If you have a pet chicken, then naturally, you are going to have some questions about what they can and cannot eat. Chickens love eating fruits and vegetables. But some are toxic and can cause harm if fed. While chickens can eat most fruits and vegetables but can chickens eat broccoli? Is this superfood beneficial for your flock, and how do you add it their diet?
Can Chickens Eat Broccoli
Chickens can eat broccoli, and they love it. This vegetable is a good source of fiber, calcium, and other essential vitamins and nutrients that making it a great snack. Moderation is vital as broccoli contains a substance called oxalic acid, which can cause nutritional deficiencies and other health complications.
Broccoli is safe for chickens of all ages, even young chicks, that are at least a few weeks old. There are many benefits to adding it to your flocks’ diet, and we’ll show why and how to add it to their diet.
Is Broccoli Healthy For Chickens
Chickens need a wide variety of foods to keep them happy and healthy and maintain a balanced diet. There are many healthy treats you can feed your chickens, one of them being broccoli. Broccoli is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that are good for your flock.
Although all of their nutritional needs should be met through their daily feed, it’s also good to provide them with treats to increase their range of nutrition.
This table shows the type of vitamins and nutrients found in the vegetable.
Nutritional Information for Broccoli
One cup chopped broccoli (91g) contains:
|Total Omega-3 fatty acids
|Total Omega-6 fatty acids
Health Benefits of Broccoli for Chickens
Broccoli contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B9, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium. Because it’s an excellent source of vitamin C, broccoli has been proven to help enhance and strengthen the immune system to prevent the contraction of disease and illnesses. Vitamin C is arguably the most important vitamin for your chickens’ immune health.
Calcium is also present in broccoli. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and muscles. It helps maintain quality bone strength and bone mass in your laying hens and could mean fewer fractures or breakage.
Broccoli also contains high levels of a substance called glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin is converted into a potent antioxidant known as sulforaphane during digestion. It also contains antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been proven to reduce oxidative stress and cellular eye damage. These antioxidants support healthy cells and tissues inside of your chickens.
Broccoli also has several bioactive compounds. These compounds are known to prevent and reduce inflammation. They also mitigate cell damage, which will prevent and protect against certain cancers. These bioactive compounds support healthy cells, tissues, brain function, and nervous tissue function.
Broccoli is known for supporting a healthy gut. It’s very high in fiber, which is proven to prevent and reduce constipation in chickens and maintain healthy gut function and a healthy digestive system. Giving your chicken broccoli regularly prevents constipation, so it might be a good idea to give it often if your chickens usually have this problem.
Because broccoli reduces cell damage, it might also slow down the aging process in cells. This could potentially slightly increase your chickens’ lifespans. It could also mean fewer degenerative diseases. These findings are based on animal studies, although further research is needed to confirm these chickens’ theories.
Downsides of Feeding Broccoli to Chickens?
As you can see from the table above, broccoli has high amounts of fiber, water, protein, and phosphorus. The high water content can lead to bloat.
Foods high in oxalates inhibit the absorption of calcium. Birds require calcium, as it helps laying hens produce better quality eggs, supports healthy bones, etc. Oxalic acid can bind to calcium and block its absorption into the bloodstream.
Too many foods in oxalate acid will cause a calcium deficiency, as well as other health issues.
Avoid feeding your chickens too much broccoli and these other foods that are high in oxalic acid.
- Swiss chard
- Beet greens
- Soy beans
Can Chickens Overeat Broccoli?
Your chickens can eat too much broccoli, especially if you feed it to them daily. Treats should only amount to 10% of their daily food intake or less.
Some treats should be fed only occasionally, but others can be fed daily as long as their nutritional needs have been met. Broccoli and other healthy foods should not be eliminated from your bird’s diet out of fear.
As long as these foods are not the only source of food your chickens get, they likely won’t experience any side effects from an occasional treat.
How To Feed A Chicken Broccoli
Chickens should meet 90% or more of their nutritional needs daily with their feed. However, it’s a good idea to give your chickens different treats often in order to widen their range of nutrition and support a healthy and balanced diet.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Broccoli?
Chickens can eat raw broccoli, and it is safe to feed them the stem, leaves, and leaves. The downside to feeding them the leaves, is they may contain harmful pesticides, especially, if they have not been washed properly.
The stalks will be difficult for your chickens to consume. When feeding them raw broccoli, it’s best to shred it up and make it easier for them to eat.
Chickens don’t have teeth and grind their food up in their gizzards. Anything rough to chew for you will also be rough for your chickens’ gizzards to grind, so chopping it up can help speed up the digestive process.
Can Chickens Eat Frozen Broccoli?
Some chickens will eat frozen broccoili, but will prefer the raw or cooked variety. However, frozen broccoli can make a great treat, especially on a hot summer day. Add some frozen broccili to your chicken’s water bowl, and mix in some ice cubes.
The chickens will peck the ice and drink the water, while getting the benefits of the raw broccoli.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Broccoli
Cooked broccoli contains slightly fewer nutrients than raw broccoli because cooking changes the chemical makeup of the plant. However, both ways are still very nutritious and contain many healthy vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli can also be fed cooked, boiled, or steamed. Just make sure the broccoli is not seasoned, as this could upset your chicken’s digestive system and could be harmful.
You can spread small broccoli pieces around in the run for your chickens to forage around. You can also place an entire stalk and let your chickens peck at it. Always remove any leftover food at the end of the night so it doesn’t attract any predators that could pose a threat to your flock.
Can I Hand Feed Chickens Broccoli?
If your chickens have bonded with you and don’t run when they see you, it’s possible to hand feed them. Grab a handful of shredded broccoli in your hands, and then stick your hand out so they can eat from it.
Do this a couple of times, and before you know it, you’ll be able to hand feed them anything.
Chickens can eat broccoli. It is a very healthy treat for them. Broccoli is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Each of these has their own health benefits and are great for your flock.
Broccoli contains potent antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage. It also has many bioactive compounds that reduce cell damage, inflammation and protect against certain cancers.
Bioactive compounds are also known to support healthy brain tissue and nervous tissue function. Broccoli is also very high in fiber and will prevent and ease constipation in your flock. The fiber also promotes and maintains healthy gut and digestive system function.
Broccoli can be fed to your flock, either raw or cooked. Cooked broccoli is slightly less nutritious than raw, but they are both still very high in vitamins and essentials. Raw broccoli can be challenging for your chickens’ gizzards to grind up, so it should be cut into smaller pieces for them.
Chickens love eating broccoli. Just make sure not to overfeed them