Can Chickens Eat Swiss Chard

Can Chickens Eat Swiss Chard? (Benefits of Leafy Greens)

Yes, chickens can eat swiss chard. Swiss chard is a nutrient-dense dark leafy green that provides a wide range of good nutrition for chickens (and us). It’s great for chickens and will help them produce their best eggs and maintain optimal health.

Is Swiss Chard Good for Chickens?

Swiss chard, which is a vegetable in the same family as beets and spinach, comes in various types but is essentially a leafy green we commonly use in salads.

Whatever type you have, swiss chard is a low-calorie vegetable that’s loaded with good nutrition and makes for a great snack for chickens.

It’s rich in vitamins A, K, and C, along with being a good source of calcium which is important for healthy eggshells, as well as a number of other minerals.

The key to helping ensure your flock are happy, healthy, and laying eggs at their best, is to provide a well-balanced diet of a quality feed and some healthy veggies like swiss chard.

Of all the foods chickens can eat, it’s worth going out of your way to make sure they’re getting some healthy greens like swiss chard to supplement their diet.

How to Feed Swiss Chard to Chickens

Chickens do not need a lot of help to eat leafy greens like swiss chard.

You can either throw them some leaves and stalks and leave it up to them to peck apart or chop them up a little.

If you own chickens, you’ll know they have strong beaks and are able to break up and eat just about anything they want.

Some leafy greens aren’t going to pose any problems. All you really need to do is ensure you give the leaves a wash so they’re free of any pesticides.

Related – Here’s why mustard and turnip greens are also awesome for chickens.

The Key to Feeding Backyard Chickens a Balanced Diet

The good news is; feeding backyard chickens a well-balanced diet that will help them maintain optimal health and lay tasty eggs isn’t difficult.

As a general rule of thumb, most of their diet – at least 90% – should come from a commercial chicken feed as feeds are specially formulated to help chickens meet their nutritional requirements.

There should always be some feed available in your flock’s feeder to graze on throughout the day, and in the evenings you can give them table scraps and leftovers.

Giving them vegetables, fruits, and other foods is a great way to provide some variety and additional nutrients. As well as helping you reduce wastage, of course.

As long as the foods are safe for chickens to eat and are kept as occasional treats, it’s actually beneficial for chickens to get a wider range of foods in their diets.

It won’t be long before you find out what your flock loves to eat, and some of the foods they don’t. 

Other Foods That Chickens Can Eat; Table Scraps, Treats, Etc

If you want to experiment with other table scraps and leftovers, the good news is that most foods are fine for chickens.

Here is a summary of some of the most popular and easiest foods to give to your chickens:

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, carrot tops, cabbage, jicama, etc provide some great nutrition.

Fruits – Most fruits are also fine and they’re typically nutrient-dense and packed with loads of good vitamins and minerals. Try giving your chickens some apricots, pears, lemons and oranges, bananas, etc. and you’ll see how quickly they disappear.

Grains – Grains are a staple of most chicken feeds and foods that chickens would naturally find and eat in the wild. It also gives them something to scratch around for, which chickens love doing. Wheat, quinoa, corn, oatmeal, etc., are all super good for chickens.

Foods and Things Chickens Should Not Eat

Chickens try to eat most foods, plants, and other things they come across. While there aren’t that many hazards, there are some foods you should be aware of.

This isn’t a complete list, but here are some of the common foods that are known to be harmful or toxic to chickens to avoid giving to them:

Avocado skins and pits – These parts of the avocado contain a fungicidal toxin called persin that is known to be toxic to most pets.

Some nightshade foods – There is a toxin called solanine present in some parts of the plants belonging to the nightshade family. This includes eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, it’s worth looking into this in more detail.

Chocolate – I love chocolate, so I’m happy to keep it to myself. Jokes aside, there are a couple of compounds in chocolate called theobromine and caffeine that are harmful to chickens, dogs, cats, and some other pets.

Tea and coffee – There are some harmful compounds in tea and coffee, beware if you use these for your compost heap.

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 – You wouldn’t eat moldy foods, would you? Mold spores are toxic and potentially harmful to chickens, keep an eye on foods that are left out for them.

In Summary

Swiss chard is one of the better vegetables to give to chickens. It’s great for their health to take on a variety of different foods – as long as it’s done in moderation.

Keep in mind that chickens do have specific dietary requirements, most of which are easily met by eating a good chicken feed and grazing on some bugs in your yard.

Resources

Image credits – Imagine used with permission from firsttimefarming.com