Chickens can eat mustard greens, yes. In fact, leafy greens like mustard greens, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens are great for chickens. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, and help chickens stay healthy and lay tasty eggs.
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Are Mustard Greens Good for Chickens?
Most leafy greens are good for chickens, and mustard greens, in particular, are a great source of vitamins and minerals for hens.
Also known as Indian mustard, Chinese mustard, vegetable mustard, and brown mustard, mustard greens are the leafy part of the mustard plant.
They actually have a strong, bitter flavor if you eat them raw, which for us isn’t the most palatable. But for chickens that have far fewer taste buds, the taste is not an issue.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering hens scratch around in the dirt and eat just about anything that moves!
Mustard greens are one of the most nutritional left greens you can eat - and a lot of those nutritional benefits are great for chickens.
These greens are rich in fiber and micronutrients, and provide a good dose of important vitamins, and have strong antioxidant properties.
Essentially, mustard greens are nutrient-dense and great for chickens!
How to Feed Mustard Greens to Chickens
Chickens do not need a lot of help to eat leafy greens like mustard greens.
You can pretty much give them to your chooks how you want. You can either throw them in without chopping them or chop them up a bit to make it a little easier for them to share.
Chickens may not have teeth but they do have strong beaks and can easily break up hard foods, so they’ll make quick work of some leafy greens.
All you need to do is ensure you give the leaves a wash so they're free of any pesticides and nice and clean.
Feeding Backyard Chickens a Balanced Diet
Mustard greens and other vegetables might be great for chickens, but that doesn't mean you can feed these to your flock all the time.
Backyard chickens have specific dietary needs that need to be met if they’re to stay healthy and lay eggs at their best.
At least 90% of their diet should come from a good formulated feed. You should make this feed available all day for your chicks to graze on, and they’ll eat as much as they need.
In the evening when you know they’ve eaten well, you can treat them to table scraps, fruits, and veg, etc.
It’s fun feeding chickens different foods, you’ll see them getting excited and running around with bits of veg like they’ve just found something special!
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, green beans, eggplant (technically a fruit!), leeks, etc provide some great nutrition.
Fruits – Most fruits are also fine as they are typically nutrient-dense and packed with loads of vitamins and minerals. Try giving them some berries, melons, apples, lemons, dragon fruit, etc.
Grains – I love feeding my chickens grains as it gives them something to scratch around for. You can feed your flock wheat, quinoa, corn, cereals, noodles, etc. as well as nuts like almonds, pecans, etc.
As you can see, most of the foods that are good for us and provide a good balance of nutrition are fine for chickens.
Foods That Are Toxic/Poisonous and Should Be Avoided
It’s more important you know which foods are potentially harmful to your chickens and should be avoided.
There aren’t many, but the foods you should absolutely avoid letting your chickens consume as confirmed by the RSPCA are:
Avocado skins and pits – The skin and stones of avocados contain a fungicidal toxin, the flesh is fine though.
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes – When potatoes and tomatoes are green, it means they contain a toxin called solanine. This toxin isn’t present when they’re ripe, so white potatoes and red tomatoes are fine.
Chocolate and foods with cocoa or chocolate in – there are compounds in chocolate that cause health issues for most pets.
Tea and coffee – It’s not like you’d offer your chickens a brew, but some people compost tea bags and coffee grounds in their yard.
Candy and other sugary treats, this includes soda – Foods with high sugar content and preservatives are bad for chickens (and us).
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!
Chickens can eat mustard greens and most greens for that matter. Adding some greens into your flock’s diet is actually a good idea as it adds some variety and introduces a wider range of vitamins and minerals.
Just remember that anything other than formulated chicken feed is essentially a treat for chickens and should be given to them in moderation.
It’s fun to experiment with different foods. As long as you know it’s safe for chickens, you should always offer them different foods to see what they like.
Image credits - Imagine used with permission from firsttimefarming.com