Chickens are opportunistic feeders and any backyard farmer will tell you they go crazy for their food! As omnivores, they can peck at anything from tender fruits to crawling bugs to grass and dirt.
However, their curiosity for foods doesn’t mean they’re immune to ingesting unhealthy or toxic things.
Luckily, root vegetables are generally safe for all chickens to consume. So vegetables like beets, sweet potato, and radish can all be a great healthy snack for your chooks.
But, if you’ve got spare radishes or if your free-ranging chickens have found your radish plantation you may be asking, can I feed chickens radishes & radish leaves?
Let’s look at if chickens can eat radish, their leaves, and what nutritional benefits it provides your feathered companions.
Can Chickens Eat Radish?
If you’re growing root vegetables and you’ve got yourself some backyard chickens then you’re in luck — and so are your chickens!
Absolutely, every part of the radish is edible and beneficial for chickens, from the leaves to the vegetable itself. Even radish seeds and radish tops are healthy.
Radishes are a brilliant source of anthocyanins, a mineral that guards the heart and promotes proper blood flow. They’re also high in antioxidants, phosphorus, copper, calcium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. All these minerals keep a chicken’s health in check.
To keep a balanced diet, you shouldn’t overload your chicken with any one type of fruit or vegetable. But instead, once or twice a week make a table scrap platter with your leftover fruit and vegetables for a great nutritious meal that will bolster your chicken’s health and wellbeing. Next time add radish to the mix. Simply chop up or grate a few radishes for your chickens, as it will be easier for them to eat.
Try adding seeds into the mix as they can provide a diversity of benefits, such as flax seeds for enriched egg yolk, or feeding your chickens poppy seeds.
What About Cooked Radish?
As long as the radish isn’t cooked with spices, or foreign seasonings, or loaded with onion and garlic, it’s perfectly safe and healthy to feed chickens cooked radish. Even pickled radishes are fine, but be aware the pickling liquid may contain preservatives and additives which aren’t great in high amounts.
In fact, cooked radish is easier to digest than raw radish. It’s a lot more palpable, too, as fresh radish can be a little too zingy on a chicken’s taste buds. Also, cooked radish absorbs more water in its flesh, making it a glorified water bottle for chickens during the summer.
Either way, you can’t go wrong, and your chickens are going to hoof them down whether they’re cooked radishes or raw! For a fully comprehensive list of what chickens can and can’t eat, check out our guides for the best table scraps for chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Radish Leaves?
Most seeds, stems, and leaves from vegetables and fruits are completely safe to consume for chickens and are usually very nutritious. Particularly those of root vegetables. For example, chickens can eat beets, from the stem to the leaves to the roots!
This is the same for radishes, so your chickens will be able to enjoy the whole radish. So yes, chickens can eat radish leaves, and will eat from the vegetable to the stem to the leaves! This is great if you’re feeding your chickens radish, but not so great if you’re growing radishes and the chickens have found your plantation.
Radish leaves are packed with vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, and a ton of other beneficial minerals. Plus, they’re high in water content, so they’ll help keep your chickens hydrated. But honestly, your chickens will prefer to eat the actual radish rather than the leaves. Still, at least the leaves aren’t toxic so you can still include them in your table scraps.
It’s important to note however, chickens can’t eat the leaves from all fruit, vegetables, or plants, as some contain toxins that can harm your chickens and can even be fatal. For example, avoid feeding your chickens eggplant leaves, tomato leaves, parsnip stems, and other parts of the plant from any nightshade family.
What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Radish For Chickens?
Radish, including radish leaves and stems, come with a whole host of benefits. As they’re high in dietary fibers, radish leaves relieve constipation and help your chicken stay regular. They also increase immunity and reduce fatigue.
Radish, amongst many other root vegetables, are also beneficial for the healthy development of eggs. Hens need to consume about four grams of calcium a day. Half a cup of radish (100 grams) contains about 400 milligrams of calcium.
When paired with calcium-rich foods like dairy, oyster shells, dandelions, nuts, and other greens, your chickens will meet their daily calcium needs with no issues. So, if your chickens are laying soft-shelled eggs, consider adding radish into their diet.
Radish also provides a cooling effect on the blood, which helps control a chicken’s blood pressure. It also has trace amounts of potassium, which keeps chickens from being stressed.
Finally, radishes are a strong source of water. Your chickens will definitely appreciate radish during the summer months. They’ll not only keep them cool but also keep them fully hydrated.
Can chickens eat radishes and radish leaves? They absolutely can. Radishes are delicious and super healthy for your chickens. They’re packed with a long list of nutrients, all of which benefit the overall health of a chicken.
Plus, instead of throwing away the radish greens and leaves, chop them up or grate them and give them to your chicken for a nutritious health boost!
They’ll thank you for it, and you’ll thank them for it when you pick up the daily haul or beautiful well-balanced eggs.