Chickpea is a key ingredient in many dishes around the world thanks to its nutrition-rich property. People have been using chickpeas for making salads, soups, curry, stews, and more for a very long time.
Since chickens’ diet can contain most human foods, it makes sense that people might ask if the chickens can also enjoy chickpeas as well. Can chickens eat chickpeas? They can, the nutrients benefit chickens a lot.
Can chickens eat chickpeas?
Chickens can enjoy chickpeas just fine like humans. It contains some nutrients that are essential to chickens. But, just like many other legume plants, you should serve cooked chickpeas only and avoid raw or uncooked chickpeas.
Chickpeas’ health benefits to chickens
High amount of protein
Protein is important for any animal, not just chickens. It helps regulate, repair, form, and protect vital parts in the chicken’s body. It also helps form the immune system, growth of fathers, and fluid balance.
Chickpeas have a high amount of protein of 20.47g per 100g of chickpeas, so it is a great source of protein as a treat for the chickens
A lack of protein may cause fluid retention and tissue shrinkages, so try to provide your chickens with enough protein in their daily diet. About 2 to 3 servings should be enough to meet the requirements.
In cooked or sprouted chickpeas, the proteins are rich in many amino acids like isoleucine, tryptophan, lysine, and total aromatic amino acids.
Lysine is an amino acid that assists the retention of calcium and the synthesis of protein. If your chickens don’t gain enough lysine, they could experience anaemia, bloodshot eyes, reproduction problems, and tiredness.
Rich in vitamins and minerals
Chickpeas contain many beneficial nutrients for your chickens, including vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
In these vitamins, you can find folate that helps prevent embryo loss during the incubation’s late state. So chickpeas would make a nice treat for laying hens.
There are also minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, sodium, zinc, and minerals with high amounts like phosphorus at 252mg per 100g and potassium at 718mg per 100g.
Rich in dietary fiber
Chickpeas contain a high amount of dietary fiber, about 7.6g per 100g. Fiber can help with improving digestion in chickens, reducing blood sugar levels, and lowering cholesterol levels.
Read more: Can chickens eat bread?
Raw chickpeas are bad for chickens (and human too)
Like many other legume plants, chickpeas contain anti-nutritional factors. They include amylase inhibitors, tannins, lectins, protease inhibitors, and oligosaccharides.
The anti-nutritional factors affect the absorption of nutrients in the digestive system. And most of them can be nullified by heat. This is why you should cook the chickpeas before serving them to your chickens.
Temperature and exposure time can determine how effective the heat treatment is. Extrusion is one of the effective methods since it deactivates the an-nutritional factors, while at the same time improves the utilization of fat, protein, and starch.
Cooked peas vs. raw peas
Compared to raw peas, cooked peas don’t see too much difference in the total protein and carbohydrate content. But, it could lead to an increase in crude fiber content due to the fiber-protein complexes being affected.
Cooked peas have higher-quality protein thanks to the anti-nutritional factors being deactivated by the heat. The protein is also easier to digest.
You won’t have to worry about the essential amino acids like lysine losing since while the concentration is lowered, the amount of amino acids is still high enough to feed your chickens as a treat.
Cooked peas also have significantly lower fat and mineral contents, and the B vitamins could dissolve into the water. So try to cook at just the right time and temperature to retain the most nutrients for your chickens.
Chickpeas’ germination also improves protein digestibility but not as much as cooking. Sprouted chickpeas have an increased amount of crude protein and crude fiber.
Similar to cooked peas, sprouted peas’ essential amino acid contents are decreased but they are still enough for your chickens.
Sprouted peas have 1 advantage over cooked chickpeas, that is sprouted peas retain the B vitamins and minerals more effectively than cooked peas. However, the reduction of the anti-nutritional factors is not as good.
Can chickens eat hummus?
While hummus is made mostly out of chickpeas, which is a great ingredient in a chicken’s treat, hummus also comes with lots of other ingredients that are unhealthy to chickens.
Most types of hummus will have salt, pepper, oil, and possibly additives and preservatives. Although hummus would not affect your chickens too badly, there are far better options available at your home and the market.
Some other healthy foods for chickens
Chickpeas alone are not enough to make up the main diet for your chickens, so consider adding or using these foods in the diet:
- Fruits: strawberries, cranberries, melon, bananas, peaches, apples, and more.
- Vegetables: carrot, broccoli, jicama, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and more.
- Grains: quinoa, wheat, corn, oatmeal, and more.
Also, you should feed them some grits or eggshells since chickens use them to break down the food in their gizzards and then digest the foods.
Avoid feeding the chickens things like chocolate, avocados skins, green potatoes, moldy foods, uncooked beans, candies, or any sugar food and drink, teas, and coffee.
So, can chickens eat chickpeas? They are great for chickens to consume since they are packed with nutrients like a high amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and some essential amino acids like lysine.
But, don’t feed chicken uncooked or raw chickpeas since like many other legume plants, it contains anti-nutritional factors that make digestion in chickens less effective, and they can be easily deactivated by heat.
Sprouted chickpeas are also another great option when serving chickpeas since it retains the mineral much better than cooked chickpeas but not as good when nullifying anti-nutritional factors