Feeding Table Scraps To Chickens: When, What & How to Give?

Do you want to know all about feeding table scraps to chickens? If yes! keep reading this guide.

It is considered a good practice to feed animals, as it works like a treat for them. But, that does not mean you can feed them everything or anything. Most of the people have chickens as pets in their homes and almost all the table scraps are left for them.

A chicken will eat everything does not mean that you should feed everything leftover from your meals. There are many things to keep the focus on while feeding table scraps to chickens. 

In this article, we will be knowing all about the practice of feeding table scraps to chickens. 

Before we go into the in-depth details of When, What and How to give table scraps to chickens, let’s understand what exactly are table scraps and the benefits or harms associated with doing such practices. 

Also read our detailed article on: What can chicken eat?

What is Table Scrap for Chickens? 

Table Scraps are considered to be the meager portions of the meals which are usually left after having the food. 

Since Chickens can eat whatever a human can eat, one has to be very careful while feeding table scraps because it is not necessary that all types of food can be considered good for the chicken. 

Before we learn more about table scraps, let me give you a brief about the difference between a feed and a scrap, as it is necessary for a broader aspect. 

Feeds are those food items that you initially buy for your flock, however, scraps are the leftover meals from your food. For a chicken, both can be considered as a treat, but this is we who should be well aware to differentiate. 

Can Chicken Eat Table Scrap? 

chicken eating scrap food
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Now, this must be a common question for all of us who might want to explore certain things before feeding a chicken. The answer to this is a big yes. 

Most of the chickens enjoy eating table scraps but that doesn’t mean it’s a whole balanced diet for them. They always feed them in moderation and use the table scraps as a supplement to their actual diet. 

Advantages of Feeding Table Scraps to Chickens

Now that we are well aware of what exactly are table scraps for chickens, it’s no doubt that feeding them counts as a great benefit for them as well as for us. 

Your flock will be very happy to get a supplement table treat and will gobble down all the food in one go. Most of our meals are healthy for chickens, so the table scraps can be counted as a healthy diet. 

Foods like eggs, green leafy salads, or vegetables can boost up the immunity of your chicken. It works like free and healthy composting for you. You no more have to worry about compost pits because your flock will do it for you. 

Your chicken’s droppings work as a fertilizer for which you must be worrying for many months. It will reduce the expenses of food for your chicken. It may not cut them but perhaps reduce them. 

Happy chickens are always considered to be healthy chickens. So feeding them with their type of supplement treat will keep them happy and healthy. 

It is a very well known and true fact that certain things which benefit us out there, sometimes can become harmful for us only if we misuse or lack proper knowledge. 

Similarly, before enjoying the benefits of feeding table scraps, you should have proper knowledge about when you can feed them, or what type of table scraps are good and bad, at what age of the flock you should start feeding them table scraps, etc. 

Because, if you lack this knowledge, the advantages of feeding can become disadvantages for your flock. So let’s dig into some deeper details of feeding table scraps to Chickens. 

Also read: All about chicken scratch

When Can You Feed Table Scraps to Chickens? 

As we know, table scraps might contain less portion of protein as compared to their actual diet or the actual meal. So you cannot compromise with the health of your chicken. 

However, the recommended age for the chicken to feed the table scraps is when they are 3 to 4 months old. This is because baby chicks require plenty of protein to grow in good health and leftovers may lack protein which can be insufficient for their health. 

Not only this, but depending on the health of your chicken, you should decide upon feeding table scraps. Whether your chicken is a little weak or perfectly healthy. 

You will have to manage the portion of provided protein accordingly. Based on this let’s know more about what type of kitchen scraps you can give to the chicken and simultaneously which one’s should be avoided. 

Also read: Mealworms for chickens

What Type of Kitchen Scraps Can You Feed to Your Chickens?

feeding chicken kitchen scraps
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There is not a single type of category which comes under kitchen scraps, but instead, there are several categories in kitchen scraps. Some categories are good, some very good, and some bad. 

A major focus should be kept on all the categories to understand the requirements and benefits provided to the chicken. Following are the different categories of kitchen scraps-

1. Good Table Scraps 

Leftovers that come in the good table scrap category are the ones that are already there in the chicken’s diet. Similar foods, whether in the amount of protein or energy. 

These types of scraps should always be fed in moderate quantities whenever they are fed as a supplement diet so that the proper balance of nutrients is maintained. 

Following table scraps are just okay or perfect for your chickens as a supplement –

  • Kinds of seafood like fish, lobster, and shellfish
  • Beans and Peas 
  • Cauliflowers 
  • Fruits like Plums, Peaches, and Cherries
  • Unbuttered and Unsalted Popcorns 
  • Seeds like Sunflower, Chia, Flax, and Hemp
  • Spinach 
  • Turnips
  • Cabbage
  • Whole-grain slices of bread
  • Fewer sugar crackles or cereals 
  • Oats 
  • Cooked Rice
  • Pasta Cooked
  • Cooked eggs 
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cayenne Peppers 
  • Hamberger 
  • Brussel Sprouts 

2. Great Table Scraps 

Some foods which provide good nutrition to the chickens can be fed in large quantities. The foods rich in protein can boost the immunity of your chicken and there is no imbalance if you feed these types of scraps in large quantities. 

Following are the foods which can be counted as a great table scrap-

  • Berries eg. Blueberries, Blackberries, Cranberries, Cherries, Elderberries, Strawberries, and Raspberries. 
  • Root vegetables like sweet potato, radishes, and beets, carrots
  • Microgreens and Sprouts.
  • Fruits like Grapes, Honeydew Melon, Pomegranate, Apples, Papaya, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Mangoes and Pears.
  • Leafy Greens like Spinach, Collard Greens, Bok-Choy, and Lettuce.
  • Squashes like Cucumber, Zucchini Squash, Summer Squash and Pumpkins.

3. Bad Table Scraps

What type of table scraps should you avoid giving your chickens?! It’s a major question in most of the newbie chicken raisers’ minds.

Many food scraps are not immediately harmful to the chicken but can show adverse effects after a particular period. 

However, large consumption of these table scraps should be avoided as they contain toxic substances in a meager amount, which can be ignored for humans but not for chickens or any animal. 

Following are the food items which should be avoided or fed in very less quantity while feeding table scraps to the chicken-

  • Citrus foods because the acid is harmful, reduce the calcium absorption in chicken which results in the thin layering of eggs or droppings. 
  • Eggplants should only be fed if they are properly and completely cooked. Raw Eggplants can become difficult for them to digest. 
  • Onions contain toxic thiosulphates present in them which destroys the red blood cells, hence resulting in anemia.
  • Tomatoes contain solanine which should only be fed in moderate portions. 
  • Apple seeds because they contain toxic cyanide. However, your chicken can eat a whole apple without any worry, but avoid the seeds as they should not be consumed in large quantities. 
  • Avocados because they contain toxins persis which is indeed associated with necrosis.
  • Peanut Butter because they are high in fats, should be avoided in large quantities but can be consumed in little portions as a treat. 
  • Dairy products because chickens find it difficult to digest such products. 
  • Coconut oil is best for chickens but should only be provided occasionally. 

Now, so far we have gained all the information regarding the table scraps and types of scraps to feed whether they are good or bad or at what age they should be fed. 

After knowing all this, it’s time to gather some tips and strategies to learn how you should feed your chickens.

How to Give Table Scraps to Chickens? 

Feeding Table Scraps To Chickens ading with feed
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Here are some outstanding tips that you should follow while feeding table or kitchen scraps to chicken adding a healthy diet in their feedings- 

Always Choose the Right Scrap Foods to Feed Your Chicken

  • Feed your chicken’s scrap with caution as this is a sensitive practice. They have a habit of gobbling up all the food they say, so you need to be very cautious while feeding them. 
  • You should always be able to recognize which foods are toxic for chicken health and which are not. 
  • Always keep track and note down which food products can be fed down occasionally and which cannot. 
  • Always be updated about which products chicken can eat and which cannot. Sometimes you may find a particular product is consumed by the chicken but you may be unaware that it became difficult for the chicken to chew or swallow. 

Prepare the Right Scrap Foods for Your Chicken

  • Chop the fruits and vegetables you are feeding appropriately. Not too small, not too big. The size should be easily gobbled even if the chicken missed chewing it. 
  • Always cook the eggs completely because if not, then they would smell and recognize it which results in egg pecking. 
  • Feed cooked potatoes because raw potatoes contain alkaloid solanine which is toxic for the chicken. 
  • Always feed cooked pasta, lentils, or beans. Avoid feeding raw products. 
  • Don’t feed baby chicks the table scrap. 
  • Always feed table scraps separately. Don’t add them to the chicken’s main course.
  • It is considered good practice if you set up a feeding schedule. Avoid feeding all the time or whenever you wish, there should be a proper timing to feed keeping relevant intervals between them. 
  • While feeding seeds, grains, or corn, try to scatter them on the ground. It will promote exercise in them and they will learn to fight for it. 
  • The most important tip, always clean up after you feed your chicken because it may attract insects that are harmful to your lovely pet. 

These tips can always work for the best which can help to make a clear focus while feeding table scraps to your chicken. Now let’s look into some fun facts which is a common confusion for all-

Can Chicken Eat Meat Scraps?

Some people usually think that they should not feed meat to the chickens as they are birds. But, they are wrong. Chickens are omnivorous i.e, they are not at all vegetarians. 

In fact, chickens love to eat meat, and why not? Meat is considered to be a great source of protein and requires essential nutrients. Protein is important for chickens to grow eggs and during the molting process

Also, feeding meat in winters adds up to the beauty of their feathers and is totally safe as there are no insects around. 


Now you know very well what you should feed to your chicken or what you should avoid. All the guidance and information regarding feeding table scraps to the chicken is vital if you are raising a chicken. 

A proper diet and balance of protein and calcium will keep your chicken healthy and happy. Not only this, but it will produce healthy eggs too. 

One important factor to keep in mind is that chickens should not be totally raised only on vegetarian diets as a portion of the protein that they deserve may lack from their body. On the same hand too much protein is also not a good thing. 

Don’t forget, your chickens are essential in converting your table scraps into compost and saving a lot of your money. But never consider them as a garbage box, be very cautious while choosing products and feeding them with love. 

I hope you liked this informative post on feeding table scraps to chickens. What type of kitchen scrap you feed your chickens? Comment below.

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Hi, I'm Bijaya Kumar, and I've been raising chickens for the last 12 years. For the past 30 years, backyard poultry farming has been a family business for us. We raise chickens of different breeds in the backyard.

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