Bewildered and slightly annoyed that you can’t find an answer to your daily question, “Can chickens eat tomatoes?“
Luckily, I’ve consulted a dear friend and a trusted chicken expert who told me this:
Yes, chickens can eat tomatoes, but only ripe ones.
Ripe tomatoes are high in antioxidants and a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K, so feed your chickens raw or cooked tomatoes (your choice)…
If you’re psyched to know more, don’t go elsewhere looking for answers — keep scrolling!
Table of Contents
- Chickens can eat tomatoes ― cooked or raw ― but only the ripe ones!
- Unripe tomatoes contain solanine, which is toxic and deadly to your chickens.
- The leaves and stems are part of the nightshade family, so don’t feed these to your dears.
Tomatoes: A Brief Introduction
What’s so great about the red, shiny fruit in the corner you dress up as a vegetable called a tomato? I’ve got news for you ― there’s more to it than meets the eye:
That is, according to Registered Nutritionist Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice) who says this about tomatoes :
“Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.“
Popular fruit and what most people term ‘delicious,’ tomatoes are high in nutrition and taste great.
This red queen is a versatile mechanism: it powers your salads, soups, stews, and smoothies into a robust dish, one that isn’t only delicious but fueled with proper nutrients.
“Since this fruit seems healthy and full of nutrition,” you may be wondering, “can I feed it to my chickens as an occasional treat?”.
If you don’t believe me about all these lovely tomato benefits, look no further than this brilliant YouTube video — it explains everything about tomatoes:
Is it Safe For Chickens To Eat Tomatoes?
Answering can chickens eat tomatoes needs more clarification ― what about safety? Let me tell you the short and sweet of it:
Yes and no. It all depends on the maturity of the tomatoes. Because of solanine, a toxin in unripe tomatoes, these unripe tomatoes are bad for your chickens.
If they eat unripe tomatoes, they can develop serious health issues and even die ― so be careful!
To avoid the terrible, the bad, and the ugly, keep your darlings away from ripe or green tomatoes and focus on what you know works instead: ripe tomatoes.
Luckily, ripe tomatoes are relieved from this toxin: the tomato plants are also free from it, and, as a win, you can be sure that your chicken darlings are safe from harm.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. The nutrients make tomatoes an excellent and healthy treat for chickens .
Here are the nutrients in a small (100-gram) raw tomato:
- Calories: 18
- Water: 95%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.9 grams
- Sugar: 2.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.2 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
The above data is according to USDA .
Below are some of the health benefits chickens can get from eating tomatoes:
1. Tomatoes Provide Hydration
Tomatoes have a lot of water in them. With about 95% water content, this excellent treat is great for chickens and keeps them hydrated.
During summer, when it’s warmer, a chicken’s body will lose a lot of water. It’s true: being active and foraging leaves will leave your precious darlings tired and dehydrated.
You can fix this problem with tomatoes:
By exposing your chickens to whole tomatoes throughout the day, you’ll allow them to snack on them, so don’t be alarmed when you notice missing chunks from your tomatoes.
You can bet that your darlings loved them!
These chunks will do something else: they will fuel your chickens with both nutrition and lots of water.
Now, what about winter? You’d be glad to hear that, during winter, you can feed tomatoes to your chickens to keep them hydrated ― and it works just as well!
2. Tomatoes Promote Healthy Digestion
Tomatoes are a great source of fiber.
You can get what you read on the back of your All Bran box from a fresh tomato: fiber!
Eating this nutrient helps your chickens digest their food better because, as you may know, fiber-rich food promotes healthy digestion.
What’s more, fiber stimulates your chickens’ bowel movements. The effect is less constipation, and more energy as the food slides through their digestive tract.
3. Tomatoes Prevent Illness
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C. This nutrient, which most health experts call essential to a healthy immune system, is vital in helping chickens stay healthy and fight against any illness.
You may recall this about your winter adventures: a time for white, snowy Christmas, nourished with presents and jingle bells.
During winter, it’s cold, which makes everyone cough for months.
Guess what? Your chickens are no exception during winter: they get sick as well.
More so, during spring, when it rains often, the temperature tends to fluctuate, and chickens are prone to becoming sick too.
To combat this result, at best, you can feed them tomatoes. By providing them with plenty of tomatoes and other food high in vitamin C, your chickens will be less vulnerable to getting sick.
If your darlings become sick, having them eat plenty of tomatoes will help them return to good health quickly.
How To Feed Tomatoes To Chickens
Due to their soft texture, there are a couple of methods by which you can feed the chickens. Most chickens will eat just about anything you give them.
Below are the different methods by which you can feed tomatoes to the chickens:
Method 1: Fresh whole tomatoes:
Feeding chickens fresh whole tomatoes is a quick and straightforward feeding option.
To do this, wait for these red beauties to ripen. Once you got them, toss them at your chickens (they’ll love it!).
If you’re creative, you can place the meal in their feeder bowl and let them eat. Too easy!
Method 2: Chicken feed/tomatoes mix:
Mixing tomatoes with chicken feeds is one way to get an extra nutritional boost in the feeds.
To do this, wait until the tomatoes are ripe, then:
(1) slice or dice them into bits and pieces,
(2) add them to the feeds,
(3) give them to the chickens!
Immerse yourself in our helpful articles such as “Can Chickens Eat Collard Greens?”, “Do Chickens Eat Okra?”, “Can Chickens Have Radishes?”, and “Do Chickens Eat Meat?” to further your knowledge about chicken feeding practices.
Now that you know how to be a tomato chef and how to orchestrate a delicious dish, I’ve got news for you: there’s MORE…
1. Can Chickens Eat Tomato Soup?
Yes, they can, and, best of all, they’ll enjoy it too.
Not only are they getting plenty of nutrition that the tomatoes provide, but it will keep them hydrated too.
2. Can Chickens Eat Ketchup?
Yes, but I don’t recommend this! While tomatoes are the main ingredient in ketchup, it also has preservatives.
The result isn’t healthy for chickens. In a small amount, ketchup won’t harm them, but in large amounts, it could.
3. Can Chickens Eat Tomato Leaves & Stems?
No. These parts of the tomato are part of the nightshade family and contain toxins that can harm the chickens.
So, while the stems and leaves seem edible and tasty to your dears, avoid them at all costs.
4. How Much And How Often To Feed Tomatoes To Chickens?
Feed tomatoes in moderation.
Tomatoes don’t offer enough nutrition to keep the chickens healthy.
Tomatoes, like other vegetables, should be no more than 10% of their main diet. The rest should come from quality commercial feeds.
So, can chickens eat tomatoes? You bet! But only the ripe ones…
Green tomatoes contain a substance called solanine, which is toxic to your chickens. In large amounts, these green goblins can make your chickens sick and even kill them. So be careful!
As with anything and everything, you need to be responsible before feeding your chickens tomatoes. Always focus on their main diet first: chicken feeds.
Manufacturers engineer these feeds to provide your dears with the best nutrition, guaranteeing healthy and happy chickens. And you know what’s great? Your honey will thank you for it ― in their unique ways!
But that’s not all: Write to me and tell me how much you enjoyed my article. Or, share with me some tips on making a tomatolicious chicken treat.
Until next time…
1. Bjarnadottir A. Tomatoes 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits [Internet]. Healthline. 2019. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/tomatoes
2. Levy, CHHC J. Tomato Nutrition, Benefits, Uses, Recipes, Side Effects and More [Internet]. Dr. Axe. 2018 [cited 2023 Jan 9]. Available from: https://draxe.com/nutrition/tomato-nutrition/
3. FoodData Central [Internet]. Usda.gov. 2020. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103276/nutrients
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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