If you’re in a household where you constantly go through sweet potatoes on a weekly basis, instead of composting the peels every time you may be wondering if it’s safe to feed your chickens the sweet potato peels.
If you own chickens, you’ll know how much they enjoy a good table scrap. But, it’s your responsibility to make sure they are only eating healthy foods and are getting a balanced diet.
Here we go through whether chickens can eat sweet potato peels, what the nutritional benefits are, and how to effectively feed them to your chooks!
Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potato Peels?
Since chickens are omnivores, they’ll typically eat just about anything, whether it’s plant or animal-based. But, just because they can eat something, doesn’t always mean they should.
You may be aware that you should avoid feeding your chickens normal raw potato peels, particularly if they get exposed to sunlight and turn green. This is because the standard potato is part of the nightshade family, and contains certain substances which are considered toxic.
However, sweet potatoes are actually from the plant family morning glories. So although normal raw potatoes can be toxic to chickens, sweet potatoes and sweet potato peels are completely safe and healthy for your chickens to eat!
Sweet potato peels are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and can be fed to your chickens in a healthy fruit & vegetable midweek meal, or can be chopped up and fed to your chickens as they are.
Raw sweet potato and sweet potato peels aren’t like regular potatoes and they don’t contain the toxic substance known as solanine when they are exposed to light. So, you can rest assured that sweet potato peels are perfectly safe and healthy for your backyard chickens.
Nutritional Benefits Of Sweet Potato Peels For Chickens
Catering to your chicken’s specific dietary requirements can be overlooked at times, but it’s absolutely essential to help them stay in tip-top shape for regular laying, happiness, and wellbeing.
Their diet requires protein, carbohydrates, fats, and calcium, amongst other vitamins and minerals.
Luckily, most of the sweet potato’s antioxidants and other beneficial minerals are concentrated in its peels. For that reason, eating sweet potato peel increases the chicken’s intake of fibers, antioxidants, and several other nutrients, such as:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Remember, sweet potatoes are part of the morning glory plant family and are completely non-toxic. It’s normal potatoes that are part of the nightshade family which can be harmful to chickens in the wrong conditions. Although some nightshade vegetables are completely fine, like feeding your chickens eggplant, generally the stems and leaves are considered toxic.
How To Feed Chickens Sweet Potato Peels
You may have just finished peeling your sweet potatoes and you’re looking at the huge pile of peels you’ve got. So, you now know how healthy and beneficial these peels can be for your chooks, but how are you going to feed them to your chickens?
Firstly, you need to remember that although sweet potato peels are healthy, they aren’t a replacement for your chicken’s normal feed, so you need to feed them a smaller portion and you can compost the rest.
You’ll want to use the peels from one average sweet potato between around 3-4 chickens, any more and it’s likely they won’t finish it. So, after finding out how much sweet potato peel you are going to use, you have a few options.
The first is that you can simply finely chop up your sweet potato peels and throw them into the yard as a treat and to encourage foraging.
Secondly, you can prepare a mix of fruits, vegetables, seeds, or other healthy table scraps, adding a handful of chopped sweet potato peel to buff it out to include the healthy nutrients the peel provides.
Just remember, raw sweet potato peels can be rather tough, so either chop them up finely or cook them first to soften it up for your chooks!
The Last Peel
To conclude, sweet potato peels are not considered toxic or harmful like normal potato peels. They are actually incredibly rich in valuable nutrients and vitamins. Instead of composting your sweet potato peels every time, consider adding them to your next fruit and vegetable mix for your chickens, or chop them up finely and feed them to your chickens as a healthy treat!
Happy backyard farming!