Can Chickens Eat Potato Peels? (Nutrition, Pros and Cons)

Potato peels are one of the scraps you can feed your chickens, but not all types are suitable for your chickens. Some contain chemicals that aren’t friendly to the digestive system. Besides, potato peels aren’t the only treats you can give your chickens. Below are what to look out for when giving your chickens potato peels. 

Should Chickens Eat Potato Peels?

can chickens eat potato peels

Potatoes belong to the nightshade family, but not all types are safe to eat. For instance,  not all parts of white and yellow potatoes aren’t entirely safe, while sweet potatoes have no toxins. One of the most common toxins is solanine, which makes potato peels green when present in them.

It upsets the stomach and also causes other problems like inflammation, itching, etc. Besides, solanine makes food taste bitter, so it’s likely your chickens would spit out the food that has such chemicals the moment it gets into their mouths.

Even if you cook the potato peels before giving your chickens, that still doesn’t remove the solanine. You have to be careful when giving your chickens potato peels. Only provide them with fresh potato peels that haven’t become green. If you give them green potato peels, you’re sentencing your chickens to organ damage, and in severe cases, death. 

In addition, you shouldn’t feed your chickens raw potato peels. Since boiling won’t eliminate all the toxins in the peels, you should bake them instead.

The high temperature will kill all toxins and make the peels more edible for the chickens. However, before you give your chickens the peels, check if they like it. Some chicken breeds are very selective of what they eat, especially if they perceive it unsafe. 

Other edible parts of potatoes

can chicken eat potato peels

Potato skins aren’t the only edible parts of potatoes. Chickens can also eat the leaves and flesh of the potatoes. What matters is to know what surrounds the type of potatoes you want to give your chickens.

For example, all parts of sweet potatoes are suitable for your chickens – peels, flesh, leaves, etc. Not all parts are safe for eating for other types like russet or white potatoes, especially if exposed to the sunlight and turned green. 

Whatever part you feed your potatoes, it shouldn’t be in excessive amounts. Too many potatoes can lead to health complications. Potato peels shouldn’t constitute the main diet; they are only treats and shouldn’t be served to your chickens every time. Three to four times per week is enough. 

Are Potato Peels Good For Chickens?

Potato peels contain numerous benefits for your chickens, as they have the highest concentration of nutrients in potatoes. Below are some of the benefits. 

Blood cholesterol

Potato peels contain antioxidants that help to reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood. Excessive amounts of bad cholesterol aren’t good for your chickens as it causes obesity, liver problems, and sudden death syndrome among others. 

Immunity

The nutrients inside potato peels also boost immunity. For instance, potassium helps to balance the chemical reactions in your body and aids metabolism. Iron enhances the red blood cells, while vitamin B3 helps with recovery. Potato peels also contain natural flavonoids, which fight against diseases in the body. 

can chickens eat potato skins

Bone health

Chickens need good bones to lay and fertilize eggs and grow up, suitable enough for meat. They need nutrients such as iron, potassium, copper, calcium, etc., to have the bone density and structure required for health and egg production, and potato peels contain these nutrients. Besides, the nutrients reduce the risks of bone-related issues in your chickens.

Heart health

Heart diseases aren’t limited to only humans; chickens die of heart failure too. However, potato peels contain nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and potassium that reduce your chickens’ risks of heart diseases. They also maintain blood sugar and pressure. Increased blood sugar can lead to high blood pressure, one significant pointer to a heart attack. 

Metabolism

Chickens need food that aids digestion and promotes their gut health because they eat almost anything they find. Only a few chicken breeds are picky with food. Potato peels provide many vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B3, etc. that enhances how foods are broken down into different compounds.

Satiety

Finally, potato peels have high fiber content, which makes them filling. Your chickens are already satisfied with the little you give them. Fibre also prevents constipation and allows easy passage of waste from the body.

It reduces the risk of diseases such as heart failure, diabetes, etc., helps your chickens to maintain a healthy weight, and increases the quality of their health and egg production. If you want to feed your chickens on a budget, include potato peels in their diet.

How To Bake Potato Peels For Your Chickens

vcan chickens eat raw potatoes

Chickens can eat potato peels that are still fresh and haven’t become green. However, you have to bake them to eliminate every possible toxin in the peels and make them tasty. Below is a guide on how to prepare potato peels for your chickens.

Choose the right potatoes.

Either you’re going for white or yellow or sweet potatoes, ensure they’re still in good condition. Good potatoes should be firm to the touch, not moldy or wrinkled. Also, there should be no growth on them. If your potatoes already have eyes, you should discard them. 

Wash the potatoes

Your potatoes will likely be dirty since they grow in the ground. Scrape off every dirt and scrub them with water and a mild sponge. Ensure you remove all the dirt before you cut it off. You don’t want your chickens gritting their teeth when eating because of sand and small stones.

Peel the potatoes

After washing the potatoes, peel them. Steady the potatoes with one hand and with a knife, remove the peel from top to down, one after the other. While peeling the potatoes, set your oven to 350 ° F. If you’re not baking the peels immediately, soak them in some water till you’re ready.

Prepare the peels

Ensure the peels are completely dry before you add the other ingredients to them. If you don’t want to wait, use paper towels to dry the peels yourself. Then put the dried peels on a baking sheet and add some tablespoons of oil. You can put some vegetables too. Seasonings aren’t needed to prevent internal irritation in your chickens.

Bake the peels

After lining the baking sheet with the peels, place the sheet in the preheated oven. Ensure the peels are appropriately spaced out on the sheet. Cook for 30 minutes and bring the sheet out. You can set a timer, so you don’t forget the peels in the oven to avoid burning. 

Serve your chickens

Allow the baked peels to cool for some minutes before you serve your chickens. You can cut them into smaller pieces; your chickens will love them. 

However, test your chickens with a few cooked potato peels to see if they want to eat the peels or not so that you won’t waste your efforts preparing what your chickens don’t eat. 

5 Other Table Scraps You Can Give Your Chickens

can chickens have potato skins

Feeding your chickens table scraps isn’t bad, but you shouldn’t make it their sole diet. It’s hard for your chickens to be as healthy and productive as they should be if they eat only scraps. Besides, not every table scrap is safe for your chickens. They include uncooked rice or beans, processed foods, eggplants, etc. Below are some table scraps you can give your chickens.

Oats

Oatmeal is one of the chickens’ favorites. Besides, it contains different antioxidants and vitamins, which energize your chickens. You can add vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, etc., to the oatmeal as well. Just a tablespoon of oatmeal mixed with some warm water is enough for each chicken. You can serve the oatmeal raw too. 

Bread

Bread is another chickens’ favorite. They don’t care about the type of bread you give them, whether it’s made from wheat or all-purpose flour. Bread is filling as well. However, only give your chickens bread with high nutritional value and in small quantities. Don’t give them moldy bread too.

Cooked rice

Almost all chicken breeds will eat cooked rice. It contains no toxic compounds and is easily digestible. Beyond the health benefits, rice is a tasty dish too.  If you want your chickens to get the best out of eating this treat, use only high-quality rice like brown rice. However, when cooking the rice, don’t season it. Excessive sodium causes health complications. 

Corn 

Chickens and corn are like twins! It is improbable your chickens will turn up their noses when you serve them corn. Corn has a lot of fiber, which aids digestion, stops constipation, and adds more color to the egg yolk. However, feed them moderately to prevent obesity and unhealthy buildup in their organs. 

Fruits

Chickens love fruits too. There is a wide variety to choose from – bananas, watermelons, apples, berries, pineapples, pears, mangoes, etc. De-seed any fruit that has seeds before you give your chickens. Also, cut the fruits into small pieces so that it’ll be easy for your chickens to carry in their mouths. You can make a fruit salad or mash for them as well. 

Summary

As long as the potato peels are in good condition and adequately baked, chickens can eat them. But potato peels shouldn’t replace their main meal because they don’t contain all the necessary nutrients for growth. Like other table scraps, potato peels should supplement your chickens’ feed and be given to them moderately.

can chickens eat potato skins

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