Yes, chickens can eat carrots tops - the leafy green part of a carrot. It's a great way to reduce wastage and put the leafy tops of carrots to good use! They're rich in nutrients, too, so provide a decent snack.
Why Give Chickens Leafy Green Carrot Tops?
If you grow your own carrots or buy them raw from the supermarket, you're probably used to chopping off the tops and throwing them away.
The interesting thing is, that not only is it perfectly safe to give the carrot tops and the leafy green part of the carrot to your chickens, according to TheGuardian carrot tops are also just as rich in nutrients as the carrot.
In fact, they state that the leafy green part at the top of the carrot contains around 6 times more vitamin C than the root, along with more calcium and some other key vitamins and minerals.
So, not only are you getting to reduce wastage and give your chickens the parts of the carrot that you would have otherwise thrown away, carrot tops are great for chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Carrots?
It's no secret that carrots are highly nutritious, nutrient-dense vegetables that are great for chickens (and us).
It's not uncommon to share table scraps, leftovers, and other fruits and veggies with backyard chickens - and carrots are one of the best.
Carrots have a high water content, so they are good for hydration. They are also rich in carbs, fiber, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
You're doing your flock a favor by giving them some leftover carrots, as well as most other vegetables as I cover in more detail below.
How to Feed Chickens Carrot Tops
The good news is, chickens aren't that fussy when it comes to gobbling up food as anyone who has owned some will tell you.
All you have to do is simply throw the carrot tops into their run or enclosure, and they will soon enough eat them if they want to.
The only real thing you need to be concerned about when feeding carrot tops - or any other foods for that matter - is being left out too long without being eaten and going moldy.
The “90/10 Rule” When Feeding Chickens
It's important you feed backyard chickens a balanced diet containing all the key nutrition they need. The easiest way to do that is with a commercial feed.
As a general rule of thumb, the “90/10 Rule” means at least 90% of a chicken’s diet should come from a specially formulated feed.
The other 10% gives you some room to feed them table scraps, leftovers like carrot tops, treats, and any other foods that are safe for chickens to eat.
It's fun feeding chickens different foods, not to mention the great way to recycle or reduce wastage. Make sure you're doing it in moderation.
Other Foods That Chickens Can Eat; Table Scraps, Treats, Etc
If you want to supplement your chicken’s diet with something other than chicken feed, the good news is you’re not short of options.
Here are just some of the foods that are perfectly safe for chickens, deliver some awesome nutrition, and usually aren’t hard to come by:
Vegetables – Most vegetables are fine chickens, and it’s a great way to use the scraps that you won’t eat. Veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, jicama, etc provide some great nutrition.
Fruits – Most fruits are also fine as they are typically nutrient-dense and packed with antioxidants and other good minerals. Try giving your flock some banana (plus the peels), melons, apples, bananas, etc.
Some Foods That You Should NOT Feed Chickens
Chickens try to eat most foods, plants, and other things they come across. While there aren’t that many hazards, there are some foods you should be aware of.
This isn’t a complete list, but here are some of the common foods that are known to be harmful or toxic to chickens to avoid giving to them:
Parts of other nightshade foods – as covered above, be wary of foods belonging to the nightshade family.
Tea and coffee – there are some harmful compounds in tea and coffee, beware if you use these for your compost heap.
Avocado skins and pits – There is a fungicidal toxin present in the skin and pits of avocados that can be toxic to most small animals.
Chocolate and foods with cocoa or chocolate in – Chocolate is not a treat for chickens, it contains some potentially harmful compounds.
Any moldy or spoiled foods – You wouldn’t want to eat moldy food, would you? Mold spores are toxic and can potentially cause some health issues.
Sugary, Greasy, Fatty Foods – Fast food isn’t ideal for chickens, neither are soda drinks, candy, etc. Greasy and fatty foods are not toxic per se, but chickens find salty foods hard to digest and they aren’t good for their long-term health.
Candy and other sugary treats, this includes soda – Foods with high sugar content and preservatives are bad for chickens (and us).
Now you know, there's a lot more to carrot tops than just leftover wastage from your veggies.
They are perfectly safe for chickens to eat, provide a nice balance but good nutrition, and it's a great way to reduce wastage.
It’s always a good idea to double-check foods are safe before giving them to your chooks. But once you know they are, it’s a good way to add some variety and additional nutrition into their diets.
Image credits - Photo by Fernando Lavin on Unsplash