Can Chickens Eat Nutmeg? (Benefits + What To Be Aware Of)

Nutmeg is an incredibly versatile spice, yet it’s not one that everyone always talks about.

However, once you get accustomed to the warming sensation of nutmeg in sweet or savory foods, you’ll pick it up in almost any food that contains it.

Whether you’ve got yourself some leftover nutmeg, or foods that contain nutmeg, you may be thinking, can my chickens eat nutmeg, and what benefits might it have for them?

Here we go through if it’s safe for chickens to eat nutmeg, what benefits it actually has, and what other spices you can give your chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Nutmeg?

The good news is, yes, chickens can eat nutmeg, but only in powdered or ground form and in normal, small amounts. Although it’s not dangerous for your chickens to consume whole nutmeg, and they might have a go at it, it can be pretty tough and may hurt your chickens’ beaks.

I’ll be honest though, even in its powdered form your chickens aren’t going to be sprinting across the yard to have some! But, since nutmeg is known to have several amazing benefits, you can crush it up and mix it with their normal feed to incorporate it into your chicken’s diet.

However, just like any food, a balanced approach is always the best. If you feed your chickens too much nutmeg it may have diuretic effects or other unwanted side effects.

Can Chickens Eat Food That Contains Nutmeg

Nutmeg is most famously paired with cinnamon, to create a welcoming, warming, and aromatic flavor to savory or sweet foods. Since nutmeg is perfectly healthy for chickens to eat, chickens can eat foods that contain nutmeg, so long as that food is also safe for chickens to eat.

For example, the nutmeg and cinnamon in cinnamon rolls is completely healthy for chickens, but the high sugar content and doughy bread still mean it’s an unhealthy food for chickens to eat. 

However, if you’ve mixed nutmeg with pumpkin, oats, squash, or eggnog, then chickens can definitely eat it!

Benefits Of Nutmeg For Chickens

Aside from being an amazingly versatile and slept-on spice, nutmeg does come with a host of benefits for your chickens.

The main three benefits of nutmeg for chickens are:

  1. Nutmeg contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants, for a happy and healthy chook.
  2. Nutmeg is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, reducing inflammation or inflammatory conditions of chickens.
  3. Nutmeg has antibacterial properties which protect against harmful strains of bacteria, which is all too important for chickens.

What Other Spices Or Herbs Can I Give My Chickens?

You’d be delighted to know that many spices are safe for chickens besides nutmeg, these tasty spices and herbs include:

    • Cinnamon
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Clove Spice
    • Black pepper
    • Ginger
    • Turmeric
    • Oregano
    • Thyme
    • Basil
    • Mint
    • Dill
    • Parsley
    • Cilantro 
    • Sage

Some of these spices are known to bring a distinct heat when we consume them. But in fact, chickens don’t actually feel the effects of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the spicy taste. So, chickens can actually eat peppers or other spices, being able to absorb all the benefits without the heat!

What Herbs Should I Not Give My Chickens?

Common sense says that not every herb out there is suitable for chickens. So, before you offer your backyard buddies some herbs you’ve grown, make sure that they don’t include the following options.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Aloe Vera
  • Henbane
  • Lavender

Although some of these herbs aren’t considered dangerous for chickens in small amounts, they simply aren’t considered healthy and should be avoided where possible.

How To Feed Nutmeg To Chickens?

The easiest way to introduce nutmeg to your flock so they can enjoy the health benefits, is by adding a tablespoon of ground nutmeg to their normal chicken feed, whether it’s layer pellets or a seed mix.

Your chickens won’t very much taste the nutmeg, but they will benefit from the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidants it contains.

Again, you don’t want to do this for every meal, but once a week will give your chickens a good bolster to their health and wellbeing.

Final Words

So, if you’re wondering if your chickens can eat nutmeg or have a bit of food that has nutmeg in it, they sure can – so long as that food itself is safe for chickens to eat too!

You can also add a bit of ground nutmeg to a meal a week for your chickens, whether it’s just in their normal feed, or in a healthy table scrap mix you’ve prepared.

Whole nutmeg will generally be avoided by your chickens, as they don’t care for the taste and it’s too hard for their beaks. But, given in the powdered form, they won’t even taste it and they can benefit from all the healthy properties nutmeg has to offer!

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