You’ll be relieved to know that frozen peas are completely safe for chickens to eat. In fact, a serving of frozen peas will be a refreshing treat for your hens on a hot day.
It can be hard to keep up with what chickens can and can’t eat.
Read on for a quick and handy guide to feeding your chickens peas and other legumes safely.
Fresh and frozen peas are healthy food for backyard hens.
If your frozen peas are gathering frost at the bottom of the freezer, it is well worth getting them out and feeding them to your hens.
If your hens are good layers you’ll know that they will benefit from a decent amount of protein in their diet and peas do a great job of meeting the demand.
Peas are high-protein, fiber-rich, and low-fat making them an ideal treat for your hens. In addition, peas deliver great vitamins and antioxidants which will help keep their feathering at its best. They can’t take the place of a nutritionally balanced feed, but you can offer a serving of peas in a bowl in the coop and your chickens will peck them right up.
Both fresh and frozen peas are fine for your chickens, but if you go with fresh peas ensure that they are shelled before you feed them as the tough shell is difficult to digest.
Peas are easy but other legumes can be tricky.
Peas, beans and other legumes should be a chicken food no-brainer, but it is advisable to be cautious when feeding chickens legumes.
The high protein content and convenience of legumes makes them an appealing choice for poultry feed.
Legumes have almost double the protein of grains with soybeans being up to 50% protein.
However, legumes also contain antinutritional factors that not only decrease the nutritional benefit of the legumes but also can harm your hens. The antinutritional substances include:
- protease inhibitors
You do not want your hens encountering these substances as they will affect the chickens’ absorption of food from their digestive tract. Thankfully these harmful substances are completely neutralized by cooking, making cooked pulses completely safe for your hens to eat.
Field and garden peas have very low levels of these antinutritional factors making them safe to eat raw.
Also, watch out for raw beans!
You may have heard that raw beans, especially kidney beans are a no-no for hens. This is true and it is vitally important that you keep your chooks away from raw, soaked, sprouted or undercooked beans, including those still in a pod on a plant in your garden.
Uncooked beans can quickly kill chickens because they contain the poison phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin can kill within hours of a chicken eating just a few raw beans and is capable of harming humans too.
Feel free to include the following well-cooked legumes in your hens’ diet:
- Chickpeas are a tasty food for chickens, but they will require cooking, not just soaking.
- Lentils are similar to peas in being safe for consumption.
- Soybeans are a staple of poultry feed and require roasting and other processing befor they can be fed to your hens.
If frozen works for your chickens serve up some of these fresh cool goodies!
With chickens, variety is the spice of life and if they enjoyed the frozen peas you can offer them other chilled and frozen fruits and veggies on a hot summer’s day.
Why not chop up and freeze chunks of apple, orange and melon and offer a small serving to see how they go?