If you own a flock of hens, then naturally, you are going to want to know what kind of scraps of fruits and veggies are safe to offer to them. Feeding table scraps can be risky if you are not well informed about what they should and what they shouldn’t eat.
So, what about bell peppers? Are they safe and beneficial for their diet? What about the different varieties of bell peppers; are some more suitable while others are not? Having these questions in mind, I decided to spend some time researching and see what I can find.
So, can chickens eat bell peppers? Are the pepper seeds ok for the flock? Does the color of the bell pepper make any difference? You can find the answers to all these questions in the text below, so read on!
Can Chickens Eat Bell Peppers? Sweet Peppers?
Yes, in almost all forms and varieties, peppers are safe for chickens to eat. Bell peppers provide good all-around nutrition, antioxidants, and vitamins.
However, it is vital to ensure that pepper stalks, leaves, and under-ripe peppers are never served to chickens since these contain high amounts of a compound called solanine. This compound is a toxin that can be dangerous to chickens when eaten in excessive amounts.
Most keepers reported that their flocks are responding enthusiastically and positively when fed with bell peppers. This is great, considering bell peppers are relatively cheap, and most of us end up buying too much of it and would otherwise throw it away. But:
Can Chickens Eat Bell Pepper Seeds?
As I already mentioned, bell peppers are completely safe for chickens as long as you make sure you avoid giving the parts like leaves, stalks, and flowers, which contain solanine. This means that seeds inside the bell peppers are completely safe for your chicks as well.
What About Bell Pepper Leaves?
While the meat of the bell peppers, as well as the seeds, are safe and healthy for your chics, the rest of the plant parts can be lethal to your chickens, as I already stated. Bell peppers are veggies that belong to the nightshade family, which is known for producing toxin solanine.
Solanine is present in the stalk, stems, and leaves of the plant.
It is also present in the unripe bell peppers in smaller quantities, so you should always go for fully ripened bell peppers when feeding your flock.
But what can happen if your chickens eat bell pepper leaves, stalks, or stems? In case your chicken consumes solanine in a small quantity, you can expect symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, lethargy, and diarrhea. But, if they consume larger quantities of solanine, it can poison their insides severely and lead to illness.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the excess intake of solanine leads to death.
Can Chickens Eat Chili Bell Peppers?
This might sound weird to you, but yes, they can. Chickens can eat chili bell peppers since they are unable to taste capsaicin. Capsaicin is a type of compound that lends its heat to chili, and fortunately, chickens are protected from its fierce heat.
Considering their nutritional richness, chili bell peppers also have additional benefits for chickens, so do not hesitate and include this veggie into their diet from time to time. Some keepers believe that chili peppers have certain therapeutic uses in chickens. Also, they act as an immune stimulant for ill chickens and help them lay eggs.
Are Bell Peppers Healthy And Beneficial For Chickens?
The great news is that bell peppers are really healthy and beneficial for your flocks considering they are packed with some good nutrition that brings a lot of goodies into their diet plan.
First of all, bell peppers have a high water content; approximately, they contain 92% of water. This makes them a tasty and refreshing choice during the hot summer months. Also, they are rich in a range of vitamins such as vitamin C, B6, K1, A, and E. They are also rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and a lot more.
Bell peppers are loaded with vitamins and minerals that will support the health of your birds; they are easy to prepare, so they are the most convenient table scrape that you can serve to your flock.
From a nutritional point of view, bell peppers are low in calories but high in water, which means that they are great for keeping excess energy intake in control while hydrating your birds at the same time.
Here is the nutritional content for 100g red bell pepper:
|Vitamin A||157 µg|
|Vitamin C||127.7 mg|
|Vitamin K||4.9 µg|
|Vitamin E||1.58 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.054 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.085 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.979 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.317 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.291 mg|
|Vitamin B9||46 µg|
|Dietary fibers||2.1 g|
As you can see, they are low in carbs and fats and rich in multiple vitamins and minerals that promote better health.
What’s The Difference Between The Different Colors Of Bell Peppers?
Is there any nutritional difference in the bell peppers of different colors (green, yellow, and red)? The answer is a bit confusing – there is, and there isn’t.
Green, yellow and red bell peppers are actually the same plant but in a different stage of ripeness.
Green is considered unripe, yellow is at mid-ripeness, and red is fully-ripe bell pepper. This is why red peppers are generally sweeter and most nutritious and the main reason why you should always choose to feed your flock with red ones.
It is not like you need to avoid serving yellow and green bell peppers, but they are less nutritional in every way.
Do not be surprised if you notice that your birds have a preference for one particular color. Chickens typically love to eat bell peppers, but some chicks can refuse to eat bell pepper of a certain color. Some even have preferences for how they are offered, meaning some will only eat cooked bell peppers, while others only want to eat them raw.
If you decide to share some bell peppers with your chickens, go ahead since they’re packed with great nutrition. They are tasty and refreshing, and most chickens love them, and it is great to add some variety to their diet from time to time.
The only thing you need to keep in mind when feeding is that they are part of the nightshade family just like tomato and eggplants, so keep everything other than the meat away from your chicks, and all will be fine.
Also, the only right way to feed them is to remember the 90/10 rule – 90% of your flock’s daily diet should always come from their formulated feed, and only 10% should be made up of scraps, treats, and other goodies that you prefer to share with them.