Even though many legumes are toxic to chickens, fresh and frozen peas are fine for chickens to eat although dried peas need to be sprouted, cooked or treated before they are edible for poultry.
Commercially peas are treated by micronisation and infra red heat before being used in poultry feed. This means they are ground up to flour and exposed to a heat source for a few minutes before being added to chickens feed.
You should never change a chickens diet abruptly, always make small changes over time so they get used to it.
Are peas good for chickens?
Peas are good food for chickens. Peas have the right balance of protein to carbohydrate and contain significant vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, C, K and B complex. Minerals include Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Selenium and laying hens fed a pea ration also had darker yolks during testing.
Peas have protein ranging from 22% to 26%, including good amounts of two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, making peas an excellent feed-stuff for poultry and chickens. Peas can be used to replace Soy in poultry feeds. The digestibility of pea protein is between 63% and 75% depending on the variety and growing conditions.
In some studies young chickens were fed up to 40% peas in their diet with no decrease in performance over soy based diets and laying hens were fed a 40% pea based ration with no loss of egg production. Above 40% egg shell quality decreased.
Do chickens like peas?
Yes, my chickens love peas in all their forms. I grow my own in my backyard garden and the hens spend a lot of time trying to get into the beds to eat the peas and if they do they eat the plants as well.
Chickens can have sugar snap peas, mange tout and surplus pea pods as well.
Below: My chickens eating peas.
I give mine frozen peas in the heat of summer, a bit like giving pea ice cream to chickens.
When feeding peas to chickens make sure there is not added salt or sugar as this is not very good for them.
Can chickens eat uncooked peas?
Chickens can eat uncooked fresh peas and anyone who has ever tried to grow their own peas with chickens around will know how difficult it is to keep them away from fresh peas.
Sugar snap peas can be safely fed to chickens and my hens will eat the young pods as well.
Can chickens eat dried peas?
Chickens should not be fed dried or marrow fat peas without them being cooked or sprouted. Commercially dried peas are ground and heat treated before being fed to chickens.
Below: I soaked these dried peas for 24 hours before feeding.
Yellow split peas should be cooked as well before feeding to chickens although they can tolerate small amounts raw it is better to feed cooked.
Can chickens eat frozen peas?
Chickens can eat frozen peas. I use them as a treat in the hot summertime to help keep the hens cool. My chickens go into a feeding frenzy when I bring out the frozen peas.
Can chickens eat sweet peas?
No. You must never allow chickens to eat sweet peas, the flowers, the green parts of a sweet pea plant or the seeds.
All parts of the sweet pea plant are toxic to chickens.
Can baby chicks eat peas?
You can feed cooked peas to baby chicks from 3 or 4 weeks of age but limit them to one or two each to start with till they get used to having new foodstuffs.
How to feed peas to chickens:
- Give raw or cooked fresh peas to chickens up to 20% of the diet from the age of four weeks.
- Give frozen peas as a treat in the heat of summer.
- Cook, soak or sprout dried peas.