Chickens are not picky eaters. These feathered friends will peck at anything that looks edible and appetizing to them. So, can chickens eat carrots?
The answer is yes! Chickens can eat carrots very well just as we do. This delectable veggie is loaded with good nutrients and vitamins that are important for their health.
Additionally, carrots will keep their bodies hydrated during summer because they are moisture rich just like cucumbers are.
But remember this; carrots are good when fed as a treat in moderation. They do not have all the nutrients chickens need. So, feed sparingly in small amounts.
Do chickens eat carrots?
Yes! Chickens love snacking and carrots are among the favorite treats these chickens enjoy. Whether you serve them directly or mix with celery, your birds will enjoy.
However, carrots should not account for more than 10% of their total diet. They are only meant to supplement their diet with additional minerals and vitamins.
As we know, carrots are sweet meaning that they are rich in sugar. Too much sugar will be converted into fat making these birds obese and overweight.
Obese chickens are prone to back and joint problems. It is common to see them limping because their legs are unable to carry their weight.
However, this tasty treat will add fiber in their body at the right amount. Fiber is important because it ensures smooth movement of food materials and waste thus preventing constipation.
How should chickens eat carrots?
Carrots can either be served whole or chopped. Whole carrots will act as boredom busters by keeping chickens busy pecking at them other than feather picking.
You can either throw a whole carrot on the chicken coop floor or decide to hang it from the ceiling or wall.
This way, chickens will focus on the carrot other than fighting one another. Carrots are a good way to remind chickens to return to the coop in time to roost.
On the other hand, you can choose to simplify the work for your birds and chop or dice the carrot. This way it becomes easy for them to swallow especially for bantam chickens.
Also, chopping will ensure that all chickens get equal an equal share. Sometimes especially when the carrots are few, rowdy hens will eat to their fill leaving nothing to calm birds.
Carrots can be served alone or mixed with other treats like chopped green beans, cabbage or blackberries.
Mixing treats and serving them in once will ensure that these birds can benefit from various nutrients in one plate.
What is the nutritional value of carrots to chickens?
You may wonder what carrots have to make them fit for chicken consumption. Not only are carrots sweet but contains large amounts of moisture and other nutrients in small amounts.
Study the table below in order to understand better.
100g Raw Carrots
Apart from the above nutrients, carrots contain vitamins and other minerals like calcium in small quantities.
A good example is beta carotene a vital component that gives carrots their color. Beta carotene is converted by the chicken’s body into Vitamin A and later turned useful.
Cooked carrots contain high amounts of calcium compared to raw carrots. Remember that calcium is very vital because it helps chickens make healthy and strong egg shells.
However, cooking carrots kills some of the good nutrients they contain. It is good to feed them raw as long as they are clean and fresh free from molds.
What parts of the carrot can chickens eat?
There are certain plants where only some parts are edible. A perfect example is tomatoes where the plant and unripe fruits are poisonous while the ripe fruits are tasty and good.
Unlike tomatoes, carrots, carrot leaves, skin and tops are all edible and nutritious. Remember that chickens are excellent at foraging and love greens.
Carrots leaves will make good vegetative matter to feed to chickens. If these chooks happen to sneak to your vegetable garden, expect them to eat up all the carrot tops and leaves they find.
The peels of carrots or what you may refer to as skin is good for these birds. In most cases, carrots are common in kitchens after carrot stew is prepared.
Instead of throwing the carrot skins away, share them with your hens and don’t let them rot in your compost.
You can also share some left over carrots and potatoes after having enough. However, make sure the food you want to share with chickens does not have salt, oils or any seasonings.
Avoid carrots tops and leaves that you do not where they were grown. Most greenhouse crops are grown with toxic farm chemicals that can cause lead poisoning when ingested.
What else can chickens eat?
Apart from carrots, the chicken’s diet is wide and comprises of so many different types of grains, weeds, fruits, vegetables and insects.
Insects and worms
These are some of the best snacks chickens love with every bit of their hearts. Insects like crickets, grasshoppers and beetles are tasty and juicy for these birds.
Free ranging chickens will move around the backyard chasing every single insect within their vicinity. Some dedicated chicken hobbyists have gone a step further and started cultivating mealworms for chickens.
Insects, worms and grubs are a good source of proteins to chicken. This is the reason these birds scratch the ground looking for any.
Grains and cereals
Grains are very rich in carbs and other minerals in trace form. Carbohydrates are broken down into starch which provides energy.
Nuts are another good source of proteins and oils. Examples of healthy nuts for chickens are peanuts, cashew nuts almonds and walnuts.
However, do not feed any nuts that have been cooked in oils or butter. Neither do not let chickens eat nuts from the store because they have salt and seasonings in them.
You can feed raw nuts if you can. If cooking is a must, roast, boil or microwave your nuts and remove them to cool. Do not add oil, butter or salt because the digestive systems of chickens do not need them.
Veggies are among the best treats you can toss to chickens. Unlike most fruits, vegetables are low in sugars and rich in other minerals and vitamins.
Home grown vegetables are the best compared to store bought ones. Those sourced may contain pesticides and other farm chemicals used during the growing process.
Fruits are a good way to keep your birds happy. Feeding chicken fruits will make sure nothing goes to waste especially when the harvest is bumper and the market demand is low.
However, fruits contain too much sugar which is not very healthy for chickens. Chickens bodies will convert these sugars into fat which can easily make them obese and overweight.
Additionally, some fruit pits and seeds contain a toxic chemical called solanine which can be toxic to chickens when ingested.
Commercial chicken feeds
Chicken feeds from the store are the best and most recommended food to feed.
These feeds are often formulated and contain all the nutrients in the right proportions. They are manufactured for every different growth stages of your birds.
Chick starter feeds are meant for baby chick’s right after hatching until they are about 8 weeks old. Starter feeds contain high amount of protein at the rate of 20-22%.
Baby chickens require more protein because they have more muscles to develop and feathers to put up in order to regulate their body temperatures.
When chicks are taken out of the chicken brooder their diet shifts from starter feeds to grower’s marsh. Unlike starter feeds, growers are low in protein but have all other nutrients as required.
For meat chickens, they are fed on broilers marsh. These types of feeds helps them put up more muscles within a short span for the market.
For the laying hens, they are fed on layers marsh. These feeds contain protein at the rate of 17% but have more calcium and other nutrients.
Grit is a very important component in the chicken’s diet. Unlike humans, chickens do not have teeth and swallow most of their foods whole.
In order for digestion to take place in the chicken gizzard, grit helps grind food into small particles. It acts like chicken teeth breaking food with the help of gizzard muscles.
Chickens can eat carrot only as a treat. Do not do away with their staple diet simply because they are fond of eating this treat.
Remember that feeding carrots more often to your birds can make them develop a taste for sweet foods and switching back may become a problem.
It is very likely that not all chickens will love carrots. If this happens, do not be surprised because chickens have tastes and preferences.
All treats should be fed in moderation. They should never make up more than 10% of a total chickens diet.
How do you chickens respond to carrots? Share your thoughts.
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