Yes, chickens can eat leeks. Leeks are perfectly safe to eat and provide a nice boost of vitamins and minerals. Simply chop some leeks up, and I bet your hens will be more than happy to munch them up!
Are Leeks Good for Chickens?
As long as a vegetable is safe for chickens to eat (more on toxic and harmful veggies later), they're always beneficial to chickens and provide some additional nutritional benefits.
Each vegetable provides its own unique it should not benefits, and leeks are no exception.
Leeks belong to the same family as onions, garlic, chives, and shallots. They have a very different taste and nutritional makeup from these vegetables though.
Leeks are nutritionally dense and particularly rich in magnesium and vitamins A, C, and K. They’re one of the better vegetables to give to chickens, to be honest.
The secret to helping hens lay large, nutritious, and delicious eggs is a high-quality diet. This generally means a mix of quality commercial layer feed, and some variety in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables.
How to Feed Leeks to Chickens
The good thing about feeding chickens - as you will be well aware of if you currently have some - is that they find a way to eat just about anything.
Chickens do not have teeth, but their beaks are able to break up and help them eat just about anything. Leeks are not that tough, so they'll be able to eat them with ease.
The main thing you always need to be aware of when feeding chickens vegetables is that you wash them, so they're free from any pesticides, and you don't let them go moldy if they're left out.
Personally, I would chop leeks up a bit to make it easier for chickens to peck at and eat, but you could also hang one for them to play with.
The ”90/10” of Feeding Backyard Chickens
A general rule of thumb when feeding chickens is the "90/10 rule".
This basically means that 90% of their diet will come from a good quality commercial feed, which will be a layer feed if your hands are laying.
Typically you should top up their feeders twice a day and ensure that they always have feed available to graze on.
At least 10% of their diet where you can give them table scraps, vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. to add some variety and give them some other foods to try.
Also, let's be honest, it's also a great way to recycle or not waste foods that you may not want or will not eat yourself!
Other Foods That Chickens Can Eat; Table Scraps, Treats, Etc
It’s fun feeding chickens different foods, and eggplants are just one of the many foods that are safe for chickens.
Here are some of the most popular foods people give to their backyard chooks that are perfectly safe:
Vegetables – Most vegetables are fine chickens and it’s a great way to cut down on wastage and recycle scraps.
Fruits – Most fruits are also fine and they’re typically nutrient-dense and packed with loads of good vitamins and minerals.
Grains – Grains are a staple of chickens’ diet, both in the wild and from commercial feeds. Your chickens will be more than happy to have some corn (even deer corn), wheat, barley, quinoa, etc.
It also gives them something to scratch around and forage for, which is a behavior that comes naturally to chickens.
Some Foods That You Should NOT Feed Chickens
Not everything is edible to chickens, and it’s our job to make sure that they don’t get their beaks into anything that could potentially cause them some health concerns.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some of the worst offending foods as confirmed by the RSPCA:
Avocado skins and pits – There is a fungicidal toxin present in the skin and stone of an avocado, the flesh is fine to eat though.
Parts of other nightshade plants – You have to be careful with plants belonging to the nightshade family. Green parts of tomatoes and potatoes are toxic, as are many of the leaves and stalks of nightshade plants. Always double check before feeding chickens peppers, eggplant, and other nightshades.
Raw Beans – The potential risks with beans are surprising to most people. Unless they are properly cooked, beans contain a toxin called lectin. Lectins are very toxic to chickens – and us – so never feed chicks beans that have not been cooked properly.
Tea and coffee – Not like you’d offer your chickens a brew, but some people compost tea bags and coffee grounds in their yard.
Candy, sugary treats, soda etc – Chickens find it difficult to digest sugars and other chemicals in sugary foods, keep the treats to yourself!
Foods high in fat or salt, greasy fast foods, etc. – Similar to sugary treats, fatty foods are bad for chickens’ digestive systems.
Any moldy or spoiled foods – It’s tempting to use chickens as recycling machines for foods you don’t want, just make sure you only give them food you’d be willing to eat yourself!
This is not a complete list, so always err on the side of caution when feeding your chicken something new for the first time.
If you think your chickens have eaten something they shouldn’t have or spot any signs that they are not eating or drinking normally, are acting lethargic, or generally just not acting themselves, you should always call an avian vet and seek professional advice.
Chickens can eat leeks, yes. In fact, like a lot of vegetables, leeks provide some great nutrition and will contribute towards healthy hens and tasty eggs.
As long as you're feeding your hens vegetables, fruits, and other table scraps in moderation as discussed above, different foods help to provide a more balanced diet.
Image credits - Imagine used with permission from firsttimefarming.com
Health and Nutrition Benefits of Leeks - Healthline