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Can Chickens Eat Black Olives

Like other fruits, olives are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also high in antioxidants. This is why many people swear by the health benefits of this popular fruit and have been religiously incorporating them into their diet.

Some use them as toppings for pizza, pasta, or salad, while some mainly use them once they’re made into oil.

While olives can benefit human health, you might wonder if it offers the same to animals, especially chickens. If you own poultry or simply raising a few chickens at home, here’s everything you need to know about feeding olives to your chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Black Olives

Can Chickens Have Olives

Chickens are omnivores. Meaning they can eat grains, fruits, vegetables, and insects. If you usually stock up on olives at home and plan to feed them to your chickens, the good news is yes; chickens can have olives!

Whether it’s green or black olives, chickens can eat them safely as long as in moderation. Better serve them as treats rather than daily feeds because too many olives in their diet can cause complications for your chickens. (Read Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels)


Green vs Black Olives: Which is better for chickens?

The only difference between green and black olives is that they are picked when they aren’t ripe yet, while black olives are already ripe when harvested.

As for chickens, both olives are good for them. People tend to go for black olives since they are tastier, whereas fresh olives tend to be bitter. Since chickens don’t have taste buds, they aren’t picky about the taste of the olives fed to them. No matter what color is served to them, they would gladly eat them all!

Are Olives Healthy for Chickens?

Olives benefit chickens in the same way they provide health benefits to humans. You’ll be surprised to know that olives can provide many nutrients to your chickens that aren’t normally provided by commercial feeds.

Olives are naturally rich in antioxidants that help maintain overall chicken health and protect them from diseases in the heart and bones.

olives high

Benefits of Feeding Olives to Chickens

Other than antioxidants, here are some of its other notable nutrients and why they are good for your chickens:

Vitamin E

Another good antioxidant, Vitamin E, can help your chicken fight against radicals that causes stress. Vitamin E also contributes to chickens’ egg production and fertility and the functioning of their nerves and muscles.


Iron is especially important for laying hens. It takes part in many reactions in a chicken’s body, including transportation and storage of oxygen, participation in energy supply, protein metabolism, and more. A lack of iron can also cause anemia in chickens, making them more susceptible to depression and death.


Yet another vital mineral for laying chickens, Calcium is essential for making strong eggshells. It is also needed to support their circulatory, nervous, cardiac, and digestive systems particularly in laying hens.


The presence of copper in a chicken’s body is integral to its growth performance, as well as its energy metabolism, tissue growth, and red blood cell formation, among others.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are especially essential during molting chickens or the season when they lose and regrow their feathers. A high-quality diet with sufficient proteins and amino acids during a molt can help them have healthy skin during their feather regrowth.


Normally, chickens don’t need a lot of protein in their diet. However, there are certain circumstances in which they need additional protein which olives can provide. Chickens especially need protein when they are molting, under extreme stress, or during the cold winter season.

green vs black olives

The Downside of Feeding Olives to Chickens

While olives can be beneficial, they also pose risks for chickens when they have too much of them. The good news is, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Here are some of the disadvantages of feeding black olives to chickens:

Olives are high in fat

A small amount of fat is good for a chicken’s diet. However, too much can lead to obesity and other related complications. You’d think a fat chicken is nice, but getting obese is very dangerous for them. Among the hazards of obesity in chickens are heat stroke and fatty liver which can eventually lead to death.

Olives are high in sodium

Yes, olives are high in sodium. Hence, they can cause dehydration in chickens. A high salt diet in chickens can also cause eggshell defects in laying hens, with some even laying shell-less eggs. This is why olives should be served in small amounts to avoid such defects in your chickens. (Read Can Chickens Eat Raw Corn On The Cob)

Pits of olives can be a choking hazard.

Olive pits are generally safe since it doesn’t contain any toxins or harmful substance. However, huge olive pits can harm chickens once they eat them since they can get stuck in their throat or cause blockage in their system.

Feeding Olives to Chickens

If you plan to feed your chickens with olives regularly, here are some things you need to keep in mind:

canned olives

Don’t feed them canned olives

People often buy canned olives since they are already cured. This means they have already been prepared with salt, water, and brine to remove their naturally bitter taste.

However, since they are cured in salt, they tend to be saltier which can harm your chickens. Instead of feeding them with cured olives, go for fresh and uncured ones. Your chickens wouldn’t mind its bitter taste.

Feed them olives no more than once a week

As mentioned above, olives should be fed as treats only. Since they are naturally high in fat and sodium, you should limit them to once a week.

When feeding them, the ideal amount should only be a piece or two per chicken. They should only make up to 10% of a chicken’s diet since the rest should come from the feeds they usually eat.

Ways of feeding them

There are different ways you can feed the olives to your chickens:

  • Toss them out. You can go for the traditional way of tossing feeds to chickens while on a run.
  • Slice them before feeding them. Since olives have pits, you can slice them first into halves, quarters, or segments to ensure your chickens can eat them more easily. Removing the pits beforehand also means you wouldn’t have to clean the mess your chickens will leave later on.
  • Cook them first before feeding them. If you don’t want to feed your chickens with fresh olives, you can incorporate them into other foods you feed to your chickens. You can also mix them with other feeds to further boost their nutrition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most asked questions about feeding olives to chickens:

Can chickens have black olives?

Yes, black olives are safe for chickens.

Can chickens have green olives?

Yes, green olives can be safely consumed by chickens.

Can chickens eat olive leaves?

Chickens can also eat olive leaves besides the classic green or black olives. Ensure you only feed them with organically grown leaves that are free from chemicals to ensure they’re safe.

Where can I buy fresh olives?

There are now shops that sell fresh olives online. They are usually available in markets, orchards, and farms if you prefer buying them in person.

Can chickens eat olive oil?

Yes, chickens can also eat olive oil! Apart from being safe to be consumed, they are also sometimes beneficial in treating mites and impacted crops – a win-win situation for owners!

My chickens don’t like olives. What should I do?

If your chickens don’t like the olives when you simply toss them to them, try preparing them beforehand. Remove the pits and slice them in halves or smaller. That should do the trick.

If they still didn’t eat them, you can try mixing them into their feeds or other foods they usually enjoy when you serve them.

What other kinds of fruits can I feed my chickens?

Other fruits you can safely serve your chickens include cranberries, grapefruits, and kiwis. These are all safe and healthy, just like olives. (Read Can Chickens Eat Watermelon Rind)

Key Takeaway

In summary, whether green or black, olives can be good for your chickens as long as in moderation. Like other foods, anything too much can be harmful. But olives, help boost your chicken’s immune system, provide healthy and beautiful feathers, and even good eggshells for laying hens. When served right, olives make great occasional treats for them.

The next time you wonder if olives make great feeds try tossing a few to them. Who knows, they might just be your chicken’s next favorite treat!

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