Vegetables That Chickens Can Enjoy
Chickens aren’t considered the most particular of eaters — meaning there are a lot of vegetables that chickens can eat. Keeping chickens as pets, however, requires care and attention to what you feed them as some vegetables may not be beneficial for chickens. Here are some vegetables chickens can enjoy, and what to consider when feeding them:
What Veggies Can Chickens Eat?
- Leafy Greens: Chickens love spinach, kale, collard greens, endive, Swiss chard, and romaine lettuce. Make sure these vegetables are fresh and free of additives before feeding them to chickens.
- Root Vegetables: A variety of root vegetables provide chickens with nutrients such as vitamin A, sulfur, potassium, zinc, and iron. Examples include potatoes, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes. Make sure to chop these root vegetables into small pieces before adding them to a chicken’s diet.
- Squash: Winter and summer varieties of squash, including butternut, acorn, and yellow squash, can be safely enjoyed by chickens. Squash will provide them with Vitamin A, B vitamins, and beta-carotene.
- Beans: High in protein, beans can also provide chickens with calcium. Kidney, pinto, lima, navy, and black eyed peas, amongst others, are all beans that can be fed to chickens.
- Grains: A variety of grains, including corn, wheat, millet, and amaranth, can be fed to chickens as well. Aim for whole grains which are packed with nutrients and free of harmful additives.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Chickens
Chickens may be willing to try most vegetables, but there are some foods that should be avoided when feeding chickens. These include:
- Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic contain high amounts of Sulfur which can damage a chicken’s red blood cells. Over time, a chicken may develop anemia, leading to weakness and difficulty in breathing. While onions and garlic should not be fed to chickens, vegetables in the Allium family, such as chives and leeks, can still be served as occasional treat.
- Avocado: Avocado contains a toxin which can harm chickens. Eating even a small part of the fruit can lead to death, so avocadoes should never be served to chickens.
- Iceberg Lettuce: Lettuce may be ok for chickens in moderation, but iceberg lettuce should be avoided. This type of lettuce contains little-to-no nutrition and can give a chicken runny stools, leaving them weak and unhealthy.
- Citrus: Citrus fruits are high in acid and should be avoided when it comes to chicken diets. Make sure to avoid oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes, as these fruits can cause chickens a variety of digestive issues.
Feed Your Chickens Well
Feeding chickens a variety of fresh, healthy vegetables is the best way to ensure that they stay strong and healthy. Whenever possible, add a variety of vegetables to your chicken’s diet in moderation, and always avoid the foods mentioned above. Happy eating!