When you’re cooking for a family it’s inevitable that you find yourself with a kitchen, pantry, and fridge full of leftovers and scrap food. The good news is, most of your fruit and vegetable scraps are perfectly safe to feed your chickens as a treat.
But, before you feed your chickens anything, you should always check that it’s safe for them, and provides at least some good nutritional value!
So, can chickens eat raw broccoli? What about the stalks and the leaves?
Let’s take a look at what you need to know, the nutritional benefits of broccoli for your chickens, and how you can feed it to your flock.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Broccoli?
Giving your chickens vegetables is a perfect way to bolster their health and wellbeing, as they tend to contain higher amounts of fiber and some nutrients than their standard layer pellets or seed mix.
Keeping different vegetables and fruits in the weekly rotation will give your chickens the best broad nutritional intake, and raw broccoli is a perfect addition!
So yes, chickens can eat raw broccoli. Not only will they eat it, but some of your hens will also love it too. Adding broccoli to your chickens’ diet will provide them with essential nutrients that go perfect as a supplement to their normal chicken feed. It’s also low in fats, calories, and carbs, so it has no downsides to your chicken’s health.
To go the extra mile, you can feed your chickens vegetables or fruit once or twice a week on a rotation. This way your chickens get to consume nutrients from a broad range of vegetables and fruits, each with its own specific benefits. Root vegetables are a good way to start, as chickens love eating beets and radishes. These are perfect substitutes for chicken treats.
What About Feeding Your Chickens Broccoli Stalks & Leaves?
Luckily, most chickens actually like broccoli. But, there’s no hiding that they much prefer the heads over the stalks and leaves, even when they are cut into small little pieces for them. The good news is there is nothing toxic or harmful in broccoli stalks or leaves, so you don’t need to worry about removing them.
When you buy broccoli at the grocer or Costco you won’t generally find it comes with the leaves still attached. But, if you do grow broccoli in your backyard, you don’t need to worry about your chickens pecking at it. Broccoli leaves are considered safe to eat and healthy for your chickens, but they won’t go out of their way to eat them!
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Raw Broccoli for Chickens?
Broccoli is a low-calorie, high nutrient treat that can enrich your chicken’s diet. It’s packed with several nutrients that are essential for keeping your flock in tip-top shape so they can continue their busy days and regular egg laying!
Every 100 grams of broccoli contains about 6.64 grams of calcium. Chickens need between 4 and 5 grams of calcium per day. It supports the cardiovascular and nervous systems and also helps chickens lay healthy eggs with hard shells.
Phosphorus is essential for skeletal growth. It’s also necessary for egg production because each egg produced contains between 80 and 120 mg of phosphorus.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in bone development when combined with calcium and phosphorus. It’s also essential for cellular metabolism.
Potassium maintains the water and electrolyte balance in your chicken’s body. Without enough potassium, your chickens will be prone to dehydration problems and won’t be able to tolerate high temperatures.
Vitamin C helps in maintaining several metabolic activities and promotes healthy egg production.
Vitamin K aids in the production of prothrombin. Without enough vitamin K, eggs will have blood spots, and your chickens might suffer from hemorrhages in the legs and breasts.
Chickens use fibers as a gut filling. Fibers also promote digestive functions and help chickens digest all the other nutrients in the food.
Broccoli is also low in calories and fats, so it won’t make your chickens gain weight. Eating broccoli a few times a week will keep your flock in perfect health and promote healthy eggs.
How Much Raw Broccoli Can My Chickens Eat?
Fruit, veggies, and other table scraps should make up about 10% of your flock’s daily diet. Cut broccoli into manageable pieces and serve it raw or steamed. If you have scrap broccoli in the kitchen, make sure that it’s free of seasoning and spices before serving it to your feathery friends.
Even though broccoli is incredibly healthy, you shouldn’t include it in your chicken’s daily diet. If they fill up too much on any one food, they may not get enough of the full balanced diet that layer pellets or a seed mix usually provides for them.
You should feed your chickens broccoli in moderation and serve it in a fruit and vegetable mix instead of replacing their normal feed. Combine broccoli with other healthy, chicken-safe table scraps like flax seeds, snap peas, carrot, even bok choy or anything else that you grow in your backyard that’s safe!
Avoid feeding your baby chicks/baby chickens any raw vegetables, as they require much more protein in their early diet for optimal growth and wellbeing.
Raw broccoli is a perfectly healthy and safe table scrap to feed your chickens. Although chickens prefer the head of the broccoli, feeding your chickens broccoli stalks or broccoli leaves is perfectly safe and just as nutritious too.
In order to help your chickens eat it, it’s best to cut it into small manageable pieces. You can throw it into your yard for when they are foraging, or include it in your next fruit and veggie mix for your chooks!