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Can Chickens Eat Whole Corn? (Quick Answers)

Are you raising chickens in your backyard? Most likely, you know that chickens love corn. It is an excellent way to feed chickens corn, a grain they love to eat. However, you may wonder if chickens can consume whole corn. Is it safe for chickens to eat whole corn? Let us find out.

Can chickens eat whole corn?

Chickens can eat whole corn. The chicken is an omnivore, which means that it will consume a variety of plant-based food sources, including whole corn. Since whole corn is not digested as quickly as other forms of feed, the chickens can consume more of it and benefit from it.

There are hundreds of types of corn available. However, not all of them are suitable for chicken consumption. The following are the most common corns for chicken consumption.

Whole deer corn:

Corn comes in many varieties, and it is not recommended for feeding to livestock. We cannot deny, however, the fact that whole deer corn is edible for chickens with very few exceptions. The grain itself also contains trefoil addition to the grain itself. Chicken can eat whole deer corn.

Cooked whole corn:

Corn loses some of its calcium and vitamin content after cooking.  In chickens, it promotes parasite development and has a toxic effect on their kidneys and liver. Therefore, cooking whole corn is not good for fattening chickens.

Wet whole corn:

Wet corn is better for feeding them in the summer. If you are going to feed it during cold temperatures, then you must be careful about feeding them whole corn, otherwise, your chicken might get food poisoning. 

Sometimes wet corn can contain very high levels of bacteria that cause chickens’ stomachs to appear off-colored.

Whole shelled corn:

No, not good for chicken. The shelled corn promotes parasite development and causes kidney and liver damage to chicks that eat whole grain corn. Thus, the corn should be removed after a very short period before more chickens eat it.

Frozen whole corn:

With this type of frozen whole corn, germs are still not present, but there is a high concentration of moisture present. Your chickens can acquire bacterial strains from eating frozen whole corn. 

The best time to feed them flakes or brown ears is during the spring and winter seasons.

Fresh whole corn:

You can give your chickens fresh whole corn to eat this season because their digestive systems are raw. Therefore, you only need the kernels from 2-3 tassels on each ear of grain. 

These can produce a lot of feed, so keeping a large space between them or buying a peck and refilling every week would be a better option than not managing the issue with other options mentioned above.

Dried whole corn:

There are more grams of whole corn after drying. There is also more soluble sugar in corn than in meat. When you feed them as opposed to fresh ones, they consume much less food due to pre-absorptive effects, especially during the summer. 

For chickens, whole corn dried from the cob is not ideal.

Whole kernel corn:

Whole kernel corn contains quite a large amount of carbs and is not recommended for chickens. To start, you can only give them dry mash for a couple of days without cooking it. It has a high resistant starch content. 

Due to bacteria inside the grain before feeding, they are not normally digested by their digestive system once they are pre-absorptive.

Can bantam chickens eat whole corn?

Yes, bantam chickens can consume whole corn. However, it is important to remember that bantam chickens are not as hardy as regular chickens and may not be able to digest corn as well. 

If you choose to feed your bantam chickens whole corn, be sure to give them enough water and fresh vegetables to help them stay hydrated and nourished.

It is, therefore, necessary to add other feed types as well. The fact is, however, that whole corn can provide very good nutrition to bantam chickens when fed carefully and judiciously. 

Chicken owners are taking steps to get rid of chicken feed altogether by replacing it with mashed sweetcorn instead.

Is it better to feed chickens whole corn or cracked corn?

It is better for chickens to consume whole corn as it is the optimal food source for them in terms of nutrition. Even though cracked corn is cheaper, it lacks nutrients, and even though it is cheaper, it can result in poor health and performance in poultry.

As an ear of whole-grain corn contains more nutrients that chickens require, such as B vitamins, phosphorus, and minerals, it is a very good food to feed them. Chickens can also eat it without getting sick because it is more digestible. 

Additionally, whole corn is higher in sugar and therefore has more calories than cracked corn. Cracked corn may be a better choice if you want to reduce the amount of feed your chickens consume.

What age can chickens eat whole corn?

During its first three or four weeks of life, a chick may not eat whole corn. Their digestive systems are ready for whole corn at this point in their development, as well as their taste buds, which are developed enough to enjoy the taste of it. 

Ideally, you should begin feeding corn grain to your chickens as soon as they reach two weeks of age and slowly increase their consumption over time. Providing them with too much corn at one time can cause them digestive problems.

Why can chickens eat whole corn?

Chickens can eat whole corn because their crop digestibility is low compared to other types of feed. The cellulose and other plant materials in whole corn are broken down by chickens and provide them with energy and nutrients. 

Here are some reasons why chickens can eat whole corn.

Chickens have a low crop digestibility:

Due to their low digestibility, chickens cannot break down the cellulose in whole corn as efficiently as other types of feed. 

Whole corn provides chickens with more of the essential nutrients they need to survive and thrive, including B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, and minerals.

Chickens love the taste of whole corn:

The taste of whole corn is delicious to chickens! Due to their low digestibility, chickens can maximize the nutritional value of whole corn by eating it in its natural state – whole. In other words, the corn has had time to germinate, giving it a strong flavor and some added nutrients.

Chickens can digest whole corn better than other types of feed:

As compared to other feeds, whole corn is easier for chickens to digest than other feeds. The low digestibility of their crop is not only due to the presence of hulls and germ but also due to the unique structure of whole corn. 

The chickens benefit from these components by gaining energy and nutrients from the food it consumes.

Whole corn is a good source of energy for chickens:

For chickens, whole corn is a good source of energy. Whole corn provides chickens with more nutrients and energy than any other type of feed. When the chickens are hunting and pecking around their Feeder Area, they get the most out of their food with the help of these nutrients.

All in all, whole corn is a good choice of feed for chickens for the following reasons.

Is it hard for chickens to digest whole corn?

The issue of whether or not chickens can digest whole corn is a subject of some debate, but most experts believe that they are capable of doing so

Chickens digest whole corn like humans do, which means that it is broken down by their digestive system in the same way as to how it is digested by us. 

The problem with this is that some people believe that the process of breaking down whole corn may create inconsistencies in the feed of the chickens, which could cause health problems.

Therefore, you must talk to your veterinarian before you decide to feed your chickens whole corn. Some experts, however, believe that chickens are safe to eat whole corn.

Final Thoughts

However, whole corn may be the best choice for them. Corn contains a high amount of sugar and other carbohydrates. But whole corn can also contain harmful toxins that can harm their health. Choose a diet that consists of hay, fresh vegetables, and whole corn.