Can You Feed Onions to Chickens?

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Can You Feed Onions to Chickens?

In this very short post, I’m going to talk about the different factors you should think about before feeding onions to your chickens.

Are Onions Healthy for Chickens?

It’s a myth that chickens can’t eat onions. But keep in mind that they can only eat onions occasionally and in small quantities.

Onions, in moderation, are healthy for chickens and are full of vitamins and minerals. Onions are good for your chickens’ colon, bone health, reducing blood sugar levels, and reducing inflammation.

Heinz Anemia

Onions can be healthy for your chickens. With that said, a little bit of onion is fine. But if they eat too many onions, it can be harmful to them, causing hemolytic anemia (also known as Heinz anemia).

Heinz anemia is a blood condition resulting in chickens with weak legs, lethargy, and an unkempt look.

But this condition only occurs if you make onions the main source of their diet.


Typically, you should avoid feeding chickens fatty foods. So think twice before you feed your chickens onions that were cooked in butter or oil. If you want to give your chickens onions, cook them in a little water until they’re soft or grill them.

Eggs and Taste

Usually, onions won’t harm your chickens, but some people claim they may spoil the taste to your hens’ eggs. Personally, I didn’t find this to be the case.

Do Chickens Like Onions?

Typically, chickens don’t like raw onions. The taste of the onion itself is pretty strong, so don’t be surprised when your chickens don’t eat it. However, if they’re hungry enough they’ll eat the flesh of the onion and leave behind the onion peel.

When it comes to cooked onions, chickens will definitely eat those.

Conclusion: Backyard Chickens & Onions

Chickens like to eat table scraps, and most of the leftovers from your meals are safe for them to eat. Yet, table scraps alone won’t form a balanced diet for your chickens. So feed them in moderation and use them as a supplemental treat, not the main course.

And remember that, if you feed table scraps to your chickens, you should also feed them some grit (my favorite grit is this one from Amazon).

That’s it! I hope this post about backyard chickens and onions helped you out!