In addition to a good quality commercial feed, feeding your chickens some fresh fruit, vegetables, and leafy greens help provide a balanced diet to keep your flock in optimal health.
Can chickens eat spinach? Yes, chickens can eat spinach. According to the RSPCA, it’s one of the best vegetables to give to backyard chickens as it provides a good range of nutrients.
Is Spinach Healthy for Chickens?
Spinach is one of the healthiest leafy greens you can feed your flock. It’s an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable, so it’s great to feed to your flock even in small amounts.
The key nutrients it’s rich in include carotenoids, vitamins, minerals, folic acid, iron, and calcium.
Pretty powerful stuff for a simple leafy green that’s readily available all year round in most parts of the world!
Now, I do have to bring up that spinach does also contain oxalic acid. Some owners say that this can cause some problems with the quality of eggs being laid, but most don’t think so.
The facts are that if you’re giving your chickens a little spinach here and there it’s not going to make any difference.
The good nutrition in spinach far outweighs the fact that it has a small amount of oxalic acid too.
Why do I say this?
I’ve spoken to plenty of owners and read comments from dozens more online and I’ve never heard or seen anyone say they’ve seen ill-effects or experienced any laying issues from feeding their flock spinach.
How to Feed Spinach to Chickens
As with most leafy greens, your chickens will be happy to see them however you want to feed it to them.
You can either chop it up and add it to their feed to make it easy for them. Or, you can just throw some into their run weather permitting.
The person did in this video just dumped a pile of leftover spinach and let his chickens peck away at it:
Other Vegetables That Are Good for Chickens
I love feeding vegetables to my flock because I grow a few different types, and enjoy cooking with and eating veg.
Most vegetables are fine for chickens, and it’s a great way to provide them with loads of good nutrition. Here are some veggies to test with your flock:
Broccoli – This provides a powerful range of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Cabbage – Rich in micronutrients and antioxidants, cabbage is great for promoting a healthy immune system.
Pumpkin – The seeds are believed to act as a natural dewormer. The flesh of a pumpkin is nutrient-dense and provides a good range of nutrition.
Sweet potatoes – A starchy vegetable that’s high in carbs. It’s a bit tough raw so I recommend cooking it and then sharing some with your flock.
Radishes and zucchini – These are two vegetables with high water content. A good choice in the summer months to help keep your flock hydrated.
Other leafy greens – Just like spinach, kale, lettuce, and swiss chard are also great for your flock. They may prefer one over another, so try and offer as many types as you can to find out what they like.
Some Foods That Are Bad for Chickens
Most fruits and vegetables are fine for chickens, but it’s important to be aware of any foods that are harmful/toxic to them.
Here are some foods that are potentially dangerous to chickens and should never be given to them:
Raw beans – I talk about this a lot, but it’s so important I’m going to continue to keep mentioning it. Don’t let your chickens eat raw beans, they contain lectins that are potentially fatal to chickens unless properly cooked.
Processed foods – Chickens require quality nutrition. At least, if you expect them to lay regular eggs and stay healthy. Proceed foods contain too much salt, additives, preservatives, etc.
It’s also hard for them to digest these foods, and doesn’t provide much of the key nutrition they need.
Green potatoes skin – Potatoes are clever vegetables. When they’re exposed to sunlight, they produce a toxin called solanine and turn green to kill insects trying to eat them.
Smart, eh? Yes, but that toxin is also harmful to chickens (and us). Steer clear of green potatoes, but normal ripe potatoes are fine.
Chocolate and coffee – Chocolate and coffee both contain two compounds that are known to be toxic and potentially harmful to chickens; theobromine and caffeine.
That’s not an exhaustive list of bad foods, but it’s a few of the most common foods that most of us have in our homes that are toxic to our flock.
A few surprising ones there, right? If in doubt, stick to the spinach and other healthy leafy greens and vegetables.
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Spinach?
Spinach is great for chickens, just as it is for us.
If you can spare some your chickens’ way, they’re going to happily gobble it up and you’ll be giving them a healthy dose of good nutrition.
No matter how good foods are, remember that at least 90% of your chicken’s diet should come from their commercial feed.
Commercial feeds are specially formulated to meet all their dietary needs. Which is particularly helpful to molting and laying hens in need of key nutrients.
What should I feed my backyard hens? – RSPCA.com
The health benefits of spinach – BBCGoodFood.co.uk