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Can Chickens Eat Walnuts? (Myths Debunked)

Can Chickens Eat Walnuts

Yes, chickens can eat walnuts.

Walnuts are a rich source of fats, protein, and other essential nutrients, good for the chicken’s health. Chickens are omnivorous birds meaning they can eat both plant-based and meat-based diets. 

The antioxidants in walnuts make them a healthy snack for your poultry. But make sure that you feed walnuts that are unsalted and fresh. We will talk more about feeding chickens walnuts, their positive and negative side (if any) in the following sections. So don’t skip till you know the whole story!

Walnuts Health Benefits for Chickens

As we mentioned above, walnuts are a healthy snack for your flocks.

Like most nuts, walnuts too have multiple health benefits. Walnuts are a nutrient-dense food with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many other good nutrients. 

Some of the vitamins found in walnuts are- vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, K. Out of which vitamin A helps in boosting egg production and maintains the overall health of the poultry. Additionally, vitamin B is also essential for improving chicken’s egg quality. 

Walnuts Health Benefits for Chickens
Chickens can safely eat walnuts

A deficiency in vitamin A and vitamin B may decrease egg production and cause diseases like inflammation, mouth cavity, dermatitis, etc. 

Vitamin C in walnuts leads to the proper formation of blood vessels, bones, feathers, and connective tissues. If your chickens get any kind of cuts or bruises, vitamin C will help in the rapid healing of the wounds. 

Minerals like calcium found in walnuts again help in their egg production and strong bone formation. Likewise, zinc leads to healthy feather growth, and copper helps with a healthy digestive system. 

Walnuts are rich in fiber as well. Fibers should make up 10% of a chicken’s daily diet as they help in healthy gut bacteria production, improve bowel movement and regulate blood sugar levels. 

Walnuts are also a rich source of magnesium, a deficiency of which may lead to chickens’ death. As you can see, walnuts indeed have a lot of health benefits, so they can be a part of chicken treats. 

Are Walnuts Toxic for Chicken?

A common myth about walnuts being toxic to chickens has been circulating for years.

Is that true? Is walnut toxic for chickens? Walnuts are safe for chickens. As long as you feed chickens fresh walnuts, they are not toxic for them. 

You need to be careful not to give chickens moldy walnuts. When walnuts fall from the trees and remain on the ground, they grow moldy. The ripe nuts split open, and birds and insects peck on the nuts’ flesh. It makes the walnut grow moldy. Stale walnuts may contain fungi like Penicillium and Aspergillus.

Such moldy walnuts are toxic for chickens and may upset their stomach. So whenever your chickens eat walnuts, ensure they are fresh and not musty. 

How to Feed Walnuts to Chickens

How to Feed Walnuts to Chickens? Can Chickens eat walnut shells?

Chickens can’t eat walnut shells.

Shells are very hard, and chickens will find it difficult to break them open. So the first thing you need to do is remove the walnut shells before feeding them.

Some poultry owners grind walnut shells and mix them with the inner flesh. Although grounded walnut shells won’t choke the hens, their sharp edges may cause internal cuts. So it’s safe not to feed chickens walnut shells. 

Next, you must crumble the walnuts, which makes it easier for the birds to peck on. Crushed walnuts are easy to digest and won’t make your chickens choke. 

Finally, walnuts should be given without any seasoning. Don’t add salt, and give plain walnuts to your poultry. It might upset their digestive system and cause diarrhea. 

Also, excessive sodium affects egg production. If chickens consume too much salt, their egg production will drop significantly. Moreover, the eggs will have weaker shells. Walnuts should be an occasional treat and don’t make it a part of chicken’s daily diet. 

Can chickens eat black walnuts? 

Yes, chickens can eat black walnuts.

Black walnuts are a part of deciduous trees, and they are known for their unique taste. Black walnut has an organic compound called Juglone. It is potentially toxic for plants growing around it. 

This compound element can impair the respiration in surrounding plants leading to discoloration of leaves, stunted growth, and death as well. Black walnuts are toxic for some animals, including horses, but they are perfectly fine for chickens. 

Can Chickens Eat Walnut Leaves?

Yes, chickens can eat walnut leaves.

They are not toxic for your hens and won’t harm their health. But overeating walnut leaves may taint their eggs’ taste. So it’s better if you keep your flock away from walnut leaves. 

Walnuts are a healthy snack for your feathery friends. Feeding walnuts will give your flocks the boost of nutrition they need. Just make sure you keep chickens away from moldy walnuts and walnut shells. 

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Carlos Warren

Growing up in Texas, I was fascinated by the world of science and invention, thanks in large part to my father's work at Dow Chemical Company. However, my true passion lay in the natural world, and I became an expert in organic gardening and composting at a young age. I spent hours studying the microbiological communities in our family garden, using a microscope to define the quality of the soil. My love for farming and gardening led me to explore new techniques and methods, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible.