One of the most enjoyable things about owning chickens is seeing how they react to various foods, including the occasional treat that they would normally never get in the wild.
Chickens are known for being highly adaptable omnivores that can eat just about anything, but they can’t eat everything and that includes some tasty food that you and I enjoy.
But how about something like peanut butter? Can chickens eat peanut butter safely?
Yes, peanut butter is safe for chickens so long as it is given to them in strict moderation. Peanut butter contains lots of protein, vitamins, and minerals that chickens need, but you have to watch out for the sugar and salt content.
Chickens can eat nuts, so it makes sense that they can have peanut butter. Peanut butter, generally, is wholesome, but many brands have lots of added sugar and salt that can create health problems for chickens if they get too much of it.
You definitely don’t want to give peanut butter to chickens all the time, but a little bit every once in a while is going to be a tasty treat or supplement for them that they’ll enjoy.
Learn more about feeding peanut butter to your birds below…
What Benefits Does Peanut Butter Have for Chickens?
Peanut butter has lots of health advantages for chickens so long as it is given to them in moderation.
The vitamins and minerals present in peanut butter can improve everything from overall cellular health and skin condition to feathering in case of injury or molting.
Peanut butter can also help with the growth and repair of bones and connective tissue alike, and can improve the overall quality and thickness of eggshells for laying hens.
But, you must be very cautious of overfeeding peanut butter to chickens because it is so calorie dense, salty, and often sugary.
Peanut Butter Nutritional Info
Peanut butter has lots of vital nutrients for chickens in addition to a ton of peanut butter and carbohydrates, both of which are useful for quick and sustained energy.
The nutrient content in peanut butter will vary slightly depending on the brand and exactly how it’s made, but it will dependably contain lots of B complex vitamins, including folate and a great amount of vitamin E.
The mineral payload is similarly impressive, and the best attribute of peanut butter aside from the macronutrients, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and even selenium are all present in good amounts.
Your chickens need all of this stuff, so this is definitely in peanut butter’s favor…
However, pretty much every kind of peanut butter out there has a lot of sodium, and overfeeding it to your chickens can result in serious digestive upset, hypertension, or even worse problems. I’ll tell you more about those a little later.
Is Crunchy Peanut Butter Safe for Chickens?
Yes, crunchy peanut butter is safe for chickens.
The only thing you have to watch out for is that crunchy peanut butter has chunks of peanuts in them, which might pose a choking hazard considering how thick and sticky peanut butter is.
To avoid this issue, make sure you feed your chickens only very small portions at a time and keep an eye on them while they eat.
Is Smooth Peanut Butter Safe for Chickens?
Yes. Smooth peanut butter is also safe for chickens. Again, keep the portion size small, and monitor your chickens while they eat.
Is Jelly Safe for Chickens?
No! Don’t even think about a PB&J for your chickens. Jelly is way, way too sweet and sugary for chickens, plus the added preservatives are not great for them either.
Stick with plain old peanut butter, it’s healthier and safer and I promise your chickens will love it.
Is Peanut Butter Still Safe for Chicks?
Generally, but there are some serious reservations when feeding peanut butter to chicks. First, they are very delicate with strict nutritional requirements so they shouldn’t be eating much of anything other than chick starter feed.
Second, tiny chicks are much more likely to choke on the thick, sticky peanut butter so it is best to avoid feeding them until they are at least six to eight weeks old.
Finally, the oil, sodium and sugar content in peanut butter can spell disaster with a capital D for young chicks. Any by itself can result in serious digestive upset or even full-blown diarrhea.
Either can be fatal for chicks at this precarious stage of life. If you are going to feed your chicks peanut butter, make sure it is given in tiny amounts and only rarely once they are old enough.
How Frequently Can Peanut Butter be Fed to Chickens?
Seldom. Peanut butter is a very calorie-dense food, and as such should only be given very sparingly as a treat or occasional supplement.
A small portion once every two weeks is really all that’s necessary for full-grown chickens. As I mentioned before, it is best to avoid feeding peanut butter at all to young chicks.
Letting chickens overindulge in peanut butter is likely to cause all kinds of health issues, from weight gain (and eventually obesity) to crop and liver problems.
So, remember to keep the portion sizes small, and only feed peanut butter as an occasional treat…
What’s the Best Way to Serve Peanut Butter to Your Flock?
You have a couple of ways to feed peanut butter to your chickens without it turning into a huge mess.
The first and probably best way is to roll it into small balls using some other ingredient as a binder.
This could be oats or some other grain, or even their usual feed. Anything that can slightly reduce the stickiness of peanut butter is good.
The other way is to smear it onto a small piece of fruit or a veggie and offer that to your chickens instead.
This is also effective at reducing the overall messiness, plus your chickens get some added nutrition from the produce itself.
Peanut Butter Is Safe, But Only Plain!
We’ve moved way beyond the old standby choices of smooth and crunchy peanut butter. Today
we have an abundance of flavored peanut butters, from chocolate and honey roasted to ones with marshmallow fluff or jelly blended in.
Don’t feed these abominations to your chickens, not if you care about them! The immense amount of sugars, salts and oils can be dangerous for your birds even in small amounts, causing such terrible disorders as sour crop, fatty liver syndrome, and sodium poisoning.
Stick with plain old creamy or crunchy peanut butter if you want to feed it to your flock, and try to get a brand with as little salt and sugar as possible.
Be Sure to Clean Up any Leftover Peanut Butter
Your chickens aren’t the only critters that like peanut butter. Lots of other animals do too, including mice, rats, possums, and raccoons.
All of these sneaky creatures can cause major trouble for you and your chickens, from stealing eggs and spreading disease to directly killing and eating chicks and adult birds.
The smell of peanut butter will attract them from quite a distance, so make sure you thoroughly clean up any leftover peanut butter from the ground and surroundings after feeding it to your flock.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.
Find out more about Tim and the rest of the crew here.