Can Chickens Eat Whole Kernel Corn? – Find Out Here!

Just like any other domestic animal, there’s a lot that comes into play for chickens. Now be it for your pet chicken or the ones you have on your farm. And you can have a lot of questions in mind when it comes to taking care of them. 

And you must be wondering, can chickens eat whole kernel corn?

Yes, chickens can eat whole kernel corn. But that is dependent on some factors. First, you have to ensure that they have the grit that allows them to digest it. Next, you have to moderate the amount of corn you feed your chickens. Which will help them maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet. 

Luckily for you, we have all of that explained in detail in this article. Just keep on reading to find out more!

Should You Feed Corn to Your Chicken?

Should You Feed Corn to Your Chicken

We already know how nutritious corn is for us as humans. Some of us like it, some of us don’t. But that doesn’t take away from its nutritious value.

So the question here is, does the same apply to chickens?

Well, corn is both a grain and a vegetable. And therefore, it contains some properties of both food types. So, corn comes with lots of vitamins and minerals packed in those little kernels.

But corn does hold a lot of nutritious value for your chicken as well. But it’s important to be mixed with other foods as well. That’s to help make it a part of a well-balanced diet for your chicken.

However, corn is also fatty for them. Therefore, it’s important to moderate the amount of corn your chickens consume. As chickens eating whole kernel corn have a chance to get bulky otherwise.

Because while they aren’t, you have to be wary of their dietary needs. And, it’s important for chickens to have a well-balanced diet. Just like it is for us.

Now, generally, the majority of what they eat should come from their feed. And the rest is usually treated or perhaps any scraps.

Well, these scraps can usually include any grains, vegetables, or fruits. However, it is recommended that you allow them these foods around when the day ends.

This is to prevent them from filling up on scraps first. And unground whole corn falls into that category. Because then, they’ll have less space left for their regular nutritious feed. 

How Does Corn Affect Chickens?

How Does Corn Affect Chickens

You might be wondering, why is corn bad for chickens? Or how does corn affect chickens?

Well, corn can actually provide chickens with lots of calories at a go. More calories mean that your chickens will get bulky more easily. Especially the ones which are already inactive. 

However, if you want to feed your chicken just corn, it’s not enough. That’s because it is low in amino acid and fatty acid content.

Besides that, even though it does have some vitamins and minerals, it’s not enough to help your chicken thrive. So even if you are feeding your chicken corn, make sure you still stick to their normal feed as well. 

Is it Safe to Feed Your Chickens Whole Kernel Corn?

Chickens are usually very keen to eat just about anything. But while most animal feeds do contain corn, most of the time it is all ground up. So the question lies, can chickens eat whole kernel corn?

Well, corn kernels usually do have an outer shell, which is usually hard and difficult to digest. Therefore, first, you need to know if chickens can digest whole corn kernels.

To start off, you must have fed your chicken grit at some point. And while they have access to that, they should have no problem digesting corn. In fact, they can digest foods that are much tougher than corn itself.

There are generally 2 types of chicken grit available. One of them helps in grinding and digesting food. While the other aids in the production of eggs.

So if you’re simply feeding your chicken the first type, you’re good to go! You don’t have to worry about them finding it difficult to digest corn. They can have the whole corn kernels, and it’s perfectly safe.

However, corn is generally given to chickens as treats. So, do keep in mind to feed them corn in moderation and only occasionally. Because giving them excess corn can upset their balanced diet.

Now, this is a general rule of the thumb. Simply give them enough corn which they can finish in 15 to 20 minutes. And that way you can rest assured that you’re not overstuffing them with too much.

Regardless though, say you want to make their already easy and lazy life easier. Simply feed them dried corn kernels, which have been cracked into little pieces. These are usually what are also fed to small birds.

So, between cracked corn vs whole corn for chickens, cracked is the better option.

What About Corn on the Cob?

You can certainly also feed your chickens corn on the cob. A good way to do that is by hanging the cobs by a thread. And your chickens can have fun picking the corn from it, till the cob is clean.

And no, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether the corn is cooked or not, safety-wise. But if you want to play into your chicken’s preferences, maybe serve it cooked. Most owners suggest that their chickens like it more when cooked. 

What Happens When Whole Corn is Fed to Chickens in Winter?

It’s harder for your chicken to find grit naturally in winter. Especially when the ground gets frozen. As a result, it’s not recommended to feed whole corn to chickens in winter.

Since it might be difficult for them to digest. However, instead of whole corn, feed your chickens some cracked corn in winter. That’s because it’s a lot of work that needs to be done by their digestive system.

And due to that more heat is produced inside the chicken’s body while digesting it. Therefore, it can keep them warm. Plus, corn has plenty of carbohydrates as well. Which can also add up to the process. 


Question: At what age can chicken eat whole kernel corn?

Answer: Chickens can eat whole kernel corn when they’re older than about 6 weeks roughly. Compared to cracked corn, whole kernel corn is actually cheaper. It is one of the cheapest grains you can purchase. Plus, it also keeps better as well. Unlike cracked corn, which ends up getting moldy pretty quickly.  

Question: What should I feed my chickens to keep them warm in winter?

Answer: You can feed your chickens warming and energizing snacks to keep them warm in winter. A good example would be Suet. It’ll keep your chickens warm by providing them with additional fats and proteins. While there are suet cakes available commercially, you can also just as easily make your own!

Question: Is corn not recommended for chickens in summer?

Answer: No, corn is not recommended for chickens in summer. Basically, corn falls into scratch grains and you want to limit that in summer. That’s because corn can increase their body temperature, which is convenient in winter. But, your chickens will feel even hotter in the summer if they consume corn. 

Parting Words

That’s it! That’s all we had on your question, can chickens eat whole kernel corn? Hope we were able to answer it properly. And rid you of any confusion that you had! Make sure that your chickens maintain a balanced diet. This is essential for them to stay healthy!

Thanks for sticking with us till the end! Until next time!

Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan
Ryan Dugan

Ryan Dugan is a dedicated pet care professional who offers top-notch services for a variety of pet species. He has a soft spot for my own feline companion, Sophie. He is passionate about animals He shares his knowledge and experience on his blog to help other pet owners understand and care for their own beloved companions. Whether you need a pet-sitting service or advice on pet care, He is the go-to expert.

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