Can Chickens Eat Jalapenos? Is It Safe?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 08/24/22 •  6 min read

Chickens are animals that are known to eat a wide range of vegetables and fruits and are a great way to recycle any unwanted organic material as they will eat bugs, seeds, grains, greens, and a lot of other things that you may not want to consume yourself. However, one of the things that you may be wondering is whether chickens eat jalapenos. Is it safe? Or will they start to sweat and get really hot just like what we do?

Chickens can consume jalapenos and other hot peppers because they are unaffected by the chemical which generates all the heat and discomfort that comes with eating hot peppers, capsaicin. Capsaicin only affects mammals therefore the chickens can eat the fruit without having any problems that we do.

Will Chickens Eat Other Types Of Peppers?

The answer is yes. Chickens will eat many different types of peppers including the more commonly eaten bell peppers which we eat every single day. However, the chickens generally prefer to have peppers that are ripe as they are generally more nutritious for them. 

It is, therefore, a good idea to feed them yellow or red peppers which are essentially green peppers that have just had additional time on the plant to ripen. 

Can You Feed Chickens Jalapenos That Have Dried Up?

If your Jalapenos peppers have dried up, you can feed them to your chickens! So if you have either intentionally dried peppers for yourself or you have peppers that have spent too long on the plant and they have simply dried up your chickens will be able to eat them without any problems.

However, because the fruit has become a little bit tougher it is advisable to cut the dry peppers up for the chickens by running them through a blender of food processor which will make it easier for them to eat the fruit.

However, it is important to note that you should only be feeding the chickens the fruit and not the leaves plant as they are toxic to them because they contain a chemical called solanine. This chemical is commonly found in the leaves of the Solanaceae family and also appears in things like green potatoes and tomatoes.

Can You Feed Chickens Too Many Jalapenos?

It is possible to feed the chickens too many jalapenos. Chickens generally need a wide range of different foods just like we do to ensure that they remain healthy and happy in their pens. To achieve this it is best to provide them with a mixture of different vegetables and greens which can include plenty of jalapenos.  

These vegetables can supplement their diet which should, in most cases, be based around commercially available chicken feed which is either grain or palletized chicken food.

What Types Of Plants Should Chickens Be Eating?

As mentioned earlier in the article chickens can enjoy a wide range of different foods which can include fruits vegetables, greens, grains, and even slugs and snails. However, when feeding chickens it is important to follow the basic rule that will ensure that you do not give the chickens anything that is toxic which is means only providing them with things that you would actually eat yourself.

For example, many people provide chickens with greens from the offcuts of the ornamental garden which is generally a relatively risky thing to do because many of the plants that we grow happily in places like our cottage gardens can be in fact very toxic to both with ourselves and the chickens.

Examples of this include things like the lily of the valley, foxgloves, and even snowdrops all of which if given to chickens will most likely make them sick or possibly even kill them. So if you are going to feed them things from your ornamental garden it is important to ensure that you understand the toxicity of the plants that you are giving them.

Additionally, it is also not safe to assume that any edible plants also have foliage that is safe.   As mentioned earlier in the article chickens can not eat the leaves of the peppers because they are toxic. However, this also extends to things like tomato and potato plants along with things like rhubarb which have toxic leaves. 

So you need to ensure that what you give to the plants is the part of the plant that you are actually eating. So things like spinach, lettuce, and chard are absolutely fine to give to the chickens because they’re also safe for you.  

Additionally, it is also important to ensure that you do not give too much of any one type of food to the chickens as this can cause nutritional deficiencies or things like diarrhea in the case of lettuce because the chickens are consuming too much water.

Can You Feed Chickens Stale Or Mouldy Food?

A common question people have about feeding their flock is whether or not they should feed them food that is stale or moldy. Rancid, rotten, or moldy food will cause health problems such as anemia, worms, and internal parasites. However, chickens can tolerate stale food for a short time before it starts to seriously harm them but it is not something that I would generally recommend. 

The reason for this is that Chickens will generally go through the food quickly in their pen however in some cases they will not eat all the food that you give them immediately which means that anything that is already stale is likely to turn moldy or develop bacteria relatively quickly which can be problematic for them.

So if you are going to give them older food you only need to give them only enough for them to be able to finish the food off immediately.


Chickens, like humans, can have a sensitive digestive system which can lead to them not being able to digest certain foods. An important thing to remember is that peppers are safe for chickens though there is a limit to how many jalapenos you can give to the chickens so always provide them with a range of different foods to keep them healthy and happy. 

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Paul Smart