Can Chickens Eat Black-Eyed Peas?

Can Chickens Eat Black-Eyed Peas?



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I’ve got a funny story for you about the time I tried to feed my chickens some black-eyed peas.

Now, being the curious and experimental chicken owner that I am, I’m always looking for new treats to spice up my flock’s diet.

So one day I had a hankering for some southern style black-eyed peas and figured, hey, maybe my chickens would like these too!

I cooked up a big pot of peas, let them cool off, then brought a scoop out to the coop.

As soon as those peas hit the ground, it was chaos.

Feathers flying everywhere as the chickens swarmed the pile, pecking and scratching like their lives depended on it.

Those peas disappeared in seconds flat.

I stood there amazed, thinking I had discovered some kind of magical chicken crack!

Well, let’s just say things took a turn shortly after.

Over the next hour, my poor chickens started acting weird – standing around all hunched up and moping.

Then the first pile of runny chicken poop appeared.

Followed by another.

And another.

Soon the coop was a disaster zone!

I realized pretty quick that those peas did not agree with my chickens’ digestive systems.


We all survived what I now call ‘The Black-Eyed Pea Incident’, but needless to say, they have not been back on the chicken menu since!

Yes, In Moderation!

Can Chickens Eat Black-Eyed Peas?

Now, after that chaotic experience, you may be wondering: can chickens eat black-eyed peas safely?

The answer is yes, but in moderation.

Black-eyed peas are not inherently harmful to chickens.

In fact, they contain lots of nutrition like protein, fiber, iron and potassium.

The issue is that legumes like peas contain complex carbs and antinutrients that birds don’t digest well.

The key is small, occasional portions.

About 1-2 tablespoons of cooked peas 2-3 times a week is plenty.

Too much can overload their digestive system and cause diarrhea, as I learned firsthand.

So feel free to toss a few peas to your flock as an occasional treat.

But don’t go dumping out massive portions or you’ll end up with a coop full of sick, angry chickens!

I remember one time I got a little too generous with the pea portioning for my girls.

I had a bunch of leftovers after making a big pot of hoppin’ john and thought I’d share the bounty.

Well I scooped up way too many peas and brought out a huge bowlful to the flock.

Those chickens went crazy for it!

They swarmed the bowl, swallowing peas whole like they’d never eaten before.

At first I thought they loved their tasty treat.

But boy was I wrong.

Over the next few hours, my chickens started looking downright miserable.

Their feathers were all ruffled and they hardly moved from their roosts.

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Then the first sign of trouble hit – a pile of extremely runny, stinky chicken poop.

I realized right away those peas were wreaking havoc on their systems.

It was a messy clean-up job, and my poor girls were out of sorts for a couple days afterwards.

So I learned: never free feed black-eyed peas!

Give them as an occasional snack in small portions.

Otherwise you and your chickens will regret it.

Tips for Feeding Black-Eyed Peas

Can Chickens Eat Black-Eyed Peas?

If you want to share the southern staple with your flock, follow these tips:

  • Cook peas thoroughly until very soft.
  • Serve peas at room temperature, not hot.
  • Mix peas into their feed instead of free feeding.
  • Start with small 1-2 tbsp portions.
  • Only offer peas 2-3 times per week maximum.

Following these guidelines will allow your chickens to enjoy the tasty peas without digestive havoc.

Here are some more details on preparing and serving black-eyed peas:

Make sure to fully cook the peas until they are super tender.

Raw or undercooked peas are harder to digest.

Bring the peas to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes until completely soft.

You want them to be easily mashable between two fingers.

Allow the cooked peas to come back down to room temperature before feeding to your flock.

Hot peas can burn chickens’ mouths and throats.

Stir a few tablespoons of softened peas right into their feed for the safest option.

Free feeding piles of peas often leads to overindulgence.

But mixing a small amount into grain rations provides a nutritious boost without risk of excess.

Try offering peas twice per week to start, then increase to 3 times weekly at most.

Any more than that and you may see adverse effects.

Pay attention to each chicken’s reaction and adjust portions as needed.

Following this advice will let you and your flock enjoy yummy black-eyed peas safely.


Can Chickens Eat Raw Black-Eyed Peas?

Can Chickens Eat Black-Eyed Peas?

No, raw or uncooked black-eyed peas are not recommended for chicken treats.

Black-eyed peas contain complex sugars and proteins that are difficult for chickens to digest.

Cooking breaks these down making digestion easier.

Raw peas can lead to stomach upset, gas, diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies if fed too often.

Light cooking like steaming just until soft is best.

Fully boiling or simmering for 30+ minutes provides even easier digestion.

The peas should smash easily between two fingers when done.

Allow cooked peas to cool to room temperature before feeding to chickens.

Never feed hot peas as they can burn birds’ sensitive beaks and mouths.

Mix just a few tablespoons of cooked, cooled peas into your chickens’ feed.

Start with 1-2 times per week and watch for reactions.

Increase to 2-3 times weekly at most if the peas are tolerated.

Chickens that enjoy black-eyed peas may eat them too quickly when free fed.

This can overload their digestive system and cause loose droppings.

Stirring small portions into grain rations prevents overindulgence.

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With proper preparation and portion control, cooked black-eyed peas make a nutritious occasional treat.

But always cook peas fully before serving to your flock.

Otherwise your chickens cannot properly digest the complex compounds.

Save raw peas for your own salad bars and plates!

Do Black-Eyed Peas Cause Diarrhea in Chickens?

Can Chickens Eat Black-Eyed Peas?

Yes, black-eyed peas can cause diarrhea in chickens if fed incorrectly.

The high fiber and complex carbs are hard for birds to digest.

This can lead to loose, watery droppings if portions are too large.

Diarrhea also occurs when peas are undercooked or served hot.

Fully cooked, cooled peas in small amounts are less likely to cause issues.

Start with just 1-2 tablespoons mixed into feed 1-2 times per week.

Observe your chickens’ droppings closely after feeding peas.

Runny, malodorous poop indicates digestive upset.

If this occurs, stop peas for a week then restart with smaller portions.

Limit peas to once weekly for sensitive flocks.

Free feeding large piles of peas often causes diarrhea.

Chickens may overeat delicious treats, overwhelming their gut.

Stirring peas into grain rations prevents this scenario.

Properly preparing peas reduces diarrhea risk too.

Never feed raw or undercooked peas – boil until completely soft and mushy.

Let peas cool fully before serving to avoid burning birds’ mouths.

Following these tips minimizes digestive issues from black-eyed peas.

Stop peas at the first sign of runny droppings and reassess portions.

With caution, most healthy chickens can enjoy peas in moderation.

What Are the Benefits of Black-Eyed Peas for Chickens?

Can Chickens Eat Black-Eyed Peas?

Though they need to be fed carefully, black-eyed peas offer many benefits including:

Protein – Peas provide plant-based protein for muscle growth and egg production.

Iron – The iron in peas aids in blood health and oxygen transport.

Potassium – This mineral supports nerve function and electrolyte balance.

Magnesium – Magnesium contributes to bone strength and enzyme production.

Fiber – Peas’ high fiber content promotes gut health and digestion.

Antioxidants – Black-eyed peas contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation.

In small amounts 2-3 times per week, peas give chickens’ diets a boost.

Their dense nutrition improves overall flock health and productivity.

Just remember to cook peas fully and serve portions of 1-2 tablespoons or less.

Sprinkling some peas into feed provides a better delivery method than free feeding.

This allows chickens to safely enjoy the nutrients without overindulging.

Monitor your birds after initial pea feedings.

Reduce portions or frequency if any digestive upset occurs.

With proper preparation and moderation, black-eyed peas make a great supplemental feed.

Are Canned Black-Eyed Peas Okay for Chickens?

Yes, canned black-eyed peas are fine for chickens in moderation.

In fact, the canning process helps break down the peas’ complex sugars and fibers.

This makes their nutrition more bioavailable than dry peas.

Look for low or no salt added canned varieties to avoid excess sodium.

Make sure to drain and rinse the peas well to remove preservatives.

Then mash them lightly with a fork to reach a soft, oatmeal-like texture.

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Let the mashed peas cool fully before mixing a few tablespoons into your chickens’ feed.

Start with 1-2 servings per week and watch for any digestive issues.

Canned peas may be tolerated more easily than dry peas.

But feed sparingly at first to assess reactions.

Free feeding peeled canned peas can still lead to diarrhea.

Stirring small portions into grain rations is safer.

This prevents gorging while allowing chickens to benefit from the extra nutrition.

With proper prep and controlled portions, canned black-eyed peas make a fine occasional treat.

How Do You Know if Your Chickens Don’t Tolerate Black-Eyed Peas Well?

Signs your chickens may not handle black-eyed peas well include:

Watery, smelly droppings after eating peas.

Evidence of decreased appetite or low energy after pea feeding.

Standing around puffed up with ruffled feathers.

Avoiding movement or other flock activities.

Messy vents caked with diarrhea.

Visibly enlarged or distended abdomen.

If you observe any of these symptoms after feeding black-eyed peas:

Stop pea portions immediately and monitor flock health.

Offer bland poultry feed and plenty of fresh water for a few days.

Clean coops and runs thoroughly to prevent disease spread.

Watch for improvement in droppings and energy levels.

When chickens perk back up, try offering peas again in tiny amounts, like 1 tablespoon per bird weekly.

If issues recur, some individuals may not tolerate peas well.

Promote gut health with probiotics and fermented feed.

Focus diet on standard grain rations without supplemental peas.

Some chickens have more sensitive digestion than others.

Listen to your flock’s needs and adjust portions accordingly.

By being attentive, you can keep your chickens happy and healthy.

The Bottom Line

Yes, chickens can eat black-eyed peas in moderation!

Though high in nutrition, the complex carbs can be hard on their digestion.

Small, occasional portions of 1-2 tablespoons 2-3 times per week is perfect.

Avoid free feeding large amounts, and always cook peas thoroughly before serving.

Follow these tips, and both you and your flock can enjoy some southern flavor!

I definitely learned the hard way that moderation is key with black-eyed peas and chickens.

But now I know how to feed them as an occasional yummy treat.

The small portions get gobbled right up and provide good nutrients without tummy troubles.

My chickens get excited whenever they see me coming with those peas now – they still love them!

Just be sure to stick to the guidelines and everything in the coop will stay nice and tidy.

Have you ever tried feeding black-eyed peas to your flock?

Let me know how it went in the comments!

And if you have any other fun treat ideas, I’d love to hear those too.

That’s all for now, friends.

Tanner signing off!

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