Let’s talk about chickens and mushrooms.
Mushrooms are everywhere. If you’re near some wooded area and you allow your chickens to free-range, then they have probably come across some mushrooms. And this might get you worried about their health. After all, chickens may like eating, but they can’t eat everything.
Introducing new treats would be much easier if they could eat everything. However, some things are harmful to them.
You don’t have to worry. We’re here to help you with that concern.
So, without further ado, let’s dissect that mushroom.
This article will cover
- Can Chickens Eat Mushrooms?
- What Types of Mushrooms Can Chickens Eat?
- Chickens and Their Natural Gift
- Do Chickens Like Mushrooms?
- How to Serve Mushrooms to Chickens?
- Are Mushrooms Good for Chickens?
- Can Chicks Eat Mushrooms?
- Chicken Treats for Different Seasons
Can Chickens Eat Mushrooms?
This question is not simple. Answering a simple yes or no would be misleading.
There are thousands and thousands of mushrooms. We can’t generalize the answer. There are mushrooms your chickens can eat, and there are mushrooms your chickens can’t eat. So, the answer would depend on what mushroom we are discussing.
However, every part of an edible mushroom is safe to eat. Unlike some treats (e.g., avocados), all portions of the mushroom are edible.
Since we already mentioned that safety depends on the type of mushroom, you might be wondering what varieties are safe. Let’s talk about that next.
What Types of Mushrooms Can Chickens Eat?
Some have said that you need to familiarize yourself with mushrooms. However, as we have already said, there are thousands of mushrooms.
I don’t think any of us could become a mushroom expert in a week – or overnight, at that. Furthermore, I don’t think that would be efficient as well. Doing it this way, I would give up and move on to the next treat.
On the other hand, some have given a list of characteristics that a toxic mushroom has. This method is more efficient. However, the problem with this one is that it poses some risks.
Some mushrooms look alike. You could accidentally mistake a toxic mushroom for a supposedly edible one. We don’t recommend this method either.
What you could do is stay away from wild mushrooms entirely.
You can do routine maintenance around their run and the places you let them free-range. This way, you can get to the mushrooms before they could. Don’t forget to wear gloves!
You can stick to your homegrown mushrooms or the store-bought ones. As with any store-bought food, make sure you clean it well. Mushrooms are safe for chickens. However, it might have a coating of some chemicals. Those chemicals are harmful to your chickens.
We can’t give you a detailed list of mushrooms they could eat. However, here are some common mushrooms you can give to your chickens.
There is a general rule when it comes to mushrooms and chickens. Since I am no mushroom expert, I follow this rule closely. If you can’t eat it, they can’t either. On the other hand, if you can eat it, then they can as well. It’s an easy rule but quite effective.
Chickens and Their Natural Gift
Some have said that chickens are naïve birds when it comes to food. There’s no doubt that they’re big food lovers. However, these guys are bright when it comes to food. They usually know what’s good or bad for them. Chickens have that instinct.
It is possible to see a chicken take a peck at something and leave it. This action could mean they don’t like it. However, sometimes it means they know it’s unhealthy for them.
Are you worried about that peck? You shouldn’t be. A few pecks of something toxic or harmful is not enough to be damaging to your chickens.
This instinct doesn’t always come into play. Sometimes, chickens will still eat something, even if it could get them sick. However, this instinct works best in front of toxic food. So, I wouldn’t worry much about chickens and wild mushrooms.
Do Chickens Like Mushrooms?
Here’s another reason why you shouldn’t worry about wild mushrooms.
Mushrooms have a rubbery texture. This texture makes it hard for chickens to eat mushrooms. They would probably peck at it once or twice and leave. It’s just too much of a hassle for them, and chickens tend to go for easy snacks.
Furthermore, chickens don’t share my love for mushrooms. Chickens are known to go crazy for food, but it seems mushrooms are not one of their favorites.
However, you must remember that preference varies from one chicken to another. One chicken might like mushrooms, while another chicken might dislike them.
Give your chickens a few mushrooms to see their reaction to the new treat.
How to Serve Mushrooms to Chickens?
Earlier, we mentioned that the mushroom has a rubbery texture. That is why you need to cook mushrooms before you give them to the chickens. Furthermore, chop it to avoid making it a choking hazard.
However, don’t forget that your chickens don’t need much sugar or salt. Avoid seasonings when cooking your mushrooms.
They might ignore the mushroom if you don’t cook it and chop it. On the other hand, it might become a choking hazard.
Are Mushrooms Good for Chickens?
There are some treats you can give to your chickens that don’t require much preparation. You could peel a banana. You could throw them some grapes. You could slice up a watermelon. So, you might be wondering now if mushrooms are worth the trouble.
The edible mushroom is known to be healthy. It doesn’t have much sugar or sodium. It has more proteins than the first two elements. Furthermore, it has fiber and antioxidants. We can’t forget to mention that it is also low in calories!
If you want to see all the nutrients and elements in the mushroom, you can click here.
Amount per 100 grams
With that said, you can be a little more generous with giving mushrooms to your chickens. Unlike other food, you can give them a little more mushroom often.
Can Chicks Eat Mushrooms?
Usually, the chicks could eat what the chickens can. There are just some extra care and preparation to be made.
Make sure you’re only giving the chicks the well-cooked mushrooms, and don’t forget to chop it! Furthermore, only give them a few bites. Their diets should mostly be starter feed. They should stay on the starter feed for at least six weeks.
Chicken Treats for Different Seasons
You can let your chickens have mushrooms all year round. However, if you want to introduce some variety, then here are some treats for every season.
Summer – The heat of the sun could be tiring. It’s the same for chickens. There are a few serious problems you need to watch out for during summer. Extra care is vital. You could give them some watermelons to help with the heat.
Fall – The end of summer and the beginning of fall is the molting season. A season where chickens start to look funny or freaky – depending if you’re used to it or not. They’re losing a lot of feathers during this time. Feathers are mostly protein. To help with this protein need, you can offer them some nuts and seeds.
Winter – The winter season usually means that your chickens can’t forage. They would most likely miss the bugs. Furthermore, they won’t be getting their daily dose of protein from those bugs. Giving them bugs like mealworms is good during this time. A few mealworms could go a long way.
Spring – Another thing that chickens missed during the winter is the greens. Start spring by offering them some greens like lettuce. However, don’t go for the iceberg lettuce. They could eat it, but it doesn’t contain many nutrients.
Can chickens eat mushrooms?
Yes and no. We can’t eat all the different types of mushrooms. It is the same for chickens. Some mushrooms are safe to eat, and some contain toxins.
There’s nothing much to worry about the wild ones. Chickens have a natural-born instinct to know what could and could not kill them. They would most probably peck at a wild mushroom once and leave it if it’s toxic.
Once you find the edible ones, you can let them eat every part.
Furthermore, you will see that it is a healthy treat to give to your chickens. Let’s hope they would like it! Even if chickens go crazy for food, it seems mushrooms don’t thrill them.
Introducing new treats to chickens is hard. They may like all sorts of food, but not all of it is good for them. Sometimes, there are healthy options, but they don’t generally like them. Just like the mushroom!
Mushrooms are one of the few treats that contain much good stuff and only a few unhealthy stuff. Most treats are only good occasionally. Not the mushroom. You can be a little more generous with it.
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.