can chickens eat tomatoes

5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)

Chickens could be referred to as being a mini trash can. Perhaps it sounds amusing, but for their health, things are not as simple as they appear. Now, they might quickly acquire this name because they can eat nearly anything that they come across or practically anything you feed them.

Well, practically everything. For instance, have you ever questioned: can chickens eat tomatoes?

can chickens eat tomatoes

Normally, we can feed chickens practically anything we can find around our house. We can provide oats, grains, fruits, seeds, and veggies.

In some cases, we even provide worms to consume as supplements to balance their diet and to keep stability in the nutritional value they require to take every day.

Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes

Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes?

Are They Safe For Them?

As owners of such smart animals, it would just be typical to stress the food we are providing. It is normal to question whether the food we feed them is helpful for their health or not.

can chickens eat tomatoes

Are tomatoes safe for chickens? Tomatoes are scrumptious and healthy for us; however, do they have the very same impact on chickens?

Regrettably, green tomatoes are not ideal for chickens only the ripe red ones are good for them. And, as a matter of fact, neither are eggplants.

Normally, when it concerns the food you offer to your chickens, you need to absolutely keep away from all the plants that are included in the so-called nightshade family.

5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)

These active ingredients consist of a hazardous substance called solanine. The same compound is included in these veggies’ leaves and the potato peels (green potato peels).

These foods might all be hazardous, which is why it is best if they would be prevented. Nevertheless, it is reported that you can feed the nightshade veggies to your flocks if they are completely cooked.

The nightshade family of vegetables includes eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and tomatillos. These nightshades are rich in glycoalkaloids, such as solanine, which has been linked to the development of cancer.

It is best to steer clear of “green nightshades” in chicken feed, but if you want to give them to your chickens, you need to cook them.

Are Ripe Red Tomatoes Safe for Your Chickens?

Yes, the ripe red tomatoes are safe for your chickens. However, you should be careful that they don’t eat too many of them. You need to provide them in moderation and at specific days of the week when they don’t have access to other foods.

Chickens love ripe red tomatoes. They will gobble them up when you are not looking, so be careful with how many you give them.

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What Are The Benefits of Ripe Tomatoes To Your Chickens?

Tomatoes play a crucial role in your chicken’s life. They are rich in several essential nutrients that contribute to the well-being of your birds.

Despite being botanically a fruit, tomatoes are generally prepared and consumed just like other vegetables. They are considered a good source of the antioxidant substance known as lycopene.

This antioxidant is linked to several health benefits not only to humans but to your chickens as well. In addition to that, tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins C, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and many more.

Although they are red when mature, tomatoes come in various colors ranging from yellow, purple, orange, and green. Many subspecies of this fruit exist in different flavors and colors. But they all have the same type of nutrients.

How Many Tomatoes Can Chickens Eat?

You should remember to feed your chickens tomatoes at least once per week. However, you need to know how many tomatoes they can eat at one time. It is best to do this so that you don’t over-feed them.

This is because tomatoes are very high in sugar. You may find that your chickens are not really enjoying the fruits. If this happens, then you will want to give them something else to eat in their place.

Remember, the other fruits and vegetables should be limited as well.

If you are thinking of giving your chickens tomatoes on a regular basis, then you will probably want to go for just a couple of them. A quarter to half a tomato is fine for them to eat each time.

A Controversial Food: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes

Tomatoes are among the questionable foods. The confusion comes since tomatoes belong to the nightshade family. The Solanaceae family consists of typical foods such as tomatoes, eggplant, chili peppers, and potatoes.

The theory is that the nightshade family plants consist of contaminants called lectins harmful to both humans and animal health.

Fruits in the Nightshade Family
Fruits and Vegetables in the Nightshade Family

Lectins are believed to be hazardous since they bind the cells in a body together and can trigger swelling damage and discomfort, along with arthritis. Nevertheless, just properly cooking these foods can break down the lectins and shut off the binding properties.

Tomatoes are frequently eaten raw. In the fruit we do eat raw, the lectin amounts are deficient, and there is no conclusive proof of them triggering swelling or arthritis. In fact, tomatoes have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and polyphenols that make them healthy for us and our chickens to consume.

Can Chickens Know What To Eat and Not Eat

california chickens

A great test of this theory is observing a chicken in a veggie garden. You will see them eating bugs on and around the potato, tomato, and other nightshade veggie plants. However, you will not see them eating the green leaves.

The bitter taste and a chicken’s natural impulse to not eat plants that are harmful generally guide their free-range instincts. Choose a great plump, ripe tomato and set it down around a flock of starving chickens, and see what happens to your tomato. This is absolutely another story.

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Moderation is the Key: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes

Keeping in mind that excess of any one kind of food is bad for your chickens, feeding many tomatoes can have an unfavorable result. It can harm egg production.

So, if your garden is filled with ripe tomatoes and you have actually been tossing the overripe into your chickens, do take safety measures to moderate the quantity you are serving your flock.

Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes with Molds?

Another circumstance in which tomatoes can be damaging to your chickens is if you are feeding them moldy tomatoes. While molds like penicillin can be useful, other kinds of molds produce toxic substances and grow on vegetables and fruits that can be extremely hazardous to your flock.

In particular, the mold aspergillus flavus produces the contaminant aflatoxin which is cancer-causing to humans and animals.

5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)

An exceptional food safety suggestion is to never feed any food to your chickens that contain mold. This applies to tomatoes and fruits, and other veggies. It even applies to your chicken feed. Keep it dry and mold-free, as mold in any type, on any food your chickens eat, can be really hazardous.

Moldy foods are very dangerous for poultry because they contain aflatoxins. These are toxic, cancer-causing substances produced by certain molds. They can cause tumors and can make your chickens very sick or even kill them.

The only way to avoid molds is to keep your food as clean as possible. Don’t allow any moisture or moisture from anything, including your garden soil, to get into the foods you feed your chickens.

If you are not able to keep all your vegetables and fruits perfectly clean, you should at least wash them very well with water to make sure there aren’t any hidden mold spores in them.

can chickens eat tomatoes

What Other Foods Should You Cut Off The List?

If tomatoes and eggplants took you by surprise, there are more foods that you ought to prevent feeding to your chickens.

Here are a few of them:

Salty foods— We understand that they are hazardous for us humans so why would they be fine for animals and chickens, in particular? Your family pets might get illnesses such as water deprivation, sodium ion intoxication, or salt toxicity.

Chickens have truly little bodies and they can not take in lots of salt. They can endure a portion of 0.25% of salt in the water they consume. If the quantity of water they are taking in is limited, it is effortless to get salt poisoning.

5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)

Citrus— Chickens can be susceptible to all the fruits that are high in vitamin C. However, this occurs in some kinds of chickens, not all of them. Some scientists think that it is because of the mix between vitamin C and citric acid that chickens typically get feather plucking.

5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)

Onions— They are incredibly unsafe for your chickens since they contain a compound called thiosulphate, which damages the blood’s red cells.

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Obviously, you can provide a percentage of onions, every now and then however if you provide big quantities often, they may get anemia or jaundice. In some cases, this can likewise lead to death. So take note when dealing with onions near your chickens.

5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)

Beans— We’re not discussing all beans, just those that are not cooked or dried. Whether they are dry or raw, they all include a toxin which is called hemagglutinin. When it comes to birds, it is harmful.

Nevertheless, cooked beans benefit your chickens, the cooking procedure will neutralize the effects of this toxin, making the beans safe.

5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)

Dry rice— Avoid feeding your chickens dry rice since it will affect them roughly when it can be found in contact with moisture. To be more particular, the rice may inflate after the chicken has actually swallowed it, triggering gut issues.

We hope that we handled to clear up your predicament related to can chickens eat tomatoes or not which we succeeded in explaining clearly why this fruit is not advised.

Likewise, keep in mind to take into account all the other pieces of suggestions that have actually been discussed so that you can have a flock of healthy and happy chickens.

Final Thought

Chickens love to eat red ripe tomatoes. It’s no surprise then that they are often used as a treat for them. They contain high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.

These are essential nutrients that help chickens stay healthy and strong. Though, the amount of tomatoes that you give your chickens should be limited. They can get addicted to this fruit and become sick if you give them too much.

However, don’t give them the green ones as it is not safe for them.


  1.  “Phylogeny”Molecular phylogenetic analyses have established that the formerly segregate genera LycopersiconCyphomandraNormania, and Triguera are nested within Solanum, and all species of these four genera have been transferred to Solanum
  2. Mark Abadi (26 May 2018). “A tomato is actually a fruit — but it’s a vegetable at the same time”. Business Insider. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  3. Lee, Eunkyung; Sargent, Steven A.; Huber, Donald J. (2007). “Physiological Changes in Roma-type Tomato Induced by Mechanical Stress at Several Ripeness Stages”HortScience42 (5): 1237–1242. doi:10.21273/HORTSCI.42.5.1237.
  4.  Estabrook, Barry (22 July 2015). “Why Is This Wild, Pea-Sized Tomato So Important?”Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  5.  “Garden Tomato. Solanum lycopersicum L.” Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 1 January 2014.

14 thoughts on “5 Amazing Facts: Can Chickens Eat Tomatoes (Updated Nov. 2021)”

  1. Gwendolin Jayme Rebecka

    I’m a firm believer that chickens won’t eat anything that is going to kill them. My crazy thing have stuck their heads in a can of laytex paint which is supposedly very harmful to them. You can’t tell by the x-large eggs they are still laying 2 years later.

  2. I’d have to admit that mine love tomatoes as well lol. They get all the ones that don’t make it to the kitchen and as a previous poster said, they do love watermelon! Mine will devour one .

  3. Quote:Yup, that about sums it up. I haven’t had any “volunteer” tomato plants come up since I’ve allowed my chickens to glean the garden in the fall–they get everything.

  4. Agustina Ciccarone

    I am afraid of the day when I don’t have any more buggy tomatoes from my garden for my flock. I will have to remember NOT to wear red in the run / coop area. *shudders at the thought*

    On the other hand, maybe if I put red food coloring in theie layer pellets they will eat it, cuz they sure didn’t take well to it at first…..hmmmmmm

  5. Quote:Makes chickens kinda sound like feathered GOATS :COOL:

    Actually, goats are rather picky eaters. Chickens eat WAY more things than a goat will. Any fresh, seedy-type veggies mine love – tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc.

  6. A little bitty mockingbird ate a tomatoe with no ill effect. Will chickens be hurt by eating tomatoes? Think about it!

  7. glad I found this post. We’ve got tomatoes coming out of our ears. The chickens loved it when we froze up a bunch of corn on the cob and gave them a few.

  8. If you LOVE your tomatoes keep them away from your free-ranging chickens!! Give them the ones that have pits, scars and look “past it.” They will think you are their hero!!

  9. I don’t know if your chickens CAN eat them, but mine do.

    The chicks get all the old/damaged tomatoes from one of the local farmer’s stands here and they LOVE it.

    Now.. The true question is how to turn pink silkies back to white?

  10. Quote:I had to put an electric fence around the family garden…but forgot to plug in the energizer after I mowed the lawn…tomatoes are history, peppers are history…yellow squash and zucchini are undisturbed.

  11. 대지 블랙잭

    I have been experimenting with two groups of 9 pullets letting them freerange my front garden since they were really little. They have learned pretty easily not to eat the plants and only to scratch for bugs etc. There are herbs, cherry and regular tomatoes (both ripe and green) and about 20 different varieties of peppers. They haven’t touched any of them even though if I pick them and cut them up for them, they will greedily eat them. They scratch alot around the plants, eat the grass, and dust bath between the rows and under the plants but haven’t hurt them yet. I couldn’t let my older groups of chickens do this with out them snitching something lol.

  12. I have the garden 2 fences and one roof “fence” from the chickens. So they eat bugs, weeds, and chicken feed plus the treats I give them. So far flying over the privacy fence hasn’t occurred. They are penned in the run a lot.

  13. They will eat tomatoes with no problem.

    They will also eat the tomato plant.

    In addition they will eat the pepper plants, zukes, beans, squash, berries, and corn when it first sprouts.

    If it doesn’t eat chickens, chickens it eat!!

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