Chickens are not generally fussy eaters; however, it is still essential to give them a happy and healthy lifestyle. That involves feeding them a balanced diet. So, what about shrimp? Are shrimps okay for chickens to eat?
Can Chickens Eat Shrimp?
Shrimp is very nutritious. Like fish, it is a natural source of Omega 3’s, protein, and other essential vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to the heart and nervous system, molting, and better egg production, and much more.
We’ll take an in-depth look at some of the top benefits as well as how to feed your chickens shrimp safely. But first, here’s a video of a chicken eating shrimp shells.
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Is Shrimp Healthy for Chickens?
Shrimp is low in calories and is a healthy source of vitamins, protein, nutrients, and healthy fats. It’s not only great for humans but can make an excellent treat for your feathered friends as well.
One shrimp contains less than 5% of fat and over 80% of protein. As well as this, shrimps are high in B12, iron, and selenium and provide a large percentage of these vitamins’ recommended daily intake.
Like us, chickens require a well-balanced diet to ensure they receive the vitamins and nutrients their bodies need. Vitamin deficiencies can lead to unwanted health problems.
A lack of Vitamin B12 can cause unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, nervous disorders, poor feathering, gizzard erosion, anemia, etc. (source)
Calcium is vital for growing bodies, even chickens! It is a crucial component for laying hens, as it ensures good quality eggs.
Iron produces hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. An iron deficiency can lead to amenia, which can be dangerous.
Shrimp can be safe for chickens when fed in moderation.
The Downsides of Feeding Shrimp to Chickens
On the downside, shrimps are high in cholesterol. Despite this, they have not been known to cause any issues towards heart health and actually have many positive nutrients like omega 3. You can also feed chickens sardines, which are another great omega-3 treat.
Omega 3 has been proven to improve a chicken’s egg production. The high protein content in shrimp can also make the yolk a darker orange and add more nutrients.
The table below shows the nutrition facts for Crustaceans, cooked shrimp.
|Vitamin C||1.9 mg|
|Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids||295 mg|
|Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids||17.9 mg|
|Vitamin B12||1.3 mcg|
How much shrimp can chicken eat?
Much like humans, anything can be bad for you if you have too much of it. Shrimp shouldn’t be the central part of a chicken’s diet. Instead, it is better to feed them shrimp on a weekly or twice-weekly basis.
Look at treats for chickens the same way as you would look at junk food for humans. Treats should only make up about 10% of the chickens’ entire intake. Exceptions to this can include veggies or leafy greens.
In the wild, fish would not be a part of the chicken’s diet. While it has no adverse health impacts, too much fish could lead to an unusual flavor in the chicken’s eggs, so it is best to keep it in moderation.
Can chickens eat raw shrimp?
Most chickens will gobble up raw shrimp, along with the shells and tails, and it won’t take them long to devour it. Some people feed their chickens crab legs, crawfish, and other types of seafood.
Fishermen are known to feed their chickens leftover guts, which give them plenty of nutrients and protein.
However, it is important that you do not feed chickens raw seafood that has gone off, rotten or moldy. Raw fish can also contain harmful parasites that can be toxic to chickens.
Feeding your chickens moldy food could make them very ill and can even be fatal.
Can Chickens Eat Dried Shrimp?
Chickens love it. It’s not hard to find dried fish and shrimp poultry treats that contain omega-3’s and other essential vitamins. If you don’t feel comfortable feeding your chickens shrimp, consider feeding this fish and shrimp poultry chicken treat.
The Little Farmers Products offers a high protein treat that has a whopping 62% crude protein. You’ll notice a massive difference in your hen’s egg production, overall health, molting, and general nutrition.
Purchasing fresh shrimp is a costly way of treating your chickens. An ideal alternative is dried shrimp. It can be bought in batches and still gives the same nutritional values. Some brands will offer their dried shrimp with a 50% fiber content.
Dried shrimp are also perfect for younger chicks and easy for their little beaks to break down.
Before purchasing anything, make sure they are plain and safe for your chickens. Chickens are susceptible to salt poisoning and should not eat anything with high salt content.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Shrimp?
Chickens can eat cooked shrimp, as long as you haven’t added any Bay Seasoning, garlic, salt, etc. Shrimp is not toxic to chickens, but some seasonings can harm chickens.
Feeding chickens a small amount of leftover boiled shrimp with butter, shouldn’t hurt them. However, butter is too fattening for chickens and can lead to obesity and other health issues.
It’s best to feed them cooked shrimp without any type of seasonings.
Can Chickens Eat Fried Shrimp?
While not toxic, it is not the healthiest type of shrimp to feed to your feathered friends. Fried foods are not healthy for us and should not be fed on a regular basis to your chickens.
Fried foods can lead to obesity, especially, if your chickens don’t get enough exercise.
How to Feed Shrimp to Your Chickens
Feeding your chickens raw or cooked shrimp is not hard. Throw the shrimp on the ground; you can even feed it to them with the tails and shells.
Your chickens will likely peck at it before realizing what it is. Some of them will pick up the pieces and run around the coop while the others chase them all over.
Once your chickens know what it is, they’ll likely want more. No matter how much they beg, never overfeed them. Shrimp, human foods, and other treats should only consume 10% of their regular diet.
Clean up any leftover shrimp shells or tails, as an unclean pen, can attract rats, squirrels, and other rodents. It takes about 4 hours for shrimp to spoil at room temperature. When left outside on the ground in high temperatures, it can be much faster.
You don’t want your chickens getting sick from eating rotten shrimp, so make sure you remove any uneaten portions and throw them away.
Keeping your chickens healthy will not only benefit them but also help you. It will make for good quality eggs, a rise in production, and unspoiled meat.
A balanced diet mixed with a clean coop will prevent illness or disease and lengthen the lifespan of your flock.
If your chickens show no interest in eating shrimp, don’t force them. Like us, not all chickens will enjoy eating the same foods.
While shrimps make for a tasty and healthy snack, this should be secondary to the chicken’s vital diet of grains, fruit, and vegetables.