Absolutely, yes, chickens can eat broccoli. As it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other good nutrition you should go out of your way to share some. Either cooked or raw is fine, the stalks are a little tough though.
Is Broccoli Healthy for Chickens?
Chickens do have different dietary requirements from us, but broccoli is still a super healthy treat for them.
They get most of their nutritional needs met with a quality feed. But adding fruits, vegetables, and other healthy treats is a great way to ensure they’re getting some variety and a wide range of nutrition.
It’s one of the top 5 healthiest vegetables on Earth according to Healthline, so you can’t go wrong.
And while a lot of people don’t like the taste of broccoli (although I love it), don’t worry because chickens have very few taste buds compared to us.
Plus, let’s be honest, the taste doesn’t matter to them – they eat all kinds of creepy crawlies!
How to Feed Chickens Broccoli
You can feed broccoli to chickens either raw or cooked. It can be a little tough raw, especially the stalks, so you’ll need to chop it up.
Don’t forget, chickens do not have teeth. They grind up their food in their gizzard with the help of grit, so make it a little easier for them.
As you’ll see in the video below, a large piece of raw fresh broccoli was given to a flock of hens and they made quick work of it:
Some Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
Feeding chickens is fun, but you have to be aware of any foods that are potentially toxic, poisonous, or harmful.
Below isn’t a complete list, but it’s a list of the most commonly found foods that are known to be harmful to chickens.
Take a look, and make sure you don’t let your flock near any of these:
Chocolate – As with most household pets and some other small animals, the compounds theobromine and caffeine are toxic to chickens.
Tea and Coffee – Seeing as tea and coffee also contain caffeine, and tea contains theobromine, it’ll come as no surprise that these are also potentially toxic.
Raw Beans – Raw or undercooked beans contain lectins that are potentially toxic, and can even be fatal to chickens. Boiling them destroys the toxin, so something to be aware of if you grow beans or thought about giving some to your flock before cooking them.
Greasy/Salty Foods – While not harmful in the same way as foods with toxins, junk food isn’t ideal. Especially if you want your chickens to be in prime health and lying tasty eggs.
Avocado Pits/Skin – The flesh is fine (and delicious) but the skin and stone of an avocado contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. This can cause some serious health issues, don’t give it to your flock.
Green Potatoes – When potatoes are exposed to direct sunlight they turn green. This means a toxin called solanine is present, which is harmful to chickens when eaten. Solanine is also present in green tomatoes and some other plants in the nightshade family.
Some Foods Chickens Can Eat
As long as you know they’re safe, it’s fun trying different foods with chickens. The challenge is often finding something they don’t like!
Here are some of the foods owners commonly give to their chooks:
Vegetables – Most vegetables are fine. As long as they’re fresh and healthy for us, they’re going to be good for your chickens. Some of the best are cabbage, broccoli, carrots, etc.
Herbs – Herbs are a great way to add some healthy left greens to your flock’s diet. They contain some unique wellness benefits too, it’s well worth checking out some different herbs.
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.
Fruits – I’m yet to find fruit chickens do not go crazy for. Which is great, because fruits are full of good nutrition. Just try giving your flock some apple, melon, grapes, berries, and other fruits I’ve covered in the blog.
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Broccoli?
Broccoli is great for chickens, yes.
Just remember that at least 90% of their diet should come from a good commercial feed. This leaves some room to treat them with other foods like some of the ones I mentioned above.
This adds some variety to their diet, and is also a great way to bond and interact with them. Next time you have some scraps of leftovers, you know where they should go!
Health benefits of broccoli – HealthyEating.org
Image credits – Header image by Olga Kononenko, broccoli image by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash