Food

Can Chickens Eat Cucumbers & Cucumber Peels?

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

Every healthy bowl of salad comes with some cucumber. Don't toss away the scraps and peels: they are loaded with essential nutrients for your backyard flock. Chickens can eat all parts of the cucumber!

Nutrients | Health Benefits | Amount | Peels | Seeds | When to avoid

Can Chickens Eat Cucumbers?

Yes, chickens can eat cucumbers, cucumber peels, and cucumber seeds. You can feed them table scraps, as cucumbers are a healthy food source rich in minerals and vitamins A, C, and B6. Cucumbers can keep your chickens hydrated, boost their immune system, and help your flock see in dim lights.

Nutritional Value of Cucumbers for Chickens

Cucumbers are low in calories, contain a lot of water and fiber, and come with many healthy micronutrients. They don't contain many carbs and proteins, so they can't replace regular food, but cucumbers certainly are a healthy treat for chickens.

100g CucumberAmount% DV Laying Hen
Calories15 kcal ~5 %
Water95,2 g
Protein0,65 g~3,6 %
Carbs3,63 g
Fiber0,5 g
Sugar1,67 g~5,6%
Vitamin A105 IU~3,5%
Vitamin C2,8 mg~2,8%
Vitamin B6 40 µg~1,3%
Vitamin E0,03 g~0,2%
Vitamin K16,4 µg~0,5%
Potassium147 mg
Calcium16 mg~ 0,4%
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

One-third of a single cucumber (100g) is only 15 calories but provides about 3,5% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A for laying hens. Cucumber also contains vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as several minerals and traces of calcium.

  • Vitamin A is essential for several metabolic processes and helps chickens see in dim light and shady conditions. It's essential for fertility, the immune system, and growth in chickens.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant, vital for tissue growth and blood vessels, and involved in many body functions and the proper functioning of the immune system.
  • Vitamin B6 is vital for the metabolism of the nervous system and the immune system

Cucumbers also provide minerals that chickens need for their bones, muscles, heart, and brain to work properly.

two isa brown chickens eating cucumber slices

Health Benefits of Cucumber for Chickens

Cucumber comes with several health benefits for egg-laying hens and broilers:

  • It keeps the chickens hydrated: chickens need water to regulate their body temperature; water also plays a vital role in digestion and the organ functions
  • It helps them regulate their body temperature: the water, minerals, and electrolytes in cucumber allow chickens to cool down from heat stress
  • Boosts the immune system: several antioxidants, and vitamin C, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation that are linked to several diseases
  • Improves Digestion: the high fiber content in cucumber helps bowel movement and bacteria growth in the chicken's guts
  • May lower blood sugars: research on animals suggests that eating cucumber reduces blood sugar levels.

Most people think cucumbers are vegetables, but botanically it's actually a fruit. So it does comes with some sugars, albeit a very small amount. Most of the sugars in cucumber also have a very low glycemic index and do not spike the blood sugar levels of chickens much.

How Many Cucumbers can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat cucumber in abundance. However, it can't replace regular food, so make sure they are still consuming enough of their regular feed.

Treats should generally be limited to about 5% of the feed intake. However, for cucumbers, it's hard to put such a limit, as it's a healthy food source. It's nearly impossible to overfeed chickens on cucumber. If you have some table scraps, your flock will be happy to help you out.

Can Chickens Eat Cucumber Peels?

Yes, chickens can eat cucumber peels. They are rich in fiber and vitamin A, which helps the chicken's digestive system and helps them see in dim light. A chicken's stomach is built to digest fibrous plant food, and our birds can handle the dense fibers of the cucumber skin very well.

Brown laying hen eating sliced cucumber parts

Can Chickens Eat Cucumber Seeds?

Yes, chickens can eat cucumber seeds. They are the most nutrient-dense part and contain a lot of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. The chicken's body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is vital for your chicken's eye health.

When Not to Feed Cucumbers to Chickens?

Cucumbers are generally safe as long as they are free from pesticides and mold. Only give your chickens cucumbers that you would eat yourself. Avoid cucumbers with yellow areas, sunk-in spots, or over-ripe wrinkled ends.

Avoid molds at all times. Molds are dangerous for chickens, affect their digestive system, and can cause dangerous infections.

You should also avoid feeding them very long blades of cucumber peels. Chickens don't have teeth and can't chew on the blades. Long thin blades can get stuck in their crops.

You can feed the cucumbers raw and cooked. However, avoid giving them cucumber salads containing dressings or food chickens can not eat, like onions.

Related Cucumber Food Sources for Chickens

Cucumbers are typically part of salads:

There are some alternatives to cucumber to keep your chickens hydrated:

If you want to learn more about chicken feed, please consult our 'Chicken Food Page' to go and see every specific food article we address, including all articles on what chickens can and can not eat. Or go to our listicle food summary on 'The Classroom'.

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Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.

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