Is It bad For Chickens To Eat Onions

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Chickens are omnivores, meaning they will graze on anything edible, including plants like grass, vegetables, and even bugs. So, can chickens eat onions?

Chickens should not eat onions. Spring, green or red onions should not be fed to your chickens because they are toxic.

In this article, we will discuss the safety of different types of onions for chickens. Additionally, we will touch on the toxicity of both raw and cooked onions in chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Cooked Onions

Spring onions are most commonly green in color and have a sharp taste. Humans can eat them, but they should not be fed to chickens because they contain toxic substances. These substances are found in all family members, including garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives.

Spring onion toxicity usually causes damage to the red blood cells, which may lead to anemia if ingested over time.

Green onions also belong to the Allium family but don’t typically cause as much harm as spring onions when consumed by chickens (they only affect their feathers). Still, Chickens cannot eat green onions, so they should not contact them at all.

cooked onions

If your chicken accidentally eats some, there is a chance she will be fine, but, it could cause an intestinal blockage or make her very sick, best to consult a vet as soon as possible if this happens.

Red onions are another type of onion that chickens should not be allowed to eat. Red onions contain a chemical called thiosulfate, which can cause hemolytic anemia in birds and will eventually kill them if they continue eating it, so make sure your chicken doesn’t have any contact with red onions at all!

Here are some other foods chickens shouldn’t consume for their own health:

  • Garlic (leads to garlic poisoning)
  • Green Beans (chickens cannot digest legumes well)
  • Potatoes – causes digestive upset, including vomiting

It has to be said that there are many people who feed onions to chickens, I’ve even been guilty of it occasionally. Yes, onions are toxic to chickens and should be avoided; but did you know apple seeds are also toxic to humans? it’s just the dose is too small for it to be harmful.

For it to be harmful, you would need to eat about 500 apple seeds before you would develop acute cyanide poisoning.

What I’m trying to say is if you feed your chickens onions in small amounts once in a blue moon, you shouldn’t have any problems. Although, it’s best avoided for the above reasons.

An interesting related question would be how long can chickens go without food, without onions or anything else – of course, we hope it never comes to this but if you’re going on holiday then it might be of value.

Are Onions Toxic To Chickens

In the world of poultry, there are a lot of foods that should not be eaten. They can cause diseases or chemical poisoning and will eventually kill your chickens if they continue eating them!

Red onions contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to chickens. Spring onion seeds have been found as one culprit for sudden deaths because they carry a toxin called rotenone. Spring Onions also contain high levels of oxalates, though, so chickens should not have them.

Chickens should not be fed potatoes either. Potatoes cause digestive upset, including vomiting, and lead to death, especially with younger chickens. Chickens shouldn’t eat any onions if possible, but red onions are the least toxic option if they do.

Another food source question, chicken owners are unsure about, is do chickens eat grass, after all, chickens are foragers.


So, can chickens eat onions? If you want to avoid the negative effects of onions on your chickens and ensure they are healthy during those critical egg-laying months, remember not to feed them any onion. With a little bit of care and planning in advance, you can have happy hens laying eggs for many seasons.

If you feed your chickens onions, they will experience severe health problems and may even die. Spring, green or red onions should not be fed to your chickens because they are toxic. Spring onions are the least toxic, followed by green and finally red onions.

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