Everyone loves cheddar cheese, even chickens! But can they eat cheese? Is it safe to feed it to them? And why some people say that cheddar cheese and other types of cheese are great for chickens and why.
So can chickens eat cheddar cheese? Yes, and generally will happily consume it, along with other dairy products. Gouda, Cheddar, Feta, Swiss, and Parmesan are likely the best cheeses to share with your flock, as they contain probiotics. However, cheese should be offered in limited quantities and in moderation.
Chickens are not picky eaters and will likely eat whatever you give them. As someone who raises them as pets, it’s vital to know which foods they should and shouldn’t eat.
We’ll take a look at why cheddar cheese and types of cheeses are good to share with your flock, and how to keep them safe and happy.
What Is Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese are the types of cheeses that are made from cow’s milk. It is a hard, natural cheese that is made with cultured milk. Meaning starter bacteria is added to acidify the milk.
As a result, cheddar cheese has the ability to boost one’s health and immune system because it contains probiotics, nutrients, enzymes, nutrients, and (good) bacteria that would be denatured during pasteurizing.
Cheddar cheeses come in white, yellow and orange color and are often labeled extra sharp, mild, and sharp.
One of the reasons cheddar cheeses are good for your chickens is because of the high quality of nutrients they contain.
Cheddar Cheese Nutritional Information
One cup of diced cheddar cheese contains:
|Vitamin A||1323 IU|
|Vitamin D||15.8 IU|
|Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids||482 mg|
|Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids||762 mcg|
|Vitamin K||3.7 mcg|
|Vitamin B12||1.1 mcg|
|Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)||0.4 mg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.5 mg|
Do Chickens Even Like Cheddar Cheese?
Yes, there isn’t much that a chicken won’t eat. If you’ve never fed it to them, they may be a little hesitant to eat it. But once they know what it is, they will eat it up.
Is Cheddar Cheese Good for Chickens?
Yes, as long as it is fed in small amounts and not on a daily basis, it can be a great addition to their regular diet. Your pets snacks should consume more than 5% of their regular diet.
Cheddar cheese contains high amounts of salt, which can be dangerous if fed in large amounts. Like us, chickens should not consume high-salt diets, as it can lead to salt poisoning.
Benefits of Cheddar Cheese for Chickens
One of the biggest benefits of cheddar cheese, is that it contains probiotics. Probiotics are nothing more than “good” bacteria that support digestive health. If you consider your chickens a domesticated pet that is a part of your family, then you take their health very seriously.
There have been several studies that have shown how important probiotics can be to raising a healthy and happy flock.
Can Chickens Eat Other Types of Cheese?
If you don’t have cheddar in your fridge, you’re probably wondering, can my pet chickens eat all types of cheese? The good news is yes, you can feed them pretty much any type of cheese.
However, like any other foods, there are always things you need to consider. Here’s some of the most important things to consider before feeding your chickens cheese.
Not all cheese is the same, avoid feeding your flock cheeses with high fat content. Some of the ones that come to mind are:
- Horizon Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Land O’Lakes Sharp American Singles
- Sargento Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
The ones above are some of the worst cheeses for both you and your chickens.
Best Cheeses To Feed Your Chickens
As we all know, not all cheeses are created equally, some have high amounts of fat, or sodium.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t share it with your pets. It just means that you need to take the time to read the label to know exactly what you’re feeding your pet chickens.
Basically, if you wouldn’t eat it, then I wouldn’t feed it to my chickens.
How Much To Feed Them
Even though some cheeses are full of probiotics, vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial, it should never be fed on a daily basis. Chickens should be fed their regular chicken feed and should only be fed other types of food as an occasional treat.
Lastly, whenever you feed your birds any new types of foods, you should monitor them closely. If you notice any unusual behavior, stop feeding them and contact your veterinarian if you believe your chickens have eaten something dangerous.
How To Feed Chickens Cheddar Cheese?
Whether you’re feeding your chickens cheddar cheese or any other type, you’ll want to cut it up into small pieces. Shredded cheese works best because all you need to do is spread it on the ground and let your flock go to work.
You can even put some in a bowl and let them eat if you don’t want to put it on the dirt.
They’ll likely go crazy over it, no matter how you feed it to them.
When Not to Feed Chickens Cheddar Cheese?
Even though cheddar cheese has probiotics and is considered safe, there are certain circumstances you shouldn’t feed it to your flock.
This pertains to both cheddar cheese or any other type of cheese.
If The Cheese Is Rotten and Moldy
Never feed your chickens any type of moldy food. Mold is dangerous for chickens and can make them sick. Your chickens may not get sick right away, but the longterm effects can be detrimental.
Blue cheese comes to mind because it’s a moldy cheese. It’s not dangerous for your birds, and is actually healthy because it has antibacterial properties that fight off pathogens.
When You Have Baby Chicks
I would personally avoid feeding new hatchlings any type of human foods. If they are isolated from the rest of the flock, they should be fed chick starter feed that will provide them with the prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals they need for proper growth and development.
Other Types of Foods That Are Good For Your Chickens
Many pet owners love sharing table scraps with their chickens. Below are some of the foods your chickens will love and are considered safe as long as fed in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Chickens Eat Cottage Cheese?
If fed in moderation, cottage cheese is safe to feed chickens. It is a tasty, lumpy cheese that is made from the loose curds of cow’s milk. It is a very soft cheese that your chickens will love.
It’s best if you serve it to your chickens in a bowl, or it will just make a huge mess in their coop.
Your chickens will love cheese almost as much as you do, so if you’re wondering if you can give your chickens cheese, the answer is yes. However, cheese is a fatty food that should only be fed in moderation.
Avoid giving them processed foods that are made with cheese like cheese Puffs, or that fake cheese in a can!
References and Further Reading
High Plains Journal – 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics for Poultry