Can Chickens Eat Cheese & Dairy?

Can chickens eat cheese? What about milk? Yogurt? Any dairy products? I delved into the research available — the answer might surprise you as it did me.

Conventional Wisdom

Conventional advice from flock keepers, breeders, and even vets warn against this practice with the claims that chickens cannot digest dairy, that it is toxic and unnecessary, and that it will cause gastrointestinal distress and can lead to weight gain, diarrhea, or worse. 

But what does the science say?

Research tells us the opposite — that feeding certain dairy products to chickens has BENEFITS — thicker eggshells, healthier chickens, and even more surprising...

I unearthed a study from 100 years ago that claims this practice is common!


Purdue Study

This old study showed a group of baby chicks fed a diet of buttermilk and other things were healthier than the other groups!

Modern Practice

French farmers are also known for finsihing the famous Bresse chickens off on a diet of whey and corn and this has been done for generations.

Caution & Common Sense

Don't overdo it obviously — yes your chickens can eat cheese and other types of dairy, but it should be fed in moderation.  Click below to find out more and what we do on our homestead.

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