Chickens can eat beets, yes. This includes the tops, leaves, stems, and, of course, the main beet or beetroot as it’s also called.
Are Beets Healthy for Chickens?
Beets aren’t for everyone. They’re messy to cut, stain everything they come into contact with, and people are divided on the taste.
Personally, I love the taste of beets, but this isn’t about me.
The important thing you need to know if you’re thinking about feeding beets to your flock is that they’re great for chickens.
Beets are packed with good nutrition. Not just the root of the vegetable either, the leaves also contain a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
The bottom line is that they provide a healthy treat for chickens. In my opinion, you should always go out of your way to share the leftovers with your backyard buddies.
Interesting fact – Did you know that beets actually come in several colors not just red? They come in almost every shade from bright orange to dark red/purple.
Can Chickens Eat Beet Tops and Leaves too?
Yes, much like a lot of vegetables, we commonly chop off and throw away the tops of beets. Yet, the leaves are just as healthy as the root of the vegetable that we do eat.
Don’t throw them away, throw them to your chooks. This is one of the best reasons to have backyard chickens, to munch up scraps and save wastage.
How to Feed Chickens Beets
You can feed them beets either raw or cooked. Obviously, they can be pretty tough raw so you’ll have to chop them up a bit.
It’s really up to you. Chickens will peck away and break up stuff they want to eat, you can do your bit to make it a bit easier for them.
Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
Beets are fine, as are most vegetables. There are some foods that contain compounds that are toxic to chooks though.
It’s important you do accidentally give your flock anything that could be harmful to them. Add all the foods listed below to the banned list:
Chocolate – As with most household pets and some other small animals, the compounds in chocolate called theobromine and caffeine are toxic to chickens.
Raw Beans – Unless beans are properly cooked most beans are actually very toxic to chickens, even fatal.
Coffee and Tea – Caffeine and some other compounds in these drinks are bad for chickens. No morning brew for your chicks! (or on a more serious note, don’t put used coffee grounds or old tea bags on a compost heap they can access).
Green potatoes and tomatoes – When these are green they possess a toxin that’s harmful to chooks. When ripe, however, they’re fine. Just be careful how and when you feed them these.
Avocado Pits/Skin – This is commonly known to pet owners too. The flesh is fine, but the pits and stones of avocados contain a toxin called persin.
Greasy/Salty Foods – Not toxic as such, but not recommended either. Chickens require quality nutrition to stay healthy and lay their best eggs. The last thing you want is an overweight junk food dependent chicken!
Sugary Treats – Chickens don’t have the taste buds or the digestive system to deal with sugary treats like candy and soda as we do.
Foods That Are Good for Chickens
On the flip side, there are loads of foods that are fine for chickens if you want to see how they take to other foods.
Here are some of the best foods to offer your flock:
Vegetables – Vegetables also contain loads of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other good nutrition. Try offering your flock some broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, etc and they’ll thank you.
Fruits – Fruits contain a wide range of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other good stuff. Most are fine for chickens, try them on berries, figs, melons, and bananas and I’m sure you won’t see any going to waste.
Grains – Grains are a staple in most commercial chicken feed and scratch mixes. They provide a good range of nutrition, are a good source of energy, and promote their natural foraging. Try feeding your flock some corn, wheat, quinoa, or oats.
Herbs – Herbs are easy to grow and have some interesting wellness properties. Plus, most of them smell great which is always a plus.
Related – How to feed your chickens potato peels.
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Beets?
Yes, beets are fine for chickens. In fact, they’re great for chickens. If you have some, go ahead and give some to your backyard feathered friends. Leaves and all.
As long as your chickens have access to a quality chicken feed all day, there’s no harm in adding some variety to their diet.
If you want more ideas, just take a look at the list of other foods that are safe for chickens above.
10 Healthy Reasons to Brighten Your Meals with Beets – FoodRevolution.org
Image credits – Header image by Thomas Iversen, beet image by Nick Collins on Unsplash.