If you give your chickens leftovers instead of throwing them away, you may find yourself asking, “can chickens eat asparagus?” Like most pets, chickens will eat pretty much anything, but it doesn’t always mean that it’s good for them.
Can chickens eat asparagus?
Yes, chickens can eat Asparagus. Asparagus is a low-calorie food loaded with nutrients and vitamins that can be beneficial for chickens. Like all snacks, moderation is the key.
Not only is this a healthy snack, but many people grow it in their backyard, which makes it very available for sharing with their flock. Other vegetables that are safe for chickens are cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, etc.
When we think of healthy foods, vegetables, come to our minds. Just because the veggies are good for us doesn’t mean they are safe for chickens.
If you have backyard chickens, you need to do your due diligence before feeding your flock any human food. We’ll take a closer look at why you should consider providing your chickens’ asparagus.
What exactly is asparagus?
Asparagus is a well-known vegetable that is healthy for humans and chickens. This vegetable’s proper name is Asparagus officinalis, also known as Sparrow Grass.
It is most commonly colored green but can also be white or purple. This vegetable is known to be grown in the springtime. It has long pointy spears.
Asparagus, most of the time, comes from California, Michigan, and or Washington State. It originated in Greece over 2,500 years ago that was grown in the wild.
Asparagus is a plant that can grow up to four to five feet tall.
They can take longer than many plants to grow, asparagus can take up to two years to fully develop some say it can even take longer than that.
How does asparagus benefit my chicken?
This healthy vegetable includes antioxidants, which help protect your cells from harmful molecules. Antioxidants can fight against diseases or cancers.
The antioxidants found in Asparagus are Vitamin E, Vitamin C, glutathione, flavonoids, and polyphenols.
Asparagus is also a perfect snack to help with your chickens’ digestive health due to the high amount of fiber found in asparagus.
It can help your chickens have regular and healthy bowel movements and strengthen their gut health.
Vitamin A, B6, and C found in the veggie will do wonders for your chickens’ immune system.
Another fantastic benefit of feeding your chickens asparagus, is that it supports healthy bone health.
It includes nutrients that will fight off your chickens from osteoporosis, AKA the bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, produces too little bone, or even both.
This can weaken your bones, causing them to break from a little fall and or minor bump. Feeding them asparagus can prevent this from ever having this problem.
Nutritional Information for Asparagus
One ounce of boiled green asparagus contains:
|Vitamin K||14.3 mcg|
|Vitamin A||285.20 IU|
|Vitamin C||2.2 mg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.43 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.022 mg|
Types of Asparagus
There are three main types of asparagus. While all are great for your flock, there are some differences. We’ll take a closer look at each one and share what the benefits are for your birds.
- Green (this is the most asparagus you’ll most commonly find in grocery stores)
These three types of asparagus are all slightly different.
Green asparagus is green due to the photosynthesis process that the vegetable goes through. Another common name for this type is the garden asparagus.
It is thinner than the other types and is low in sodium. Your chickens will likely love the grassy flavor.
It is known to be the most nutrient-filled type since it includes:
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
- And beta – carotene.
Green Asparagus also contains the highest amount of fiber.
Purple Asparagus gets its signature color due to high levels of anthocyanins that are high in antioxidants.
It has a sweeter taste since it contains about twenty percent more sugars in its stalks than the green and white asparagus.
The purple asparagus has a high level of antioxidants, which is an excellent health factor.
White asparagus is very similar to green asparagus. They are about the same size and are close in texture.
It gets the white color from being grown in the dark, meaning it does not go through photosynthesis. This type is produced underground and does not require sunlight for it to grow.
Since they are less commonly grown, this type may be more expensive than purple and green varieties.
On the health benefits side white Asparagus is pretty similar to green in nutrients. When cooked, white asparagus contains double the Vitamin C and half of Vitamin A.
That being said, all three types of asparagus are great options for your chickens’ daily healthy snack.
They will all do a great job providing the nutrients and vitamins that your chickens need for a healthy lifestyle.
Can I Feed My Chicken Asparagus Every Day?
Yes, it is safe to feed your chickens asparagus every day as long as you don’t feed them more than 10% daily. All parts of the veggie are safe, even the stem and fern.
As mentioned before, you still need to feed your chickens their proper daily food, even if you are giving them vegetables.
Asparagus should be fed to them as a snack, daily vitamin, or supplement, not a main course. No matter how much your chickens beg, you never want to overfeed them.
How Should I Serve Asparagus to my Chickens?
Although asparagus is healthy and delicious for your chickens, it is not acceptable to overfeed them this vegetable. Asparagus should only be fed as an occasional snack that doesn’t consume more than 10% of their regular diet.
You should always feed your chickens their proper food, do not substitute their meal with the asparagus alone.
Before sharing asparagus or any other vegetables with your flock, ensure you wash it thoroughly. All vegetables, even the organic variety, are known to have harmful pesticide remnants that can be toxic for both humans and animals.
Once washed, cut it up into small portions, add it in with their main meal or throw it on the floor. This way, they still get their daily nutrients without going overboard and or avoiding their regular food.
They can consume any color asparagus, purple, white, or common green, referred to as the garden asparagus.
This snack choice is such a great pick because you do not even have to cook it to feed it to your chickens. They can consume it raw and cooked.
If you give your chickens cooked asparagus, ensure it doesn’t have any spices, salt, or high oil amounts. Chickens do best with bland foods.
Always note that before you give the asparagus to your chickens, you may want to cut it up into smaller bite-size pieces to make it easier for them to consume.
Chickens do not have teeth and tend to get excited about food, resulting in them trying to eat as fast as possible.
For your chickens’ safety, do not hand them full-size spears.
Can You Overfeed Chickens Asparagus?
While not toxic, feeding your chickens too much of this powerhouse vegetable can cause diarrhea and taint the eggs’ taste.
If you enjoy eating your chicken’s freshly laid eggs in the morning for breakfast, you may find them tasting a bit off.
If you do perhaps notice a weird taste while eating them or are a different color, it may be because of giving them too much asparagus.
Even if you give them small portions, it may alter the taste slightly either way, but if you notice a big taste that you cannot shake, you may want to cut back on the amount that you have been giving them regularly.
The taste of the eggs is the main reason why many chicken owners avoid giving their chickens asparagus, but it is a good idea to try to get over the slight change in taste to make sure your chickens get a good source of nutrients.
Remember that if you feed them asparagus regularly, if you spot any extra laying around your coop, it is a good idea to clean it up.
If the vegetable is lying around for a while, it may start to rot, which will result in unwanted pests like snakes, mice, squirrels, and other critters that you most likely do not want around.
It will also leave a terrible unwanted smell.
The Bottom Line
Asparagus is not toxic to chickens’ and provides many benefits for your flock. Although it is not necessary to feed your chickens asparagus, it’s nice knowing that it can make a great snack.
Always feed them in moderation, no matter how much they beg. If you see any lying around the coop, pick it up!
Next time you go to the grocery store, don’t forget to throw some asparagus extra asparagus in the cart for your chickens!