Can Chickens Eat Onions? A Look at if Different Types of Onion Scraps Are Harmful to Your Chickens (Includes Eating Large vs Small Quantities, Raw vs Cooked, If It Will Affect the Flavor of the Eggs, & More!)

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Can Chickens Eat Onions? (Are Onions Good or Bad for Their Health?)

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.

All types of onions (white, yellow, green, red, spring onions) are healthy for chickens in moderation and are full of vitamins and minerals. Onions are good for your chickens’ colon, bone health, reducing blood sugar levels, and reducing inflammation

As long as you don’t feed them onions all day, everyday, they’ll be fine. Think of onions as occasional treats.

Feeding Onions to Chickens vs 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 daily, it can be harmful to them, causing hemolytic anemia (also known as Heinz anemia).

Heinz anemia is a blood condition where red blood cells break down faster than the chicken’s body can replace them. The chickens will often have weak legs, lethargy, and an unkempt look.

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

Feeding Onions & Other Table Scraps to Chickens

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 onions and other table scraps in moderation and use them as a supplemental treat, not the main course.

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.

And remember that, if you feed table scraps to your chickens, you should also feed them some grit (Amazon). You can learn more about the topic of chickens needing grit by reading my post: Do Chickens Need Oyster Shells and Grit?

Will Chickens Eat & Like the Taste of Onions? (Raw vs Cooked Onions)

Chickens will eat cooked onions and most seem to really enjoy the taste of it.

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 raw onions and leave behind the onion peel.

Can Chickens Eat Onion Peels?

Yes. Chickens can eat onion peels (they’re not toxic in moderation) but I’ve never seen any of my chickens eat them. They’ll eat cooked and raw onions, and leave the peels behind.

I’m thinking that chickens might eat onion peels if it was the only food they could find but, unless they’re desperately hungry, I can’t see your chickens eating onion peels.

If they start eating onion peels, then perhaps you have to look at if you’re feeding them enough chicken feed.

Can Hens Eat Onions or Will It Cause an Off-Flavor in Eggs?

Some people claim they may spoil the taste of your hens’ eggs (the same goes with garlic and other strong-tasting foods like chives).

Personally, I don’t find this to be the case but I’m not a fussy eater.

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Summary: Can You Feed Onion Scraps to Chickens?

  • All types of onions (white, yellow, green, red, spring onions) are healthy for chickens in moderation and are full of vitamins and minerals.
  • If Chickens eat too many onions daily, it can be harmful to them, causing hemolytic anemia.
  • Typically, you should avoid feeding chickens fatty foods. So think twice before you feed your chickens onions that were cooked in butter or oil.
  • Chickens will eat cooked onions and most seem to really enjoy the taste of it. But typically, chickens don’t like the taste of raw onions.
  • Chickens can eat onion peels (it won’t kill them) but I’ve never seen any of my chickens eat them. They’ll eat cooked and raw onions, and leave the peels behind.
  • Some people claim they may spoil the taste of your hens’ eggs. The same goes with garlic and other strong-tasting foods like chives.