Can chickens eat asparagus? This is not a common question but am about to answer you. Chickens can eat a variety of foods and treats that you toss to them.
These feathered friends require additional supplements several times a week apart from the common crumbles and pellets you feed to them. A host of fruits such as mangoes, pineapples and grapes are good for them.
Some vegetables like cabbages and ripe tomatoes are a nice snack for your chickens. In addition to that, you can toss some peanuts, grains, and chicken scrap to your chooks.
So, is asparagus a good treat for them? In this article, I am going to tell you everything you need to know between chickens and asparagus. This will help you know whether to feed them to your friendliest chicken breeds or not.
Can chickens eat asparagus?
Yes! Chickens can eat asparagus. This amazing vegetable contains a host of vitamins and minerals that are very important to your chicken’s health. Whether you feed it raw or cooked, asparagus is good for chickens but in moderation as a treat.
Just like other vegetables, asparagus is low in fats and calories making it one of the best treats for chickens. However, they do not contain all the nutrients chickens require and can lead to malnutrition if fed alone.
Asparagus is very healthy to us just as it is to your chickens. This old vegetable can be dated back about 2500 years ago. The Greece loved to eat and cultivated these crops before they spread to other parts of the world where they are now common.
Today, these plants are commonly found in 3 varieties. They are the green asparagus, the white asparagus and the purple variety.
How should asparagus be fed to chickens?
It is good you know that asparagus can be eaten by chickens of varying sizes but for baby chicks, let them stick to starter feeds until their digestive systems are fully developed. When giving this treat to your birds, it is good you chop it into smaller pieces that are easy for the birds to swallow.
Although the edible parts of the asparagus plant are the new shoots, young birds cannot swallow these shoots whole like older birds will do. Chop it into tiny bite size pieces to avoid the risk of choking.
The whole plant is edible as long as the birds can swallow. Asparagus stems together with the top shoot can be fed to your chicken breeds.
Some think that the plant has to be cooked first before being fed to your birds. Cooking asparagus before feeding to chickens is not bad as long as you don’t add any salt, oils or other additives.
The digestive systems of chickens cannot handle oils and butter. Additionally, salt is toxic to them and can lead to kidney failure. Even the raw asparagus plant can be tossed to your chickens.
However, not all chickens may like it especially if they are eating it for the first time. These birds have tastes and preferences like we do and they may not find it good so, do not be surprised if your hens don’t like it.
How often should it be fed?
As I just said, this eggcellent vegetable should be fed as a treat alongside the staple feed that you chickens eat.
Some may think that since they are giving this treat to their birds they do not need other feeds. No! Give asparagus to your chickens twice or thrice a week to supplement on their diet with additional vitamins and minerals.
There are those who will give left over asparagus that is mixed with other kitchen scrap and junk food. Caution should be taken because junk food and some left over foods are very unhealthy to chickens just as they are to us.
Junk foods will make your chickens overweight as they will gain weight more than it is required for them. These overweight birds are prone to joint and back problems.
Feeding too much asparagus to your chickens can change the taste of the eggs. If you notice this change, reduce the amount of asparagus you give to your chickens.
What kinds of asparagus are good for chickens?
All the three kinds of asparagus green, white and purple varieties are good for chickens to eat. However, consider where you source your asparagus because some may be laden with pesticides and farm chemicals.
If you buy asparagus from the grocery store, it is very likely they were grown in green houses where they were sprayed with concentrated chemicals.
Always ensure that you wash them thoroughly with water to get rid of any chemicals. Such treats are not very good since they may cause health problems to your chickens.
What are the health benefits of asparagus?
Asparagus contains several vitamins and minerals that are very important for the health of chickens. For you to get a better understanding here is a table breaking down the various nutrients and minerals found in asparagus and their respective composition.
- Calories: 20 grams
- Fat: 02 grams
- Protein: 2.2 grams
- Fiber: 1.8 grams
- Vitamin C: 12% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 19% of the RDI
- Folate: 35% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 56% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI
There are also other minerals that are found in trace form in asparagus plant. They are riboflavin, Zinc and Iron. Iron is very important in the body as it prevents anemia a blood condition.
Since asparagus contains Vitamin K, it can help prevent bone problems such as osteoporosis. This helps to ensure your birds have strong bones and joints.
What other vegetables can chickens eat?
Apart from asparagus, chickens can eat other types of vegetables like pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, kales, celery, cabbages and beet root tops.
These vegetables are not the staple diet of your chickens. They should be fed as supplements after giving the recommended chicken feeds and clean drinking water.
Things chickens should not eat
Chickens are sensitive to poisonous and toxic food just as we are. Spoiled food and any kind of food that has aflatoxin can cause food poisoning to your chooks.
If you cannot eat such food why feed it to your chickens? Any salty or oily food is not good for chickens. Their food should be salt free and fresh.
Packed or canned food is not healthy since it may have some spices or certain additives in it. Such foods should be thoroughly cleaned before giving them to chickens.