Tuna is a healthy source of nutrition for humans and animals alike, with moderation being the keyword when adding nutritional fish to a balanced diet. We know chickens can eat all sorts of food, but can chickens eat tuna?
Chickens can eat tuna as it is a healthy source of protein, numerous vitamins, and essential nutrients, which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, selenium, choline, magnesium, and phosphorus. Due to enhanced levels of mercury found in tuna, it should be fed in moderation to chickens.
Too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad, so it is with tuna. Too much tuna in a diet can result in excess mercury in the body, resulting in mercury poisoning, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the intestines, and diarrhea. Tuna is good for chickens only when fed in moderate amounts.
Can Chickens Eat Tuna?
Tuna is a nutritional treat that will improve the overall health of a chicken flock when fed in moderation. Many chicken owners worldwide feed tuna as a treat to their flocks on top of a balanced commercial feed diet.
The nutritional value found in tuna is derived from the following dietary supplements:
- Protein – Chicken health and egg-laying prowess rely on a protein-rich diet. Tuna contains a healthy amount of protein.
- Vitamin D – Tuna contains healthy amounts of vitamin D, which ensures good bone development and reduces the chance of deformities in the beaks and legs of younger chickens. Vitamin D in the body helps with the process of absorbing calcium, which is required for healthy bones and eggs.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid – Contains DHA, which is essential for good eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to brain development and reduce the chance of heart disease by keeping blood platelets from clumping together and raising HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- Selenium – Helps to neutralize unstable molecules in the body, ensuring less damaged cells.
- Choline – Aids in activities of the brain and nerves by releasing a neurotransmitter (acetylcholine) and helps with the metabolization and transportation of fats.
- Magnesium – Works closely with calcium regarding muscle contraction, bone building, and blood clotting, as well as playing a crucial role in many chemical reactions within the body.
- Phosphorus – Assists with the process of transporting lipids in blood and the transferring of nutrients in and out of cells. Phosphorus also helps to turn food into energy and assists with the building of bones.
The Risk Associated when Feeding Your Chickens to Much Tuna
When feeding your chickens additional food types that fall outside the recommended balanced diet of commercial chicken feed, there are certain risks involved when you overfeed your flock.
Even when a food source is considered a healthy treat, feeding too much of it too soon can cause more harm than good to your beloved feathery friends. Here are some of the risks when feeding tuna to your chickens.
High Mercury Levels Found in Tuna Can Affect Chicken Health
Tuna meat contains mercury, which affects humans and animals when eaten excessively. Chickens, being so much smaller, will suffer from negative mercury build-up in their systems much quicker than we do. Feeding tuna in moderation is important.
Signs your chicken is suffering from mercury poisoning include the following:
- Mouth ulcers
- Weakness of the body
- Esophagus ulcers
- Inflammation in the intestines
In a worst-case scenario, the internal organs may hemorrhage when mercury poisoning is severe. We always harp on the importance of feeding your chickens the freshest treats possible, but with tuna, you should track back and refrain from feeding them fresh tuna straight out of the ocean.
Canned tuna contains less mercury compared to fresh tuna, so be sure to feed your chickens with the canned version if you want to be sure that the mercury intake isn’t excessive.
Tuna Contains Lots of Fatty Acids
Tuna is an excellent source of fatty acids, which can be beneficial to any balanced diet. Too much fatty acid intake can result in obesity, which will lead to other health issues.
Tuna Contains High Amounts of Vitamin D
Tuna is a source of vitamin D, which is good for your feathery friends when fed in moderation. Too much vitamin D in one’s diet can cause hypercalcemia when too much calcium build-up is in the blood.
Hypercalcemia leads to liver and heart issues and gout.
Can Chickens Eat Canned Tuna?
Canned tuna, especially the ones without any additives, heavy seasoning, and low- salt content, is a healthy choice for your chickens. Canned tuna typically contains less mercury than fresh tuna and will not hark up mercury levels to dangerous levels when fed in moderation.
Always choose canned tuna with the least salt content.
Can Chickens Eat Tuna Salad?
Feeding your chicken flock tuna salad on the odd occasion won’t do much harm, especially when the tuna salad is a mixture of fish and organic vegetables.
When you add onions and all sorts of herbs and spices to some tuna salad, you will introduce elements that aren’t beneficial to your flock and may do more harm than good.
A tuna mayonnaise salad on occasion is perfectly fine, again only if fed as an occasional treat.
Can Chickens Eat Tuna In Oil?
Chickens can eat tuna in oil, but it should be the exception and not the norm. Refrain from feeding them tuna in oil with garlic or onion additives.
The less processed the tuna, the healthier it is for the flock. Stick to light tuna in water compared to white albacore tuna (higher mercury levels) in oils and salty additives.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Tuna?
Raw tuna is commonly consumed in sushi dishes by many people, but is it safe for chickens? The truth is raw fish can contain parasites (Anisakadie and Opisthorchiidae), which can cause diseases in the body, resulting in intestinal infections, fever, and diarrhea.
Food poisoning is not a fun experience, and cooking tuna before you serve it will drastically reduce the chances of parasites infecting the body. Freezing also kills unwanted parasites.
That being said, chickens love raw, canned, or cooked tuna. Tuna that’s gone off should under no circumstances be fed to the flock.
Chickens love tuna. Tuna is packed with proteins, minerals, and vitamins and will benefit any diet in moderation. Chickens will eat raw, canned, or cooked tuna. Cooked tuna, when prepared without additives, presents a lesser danger when it comes to parasites.
Canned tuna light contains less mercury than raw tuna and is a safer option to feed your chickens; just be sure it contains no added salt, spices, or additives and preservatives.