Chickens can eat carnations safely, yes. You do have to be careful when letting chickens munch on plants and flowers, but as long as they’re safe flowers add some variety into a chicken’s diet.
Are Carnations Good for Chickens?
Discovered way back in Roman times, carnations are one of the oldest cultivated flowers in the world.
They are pretty popular both as indoor flowers used for their beauty and to bring some color and character to a room, and as flowers to grow in the garden.
For people raising backyard chickens, especially those that allow their chickens to roam free-range, it's not uncommon for chickens to come across - and eat carnations.
The interesting thing about carnations is that some people are allergic to them, and it's generally advised that cats and dogs don't munch on them as they can have an allergic reaction.
This isn't the case for chickens though. I've done as much research as I can into carnations and chickens, and everywhere I look it's said that it's perfectly fine for chickens to eat them.
In addition to this, if you do some research into herbal medicine you'll see a long list of health benefits that carnations can be used for.
I think it's a stretch to assume that they are going to offer the same benefits to chickens, and you do have to keep in mind that there is limited scientific evidence to back up herbal medicines.
Still, it is good for chickens to eat plants. In the wild, chickens primarily eat a wide range of plants and any bugs or insects they can find.
Adding variety like this into your chicken’s diets is only going to be a good thing.
Will Chickens Eat Carnations?
Generally speaking, chickens will eat carnations, yes.
If you're asking because you have a flower garden and you're wondering if your carnations are going to be safe, I certainly wouldn't trust my chickens not to munch on them.
Even if your chickens seem to have ignored your plants for some time, take it from me, there may come a day when they decide they like the look of a certain plant and it's going to come to a quick end.
Can Chickens Eat Flower Petals?
A lot of people ask if chickens can eat flower petals in general. The answer to this is, ‘yes’, if the flowers are safe and, ‘no’ if the flowers are potentially toxic or harmful.
I cover some of the common flowers that are safe and that I know a lot of chicken owners feed to their flocks below.
As well as some of the flowers and plants that are known to be toxic and you should avoid at all costs.
What Flowers Can Chickens Eat?
Chickens like to forage and munch on plants and flowers. If you want to mix up your flock’s diet a little by allowing them to munch on some flowers, here are some that are perfectly safe:
- Dandelions, dock leaves, and other weeds.
- Marigolds - Read more about how marigolds can make yolks a deeper yellow!
- Rose petals
Obviously, this is not a complete list. It covers a lot of the flowers and plants most backyard chickens are going to come across but you should always identify any flowers your chickens have access to and make sure they’re safe.
What Flowers Are Bad for Chickens?
You do have to be sure that any plants or flowers your chickens have access to are not toxic or poisonous in any way.
Chickens are pretty good about knowing what they can or cannot eat, but you just don't want to risk it by allowing them to have access to toxic plants.
Here are some of the more common plants that your chickens might come across that are known to be toxic in some form and should be avoided:
- Jimson Weed
- Trumpet Vine
- Morning glories
- Bluebells - Read more about bluebells here.
Please note that this isn't an exhaustive list. You should always identify and look at any plants that your chickens may be able to come into contact with to make sure they're safe.
I don't know about you, but finding out that some of the flowers above were toxic came as a huge surprise to me!
Feeding Your Backyard Chickens a Balanced Diet
Whether you feed your chickens carnations and other flowers or not, the important thing is that you feed them a well-balanced diet.
As a general rule of thumb, at least 90% of chicken’s diets should come from a commercial feed. All you need to do is top their feeders up twice a day, and your flock will graze on the amount they need.
With the bulk of their diet met by a feed, you can be sure they’re getting all of their nutritional needs met. You can then treat them to other foods like fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers to add some variety.
Chickens love munching on various plants, and it comes naturally to them as they survive on plants and bugs, insects, and small rodents they can find in the wild.
It’s a lot of fun giving chickens different foods, and you’ll be able to visibly see they’re enjoying themselves. That is a priceless part of raising backyard chickens.
Chickens can eat carnations and various other plants and flowers as covered in this article, yes.
In fact, you should go out of your way to try and add some flowers and plant matter into your chicken’s diet if possible. It's a great way to add some extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into their diet.
A good commercial feed and some added variety from plants and other scraps is the key when feeding chickens. This will help to ensure your flock maintains optimal health and are laying delicious eggs.
Image credits - Photo by Kirsten Carr on Unsplash