I’m continuously surprised by what my chickens will try and eat. You’d think you’d get used to it, but when I saw my chickens jumping up to grab bamboo leaves straight from the stem I had to double-take.
We know that chickens are generally pretty good at deciding for themselves what’s healthy and edible while foraging in the backyard. But, it never hurts to understand what’s safe and what should be avoided.
Here’s whether it’s safe for chickens to eat bamboo leaves and if bamboo leaves are actually healthy for chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Bamboo Leaves?
If you’ve seen your chickens pecking at fallen bamboo leaves or jumping up for some fresh ones, then you’re not alone.
The good news is chickens can eat bamboo leaves safely, and when fed in moderation may actually be beneficial to your chicken’s health and weight.
Bamboo is loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and copper. Usually, chickens find bamboo too tough and are generally disinterested in eating it. But, bamboo leaves are a different story, and you’ll find chickens do eat them when they get the chance.
They are so healthy in fact, that you can actually add organic bamboo leaves to your chicken’s feed or mix it in with other chicken-safe table scraps for a healthy midweek meal for your chooks.
Of course, every food should be given in moderation. As chickens, especially laying hens, require a curated diet for regular laying, health, and wellbeing.
Are Bamboo Leaves Healthy For Chickens?
Not only are bamboo leaves safe to eat, but they’re also really healthy for poultry, and there have been several reports on just how beneficial they can be. Let’s take a look at how they can improve the well-being and overall health of your backyard chickens.
Loaded With Calcium And Potassium
As you know, minerals like potassium and calcium are essential for a regular laying hen’s eggs to stay healthy and form correctly.
Bamboo leaves are actually packed with these nutrients in abundance, which make them perfect nutritious supplements for your chooks.
See, calcium is essential for stronger beaks and bones, not to mention that consuming a sufficient amount of calcium will help produce tough, durable eggshells.
A regular intake of potassium is important to ward off potassium deficiency, which is all too common in backyard chickens. So it’s vital to ensure your chickens are having enough in their daily diets to stay healthy.
High In Iron And Zinc
Bamboo leaves also include high concentrations of iron and zinc, which are simply important for your chicken’s normal functions and immunity.
Iron and zinc boost the performance of a chicken’s immune system and keep many diseases and illnesses at bay. Let’s not forget that iron increases the production of red blood cells, reducing the chances of developing anemia in chickens too.
Another impressive finding with bamboo leaves is that they may even help chickens grow faster and put on more weight safely, which is particularly good if your chickens are underweight.
After feeding chickens an organic diet that included bamboo leaves, some scholars have noted that bamboo sped up chicken’s growth rate, and chickens put on more weight than others from different groups.
It was concluded that because bamboo is filled with excess fiber, it helps increase the capabilities of the digestive tract, which leaves chickens more room to consume food and grow faster and larger.
Although your backyard chickens are unlikely to consume as much bamboo as in those studies, it’s good to know what it helps your chickens with.
Chickens can indeed eat bamboo leaves, and they’re not only completely safe but their rather unique in the amounts of certain nutrients they offer chickens.
Bamboo leaves are definitely considered healthy, but it’s likely not all of your chickens will want to eat them. Only about half of my chickens end up jumping and grabbing the leaves from the bamboo plant, the others are simply not interested.
For those chickens that are eating bamboo leaves, they are getting a good boost of vitamins and minerals for their regular egg production and wellbeing.
If you do have bamboo plants consider chopping up a few bamboo leaves and including them in any table scrap, fruit, or vegetable mixes you prepare your chooks.