Chickens are known to like and eat a lot of food. In fact, they have their own unique and beaming energy when it comes to eating. While solid food has been the basic and common form for their consumption, chicken owners can also ask, “Can chickens eat yogurt?” Obviously, Humans love it; how about chickens?
All About Yogurt
Yogurt has been quite the favorite for some humans, especially those on a special diet. People on televisions following a particular diet usually carry a cup of yogurt with them or have their fridge stuffed with it. What is yogurt exactly?
Yogurt is, first and foremost, a dairy product. It’s a mixture of milk fermented by a specific type of culture. This culture is responsible for the production of lactic acid. Overall, milk undergoes quite a handful of processes before becoming yogurt. The following are some of the main methods or steps in producing yogurt.
- Standardization of fat
- Dry matter enrichment (adding milk powder or concentration)
- Inoculation (This is also where lactic ferments are added)
After the following processes, there are two ways the whole production can continue. One is to make set yogurt, and the other is stirred yogurt. For set yogurt, the following processes follow.
- Over fermentation
- Tunnel cooling
- Cold storage
The other set of processes is to produce stirred yogurt. Here are the following steps for stirred yogurt.
- Fermentation in tanks
- Coagulum stirring
- Cold storage
So, where did yogurt come from exactly? An interesting fact about yogurt is that it is very old food. In fact, it is older than you. The first yogurts and traces of them were found between 10,000 to 5,000 BCE.
This is where people started discovering a new way of life like planting, gardening, in the most basic sense, agriculture as a whole. During these times, people also begin domesticating animals like cows, buffalo, goats, and others. Some of which produce milk.
A source of milk and some creative minds, then voila! Please welcome yogurt. Well, of course, they started by changing little by little and then slowly developing and discovering something more. Perhaps, something as timeless as yogurt.
Do Chickens Like Yogurt?
Yogurt has been a favorite for some and a casual meal for others. But is yogurt something chickens like? The answer is yes. Despite the not-much-solid-form of yogurt, unlike any other basic chicken food, chickens actually like eating yogurt. Although, like any other food, yogurts need to be eaten in moderation as well.
Yogurt and Its Good Stuff For Chickens
While yogurt is clearly not the apparent type of chicken meal for chickens, it has quite a variety of nutrition to offer your chickens. Some of the main things that are good in a chicken are as follows.
- Fats – Yogurt can contain a good amount of fats. In fact, yogurt can include at least 8g of fats. When there are fats, there’s also a good amount of extra like carbohydrates and calories. Fat helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. In most chicken feed, they are present to make the food more palatable, more delicious, and fun.
- Calcium – Milk products, of course, contain calcium. Calcium has been famously attached to the concept of bone nutrition which is very much true. This nutrient is beneficial for your chicken’s growth and development. One more thing about calcium is that it is also a significant component of eggshells. Therefore, when you are raising a flock for eggs, calcium is non-negotiable for your egg layers.
- Proteins – Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. The blood soaks up these things and is delivered to different cells that convert these into the necessary nutrients needed by the creature’s body. Proteins are basically the engines for growth. They help develop and construct muscles, cartilages, nerves, skin, feathers, beaks, etc.
- Good Bacteria and probiotics – These good nutrients help fight against and destroy harmful bacterias in the body.
These are just some of the many nutrients found in yogurts. There are also minor nutrients that are also helpful for your chicken’s growth and development properly. Yogurt also contains
Unlike the major ones, these nutrients range from mild to minor quantities per a certain amount of yogurt.
Feeding Yogurt To Your Chickens
Preparing food can always be creative. It’s not too good to stick to one thing for so long. This applies to your chickens too. They need variety in their meals, and they have fun trying out new things just like how people do.
Adding yogurt to one of their treats or snacks every now and then is very welcome as long as it abides certain limitations so as to keep your chicken safe from having too much of something that could be unhealthy to them.
Plain yogurt over any other yogurt is the best choice. In fact, plain yogurt is the only type that’s recommended for chickens. Yogurts can undergo different processes, and so flavored yogurts usually undergo different procedures.
They are given extra ingredients like flavoring, artificial sweeteners, and other artificial stuff that take away some of the original nutrients. Apart from the addition of these substances, chickens are also incapable of digesting these components.
Chickens are different from humans. It’s advantageous to think about these when feeding them any food. What’s safe for humans cannot always be the same for chickens. They are built differently, and so they also require and prohibit different things.
This being said, it’s not recommended to feed your chickens homemade yogurt. The word homemade always sounds so comforting and safe; however, this does not apply when it comes to yogurts and chickens.
When feeding your flock anything, it’s essential to make sure that you are not overfeeding them. This remains true for yogurt, especially because yogurt is a dairy product.
Chickens do not have the required amount of enzyme to digest yogurt and other dairy products. In the same way, flavored yogurt causes diarrhea and lousy gut health to your chickens, and plain yogurt being overly served will also result in the same problem and more.
In any case, do not ever feed your chickens spoiled yogurt! This is also true for a lot of food on the menu for your chickens. Spoiled and smelly yogurt from the fridge can contain harmful elements that can harm your chickens and may even turn fatal for them. Fresh yogurt is always the best and recommended choice.
How Much Yogurt is Good?
In feeding your chickens yogurt, you need to remember that it’s not an everyday routine. Yogurts and other snacks are on the list of food that should be fed now and then, but never permanently.
Small amounts of yogurt once to twice per week is okay for your chickens. On the other hand, yogurt can be pretty pricey to have frequently anyway. But, when opting for it as a treat, the recommended amount is no more than ¾ cup per serving.
Yogurt is healthy only when they are given in moderation. Therefore, giving more and overfeeding your chickens yogurt will only harm them rather than help them. Yes, they may like yogurt, but in preventing them from eating so much, you, as an owner, are doing them a favor.
Cleanliness In Feeding Yogurt
Another thing to note is the composition and form of yogurts. These are not solid like the feeds, corn, wheat, and other food you feed your chickens. It’s important to note that yogurts are borderline gelatin-like, smooth, creamy, and flowy. This way, you will have an idea of how to serve it.
You can place yogurt lumps onto any type of ground. However, it will be helpful to have a shallow dish or a bowl of some sort too. This will help emphasize the yogurt’s white color and also avoid making a mess of the space. Lumps of yogurts on grassy areas are also okay, as the grass can filter splatters from your chicken’s pecks.
If you are placing the chunks on plain ground, it must be best to stay far from them as they eat their treat unless you are okay to get splattered a bit. It would also be helpful not to get the lumps so big and high as your chicken’s face can be submerged.
They do not have the tongue or the arms to make use of and wipe the stains off their face, so they may panic for a while as they shake it off. In feeding them, it’s always good to make sure you are helping rather than creating challenges.
Chickens like to have a variety of food on their menu. Their menu is not just limited to solid foods but also diversity! Can chickens eat yogurt? The answer is yes, of course. Their diet is flexible, and they make room for a lot of surprising things like yogurt. It’s good to add yogurt to their list of treats now and then.
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.