Now, chickens are not picky eaters. However, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a balanced diet. If you’re living in a region with plenty of seafood, then it’s easy to ask the question; can chickens eat shrimp? Now, the answer is yes. Shrimp is a delicious seafood that’s rich in protein, omega-3s, vitamins, minerals, and other healthy fats.
So, feeding your chickens shrimp means that they will benefit immensely. They will have a healthy heart, healthy nervous system, and better egg production among other benefits. In this short guide, we’re going to take an in-depth look at shrimp and how it benefits your critters.
What You Need to Know about Shrimp
Before we get to chickens, it doesn’t hurt to learn a little bit about shrimp. Now, shrimp is a seafood that can be cooked or rather prepared in many different ways. It can be baked, fried, boiled, steamed, poached, or barbecued.
Regarding its nutritional value, shrimp is low in calories and high in protein. It’s also a rich source of minerals and vitamins such as B12. Shrimp is also low in saturated fats but high in healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids.
Now, back to your chickens, protein helps to provide your critters with the right energy to forage. Laying hens will lay healthy eggs while roosters will have the energy to protect the flock against predators. When it comes to omega-3s, your flock will have lower chances of getting heart problems, especially if they’re prolific layers.
Lastly, there’s the color of the shrimp. Obviously, when dealing with shrimp, whether it’s store-bought or harvested on the river or lake, you need to know about the color. Now, raw shrimp is usually white with shades of grey, light blue, and red.
Once cooked, the color turns pink or red. Now, here, I believe most people must be asking; can chickens eat cooked shrimp? Well, the answer is yes. Provided it doesn’t have any seasoning, chickens can eat it just the way they eat kitchen leftovers.
Can Chickens Eat Shrimp? Are They Safe?
Yes, chickens can eat shrimp. In fact, just like other seafood, chickens enjoy eating shrimp a lot. They can eat shrimp in all manner of types ranging from raw, dried, fried, to cooked shrimp. Just as we mentioned earlier, shrimps are a rich source of protein and omega 3s. However, just like other treats, shrimps should be fed in moderation and not as a primary feed.
Benefits Of Shrimp To Chickens
Prevents Weight Loss and Nervous Disorder
Now, shrimp is high in protein and vitamin B12. In fact, a serving of shrimp contains around 80% of protein. Starting with vitamin B12, ingesting high amounts of this vitamin means that your chickens will have a high appetite that will lead to increased weight gain.
The same goes for protein where your chooks will have increased muscle mass. Other than that, your chickens will enjoy other health benefits such as a healthy nervous system, healthy gizzards, and healthy feathers and skin development.
Now, a 4-ounce serving of shrimp contains around 1 – 4 milligrams of astaxanthin. According to health experts, this compound is a valuable player in the overall health of your eyes as it protects the retina against oxidative damage. So, feeding shrimp to chickens means that they will have improved eye health.
Just like other shellfish, shrimp is an excellent source of phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin D. Now, when fed to chickens, these minerals boost egg laying and allow your chickens to lay eggs with strong shells. They also strengthen their bones and prevent the risks of bone fractures.
Prevents Heart Diseases
Lastly, shrimp contains selenium and omega-3s. These two play a major role in boosting your chickens’ heart health. So, here, your chickens will have fewer chances of getting heart diseases and inflammation.
Nutritional Value of Shrimp
|Niacin||11% of RDI|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||295 mg|
|Omega-6 Fatty Acids||17.9 mg|
|Vitamin B12||1.3 mcg|
|Vitamin C||1.9 mg|
Can Chickens Eat Shrimp Shells, Tails, or Skin?
So, let’s start with the shell. Now, humans usually get rid of the shell when preparing shrimp. As a concerned chicken keeper, this will leave you asking the question; can chickens eat shrimp shells?
Well, chickens are not as picky as we are so they will certainly eat the shells. In fact, shrimp shells are hailed for being a rich source of calcium. So, if you have a flock of egg-laying hens, then giving them shrimp shells will help to boost their calcium intake, which is essential for their egg-laying endeavors.
However, when feeding shells to chickens, you need to grind them into tiny pieces to avoid any injuries. Remember, sharp shell bits can injure your chickens’ intestines.
Regarding the skin, chickens will comfortably eat shrimp skin without any problem. The only thing you need to ensure is that the shrimp is not rotten or unclean.
Finally, we have the tail. So, can chickens eat shrimp tails? Yes, they can. Just like the shells, the tails contain a lot of calcium and trace minerals that are highly beneficial to chickens. They allow your chickens to lay eggs with strong shells and also help your flock develop strong bones.
Risks of Feeding Shrimp to Chickens
When feeding shrimp to chickens, it’s good to ask yourself whether this seafood has any negative effects. Now, we’ve outlined some of the positives this seafood offers to your chooks. But, when it comes to the downsides, there’s one risk you need to be aware of which is high cholesterol.
Shrimp is high in cholesterol, which is a major risk to chickens. The main problem usually comes when you feed excess shrimp to chickens instead of giving it in moderation. You see, by feeding shrimp in moderation, at least once weekly, your chickens will have a chance to break down the cholesterol and excrete it via the droppings.
How to Serve Shrimp to Chickens
Now that you’re aware of the health benefits of shrimp to chickens, we will finalize this post by discussing some of the ways you can serve this delicious and nutritious seafood to your critters. But, before we start, let me mention that most chickens in our backyards are hybrid strains raised for egg production.
Although these chickens produce a lot of eggs, they have very delicate systems that are quite sensitive. So, when feeding treats such as shrimps, you need to choose only fresh shrimp rather than rotten ones.
Now, chickens can eat raw shrimp quite well without any problem. In fact, they can tear the skin and eat everything. Most fishermen feed their chickens seafood such as crabs and crawfish and there’s no problem with that. In fact, this food is rich in nutrients and protein.
However, raw seafood such as shrimp can get spoilt pretty fast. In most cases, it takes just 4 hours for the food to get rotten. So, when feeding raw shrimp to your chickens, make sure that you throw away any leftovers to avoid putting your flock at risk.
Dried shrimp is a smart option as they don’t get spoilt faster than fresh shrimp. They’re also easy to break down making them ideal for younger chicks. Dried shrimp also contain omega-3s and vitamins that are beneficial to your flock during egg laying and molting.
Fried or Cooked Shrimp
Lastly, can chickens eat cooked shrimp? Well, the answer is yes. Chickens can eat fried or cooked shrimp. However, if you’re feeding them cooked shrimp, it shouldn’t contain any seasoning, garlic, salt, or spices. Remember, most of these spices are toxic to chickens and can harm them severely.
Again, shrimp that has been fried or cooked using butter can cause obesity in chickens if not fed in moderation. As you already know, obesity is fatal, especially to broilers and hybrids, as it can cause health problems such as decreased fertility, fatty liver syndrome, and death when laying eggs.
So, can chickens eat shrimp? Well, the answer is a big yes. Chickens can eat shrimp including the heads, eyes, shells, skin, and tails. Here, your feathered friends will benefit immensely as they will ingest a lot of nutrients that will benefit them in myriad ways.
However, shrimp is a treat and should be fed in moderation using the 90/10 rule. Otherwise, too much shrimp in your chickens’ diet can increase cholesterol causing your chickens to add weight dangerously. Also, when feeding shrimp to chickens, make sure it’s fresh and not spoilt.
Hello, I am John Reid. I have been raising chickens for the last 15 years. I have got my experience from my father. My father is the owner of a large chicken farm. This is our family business that has been continuing for over 35 years. I am very interested in backyard chickens and I know how to take care of them. You can learn more About Us here. Happy Reading!!