Can chickens eat cilantro? Are herbs good for chicks? How much of their diet should be made up of greens, herbs, and other foods other than their feed?
Read on for answers to these questions and more!
What Is Cilantro?
Cilantro is a herb. It’s also called coriander sometimes, although there is a difference between coriander and cilantro as I explain below.
If you’re dealing with the plant, the leaves of the plant have a very different taste to the seeds. Both have quite a pungent odor overall though, and both parts of the plant are commonly used in spicy foods.
The taste is most commonly described as tasting “soap-like”. This sounds odd, but the plant actually contains a compound called aldehyde that is also produced in the soap making process (source).
For us, it’s a real love it or hate it kind of taste (I love it). Chickens are less fussy, however, and from my experience, they love the taste. At least, the taste doesn’t stop them eating in a hurry, I’ll say that.
What’s The Difference Between Cilantro and Coriander?
I’m going to be honest, I used to think cilantro and coriander was the same thing (it kinda is).
If you also thought this, you’re not alone. It’s a common misconception because both herbs come from the same plant.
So, I’m not totally stupid, someone sent me down the path of thinking they’re were the same thing and I ran with it - as a lot of people do.
The difference is that cilantro is the leaves and stems of the coriander plant.
While coriander is the seeds. Although I still commonly see people calling the leaves coriander too. I took this information from the Detroit Free Press (source) and cross-checked it and it seems to be a fact.
Anyway, I wanted to make this clear so you know exactly what I’m referring to when I say cilantro. Plus, a little extra trivia knowledge never hurts!
Is Cilantro Good for Chickens?
Like most herbs, cilantro is packed with good nutrition and are beneficial to chickens when added to their overall diet.
Most notably, it’s low in calories while being rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and is a good source of antioxidants while the seeds of the plant have anti-parasitic properties.
Therefore, it’s a great choice as a diet supplement to get some extra vitamins into your chicks. It’s particularly good for bone support and strengthening their immune system.
Related content - Can chickens eat parsley?
Remember, cilantro is the leaves and stems from a coriander plant. When the plant flowers and seeds, those seeds are coriander seeds. The seeds are different from the leaves in both nutrition and taste.
Which Herbs Are Good for Chickens?
If you want to branch out and start a herb garden for your chickens, here are just a few of the herbs that are great for them:
Basil - Promotes healthy gut activity.
Lemon Balm - Known for being a laying stimulant.
Dill - Helps with respiratory illnesses.
Mint - Repels insects and aids digestion.
Parsley - Laying stimulant and high in minerals and vitamins.
Thyme - Strong antioxidant and anti-parasitic properties.
Sage - Another herb rich in antioxidants and vitamins.
Not only are herbs great for your chickens, but they’re also inexpensive and easy to grow or buy, too.
You can feed them most herbs either fresh or dried. If you’re growing them yourself, this means you can simply trim your herbs and throw some into their coop or run.
Or, you can store and dry out some herbs for a later date - but personally, I think they prefer fresh herbs.
How Much Greens and Herbs Should Chickens Eat?
Despite listing all the positives to giving your chickens cilantro and other herbs. Leafy greens such as herbs, vegetables, and table scraps should not make up more than 10% of their overall diet.
The bulk of a chicken’s diet should come from a good chicken feed. Poultry feed is specially formulated to meet the nutritional demands of chickens, and it’s a really easy way to make sure they’re eating well.
Their feed is primarily made from cereal grains, vegetable and animal protein sources, and nutritional additives. This is the best way to ensure your birds are getting the balance of nutrition they need.
It is recommended that you supplement their diet with herbs and table scraps to give them a wider range of nutrition. Plus, it helps to keep it a little more interesting with different tastes and foods to enjoy.
Related content - Can chickens eat tomatoes?
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Cilantro?
Cilantro is great for chickens. If you can spare some, do throw it to your chickens and they’ll thank you for it.
Plus, it’s good for healthy bone development and provides a range of vitamins and minerals to supplement their feed.
Feeding backyard chickens different scraps, herbs, veggies, and fruits is both beneficial to them and a way to make sure you’re not wasting food.
It’s a win-win.