chickens should avoid certain foods. In addition to nightshades like tomatoes and tomatillos, chickens should not consume onions, garlic, raw potatoes, avocado pits and skin, chocolate, caffeinated products, and moldy or spoiled food. It’s crucial to provide a balanced and safe diet for optimal chicken health.