From Beans to Peas: Can Chickens Eat Legumes?

Perhaps you enjoyed a dish of delicious beans or delicious cooked peas today or a few days ago. Yes, legumes have a wonderful taste that adds a distinctive flavor to each dish they are added to.

In addition, it has many health benefits that have made many nutritionists a source of healthy vegetable protein as an alternative to animal protein. So what about legumes for chicken, do they have the same benefit as for humans, or is the matter different?

Since there is a lot of conflicting information about what is suitable for feeding chickens, we have tried as much as possible to provide you with the most important confirmed information about feeding chickens, and we will talk in the coming lines specifically about legumes.

Can Chickens Eat Legumes?

Brown Chickens

Yes, chickens can eat legumes, as chickens are good fodder organisms that can eat anything you offer them. There are many types of legumes, and despite the high nutritional value of legumes as they represent a good source of protein, not all types of legumes are safe for chickens.

The Benefits Of Feeding Chickens Legumes

The term legumes refers to plants whose seeds are in pods. Legume seeds contain a large amount of protein, twice the amount of protein found in grains.

Legumes are a rich source of nutrients as half a cup of legumes contains about 9 grams of fiber, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 115 calories.

Good Source Of Protein 

Legumes are the main source of vegetable Protein. It contains a high percentage of protein that is needed by chickens for growth and reproductive process.

The protein profile of pulses consists of all the essential amino acids, such as leucine. The crude protein content in legumes such as peas, beans, and soya beans ranges from about 27% and reaches nearly 50% in soybeans.

Rich In Fiber

The outer shell (seed shell) especially in beans is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Non-starchy polysaccharides prevent the absorption of cholesterol, which enhances the health of chickens in general.

Good Sources Of Vitamins

Cultivated legumes contain a lot of vitamin C, which enhances the absorption of other vitamins and minerals. They are also rich sources of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, niacin, and folate.

Rich In Minerals

Legumes are a rich source of many minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, selenium, and iron.

They also contain many antioxidants that help avoid cell damage and prevent potential risks. It has many antioxidant polyphenolic pigment compounds such as quercetin.

The Potential Risks Of Feeding Chickens Legumes

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect and flawless. Although legumes contain a large amount of nutrients, they also contain compounds called anti-nutrients. Anti-nutritional compounds prevent the absorption of nutrients in legumes. There are many antinutrients in legumes, including:

1. Lectins

interfere with the cellular uptake of calcium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.
Phytates (phytic acid) reduce the body’s absorption of iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.

2. Tannins

Tannins are one of the derivatives of gallic acid and it’s found in many plants tissues including legumes. It interferes with iron absorption.

3. The Saponins

It interferes with the way the body absorbs nutrients. The effect of anti-nutrients in legumes can be reduced by providing moderate quantities of legumes and avoiding feeding chickens large quantities while providing legumes with other healthy foods for chickens and not being satisfied with them as a basic meal.

What Types Of Legumes Can Chickens Eat?

The types that can be offered to chickens include:

  • Peanuts
  • Clover
  • Bean
  • Chickpeas
  • Green beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Snap sugar peas
  • Asparagus beans
  • Soybean
  • Peas

And other types of legumes available

What Types Of Legumes Should Not Be Fed To Chickens?

Among the different types of legumes, beans, and lentils come as types that are forbidden to be served dry to chicken. Uncooked vegetables contain a compound called phytohaemagglutinin which is a toxic compound to chickens. Which causes a very serious disease in chickens that kills them in no time. It only takes a few beans or lentils to kill a chicken.

Beans and lentils contain a large number of nutrients that benefit chickens, so in order to safely feed them to chickens, They must be well cooked first in order to get rid of the toxic substance. that disintegrates by exposure to high heat, not weak or medium heat.

If you have lentils or bean plants in a garden near the chickens, make sure they are well-fenced so that the chickens cannot reach them and eat the legume seeds. Chicken can safely feed bean sprouts, leaves, and stems as the germination process removes toxins and they make a delicious vegetable meal that chickens enjoy.

Precautions To Be Taken When Feeding Legumes

Here are some precautions to keep in mind when feeding your chicken any types of legumes:

1. Crushing And Cracking The Legumes

Certainly, especially large legumes such as chickpeas should not be fed without cracking. as this may lead to the suffocation of the chicken. so it is recommended to crush the legumes before serving them to the chicken.

2. Not Using Packaging Legumes 

You should not feed the chicken with canned legumes purchased from the store, because they contain large amounts of sodium, which the chicken’s body cannot handle.

If you have any packages of beans that are not needed and you want to put them on the chicken table, they must be filtered from the solution in which they were and washed several times to get rid of extra sodium.

How to Feed Legumes To Chickens?

You can offer the leftover cooked legumes to your chicken as they do not contain nutrients that benefit the chicken. as long as you can boil the legumes and offer them to the chicken. Legumes can be crushed and mixed with their feed, which is the best way to feed chickens with legumes.

legumes should be as a supplement, not a primary feed, especially dry legumes. So the body can digest it well as it is dry and requires a large amount of water and time to be disgusted. It can be included in daily meals of chicken but in small amounts.


Can Chickens Eat Lentils And Chickpeas?

Yes, Lentils are a very useful food for chickens. As it is an excellent source of protein, it is ranked second after soybeans in terms of protein content. It is also low in fat and rich in potassium and antioxidants.

But the most important thing is not to give the chicken dried lentils. Because in its dry form, it contains a toxic substance that harms the chicken. You can simply prepare it by boiling it in boiling water.

Are Beans OK For Chickens?

Yes, beans are a food rich in many nutrients for chicken with protein, vitamins, and minerals. But it should not be fed to chickens when they are dry because they contain a substance called phytohaemagglutinin that leads to the death of chickens. So it must be cooked first before serving it to the chicken.

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Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.