You have a couple of leftover fermented dill pickles in your basement. Are you wondering if chickens can ingest pickles?
Chickens can eat pickles, but they should only be given occasionally. Pickles are high in sodium and could cause health problems if fed too much.
You should never feed your chickens green olives or pickles with red dye in them, but other than that, feel free to go ahead and throw some delicious dill pickles into your chicken’s feeder!
Raising chickens should not be as hard as it looks, with the right treats! I mentioned in a couple of articles you should always stick to chicken feed.
What are pickles?
A pickle is a vegetable that has been preserved in brine (a salty solution made by combining water and salt). It is often used as a condiment or flavoring in foods.
What are the components of a dill pickle?
The main components of a pickle are cucumbers, vinegar, water, dill, and salt. Other ingredients such as spices, peppers, and onions may be added for additional flavor.
People eat pickles with other food items like fish or beef.
Backyard chickens and pickles are not an odd combination. Chickens will eat cucumbers, so why not pickles?
Let’s discuss all the ingredients individually.
Is vinegar in pickles safe for chickens?
Vinegar in pickles is safe for chickens.
Vinegar is made from water and alcohol, and it’s very acidic. It can help protect your chicken’s stomach and intestines from E. coli, salmonella, and other harmful bacteria. Vinegar also promotes good digestion by helping to break down proteins in food that might otherwise be indigestible.
If you’re worried about feeding vinegar to your chickens, remember: they don’t need much of it to reap the benefits! Just a few drops will do the trick!
Can chickens eat cucumbers?
Cucumbers are a low-calorie, nutrient-rich food that is healthy to eat, whether you’re human or chicken. They’re full of water, which helps keep your chicken hydrated. In fact, they have fewer calories than most vegetables! There’s also some evidence that they help keep chickens’ kidneys healthy.
So, yes, cucumbers are fine for chickens and there is no need to panic when you throw a pickle in the chicken coop.
But… there are a few things to consider before you throw a whole bunch of cucumbers at your hen. It’s best to feed the cucumber to your chickens sparingly—the same way you’d treat them with any other fruit or vegetable—and not as part of their regular diet.
Cucumbers are high in oxalates, which can be dangerous for chickens’ diet because they bind with calcium and make it hard for them to absorb it. Too much oxalate can also lead to kidney stones in birds.
What about the salt in pickles?
The short answer is that salt is not harmful to chickens.
In fact, salt is actually a vital nutrient for many animals, including chickens. It helps them maintain their blood pressure and electrolyte balance, and it’s also important for the proper functioning of their kidneys.
However, there are some circumstances in which too much salt can be harmful to chickens. If your chicken has been eating a diet high in salt for an extended period of time (like if it’s been eating a lot of salty chips), then excessive amounts of salt can lead to dehydration and potassium loss. This can cause muscle spasms and weakness, as well as heart arrhythmias or failure.
If you’re concerned about your chicken’s salt intake, talk to your vet about cutting back on their diet until their levels have normalized again!
Dill Plants (seeds, sprigs, and leaves)
If you have a herb garden, dill is a must!
Dill is an herb that has many uses. It can be used as a garnish for salads or soups, and it can also be used to make dill pickles or dill sauce. The seeds of the dill plant are used in cooking and in medicine.
Dill leaves are a rich source of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They have many health benefits including reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, treating indigestion, relieving gas pains, and improving digestion.
You can fill your nesting boxes with dried dill leaves, and your hens will feel comfortable when laying eggs.
Can chickens eat dill sprigs?
Chickens can also eat dill sprigs. Dill Sprigs is (a 2- to 4-inch piece of the dill plant) or 1/4 teaspoon of dried dill weed.
Dill is a great source of phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium—all of which are great for bone health. Also, laying hens can benefit from dill because of the calcium. You will have healthy eggs in your basket!
Dill seeds contain an essential oil that has antifungal properties and is often used as an ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash. Also, dill seeds are edible for chickens.
So, chickens eat dill whether is dried dill or fresh dill.
Also, dill helps your chickens with respiratory health. If your chickens have respiratory issues, feel free to feed them with dill.
Other herbs that are beneficial for chickens’ health are:
Did you know?Lavender can be beneficial to laying and sitting hens because it can reduce stress. It’s also one of the best smelling herbs! A lot of chicken keepers have this herb in their garden.
A lot of herbs increase the immune system of your flock, so having the herbs mentioned above in your garden is a win-win.
Are Dill Pickles Poisonous/Bad for Chickens?
Dill, cucumber, salt, vinegar … I can’t think of anything in a pickle that would be poisonous to a chicken.
I already mentioned above that chickens eat dill, cucumbers, vinegar, and salt.
Chickens should not have large quantities of salt, so moderation is in order. A pickle between a bunch of birds (if they even eat it) is probably OK, getting rid of the whole jar in one shot might not be such a good idea.
What you should NOT feed chickens?
Although, we have a separate article on what food should chickens avoid, here is a list of 5 detrimental food for chickens:
- Raw green potato skins
- Apple Seeds
- Avocado skins and pits
- Apricot pits and leaves
- Citrus fruits
Yes, chickens can eat dill pickles. If you have some leftover pickles from dinner, feel free to feed them to your chickens!
They are a great source of nutrients and are good for the chicken’s diet.
Whether it’s the crunchy texture or the saltiness that catches their eye, there is no denying how much chickens enjoy eating pickles. The best part is there is never a need to worry about food waste. Your chickens will devour them in a matter of seconds!
Shannon Stansberry has been engaged in the business of raising chickens for more than 12 years. In 2016, she accomplished the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. At present, she tends to more than 80 chickens on her 4-hectare farm. Shannon regularly shares her insights and experience on how to raise healthy and contented chickens on the platform Typesofchickens.com