Can Chickens Eat Coffee Grounds?

It might sound a bit unbelievable, but studies have shown that coffee serves as an excellent material for composting and organic gardening.

However, many animal lovers out there seem unsure about having coffee grounds scattered in their backyard.

And, many chicken owners happen to make a large proportion of that lot. 

Most chicken owners deem it a safety hazard for their chickens to peck in areas that have coffee grounds scattered about.

You see, coffee contains caffeine, and caffeine is toxic for most domestic pets. 

Though many people don’t view chickens as household pets (to the outrage of many chicken lovers) there is much speculation that coffee grounds can represent the same threat to your beloved chicken as it does to your dog or cat.

Yes, coffee grounds are very useful for gardening, but you don’t want coffee grounds going into your chicken’s body where the toxins present in coffee grounds can do some real damage.

Let’s look further into the matter of ‘can chickens eat coffee grounds‘ and whether or not it is safe for your fowl friends to be free-ranging in spaces that have coffee grounds littered around.

What Are Coffee Grounds?

Coffee drinkers worldwide love to get their caffeine shots from cafes, but many still appreciate brewing fresh coffee at home.

Nothing quite smells as appealing as a cup of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning.

And, coffee grounds are the direct result of the coffee brewing process. 

Naturally, the amount of coffee grounds left from a brewing process depends on the coffee beans used and the grinding process.

Yet, in general, coffee grounds resemble grains or beans.

Many agricultural enthusiasts use coffee grounds as it is considered to enhance the health of plant life.

As coffee grounds also help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and the concentration of heavy metals in the soil, most novice farmers use coffee grounds quite happily.

Furthermore, coffee grounds also significantly reduce the number of pests attracted to your backyard as coffee repels many garden insects like flies, slugs, and beetles.

So is it safe for chickens to eat coffee grounds?

Carry on reading to find out

Is It Safe For Chickens To Eat Coffee Grounds?

Can Chickens Eat Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds might do wonders for your kitchen garden, but you may be sure that coffee grounds are toxic for your chickens.

You see, coffee grounds contain toxins that are potent enough to kill and repel the insects present in the soil.

Many chicken owners claim that their chickens do not eat coffee grounds, but you should know that chickens aren’t discerning eaters.

So, if your chicken is feeling adventurous, it’ll take a shot at pecking some coffee grounds.

If your chicken has had enough coffee grounds, you might find your feathered friends under the weather due to its consumption of coffee grounds.

You should know that if you feel that your bird has consumed coffee grounds, you should keep a close eye on your bird for any ill-effects and head straight to the vet if you do discover your chicken looking unwell.

So why are coffee grounds bad for chickens?

Why Are Coffee Grounds Bad For Chickens?

Coffee grounds contain the compounds that are present in coffee before brewing.

The brewing princess does not eliminate these compounds.

Like tea and other caffeinated beverages, coffee has a chemical compound called methylxanthine.

Methylxanthine is the most frequently consumed psychoactive substance in the world.

You can find methylxanthine in coffee in the form of caffeine. If your pet, be it a cat, dog or chicken, ingests caffeine, it usually takes about an hour or more for the signs of clinical toxicity to appear.

What Is Caffeine Toxicity?

When your animal has ingested caffeine in any form, the symptoms that manifest due to caffeine consumption are known as caffeine toxicity.

Animals are unable to digest the chemical compound methylxanthine.

And, as a result, the calcium absorption in an animal’s body and the immune system is compromised.

This leads to a direct adverse impact on the vital organs, particularly the heart and lungs.

Many studies involving adding caffeine to layer feed conducted by scientists clearly show that caffeine can impact an animal’s central nervous system and respiratory and circulatory systems.

The addition of caffeine to an animal’s diet can even cause death.

Not only were the chickens that ingested coffee grounds unable to lay eggs properly, but the quality of the eggs produced was also questionable.

In chickens, even minimal exposure to caffeine affected the chicken’s performance to lay eggs.

Hence, you should keep your chickens as far away from coffee grounds as you possibly can.

What Are The Signs Of Caffeine Toxicity?

Chickens that have been foraging around areas with coffee grounds might suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Rapid heart rate is also known as Tachycardia
  • Panting
  • Hyperthermia
  • Seizures

If your chicken has downed more coffee than it should have, it may very well die.

Naturally, the severity of the symptoms depends upon the size of your chicken and the amount of caffeine intake.

If your chicken is a big-sized bird that has taken in a bite of coffee grounds from off the floor, you need not worry too much.

But, it is advised that you keep a close watch on your chicken’s movements for the rest of the day to ensure that your bird is not suffering from any form of toxicity.

Wrapping Up

Your chickens can consume many forms of human food and not suffer from any side effects.

But, when it comes to anything that contains even the slightest elements of methylxanthine, such as coffee, tea, or chocolate, you should keep it at a distance from your pets.

If you are interested in the beneficial qualities of coffee grounds that will improve your standard of gardening then, it would be best if you considered keeping your chickens in an area where they can go and forage for their food that is entirely caffeine-free.

It is the only way to ensure that your feathered friend does not end up being severely ill or die due to caffeine toxicity. 

After all, as a pet parent or a responsible chicken owner, it is undoubtedly more intelligent to be overly guarded about your pet’s well-being rather than err on the side of caution.




We at write about bird health and diet however it should not be taken as medical advice. For advice on your bird you need to seek out an avian vet. The information you find on is for educational purposes only. At we are not liable for any information that you may find on here. Birdcageshere is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice about your bird.