Can chickens eat bell peppers? Well, the short answer is that it all depends upon the various types of bell peppers (i.e., green, red, or yellow varieties).
Usually, in backyard poultry farming, farmers are keen to know about the safety of their natural sources of food (vegetables, fruits or peppers, etc.) for their flock.
It has been reported that various farmers feed bell peppers to their poultry flocks because it is a cheaper source of food for them.
Bell pepper is the cultivar of the Solanaceae family, also called as nightshade family. It is grown for its mild and thick fruit. However, it is recommended that bell pepper should only be used as a supplement. It should not be considered as a complete diet.
Bell Peppers Types
There are various types of bell peppers, viz. green, yellow, and red. The different bell pepper types are the same plant but in a different stage of ripeness. Bell pepper type is decided based on their ripening stage.
The Green types of Bell Peppers
It is the first ripening stage of bell pepper. During this stage, bell pepper exhibits a green color. This color change is linked with the stage of their ripeness.
|Vitamin C||133.0 mg|
The green type of bell pepper is bitter compared to the other bell pepper types.
The Yellow types of Bell Peppers
As the ripening of the green bell pepper is started, this leads to their color change. It exhibits the orange tinge of color.
This stage of bell pepper is characterized as a fairly ripen stage. Moreover, the yellow bell pepper is sweeter than the green type bell pepper.
The Red types of Bell Peppers
It is the final ripening stage of the bell pepper. It reflects reddish color.
It is characterized as the full ripened stage of bell pepper. It has a sweeter taste compared to all other types of bell pepper. From a nutrition perspective, it is evident that the red bell peppers have a higher nutrient profile than all other types.
Some comparative characteristics for different bell peppers types
It is not imperative to avoid the green and yellow type bell pepper servings to your flock. Because these types exhibit a low nutrient profile. It is evident that the taste and nutrient profile of bell pepper is associated with its ripening stage.
|Green bell pepper||Unripe||Bitter|
|Yellow bell pepper||Fairly ripe||Sweet|
|Red bell pepper||Ripe||Sweeter than red and yellow|
|Dietary Fibres||2.1 g|
|Vitamin A||157 µg|
|Vitamin B1||0.054 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.085 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.979 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.317 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.291 mg|
|Vitamin B9||46 µg|
|Vitamin C||127.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||1.58 mg|
|Vitamin K||4.9 µg|
- Red types of bell peppers reflect red colour due to the presence of different carotenoid pigments that contains β-carotene in addition to pro-vitamin-A functionality.
- The red types of bell peppers exhibit the highest proportion of β-carotene (5.4 μg/g) compared to the green and yellow types.
- The yellow types of bell peppers exhibit the lowest proportion of β-carotene (0.2 μg/g),
- The red bell peppers exhibit the highest proportion of phenolic compounds (anti-oxidant activity) compared to the green and yellow types.
- The red bell peppers exhibit more than two-folds of vitamin C compared to the green bell pepper.
So can chickens eat Bell Peppers?
Yes, you can feed your chickens with bell peppers. These are cheaper, easily accessible, and nutritious supplements for the farmers rearing backyard poultry. Moreover, these are also safer.
However, feeding preferences depend on the ripening of the bell peppers associated with their taste. That’s why red bell peppers have more preference for chicken feeding.
The Scientific Reasons
Chicken eat bell pepper because it did not reflect the burning sensation compared to the other pepper types (e.g., Chilli type pepper). Because bell peppers are the types of Capsicum genus that did not contain capsaicin (a chemical that reflects the strong burning sensation).
The Pros of feeding Bell Peppers to Chickens
- Bell peppers exhibit lower calories & higher water content (92%). It keeps the birds hydrated during the heat stress period.
- Bell pepper is also a carbohydrate source (fructose and glucose).
- Bell peppers are also a good source of dietary fiber.
- Dietary fiber ensures the gut health of the chicken and prevents gastrointestinal tract disturbance, e.g., diarrhea, etc.
- Bell peppers are nutrient-dense diets. They contain a higher proportion of vitamin C that helps in growth and repair processes in chickens.
- Vitamin C is also called an anti-stressor and prevents heat stress and improves immunity. It promotes iron absorption.
- Bell peppers aid in the absorption of the different nutrients. When the chickens eat bell pepper, vitamin A is readily absorbed. Vitamin-A is a water-soluble vitamin as bell pepper contains a higher proportion of water (92%).
- Bell peppers are also a good source of folate and potassium that ensures healthy chickens.
- The red types of bell peppers exhibit the highest proportion of β-carotene. Its conversion leads to Vitamin A production.
- Vitamin A promotes the immunity and growth of chickens.
- Bell pepper exhibits anti-oxidant activity due to polyphenol compounds and vitamin E.
The Cons of feeding Bell Peppers to Chickens
Bell pepper belongs to the Solanaceae family, also called as nightshade family. The nightshade family’s specific character is to produce a chemical named “Solanine.” Higher proportions of these chemicals are present in the bell peppers’ stems, leaves, and stalks.
What is Solanine
It is a natural defense line in plants against pests and fungi. However, when an animal ingests it, it has serious health consequences.
The consequences of Solanine on the Health of chickens
In chicken, Solanine is considered very toxic. When ingested in higher amounts, it reflects the following health consequences.
- Respiratory system issues
- Neurological disorders
- Convulsions and paralysis
However, when lower quantities of Solanine are consumed, it causes digestive disturbances (diarrhea) and vomiting. Ultimately, it makes the chicken lethargic and weak.
Some Important considerations during the feeding of the bell peppers
Bell pepper seeds, fruit could be offered to chicken without any toxic effect.
However, green types of bell peppers (under-ripe stage) consist of the ‘Solanine toxin’ that destroys birds’ health.
Therefore, red bell peppers (fully ripened stage) are recommended for chicken feeding.
How to prepare the bell peppers for feeding the Chicken?
Bell peppers could be offered as a whole, in chopped form, raw form, or cooked form. However, the best way to offer bell peppers to your poultry birds is to provide them in chopped form. Moreover, you can also hang the bell peppers in the feeding cage of your chicken flock.
How much should bell peppers be offered to chicken?
Although bell peppers are nutritious and natural, they should be offered a supplementary diet. It should not be offered as a complete diet. If a higher portion of diet from vegetables is offered to chicken, it results in digestive upsets. Therefore, it is recommended to add bell peppers up to 5% of the chicken’s diet.
Darker yolked eggs are obtained when fully ripened bell peppers are offered to the chickens. It is due to the higher content of carotene that makes the yolk dark. Moreover, yellow types of bell pepper also darken the yolk to some extent.
Although bell peppers are nutritious and natural, they should be offered a supplementary diet.
They should not be offered as a complete diet. Bell pepper type is decided based on their ripening stage.
Bell pepper’s taste and nutrient profile are associated with its ripening stage.
Red bell peppers have a higher nutrient profile than all other types due to the higher proportions of a chemical toxin named “Solanine” in their stems, leaves, and stalks.
These parts of red bell peppers are not recommended for chicken feeding.
Therefore, bell pepper seeds or fruit could be offered to Chicken without any toxic effect.
Moreover, red bell peppers (fully ripened stage) are mainly recommended for chicken feeding.
So again, can chickens eat bell peppers? our answer is a definite Yes! but in moderation and as a supplement only 🙂