Can Chickens eat a Tomato Plant?

Can Chickens eat a Tomato Plant?

Chickens are omnivorous birds and can eat insects, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and meats. However, can chickens eat a tomato plant? While tomatoes are extremely nutritious, the tomato plant is not. 

This article will discuss why chickens should not eat the tomato plant and how dangerous it is for their health.

Do chickens willingly eat the Tomato Plant?

Tomato Plant

Chickens are free-ranging birds, so they will consume tomato greenery if they get an opportunity. However, chickens will only sample the tomato plant, which tastes bitter, so the birds will try to avoid it. 

That said, some chickens will continue eating, despite the plant’s bitter flavor, so it is important to ensure your chickens don’t eat a tomato plant.

How to stop Chickens from consuming a Tomato Plant?

Now you know the answer to this question: Can chickens eat a tomato plant? Let’s talk about steps you can take to chickens from eating the plant. 

While some chicken owners offer chickens their habitat, most prefer not to and allow them to forage. While foraging has many benefits, such as soil fertilization, it also has drawbacks.

If chickens forage, they will eat things they shouldn’t, such as the tomato plant. The easiest and best way to prevent the chickens from eating the tomato plant is to remove the plants.

A fence is typically enough to deter the chickens from accessing the tomato plants. You can also put a cage over the tomato plant. If you want to put durable protection around the plants, you can put hardwire cloth.

However, if you don’t have proper fencing around the tomato plant, you can plant citrus peels or chicken-repellant herbs. 

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Tomato Leaves? 7 Risks Involved

Why you shouldn’t feed your Chickens Tomato plants

While tomatoes are highly nutritious for chickens, tomato plants are not and can harm the chickens’ health. Tomatoes belong to the Nightshade family, and the tomato plant consists of Solanine. Solanine, a Glycoalkaloid toxin, protects plants from animals such as chickens. Here are some symptoms and signs of Solanine poisoning:

  • Neurological problems
  • Diarrhea 
  • Lethargy
  • Gastrointestinal problems

If you think your chickens have consumed the tomato plant stems, you should contact the vet immediately. Solanine poising is dangerous and can also be fatal, and it is essential that you get your chickens treated as soon as possible.  


In this article, we answered a tricky question: Can chickens eat a tomato plant? The tomato plant is not good for chickens and can harm them. We have also listed reasons why tomato plants are not good for them.

If your chicken wonder in an area that has tomato plants, the best thing to do is to remove the plant or build fencing around it. 

Read More: Can Chickens eat Canned Tomatoes? 

Lastly, in the FAQ question below, we have given several alternatives for the tomato plant. Instead of the tomato plant, you can plant these herbs and greens for your chickens to feed. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can chickens eat the Tomato plant occasionally?

While some chicken owners will feed their birds the tomato plant occasionally, you should not add the plant to the chickens’ diet. There are other healthier and safer plants that you can feed the birds. 

Which plants are better than the tomato plant for Chickens?

This usually depends on the planting zone, but you can plant different herbs in the environment, such as fennel, nasturtium, sage, rosemary, lavender, and parsley. You can also add greens such as mustard, Swiss chard, Kale, and spinach to the environment for the chickens.

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