Can Chickens Eat Olives? How Much? [Complete Feeding Guide]

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Humans can eat olives whether they are ripe or not. When it comes to chickens, they can eat a variety of foods, so you may have wondered, “Can chickens eat olives?”

Yes, chickens can eat olives, including the leaves, too, because olives are packed with nutrition and have health benefits for chickens.

In this article, I will share how many fresh olives and what color olives backyard chicken owners like you can feed their flock, so keep reading!

Key Takeaways:

  • Fresh olives are a healthy treat full of vitamins and minerals that benefit chickens.
  • Chickens can eat olive leaves but you should avoid feeding them olive pits due to the choking risk.
  • Feed your chickens uncured olives that have not gone through the curing process, which involves water, salt, lye, or brine.

Can Chickens Eat Olives?

Chickens can eat olives as an occasional treat because olives have a lot of nutritional content. They’re rich in antioxidants and a good source of vitamin E, copper, iron, and calcium. (1)

olives in the basket

Chickens benefit from the nutrition olives have to offer, which can contribute to a balanced diet along with their regular feed.

For chicken growth, vitamin E levels play an important role. This vitamin supports the nervous system, strengthens disease resistance, and maintains healthy muscle tissue.

Commercial chicken feed has plenty of vitamin E in the formulation, but for this vitamin, the more, the better.

When it comes to egg-laying chickens, they need plenty of calcium in their diet. This mineral is what makes the eggshell strong.

The calcium in olives greatly benefits chickens and their eggs.

Can Chickens Eat Olive Leaves?

The olive leaves are safe for chickens to eat. They do not contain any toxins that could harm chickens.

However, if the olive tree has been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals, I would advise against letting chickens eat olive leaves from those trees.

These chemicals are dangerous and could cause health issues for chickens. If chickens consume too many pesticide chemicals, it could be fatal for them.

Therefore, only allow chickens to eat olive leaves if they are organically grown and free of harmful chemicals.

Can Chickens Eat Olive Pits?

Since olive pits don’t contain toxins or harmful substances, chickens can eat them. However, I would advise against feeding them the pits.

Olive pits come in different sizes; some are small enough that the chickens can eat them.

Unfortunately, pits could cause a blockage in a chicken’s digestive system. The pit could get stuck in their throat and cause them to choke.

Therefore, it’s better to leave the pits out and feed them just the flesh of fresh olives.

Are you curious about “can chickens eat almonds“, “can chickens eat jicama“, or “can chickens eat zucchini“. Check out our articles on these subjects to find out if these foods are safe and healthy treats for your feathered friends!

Does the Color of the Olive Make a Difference?

The color of an olive changes its taste. Humans have different taste preferences; some people prefer olives that are more bitter than other people do.

For chickens, the color doesn’t seem to have an impact on them, and they will eat olives of any color. The reason is that chickens don’t have as many taste buds as humans.

different varieties of olives on separate bowls

The nutritional content of olives doesn’t change because of their color. Green, brown, red, and black olives are all nutritious. The only difference is their level of ripeness.

You may prefer to feed your chickens green olives, as they are not fully ripe yet. These are cheaper to buy because they haven’t gone through the full ripening process.

How To Feed Olives To Chickens

Chickens are smart creatures and know the difference between what they can and cannot eat.

Therefore, you can give them whole fresh olives. They will likely start to peck at the olives and eat them. When they reach the pit, the chickens will simply leave it alone.

However, there is a chance the olive pits may be small, and the chicken could mistakenly swallow them.

To reduce any risk of them choking or blocking their digestive system, it’s best to slice the olives into smaller pieces and remove the pits.

Then, you can toss the pieces to your chickens or place them into their feeder.

Another option would be to cut the olives into small pieces and mix them with their commercial feed. This will help boost the nutrition content of the feed.

The last thing to remember about feeding olives to chickens is that pre-cured olives in jars have been treated with salt water to get rid of their bitter taste.

While it is better to give chickens fresh, uncured olives, jarred olives are okay but should be fed less frequently due to the salt content. 

How Much And How Often To Feed Olives To Chickens

Fresh olives have an abundance of nutrition and are healthy for chickens to eat. However, olives should only be given to them as a treat.

Patrick Biggs, Ph.D. a nutritionist for Purina Mills says,

“Healthy chicken treats can be fed in moderation along with a complete chicken feed. Be sure to follow the 90/10 rule – offer 90% complete feed to a maximum of 10% treats each day.” (2)

Also, olives don’t have all the nutrition that chickens require. Therefore, you should feed olives to the chickens in moderation. Once or twice per week is enough for them.

You should rotate olives with other fresh fruits and vegetables as well. Chickens are not picky eaters and will eat just about any fresh produce you give them.

At each feeding, depending on how large your flock is, you can give one olive for every three chickens.

Do not give them more than this, as too much could make them full, which will prevent them from eating their regular feed.

Other Fruits That Chickens Can Eat


Cranberries are a fruit that is rich in antioxidants and an excellent source of copper, and vitamins C, E, and K1.

These berries are fresh during the fall, while frozen ones are available year-long.

Both types of cranberries offer the same nutritional value. You can feed your chickens cranberries to give them a boost in nutrition.


Grapefruit is low in calories but high in nutrients. This citrus fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is also a good source of protein and fiber.

Chickens can eat grapefruit but in moderation. As long as they are not fed too much grapefruit, they won’t have any health issues.

Kiwi Fruit

The kiwi fruit is a superfood that is packed with a lot of nutrition for its small size. It’s a good source of calcium, dietary fiber, potassium, protein, and vitamin C.

Fresh Kiwi Fruit

These are all nutrients that the chickens can benefit from.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should chickens absolutely not eat?

Chickens should not eat raw potatoes, avocados, chocolate, garlic, onions, uncooked rice, or uncooked beans. They also should not eat rotten food or foods high in fat or salt.

2. Is olive oil okay for chickens?

Chickens can eat olive oil. Olive oil contributes to healthy eggs and helps chickens with an impacted crop (part of their digestive system). 

3. What do chickens love to eat the most?

Chickens are not typically picky eaters; however, individual chickens have different preferences.
Some standard favorites include mealworms, leafy greens, seeds, oatmeal, corn, watermelon, and pumpkin.
Watch this video to learn what Lisa Steele, founder of Fresh Eggs Daily, feeds her chickens:


The definitive answer to the question of, “Can chickens eat olives,” is yes. Olives are packed with nutrition that can benefit chickens.

Chickens should be fed the flesh of the olives only; do not feed them the pits. Fresh olives are better than pre-cured, jarred olives.

Also, remember the rule that treats should make up no more than 10% of a chicken’s diet.

If you have your own backyard flock, do your chickens like fresh olives?

man holding olives


‌1. Jeremy. Can Chickens Eat Olives? [Are They Healthy For Your Flock Too?] [Internet]. Pet Educate. 2020. Available from:

‌2. Biggs P. What Can Chickens Eat Chicken Treats to Feed and Avoid [Internet]. Purina Animal Nutrition. Available from:

Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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