7 Things You Need to Know- Can Chickens Eat Bread?

CAN CHICKENS EAT BREAD

Can chickens eat bread? It is ok to give your chickens bread, but in moderation. It doesn’t contain very many nutrients and too much bread can cause many different health issues, including crop impaction, sour crop and obesity. Therefore, bread should be considered a treat and not a main food source.

5 Things You Must Know Before Getti...
5 Things You Must Know Before Getting Backyard Chickens

1. Can Feeding Bread to Chickens Cause Crop Impaction?

Feeding bread to chickens can cause crop impaction. It happens in the following way:

  1. A chicken eats more than its fair share of bread.
  2. Bread (and all food that a chicken eats) is first stored in a chickens crop.
  3. After eating bread, it drinks some water.
  4. Bread expands in the chickens crop.
  5. Expansion of the chickens crop puts pressure on the proventriculus (equivalent to a humans stomach).
  6. This makes it difficult for the bread to pass from the crop into the proventriculus.
  7. When food cannot leave a chickens crop, it becomes impacted.
  8. Crop impaction can also lead to “sour crop.”

2. Can Feeding Bread to Chickens Cause Sour Crop?

Because of the yeast and sugar content in bread, if bread becomes impacted in the crop, it can ferment and cause sour crop in your chicken. Feeding bread to chickens can cause sour crop in the following way:

  1. A chicken eats too much bread
  2. When a chicken drinks water, the bread swells up.
  3. Bread becomes impacted in a chickens crop and has a difficult time moving into the chickens stomach or proventriculus.
  4. The pH level in the chicken crop will change.
  5. As bread sits in the crop, the normal “flora” or bacteria in the crop begins to change, causing fermentation to occur.
  6. It is an increase of the fungus candida that causes chicken sour crop to occur.
  7. Walls of the crop begin to thicken (forming white plaques on the lining) and the crop continues to expand as a chicken tries to eat more food.
  8. Prompt treatment is necessary in order for a chicken to survive chicken sour crop. See article below for chicken sour crop treatment.

If you choose to feed your chickens bread, soak it in apple cider vinegar prior to feeding it to them. This will increase the acidity in it, decreasing the chance of it upsetting the gut flora.

3. Can Baby Chicks Eat Bread?

CAN BABY CHICKS EAT BREAD. CAN CHICKENS EAT BREAD. 5 TIPS FOR SERVING YOUNG CHICKS BREAD.
5 TIPS FOR SERVING YOUNG CHICKS BREAD.

After a chicks first week of life, it can begin having treats in moderation. This includes plain bread. Avoid sweet bread of any kind and breads with butter or other toppings, because this can give them diarrhea.

During a baby chicks first week of life, it is getting used to what its regular feed is. Give them this time before offering any bread to them.

When offering bread to baby chicks, break it into tiny pieces to make it easier for them to consume.

4. Can Chickens Eat Moldy Bread?

DON’T FEED MOLDY BREAD TO CHICKENS.

Moldy bread should never be fed to your chickens. Mold contains toxins that can affect chickens health and well-being in many different ways.

COMMON TOXINS
FOUND IN
MOLDY BREAD
ASPERGILLUS
PENICILLIUM
RHIZOPUS
MUCOR
FUSARIUM
COMMON TOXINS FOUND IN MOLDY BREAD
MOLDY-BREAD
CHICKENS SHOULD NOT BE FED MOLDY BREAD.

How Does Mold Effect Chickens?

CAN CHICKENS EAT MOLDY BREAD? CAN CHICKENS EAT BREAD? MOLDY BREAD IS HARMFUL TO CHICKENS.
MOLDY BREAD SHOULD NOT BE FED TO CHICKENS.
  • decreased immunity
  • increased illnesses due to fungal infections
    • vent gleet
    • worms
    • coccidiosis
  • decreased fertility
  • drop in egg production
  • lack of appetite
  • increased problems with offspring (illnesses, leg deformities)

5. Can Chickens Eat Bread and Butter?

It can be tempting to give your chickens leftover buttered bread. And you know, they would love it. But is it good for them? No, chickens should not eat bread that has butter on it or any sweet topping for that matter.

Just because chickens will eat something doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to give them. Butter has a lot of fat in it that over time can cause many health issues for chickens including:

  • obesity
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • bumblefoot ( by jumping from roosts with increased weight)
  • broken bones (increased weight)

For the optimal health of your chickens, do not feed them any type of bread that has butter or sweet topping.

6. Is Bread Healthy for Chickens?

Bread is not considered to be healthy for chickens and should only be given after it eats its regular nutrient rich feed. That said, it should be considered a treat and only fed in moderation to your chickens. See below, “How Much Bread Can I Feed My Chickens?”

According to My Food Diary, the following nutrients are in half slice of white bread:

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Sodium: 45 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 7.3 grams
    • Dietary Fiber: 0.5 grams
    • Added Sugars: 1.3 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Vitamin D: 0.8 mcg
  • Calcium: 90 mg
  • Iron: 0.6 mg
  • Potassium: 0 mg
  • Vitamin A: 0 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 1 mg

7. How Much Bread Can I Feed My Chickens?

Can chickens eat bread. DO'S AND DON'TS OF FEEDING BREAD TO CHICKENS
DO’S AND DON’TS OF FEEDING BREAD TO CHICKENS

Bread is considered a treat and should be fed in moderation, just like other chicken treats. The maximum daily treats any adult chicken should have is 1 TBS per day. This is the equivalent to about 1/4 slice of bread per day.

It is ok to offer bread as a treat to your chickens, but just make sure that they get their regular feed first. Their regular feed is filled with the nutrients that your flock needs.

Chickens are just like kids (and many adults too). They will fill up on dessert first if it is offered to them, but they really should be eating a balanced meal first.

Avoid feeding sweet breads, sweet rolls, donuts and breads with butter on them. Instead, choose whole grain breads.

CONCLUSION: 7 Things You Need to Know-Can Chickens Eat Bread?

Feeding bread to chickens is ok, but only in moderation and should only be offered after giving its regular, nutrient rich chicken feed first.

Avoid feeding sweet and buttery breads to your flock. Too much can cause many health issues such as:

  • Crop Impaction
  • Sour Crop
  • Obesity
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Bumblefoot

When feeding bread to your young chicks, follow the same rules as with adult chickens, but also:

  • Wait until it is at least 1 week in age.
  • Break the bread into smaller pieces so it easier to eat.
Backyard Chickens Mama - About Me - Get your chickens laying more eggs. Basket full of eggs with 3 hens.

About the Author

Jenny is a chicken enthusiast and has raised a variety of different breeds of chickens in her Northern California backyard for the past 23 years. She enjoys using incubators to incubate and hatch fertile chicken eggs so she can raise baby chicks from day 1. Some of her favorites include Crested Cream Legbars, Marans, Silkies, Orpingtons and Olive Eggers. These breeds make a beautiful basket of farm fresh eggs! Both she and her husband built their own chicken coop and she and her Dad built her current chick brooder. Jenny likes to share tips and tricks that she has learned over the years to make it easier for others to raise happy, healthy and productive chickens. Just last year, Jenny released a Special 9 Herb Chicken Nesting Box Blend that helps to increase hen egg production as well as keep chickens happy and healthy.

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