Chickens are aficionado feeders, but there is a lot of food that is unsafe to them. If you are a chicken breeder, you have many questions, of course, on what they can and cannot consume. But what about cheese? Can chickens eat cheese?
This article will cover
- Can Your Chickens Eat All Types Of Cheese?
- Right Amount Of Cheese To Feed Your Chickens
- Safe Cheese Your Chickens Can Eat
- How To Feed Cheese To Your Chickens
- Cheese Nutrition Your Chickens Can Benefit
- Cheese Benefits To Your Chickens
Can Your Chickens Eat All Types Of Cheese?
Cheese is an all-around and popular food in most homes. It’s safe for humans to consume cheese, but what if you want to provide some to your chickens? The question is can your chickens eat cheese?
Chickens love to eat cheese like humans. The truth is, chickens can consume cheese. But, like other treats for your chickens, make sure you limit the amount you give them to keep them in good shape. Cheese is not toxic to your chicken’s health.
Yet as chicken breeders, we should be aware of what type of cheese is harmless for our fowl friends to ingest. Also, your chickens can eat cheese but only on occasional times and never in large servings.
Vitamins and trace minerals fill the cheese that will rally around your chickens to grow solid. Cheese contains heavy elements that can be harmful to your cluckers when you feed them too often.
Let’s take a look at many selections of cheeses and determine if they’re safe or harmful for your flock. We will also take a look at the nutritional report of each different type of cheese. More so, we will also present proper portions of serving these delectable treats to your poultry.
Right Amount Of Cheese To Feed Your Chickens
Cheese in itself is not harmful, but too much of it is unhealthy. It can surprise you how there are many healthy and helpful ways for including cheese in your chickens’ diets in a frequent manner.
Furthermore, there are a lot of nutrients in cheese your cluckers can enjoy. Cheese is high in calorie count plus has calcium and vitamin D.
With these nutrients alone in your chickens’ diet, cheese is a top-notch supplement. More so during the winter season when your chickens need more energy to warm them.
Chickens have fun eating cheese together with other dairy products. Goats cheese, cottage cheese, cheddar, and Mozzarella are a number of the best preferences.
But chickens must eat cheese in limited quantities and moderation. You should feed your feathered pets in more limited amounts if the cheese has more fat content. Or else your fowls experience diarrhea and weight gain.
Too much cheese consumption for your flock may turn them obese. Obesity in chickens can be the factor of many health issues like giant eggs, fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome, and lower fertility.
Therefore, cheese should only make up only ten percent of your poultry’s main diet. Because of cheese’s high-fat substance, you should feed cheese infrequent to your chickens. The cheese will make an additional threat to their primary food but don’t feed them too much, or it could cause health issues on your poultry.
Safe Cheese Your Chickens Can Eat
Goat cheese is better than cow’s cheese because it has less lactose and sodium. More so, goat cheese also contains lower fat content that is simpler for birds to digest.
You can also blend soft cheese with other treats, and the best option would be cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is a bit gooey, so don’t provide it to your birds as it is.
Moldy cheese is also an excellent treat for chickens because it’s from cultured penicillin. Moldy cheese or blue cheese has antibacterial properties that boost the immunity of the chickens.
You can serve mozzarella cheese to your chickens in shredded or in blocks. Mozzarella is one of the least acidic cheeses, so it’s suitable for your fowls in general.
It’s easier for the fowls to peck and eat shredded cheese. This type of drier cheese can blend on their feed and is easier for the chicken’s body to absorb.
Avoid heavily processed cheese filled with solid flavors from seasonings and spices. American cheese is one example of a dairy product to avoid because it has lesser nourishment and can be hard to digest on chickens.
More so, block cheese would be complex for chickens to eat and digest. But, mozzarella cheese is fine for chickens even as a block because it’s soft and easy for the birds to peck.
Take note that cheese has a lot of fat and protein, but the quantities depend on the styles and types of this dairy product. Cheddar cheese is high in fat, so be careful with the portion of what you feed your fowls. But cottage cheese is lower in calorie content and only has a small amount of fat.
That’s why how you feed cheese to your chickens depends on what type of cheese you provide them. Any cheese contains a lot of protein. The protein in cheese contains Casein that lowers blood pressure, and improves the absorption of other nutrients. These benefits are great for the egg production of your poultry.
How To Feed Cheese To Your Chickens
Here are several ways to feed cheese to your chickens:
Whole Block of Cheese
We wouldn’t recommend you feed your chickens a whole block of cheese in general because it’s not easy for them to eat and digest it. But, you can serve mozzarella cheese in a block as it’s softer and more accessible for the chickens to peck and eat. Another block of cheese you can give to your chickens is goat cheese.
Cut Or Sliced Cheese
Cut or sliced cheese is more manageable for chickens to peck and eat, so it’s one of the best ways to feed it to them. Types of cheese that are best for your chickens will be acceptable to serve as a cut or sliced to them.
Shredded is probably the best method to feed your chickens cheese. Shredded cheese is an excellent option to boost their nutrition by mixing it into their feeds.
Mixing Cheese With Feeds
You can serve cheese to your chickens by cutting or slicing them into smaller portions easier for them to peck. You can also mix their feeds with shredded cheese. Either way, your chickens will enjoy eating cheese in their bowl.
Cheese Nutrition Your Chickens Can Benefit
What is in the cheese, and how much of it? You can find fats and proteins in cheese, but it depends on the variety of cheese. A 100 grams of cheddar contains 406 calories, 37 percent is water, 33.8 grams of fat, 24 grams of protein, 1.3 grams of carbohydrates, and sugar is 0.3 grams.
Cheddar isn’t harmful to the chickens, but it’s also not the best healthy choice. But it has a lot of protein which is suitable for egg production.
Cheese, in general, is high in vitamins and minerals that include vitamins A, B12, K2, calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, sodium, and zinc. Calcium is vital for producing stronger eggshells and more so in bone health. Vitamins A, K2, and minerals like riboflavin and zinc help in heart health and bone health.
Vitamin B12 supports a healthy nervous system, while sodium helps in the proper operation of cellular processes. Phosphorous also helps in solid shell development, while selenium is also vital for optimum egg development.
100g Cheese Nutrition
Cheese Benefits To Your Chickens
Here are some advantages your chickens will enjoy from the cheese on their feed.
Calcium in Cheese
One percent of calcium normalizes nerve transmission, muscle and vascular functions, and hormonal secretion. Ninety-nine percent of calcium goes to the bones.
This nutrient also aids well in egg production. Your chickens will have a poor quality of eggshells if they lack calcium in their diet. And cheese is a good source of calcium.
Protein in Cheese
Protein is also essential in your chickens’ bodies for a lot of reasons. One of the benefits of proteins to your chickens is proper fluid balance, a more robust immune system, and the development of their feathers. So, protein deficiency can result in fluid retention and contraction of some tissues. That’s why you should provide enough protein in your chickens’ everyday diet.
Cheese Strengthens Immune System
Cheese contains a lot of probiotic bacteria that are important in improving your fowls’ immune system. An ideal example of a cheese that helps strengthen the immune system of your chicken is gouda. Gouda cheese helps provide gut-healthy probiotic bacteria in your chickens.
Promotes Bone Health
All the nutrients found in cheese help in your chickens’ bone health. Vitamins and minerals like proteins, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, D, K, and zinc supply nutrients for the healthy growth of the bones to humans and chickens.
These nutrients also prevent physical deformities in your chickens. Plus, it contains fragile and porous bones that can lead to fractures in adult chickens.
Chickens’ Weight Gain
You can help your chickens gain a few extra grams. But make sure it isn’t too much, or it will also be harmful to your poultry. Cheese treats to your chickens are suitable for them to gain proper weight and muscles they need to boost their market value.
But be more cautious when feeding cheese to your chickens as it can also lead to obesity. And obesity can be harmful to your chickens.
Can chickens eat cheese? Yes, but not all types. More so, you can feed cheese to your chickens in a meager way like the other treats. Sustain your chickens’ main diet and offer cheese as an additional supplement to make them healthier.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken & Scratch.