If there is one thing you can count on your chickens eating it is plants and vegetables. Pretty much everything that is green and growing is on the menu for chickens, and this includes many of the vegetables that we eat ourselves.
Furthermore, chickens need vegetables for all the same reasons that we do, including digestive health and overall nutrition.
How about green peppers? Are green peppers safe for chickens to eat?
Yes, green peppers are safe for chickens and contain many vital minerals and vitamins that chickens need for good health.
However, all other parts of the plant contain harmful levels of the toxins solanine, so never let your chickens eat the stems, roots, or leaves.
This isn’t a huge worry so long as you exercise a little diligence, but I’ll tell you about all the specifics below…
What Benefits Do Green Peppers Have for Chickens?
Green peppers, like the other varieties of bell pepper, contain a great variety of vitamins and minerals that can improve the health of your chickens.
Periodic feeding of green peppers has been shown to improve cellular and organ health, promote the healing of skin and muscle, maximize bone growth and density, and improve overall circulatory health by boosting the production of red blood cells and the oxygenation of the bloodstream.
The nutrients in green peppers can help to boost immune system health, and eliminate free radicals which can cause disease in chickens.
It will also help to stabilize a healthy level of electrolytes which can allow a chicken to better cope with heat stress.
Combined with the moisture content of green peppers this is a great way to give them a little extra hydration on a very hot day.
Green Pepper Nutritional Info
As mentioned, green peppers have a lot of good stuff that chickens need. Looking at the vitamin content, we see that we have a great amount of vitamin A and good amounts of vitamin E and vitamin K.
Green peppers have tons of vitamin C, but unfortunately the vitamin C is somewhat wasted in a chicken’s diet since they can make their own, unlike us humans.
Green peppers also have a great selection of the B complex vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6 and folate.
The mineral content is not quite as impressive but still entirely worth mentioning, with solid amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus zinc, and calcium with slightly higher amounts of manganese and potassium.
Are Green Peppers Safe for Chickens Raw?
Yes, green peppers are totally safe for chickens when raw. Raw is actually the best way to serve peppers to your chickens since they have the maximum amount of nutrients possible.
Cooking depletes the nutritional content of peppers in direct proportion to how intensely and how long it is cooked.
Be Careful: Other Parts of the Pepper Plant are Toxic
When feeding green peppers to chickens, they should only be allowed to eat the pepper itself and anything else inside it, besides the flesh.
All other parts of the pepper plant, including the leaves, stems, and roots, contain a toxin called solanine which can be very harmful to chickens when eaten in large enough amounts.
This is the same toxin found in other nightshade family members like potatoes and tomatoes.
Fortunately, the amount of solanine present in the flesh of peppers is minimal to nonexistent, so you don’t need to worry about giving your chickens the peppers themselves.
Just take great care that you remove the stems, and never let your chickens nibble on your pepper plants if you grow them yourself.
Are Green Pepper Skins Safe for Chicken?
Yes. To clarify, all parts of the pepper itself are completely safe for chickens. Your chickens might not like the skins of peppers, and that is okay, but they are completely safe and very nutritious, so feel free to leave them on.
Are Pepper Seeds Safe for Chickens?
Yes, they are. The small seeds present in most peppers are entirely edible for chickens.
They are a decent source of energy and contain a variety of other nutrients as well, so you don’t need to worry about discarding them when preparing the peppers. Just make sure they are not too large for your birds.
Can You Cook Green Peppers to Give Them to Chickens?
Yes, you can. Cooking peppers is one way to make them more appealing to chickens that might not be interested in them otherwise, since their texture will change significantly.
However, as mentioned above cooking peppers will deplete their nutritional content and make them less beneficial. If you choose to cook peppers for your chickens, try to keep it as light as possible.
Roasting or sautéing is a great way to do this without losing too many of the health benefits.
Are Green Peppers Still Safe for Baby Chicks?
Yes, but you should let your chicks grow up a bit before you let them try peppers. Even though peppers are totally safe, nutritious, and wholesome, baby chicks are quite sensitive to changes in their diet, and anything that upsets their stomach or causes digestive issues can be life-threatening.
Once your chicks are anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks old you can let them try some tiny tidbits of green pepper so long as they’re getting the required amount of feed in their diet as usual.
Also, under no circumstances should chicks be allowed near pepper plants; even a little bit of ingested solanine could kill them.
How Often Can Green Peppers be Fed to Chickens?
Green peppers are certainly good for chickens, but they aren’t nutritionally complete, and are just too moist for regular consumption.
Because of this, stick to feeding your flock a small serving of peppers as a treat or supplement once or twice a week.
If you do this, they won’t be missing out on other foods they need more and will still get all of the benefits and enjoyment they need from the peppers.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Green Peppers to Your Flock?
If serving raw peppers to your chickens, consider chopping them up into small chunks that are easy to swallow, and don’t forget that they can have the seeds.
If you want to cook peppers for your chickens, lightly roast them, as mentioned above, then chop them after letting them cool.
Whatever way you prepare the peppers for your flock, make sure not to add salt or any other seasoning before giving them to your birds.
Try to Only Feed Green Peppers to Chickens if They are Pesticide Free
One risk associated with green peppers though not especially associated with them is pesticide residue.
Peppers, like all modern produce, are heavily treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers which can cause significant health issues for chickens if ingested.
Washing and even peeling are not enough to eliminate all of these residues.
Whenever possible, try to purchase organically grown peppers from the store or get them from a trusted supplier- assuming you don’t grow your own!
Green Peppers are Safe, But Only Safe By Itself: No People Food!
Green peppers are safe for chickens, but so many of the foods we use peppers in and the ingredients we add to them are not.
Any added ingredients like excess oil, salty seasonings, butter, and so on aren’t safe for chickens, and can be toxic to them in high quantities.
So if you do choose to feed your flock peppers, make sure that they are only getting the pepper itself, plain, with no other “people foods” mixed in.
Don’t Leave Green Peppers Scraps Around the Run or Coop
And lastly, make sure you clean up all green pepper scraps when your chickens are finished with them.
Green peppers rot quickly, especially after being cut, and if they are allowed to go moldy, they can make your chickens sick if they decide to nibble on them later.
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.