Can Chickens Eat Pecans (Seeds, Shells, Pie, And Tree Leaves)?

Chickens have a tendency to try any food source you place in front of them. Being omnivores, chickens eat a wide variety of food types. Nuts are a particular favorite of our feathery friends, and the right ones are an excellent source of nutrition when added to a commercial feed diet. Can chickens eat pecans?

Chickens can eat pecans. Pecans are very good for chickens as they contain various vitamins, mineral zinc, potassium, magnesium, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Pecans must be shelled and crushed into smaller edible pieces to reduce the chance of choking and to help with digestion.

Chickens are fond of nuts such as almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, and pecans. Most nuts, when fresh, offer a lot in the nutrition department and will benefit the flock when incorporated into the overall diet. When pecans are your nut of choice, remove the shell and leaves, as it adds nothing to a chicken’s health.

Can Chickens Eat Pecans?

Chickens can eat pecans as they’re a healthy source of nutrition packed with minerals, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins. When feeding your chickens pecans and other non-commercial feed items, supply them in moderation and as an occasional treat.

Commercial chicken feed contains the best balance of nutrition and must be the main food source of the flock. Pecan nuts can be fed in small amounts as part of a balanced diet. Always make sure that the pecans are fresh and not rancid. Rancid nuts are not good for our feathery friends.

Is It Healthy for Chickens to Eat Pecans?

It would be nuts not to feed chickens pecans. Pecans are rated as one of the world’s most nutritious nut types and will do your chickens a solid in the health department. Feeding your chickens pecans is an act of love and an act that says, “Hey, my beloved feathery flock, I care for you.”

Pecans are known to be a source of the following:

  • Mineral zinc – The mineral plays a vital role in the healing of wounds, overall immune function, and growth.
  • Vitamins A, B, and E – Improve the immune system and help with vision. Chickens require a healthy dose of B vitamins for their well-being, and pecans can contribute to fulfilling this nutritional need.
  • Calcium – Pecans are a great source of calcium which we all know are the building blocks for strong bones and aids in eggshell formation.
  • Plant protein – The nutrient is an essential element that promotes growth and repair and does wonders in maintaining health.
  • Healthy fats – Pecan nuts are good for cholesterol levels as they contain low saturated and high poly and monounsaturated fats. Pecans can make your chickens gain weight, but in winter time it can be a blessing in disguise.
  • Dietary fiber – Pecans contain dietary fiber, a nutrient that plays a major role in maintaining a wholesome body by lowering cholesterol levels. The fiber assists with bowel movement and can reduce the risk of intestinal cancer.
  • Potassium and magnesium – Pecans contain magnesium and potassium, which play a massive part in many biological systems and help lower blood pressure.
  • Polyphenols – Pecans are high in polyphenols which come loaded with antioxidant effects and help to keep cells healthy, leading to less illness amongst the flock as it fights free radicals.

While pecan nuts can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) in humans, benefiting heart health, chickens have a different physiology, so be wary of how many pecans you feed them. A small amount as a weekly treat will go a long way in transforming the health of your flock.

What To Keep in Mind When Feeding Chickens with Pecans?

When feeding pecans to your chickens, you have to remember that it needs to be shelled and crushed into pieces that are small enough to pass to the stomach without a hitch. You don’t want your chickens choking on a pecan.

Don’t feed salted pecans to your chickens as this can do more harm than good. Raw and unsalted pecans without their shells are the way to go. Mix the crushed pecans with the vegetables and fruit mix you feed them weekly, or combine them with seeds.

Can Chickens Eat Pecan Shells?

Chickens will have a difficult time trying to digest pecan shells, which should therefore be removed. Pecan shells pose a serious choking hazard and can potentially kill members of your flock when it gets stuck in the chickens’ throats.

Can Chickens Eat Pecan Pie?

Pies are not good for a chicken’s health as it’s typically made from ingredients that do not pair well with the digestive system of our feathery friends. Butter, eggs, sugar, and sweeteners can cause digestive issues.

Regular pie eating can lead to obesity over time and will affect the flock’s overall health when consumed in large and frequent quantities. Rather stick to a balanced diet of commercial chicken feed with a splash of fruit, a fresh mix of vegetables, and the occasional treat (not pie), and all will be well in the chicken health department.

Can Chickens Eat Pecan Tree Leaves?

If you love your chickens, you won’t actually feed them pecan leaves. Pecan leaves contain compounds such as tannin, which are hard to digest, and a toxin called juglone.

When animals consume large amounts of the toxic juglone found in various plants, it can lead to serious health issues due to the poisonous nature of the cyanide-like toxin.

Since pecan leaves aren’t part of a chicken’s diet, there’s no reason to include them. Pecan juglone can cause laminitis in a horse when ingested in large amounts. Imagine what it can do to a chicken.

Should there be pecan leaves in your chickens’ environment for whatever reason, it’s not a big cause of concern should they take an occasional nibble at a pecan leaf. When your chickens consume large amounts of these leaves, you must address the issue immediately by removing access to the pecan leaves and the subsequent toxins within.

Brown chicken eating in grass covered field


Pecans are good for chickens, but remember everything in moderation. A well-balanced chicken diet will primarily consist of commercial feed supplemented with fruits, vegetables, and the occasional serving of nuts. Never feed chickens the hard-to-digest pecan shells, and ensure that you present the nuts in a size that’s easy to swallow and digest.

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