Can Chickens Eat Clove Spice (+ What Else It Can Do)

Clove as a spice is used so widely in cuisines from Vietnamese, to German, to the classic studding used when roasting whole ham, or in spice blends for meat rubs. So there’s no surprise how often it ends up in the average household.

If you’re looking to give your chickens some table scraps that contain clove, either in powdered or whole clove, you may be wondering if your chickens can eat it safely.

Fair question, as whole clove is normally quite tough, and it’s quite an intense spice. Here’s whether chickens can eat clove, plus what beneficial properties it actually offers your chickens.  

Can Chickens Eat Cloves?

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) is a type of spice known for its deep, rich aroma, thought to have been used for centuries for its medicinal and healing properties. But, clove is quite an intense spice and can be rather tough in its whole form.

Although it’s tough for a human to chew up a whole clove, chickens have no trouble digesting this spice, as their digestive systems are used to this kind of texture, being similar to seeds and grains.

When we humans bite down on a clove and have it release its vibrant flavors, it can be quite overpowering for our taste buds. But, chickens experience the taste of spice differently, which is why chickens can eat chili peppers.

So, chickens can eat clove safely, it’s easily digestible and contains no toxins or harmful compounds. Plus, this intense spice actually has a tonne of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, making it actually beneficial for your chickens to eat.

If your chickens ate table scraps that contained clove it’s completely OK. You can even add a few cloves into your next fruit and vegetable mix to give it a bit of additional nutrition too.

But, I’ve found that most of my chickens won’t even touch whole clove, while others will have a few before moving on. 

How Cloves Can Benefit Chickens

Being safe to consume for chickens, cloves actually have several amazing benefits that your flock will be thanking you for. Here are several ways clove will benefit your backyard chooks.

Natural Source Of Antioxidants

Both whole and ground cloves contain antioxidants on another level. By incorporating clove into your chickens’ diets you’re easily able to bolster their immunity, reducing inflammation, and improving their wellbeing. 

Some backyard farmers will crush cloves to powder and sprinkle a small dose in their chickens’ water feeders as a way to incorporate it into their daily diet.

Improve The Growth Of Healthy Bacteria In The Gut

There has actually been a range of studies done on the positive impacts clove can have on chickens. One such study found that incorporating cloves into chicken diets for six months or more can help promote healthy gut bacteria.

Just like humans, the microbiome, or population of gut bacteria, plays a major role in influencing health. It’s thought that if you keep your microbiome healthy, the whole body will follow suit too. 

Insect Repellent

Chicken coops are notorious for attracting various types of pests and insects. Some of these include lice and mosquitoes. Another common pest is the red poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae).

Also known as chicken or roost mites, these ectoparasites can show up year-round. Although, they’re more common in the warmer summer months. It’s when the conditions are perfect for breeding.

Luckily, cloves provide an easy and effective solution. Just add several drops of clove essential oil in all corners of the coop. It’ll discourage these frustrating mites from entering your coop, which can be the difference between an infestation and not. 

Repeat this process once or twice a week during summer for an easy protective solution. This can be used for termites in the coop too.

Snake Repellent

Do you have snakes in your area? Do they pose a threat to your chickens? Use clove essential oil to help keep them away from their coops. Smaller snakes often fall victim to your chickens, but larger snakes can be a serious problem.

Combine it with water using a 1: 10 ratio. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and spray generously around the coop. Some people also add cinnamon essential oil as well to boost its efficacy.


So, can chickens eat cloves? Yes! They aren’t put off by the vibrant flavor and are safely consumable. Plus, they provide a host of benefits, from antioxidants to anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, clove makes for great repellents, as snakes, mites, and even some rodents prefer to steer clear of its fragrance.

Chickens won’t often eat whole cloves, but will happily consume it by accident, or in its crushed or ground forms.

For more benefits of spices and chickens, check out these guides about chickens eating cinnamon or the benefits of nutmeg for chickens.

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