Chickens can eat petunias, yes. So, if you have prized petunias growing in your yard where your chickens roam, it’s nice to know they’re safe but you also might want to protect them if you don’t want them gobbled up!
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Will Chickens Eat Your Petunias?
If you’re reading this post, you’re likely here to find out one of two things; the first is whether or not petunias are safe for chickens, the other is whether or not your petunias are safe!
Well, the good news is that petunias do not pose any threat in terms of toxicity. In fact, much like most flowers, it’s a good idea to let your chickens eat petunias as they add some variety into their diet.
If you’re planning on getting backyard chickens and wondering if your flower beds are going to be safe, the answer is likely not.
In the wild, chickens munch on plants, flowers, and any bugs, insects, and small rodents they find scratching around.
Although backyard chickens are typically fed a chicken feed, if you are able to allow them to roam free-range, they’re more than likely going to munch on any edible plants they have access to.
If you’re intending on raising backyard chickens, you’re going to need to fence off any flowers or plants you want to protect.
Are Petunias Good for Chickens?
Petunias are listed as safe for consumption, but I was not able to find any credible sources stating that they provide any decent nutritional benefit.
Generally speaking, flowers, plants, and weeds are good for chickens and they clearly enjoy eating them. So, I’d go ahead and give them to your flock if you’re happy to.
You can’t rely on them to provide much in the way of the kind of nutrition your chickens need to maintain optimal health and lay their best eggs though.
Feeding Backyard Chickens Balanced Diet
Flowers and other foods are great for chickens - in moderation. To provide backyard chickens a well-balanced diet, however, you need to give them plenty of good feed.
There are different feeds depending on the age of chickens and their stage of life. The most common is layer feed, which is for laying hens.
This will ensure your hens are getting the right amount of protein and the other minerals they need to lay eggs at their best.
Foods such as flowers, fruits, vegetables, and pretty much anything outside of chicken feed are essentially treats for chickens.
As long as at least 90% of a chicken’s diet is being met by their commercial feed, you can be sure you’re going to have a happy and healthy flock.
And, of course, the more space chooks have to roam free-range and scratch around for little insects to gobble up the better.
What Flowers Do Chickens Like to Eat?
Chickens love eating flowers and plants. You can’t blame them, there is no chicken feed in the wild, they eat plants, bugs, insects, and other things that move.
Here are some of the more common flowers and plants that are safe for backyard chickens to eat, you just need to know whether or not you want to protect your flowers from being eaten!
- Dandelions, dock leaves, and other weeds.
Obviously, this is not a complete list. It’s a good idea to identify all the flowers your chickens will have access to and make sure they’re safe.
What Flowers Are Bad for Chickens?
Chickens are pretty smart when it comes to knowing what they should eat, but there's always a risk that they will eat something that's poisonous to them if it’s available.
Here is a list of some of the flowers and plants that are known to be toxic or poisonous to chickens that should be avoided:
- Trumpet Vine
- Jimson Weed
- Morning glories
Again, this is not a complete list so please do check that any of the plants you have in your yard are not toxic to chickens.
It’s fine to feed chickens petunias and various other flowers, just keep in mind that they’re not going to provide much in terms of good nutrition.
Eating flowers and other plants is something chickens will do when allowed to roam free-range. It’s fine, foraging and scratching around is something that comes naturally to chickens.
Just keep in mind that you need to be aware of what plants your chickens are eating and you should always provide a well-balanced diet of quality commercial feed and some fresh fruits and vegetables.
Image credits - Photo by Ludmila Korolyuk on Unsplash