Do you have chickens and their fluffy babies wandering in your backyard and pecking on everything they see? If so, you must wonder what they exactly peck on. Well, there are many things that your chickens could savor.
Chickens love eating treats along with their grit. They can enjoy almost anything, for instance, fruits, vegetables, grains, bugs, and much more. However, there are still some things that you must avoid giving your poultry, for instance, chocolate, dry beans, and rotten food.
Can chickens eat chickpeas?
Chickens can indeed eat chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, but only when cooked. Uncooked chickpeas are harmful to poultry. So, one must give them cooked or sprouted chickpeas to avoid any digestive issues.
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Food grains and protein supplements, primarily soybean meal, are the primary sources of food for intensive poultry production. However, to meet the requirement of making poultry feed economical, producers have started experimenting with other protein sources such as chickpeas as ingredients.
Even though chickpeas are grown primarily for human consumption, they provide great benefits to other creatures as well. The poultry industry employs chickpeas as a source of protein in feeds.
Chickpeas are a major source of food for the following reasons:
Protein is so significant for everyone, be it humans, animals, or birds. It plays a significant role in the development of the body. Lack of protein could lead to a bad health condition. Tissue shrinkage or fluid retention are the major problems that could occur.
In chickens, protein helps in constructing the body parts and makes them healthy. A good amount of protein makes their immunity stronger and assists them in growing new feathers. They also gain their fluid balance with protein.
Chickpeas have a good amount of protein. Many poultry industries feed chickpeas to chickens as an alternative for other grains like soy. Don’t be scared of giving your chickens cooked garbanzo beans, let them live their life to the fullest with such treats.
Cooked chickpeas have proteins that are rich in amino acids, which help chickens in food conversion and yielding high-quality meat. The lysine in amino acids helps them absorb calcium and minerals. If your chickens experience lack of lysine, they might fall prey to diseases like anemia, or develop an impaired reproductive system.
Fiber is a great component of chickpeas. Fiber helps chickens digest food after crushing it in their crop. Better digestion leads them to yield better quality meat.
Most poultry growers recommend that 10% of chicken food contains fiber. Fiber also helps them decrease cholesterol levels and maintain sugar levels.
Vitamins in chickpeas help chickens maintain their embryo during incubation. So, chickpeas could play a great contribution in helping hens lay eggs.
Chickpeas are also a great source of many other nutrients like magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, and many others, etc. in poultry which help them grow stronger and healthy.
If you give an appropriate amount of chickpeas to chickens, then there are no chances of them becoming sick.
Just like other legume plants, chickpeas do have anti-nutritional factors. They include amylase inhibitors, tannins, lectins, protease inhibitors, and oligosaccharides.
These factors can inhibit nutrient digestion, which would cause health problems in poultry. However, they are deactivated with heat. That is why it is so important for chickpeas to be cooked before feeding them to chickens.
The effectiveness of heat treatment depends on the temperature and method of heat. Extrusion is the ideal method to nullify the anti-nutritional factors in chickpeas and making them suitable for poultry diets.
This method also makes them low fat and high in minerals. The proteins in cooked chickpeas are also easily digestible.
How to Prepare Chickpeas for Chickens
One could prepare chickpeas for chickens in two ways:
- Cooking properly
1. Soaking in water or Sprouting
If you intend to not cook chickpeas, you must soak them in water overnight. They will become soft with absorbed water.
To sprout them, find a jar large enough to hold the chickpeas and fill it with two to three cups of water, soak chickpeas and cover it with a lid. Rinse them two times a day. The sprouted treats will be ready for your chickens in three to five days.
The best way to cook chickpeas for poultry is to soak them properly overnight and then cook them in a pressure cooker for twelve to fifteen minutes and let cool. The peas will then be ready for chickens.
Canned chickpeas contain too much salt, so you should rinse them before giving them to your chickens.
Hummus, a paste that is made from chickpeas, can also be given to poultry if it does not contain too many spices. However, try to avoid giving them too much of it because it contains salt which might not be good for them.
Are Chickpeas Harmful to Chicks?
It is better to not give chicks any treat until they reach 10 weeks of age. However, if the chick wants to eat it, giving them mashed chickpeas is a better option to prevent choking.
Chickpeas contain the following nutrients that are good for chickens.
Protein is important for chickens because it helps them grow tissues and feathers. Their immunity also becomes stronger with protein.
Fats are a vital component in chicken feed because it helps them soak up the dissolvable vitamins like A, E, and K. It also assists in reducing the grain dust. Fats make chicken food more alluring.
Carbohydrates give chickens energy to function all day long.
Fibers are significant for the gut health of chickens.
Chickens need calcium to make their bones stronger, as well as their eggshells.
Iron is important for chickens because it helps them store and transport oxygen.
Magnesium is an essential component of chicken feed for the development of bones and the functioning of metabolism. However, it is important to know the appropriate amount of magnesium.
Chickens need 150 mg of potassium to lay fertile eggs.
As phosphorous helps in skeleton growth, chicks need more phosphorous as compared to adult birds. Adult chickens need phosphorous to maintain soft tissues and egg production.
Zinc helps chickens in their proper growth and makes their meat quality better.
Copper helps in proper metabolism in chickens and controls enzyme functions.
Vitamins also play a significant role in the development of chickens.
Things You Must Avoid Giving to Chickens
Here is a list of food items that you should not give to your chickens:
There are some food items that one must not give to their poultry and moldy food is one of them. Mold which grows on soft fruits or vegetables carries a toxin called aflatoxin which causes many diseases, for instance, cancer. You should prevent poultry feed from becoming moldy by keeping it dry. Moldy food could even cause death.
Some Plants in the Nightshade Family
Try to avoid giving your chickens raw potatoes and those with green skins. Pepper plants, tomato plants, and other nightshade plants are harmful because they include toxins called solanine and chaconine. However, ripe tomatoes and peppers are safe to feed.
One cannot nullify solanine even after heating or boiling it. So, keep your chickens away from such food if you want them to live a healthy and long life.
Chocolate is also one of the food items that are harmful to chickens. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine which could lead your chickens to become sick. The amount of these toxins depends upon how dark the chocolate is.
If a chicken happens to eat chocolate, it might get heart problems that could become fatal.
Do not give your chickens everything you eat. Avocado is a healthy snack for human beings because it contains many nutrients, for instance, iron, potassium, etc. However, it also includes toxins that are harmful to poultry. Persin, which is contained in avocados, for example, is a lethal toxin for birds.
Dry beans as poultry feed are also a big no. If one wishes to give their birds beans, make a little effort, and cook them. Dry beans contain hemagglutinin which is so harmful to your birds.
Chickpeas are a principal source of alternative nutrition. Chickens love having occasional treats so, don’t be scared of treating them with chickpeas.
For safety, do not forget to cook them to nullify the anti-nutritional factors. The foremost factor to keep in mind is to confirm that the chickens are taking the most of their food from a quality commercial feed suitable to their age and requirements.
Outside of their routine meal, it’s fun to treat them to different food items. Be certain whatever you’re feeding them is not harmful to them in any way, and treat them well.