If you’re a homesteading farmer or just have some beautiful backyard chickens you want to make sure they have a balanced diet for their happiness and wellbeing. A happy chicken means a happy farmer.
As we all know, one way to keep the chickens happy is by feeding them delicious and nutritious table scraps! If you’ve got some leftover or spare beets you may be wondering, can chickens eat beets?
Although beetroot has that distinct red dye-like effect, it’s completely harmless to chickens. So, chickens can eat pickled beets, raw beets, and cooked beets, from the leaves to the stalk to the vegetable.
In fact, beets are actually packed with nutrients for your chickens. Here we break down everything you need to know before feeding beets to your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Pickled Beets?
Pickled beets are one of those foods you either end up with not enough of or just simply too much! Fortunately, pickled beets actually make for a perfectly safe, nutritious table scrap to feed your chickens.
So you can feed your chickens pickled beets. Being rich in protein, vitamins, and a good source of fiber, beets are a great vegetable for your chickens to snack on. In fact, pickled beets are packed with the same health benefits that fresh beets have, with the addition of the pickling liquid.
Usually, the pickling liquid is simply salt, sugar, water, or vinegar, which are all harmless to chickens at this dose. But, if there are added preservatives then you will want to limit the amount you give to your chickens. It’s still safe, but too many artificial or processed ingredients can be unhealthy for your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Beets?
A raw beet contains the fullest amount of nutrients. You may want to cut it into smaller chunks for your chickens, but otherwise, chickens can eat raw beets from the leaves, to the stalk, to the vegetable, and even down to the roots!
The beet leaves contain good fiber and important antioxidants. The stalk is packed with nutrients just as much as the vegetable. Plus the actual beetroot is loaded with protein, important minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Raw beets can be used regularly to add a healthy boost of nutrients for your whole flock, leaves, stems, and all!
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Beets?
Cooked beets tend to be easier to eat for the chickens, as the flesh is much softer than raw or pickled beets. Although the red color leaks a little more it certainly doesn’t do any harm to your chickens. You’ll sometimes see they just wipe their beaks on the grass or ground to clean it off.
Cooked beets do contain a good amount of nutritional benefits for your chickens, but during the cooking process, they will inevitably lose some of their nutrients. In saying that, your chickens can eat cooked beets and they’ll love you for it!
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Beets for Chickens?
Cooked beets lose a bit of nutritional value during the cooking process, but raw beets actually share the same nutritional content as pickled beets.
Here’s everything your flock will benefit from when eating pickled beets or raw beets, besides the delicious taste, of course.
Rich in Vitamins
Beets are a natural source of vitamins that both humans and chickens need on a regular basis. Namely, these vitamins are A and C.
A healthy amount of Vitamin A is necessary for the immune system. Plus, this vitamin improves the function of kidneys, brain, and even vision.
Vitamin C has its powers too. Not only does it balance the sugar in the blood and lower blood pressure, but it’s also a natural antihistamine.
Loaded With Fiber
Fiber equals good digestion which leads to a happy chook, right?
Beets have outstanding amounts of fiber, and pickled beets do, too. If your chickens need something to get things moving, consider feeding them fresh, cooked, or pickled beets! Keep the beet greens in there too, they are just as fibrous and have healthy antioxidants in them too.
Too much fiber is never unhealthy for your chickens, but it might make them go to the toilet a bit more often!
High in Protein
The last thing we love about beets is their richness in protein. As you know, protein is an essential part of your chickens’ diet as it builds tissue and muscle. Consider giving your chickens some beets on occasion, or in your rotation of healthy table scraps to feed your chicken.
Just make sure that your chickens are getting the recommended proportion of protein every day and not more, like if they’re eating game bird feed constantly. A balanced diet is the key to a healthy flock, after all. Feeding flax seeds to your chickens is another well-balanced protein treat for your chickens!
So, Are Beets Healthy For Chickens?
Overall, whether they’re raw, cooked, or pickled, beets are a perfectly healthy snack to feed your chickens. Beetroot has a naturally high protein for a vegetable and is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber – all required for a healthy and happy chicken. Generally speaking all the root vegetables are healthy for your chicken, including radishes, turnips, and feeding your chickens parsnip.
Just like any table scrap you give your chickens, it’s all about balance. Chickens usually do a good job of only eating as much of every food group as they need. But overfeeding your chickens the same fruit or vegetables can cause an unbalanced diet.
How Often Should I Give My Chickens Beets?
Raw beets can be fed to your chickens as a snack every couple of days or so. No more than you would feed them carrot, beans, parsnip, or another root vegetable.
As long as your pickled beets don’t have artificial preservatives then you can feed them to your chickens just as often as raw beets. But, I don’t recommend feeding them to your chickens more often, especially if canned, just to be on the safe side.
If you are feeding them canned, or process pickled beets, then be aware they may contain a disproportionate amount of sugar. Best to use extra moderation here.
So, can you feed beets to your chickens? Absolutely. It doesn’t matter if the beets are pickled, completely raw, or cooked through — chickens can eat beets!
Just like with any fruit or vegetables, as long as you don’t feed them too much your chickens can benefit from the numerous nutrients that beets are packed with. Whether they’re raw, cooked, or pickled, beets will always be a good idea.
Just don’t be alarmed when you see red blotches of the beet all over their face! It doesn’t stain and the chickens clean it off themselves pretty well.