Can Chickens Eat Artichokes

Can Chickens Eat Artichokes? A Look At These Thistles

Yes, chickens can eat artichokes. They tend to be a bit tough raw, so I’d recommend giving them leftover cooked artichokes. It’s perfectly safe, however, and in my experience chickens love them.

Are Artichokes Healthy for Chickens?

Artichokes are interesting. Did you know they are technically a type of thistle? I always thought they were vegetables before researching this article.

Vegetable or not, they’re packed with powerful nutrients to rival any vegetables.

They’re low in fat while being dense in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and all the other good stuff chickens (and us) can benefit from eating.

How to Feed Artichokes to Your Chickens?

How to Feed Artichokes to Your Chickens

First of all, I will say that I’m most familiar with sunchokes which are also called Jerusalem artichokes, as well as a couple of other common types of artichoke.

There are loads of different types of artichokes though. I’m not sure exactly how much they vary, so you might have to check out the specific type you have.

As a general rule, however, chickens can eat them either raw or cooked – as it’s also safe for us to do so.

They’re quite hard raw though, I’d recommend giving them to your chickens cooked and chopped up into small enough pieces for them to peck at and eat.

Remember, chickens don’t have teeth. They swallow food and when it works its way into their gizzard they chew it up with the help of grit.

So, make it nice and easy for them.

Some Foods You Shouldn’t Give to Chickens

I hear a lot of owners say chickens will avoid anything that’s bad for them. This isn’t always true, it’s our job to be aware of what they should not eat and not give them those foods.

Here are just a few of the foods that are potentially very harmful and toxic. Do everything you can to make sure your flock doesn’t get their beaks into any of these:

Raw Beans – Unless beans are cooked for an appropriate time they contain a toxin that is harmful to chickens.

Coffee and Tea – Caffeine and some other compounds in these are bad for chickens. No morning brews for your flock! (or on a more serious note, no coffee grounds or old tea bags on a compost heap they can access).

Chocolate – Chocolate also contains caffeine, along with another compound that’s known to cause health issues for chickens and some other small pets.

High Sugar Foods – Chickens don’t need sugar in their diet. It’s likely to cause them gastrointestinal issues, and they don’t have a sweet tooth anyway. Hide the candy, soda, etc.

Salty/Fatty Foods – Chickens, especially laying hens need quality nutrition to maintain optimal health and egg production. Giving them fast food, or foods high in fat, salt, grease, etc isn’t helping them.

Green Tomatoes/Potatoes (solanine) – Some fruits and vegetables contain a compound called solanine. It’s present mostly in plants that are members of the nightshade family, so always check these before giving them to your flock.

Related Can chickens eat okra?

Foods That Are Fine to Give to Chickens

Treating chickens with various foods is easy – they eat almost anything!

Here are some healthy foods that are safe for chickens:

Grains – Chickens love grains. They provide a good range of nutrition and help encourage natural foraging behavior. Try giving them some quinoa, wheat, oats, corn, cornmeal, etc.

Fruit – Chickens love fruit, and fruit loves chickens. Most fruits are fine and packed with loads of immune-boosting nutrition. Try giving them berries, banana, orange, apples, figs, and seeing how they take it.

Vegetables – Vegetables are also great. I mean, we all know we should be getting more veggies in our diets. Try giving them some carrots, cabbage, sprouts, peels, bok choy, and you’ll see them wasting none.

Regarding a chicken’s overall diet; the best thing you can do for your chickens is to provide a quality commercial feed throughout the day.

Then add some healthy leftovers from the lists above, some grans/scratch for them to forage, and let them roam free to find a few bugs.

In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Artichokes?

Artichokes are fine for chickens to eat as part of their “treat food allowance”.

What I mean by this is, at least 90% of a chicken’s diet should come from a quality commercial feed.

That leaves some room to give them leftovers and other foods that are fine for them to eat, like artichokes. So, give it a try, see how well it goes down with your flock.


Image credits – Header image by chatnarin pramnapan, artichokes photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

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