Who doesn’t love sitting down and enjoying a nice bowl of ice cream? I know I do. It can be the best cold treat option on a hot day. You may even have found yourself sharing the delicious ice cream treat with your family dog and or cat. Many different animals enjoy eating ice cream, but can chickens eat ice cream?
Can Chickens Eat Ice Cream?
While not toxic, dairy products such as ice cream can give chickens diarrhea. Their digestive systems are not designed to digest the milk sugars and can cause obesity and a drop in egg production in laying hens.
Many people feed their chickens this delicious dairy treat, especially on a hot summer day with no problems, while others say no altogether to the idea.
Chickens will eat almost anything you feed them. However, as a chicken owner, it’s vital to know which human foods they can and cannot eat. Let’s take a closer look at whether or not you should share your next ice cream cone with your flock.
Will Chickens Eat Ice Cream
If you give chickens ice cream, they will eat it. Here’s a video of a chicken begging for a taste of some ice cream.
Is Ice Cream Healthy for my Chickens?
Ice cream is not the healthiest treat for us because of the high sugar content and calories. Therefore it’s not the most nutritious treat for your chickens.
Feeding your chickens some ice cream on occasion may be no problem, but it is important not to hand them over the whole gallon. If they consume a small amount, they should be fine.
The Dangers of Feeding Chickens Ice Cream
Ensure you’re not feeding them sugary or dairy products daily.
Chickens are not known to deal with dairy intake well. Your chickens may start getting diarrhea if they have too much.
Due to the lack of the correct enzymes, they cannot properly digest milk and or any dairy products.
Avoid feeding chickens foods that contain dairy in them. Like us, chickens require a well-balanced diet to consume the vitamins and nutrients their bodies need. According to the University of Georgia, the right diet will help your chickens produce high quality eggs, and live a healthy life.
Excessive amounts of sugar can cause serious problems such as:
- Kidney problems
- Digestive problems
- Weakened bones
It may also slow or stop your chickens from being able to lay their eggs properly.
Dairy is not the only concern with overfeeding them ice cream. You also have to be worried about the high amounts of sugar they will be intaking.
Too much sugar for chickens can cause them to be overweight, resulting in them having problems moving around and getting the proper exercise.
Your chickens can consume sugar, but too much is not a good idea. That said, ice cream is not a requirement. Your backyard pets will live a healthier life when you stick to a high-quality feed and other healthy snacks.
Alternative Options to Ice Cream
Frozen Fruit & Veggies
There are many other recommended frozen ice cream-like snacks that you can feed your chickens instead of serving them the real deal.
A typical snack that chicken owners give to their chickens on a hot day is some frozen fruit. Some even freeze them in ice cubes to make the treat more exciting.
You can take any of your chicken’s favorite fruit or vegetable and throw it in the freezer for a bit, then pass it off to your chickens. They will enjoy pecking it, especially on a hot summer day.
Some fruit and veggie ideas include:
If you do not have fruit and want to give them a cold snack, just toss them some regular ice cubes. They will enjoy pecking at them while getting a nice cool-down treat.
You can even toss a bunch of ice cubes in their water dish to help keep them cool on those humid days.
Frozen yogurt is a great option instead of ice cream. Now you may be wondering, isn’t yogurt a dairy product?
Although yogurt does contain dairy, it also has less sugar and fat than ice cream, which is a lot healthier for them to consume.
How to Make Frozen Yogurt Treats for Your Chickens
To make frozen yogurt treats for your chickens, you’ll need some store-bought yogurt. (opt for plain, unsweetened, and unflavored) variety. This article will show you how to make yogurt treats for your chickens as well as the best brands to feed them.
Remember that yogurt is still a dairy product and should always be given to them in moderation.
Make their regular chicken feed a fun cold meal by adding some ice or cold water to it.
If it is a hot day outside, your chickens can enjoy their regular food with a refreshing spin to the meal.
You can freeze just about any food option and give it to them as a snack, even grass, if you have limited options. Anything they enjoy, you can freeze it for them to enjoy.
If you enjoy baking treats for your chickens, check out these summer treats from Baking with Chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?
No, just like you wouldn’t think to hand over a chocolate bar to your dog, you should also never be giving your chickens chocolate ice cream or any food product that contains chocolate in it.
The darker the chocolate, the worse it is for your animal friends because of the high amounts of theobromine. Consuming chocolate, even in small amounts, can be harmful and even fatal to your flock.
What Kind of Ice Cream Is Best for My Chickens?
If you decide you want to give your chickens some ice cream as an afternoon treat, it is best to avoid very high sugar flavors.
A good idea is to give your chickens some low-fat ice cream.
You can still give your chickens regular ice cream; a good option for this is to give them plain vanilla ice cream.
Giving your chickens plain vanilla ice cream is a safer choice since it does not have all the added sugars and fats included in it as feeding them a flavored choice of ice cream.
Just because your chickens enjoy eating fruits does not mean strawberry ice cream is a healthy treat for them as it has higher amounts of sugar and fats.
Always remember no kind of ice cream is healthy enough for your chickens to eat in high amounts, make sure you limit their intake of this treat to avoid any health problems.
Do not give your chickens any flavors such as cookies and cream, Moose tracks, panda paws, mint, and or any ice cream that has even the smallest traces of chocolate in them.
It may be easy to forget that there are traces of chocolate in the ice cream, if only in small amounts.
Make sure you read the ingredients to ensure your chickens’ health and safety.
Can Chickens Eat Popsicles?
Popsicles are lower in fat than ice cream, but the store-bought varieties can contain up to 22 grams of sugar. It’s best to avoid feeding your chickens any store-bought popsicles.
It’s not hard to find YouTube videos of chickens eating ice cream. That being said, it not something you should feed your chicken. However, it’s your choice whether you feed your chickens ice cream or not.
While not toxic (as long as it’s not chocolate) should not be a part of your chicken’s diet. It’s bet to feed your pets healthy foods provide nutritional value, instead of harmful junk food like french fries, hot dogs, and etc.
High amounts of sugar and dairy are not suitable for humans to consume, just like it is not healthy for chickens. There are many more nutritious snacks that won’t put your chickens at risk.
If you share some ice cream with them, monitor their behavior to ensure there are no side effects.
If you notice any problems or digestive issues, stop feeding them immediately.
When giving your chickens any snack, ensure you don’t use it as a substitute for their regular feed. Snacks should consume no more than 10% of their regular diet.