Chickens have digestive systems that can process various foods, which is why they eat almost anything. Broccoli is a natural vegetable with high nutritional value. You can make it a staple in the treats you give your chickens. However, be moderate with the amount you give your chickens because it’s not their regular feed.
This article will cover
- Do Chickens Like Broccoli?
- 6 Benefits of Broccoli For Chickens
- What Do You Look Out For When Buying Broccoli?
- 4 Steps For Cooking Broccoli For Your Chickens
Do Chickens Like Broccoli?
Chickens not only eat to stay alive; they also enjoy eating. Broccoli contains potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, etc. that supports your chickens’ egg production and overall health. The edible parts of broccoli are the florets and stalks.
Broccoli florets are the flower buds at the top. They are usually dark green and tasty. Your chickens will enjoy eating this part of the vegetable. Cut the florets into small sizes before you serve them to your chickens. You can cook the florets with other vegetables like cauliflower.
Broccoli stalks shouldn’t be thrown out as they are more nutritious than the head and enriched with iron, vitamins, calcium, etc. Even though they take longer to get properly cooked, they are juicy and tasty. You can cook them with the florets or serve your chickens raw.
If you’re serving raw, ensure you cut the stalks into small cubes. You can also mix them with other fruits and vegetables to make salads. There are many ways to prepare broccoli stalks to make them more appealing to your chickens.
While broccoli is a natural vegetable that enhances your chickens’ health, it shouldn’t make up a large percentage of your chickens’ diet. The best feed for your chickens is their regular feed, as it contains all the dietary requirements your chickens need for optimal health.
Therefore, broccoli and other vegetables and fruits shouldn’t be more than 10% of your chickens’ diet. Also, you don’t have to feed your chickens broccoli all the time. Rotating the foods you give them helps them get all-round nutrition.
You can serve broccoli to your chickens, either raw or cooked. You can steam, blanch, or bake it to make it tastier. However, avoid putting salt in the broccoli you want to serve your chickens.
Chickens’ digestive systems aren’t strong enough to cope with the amount of salt humans put in food. Besides, their taste buds aren’t as sharp as humans, so it makes no difference to them if food is salted or not. To be on the safe side, feed them with plain broccoli.
6 Benefits of Broccoli For Chickens
There are many benefits of giving your chickens broccoli. Broccoli contains many nutrients that help your chicken stay healthy and reduce the effects on the environment.
The nutrients in broccoli help in bone formation and the prevention of bone-related issues. For instance, vitamins, calcium, and zinc are some of the nutrients found in broccoli. These nutrients aid the development of strong bones and joints. With strong bones, your chickens will be healthier and happier.
100g Raw Broccoli Nutrition
Increases egg and meat production
Either you’re breeding chickens for egg or meat, broccoli is a great food to include in their diet. The nutrients it has increased the nutritional value of eggs. Therefore, you’ll find that the yolks of such eggs have a deep color. Besides, broccoli has antioxidant properties, reducing the risk of exposure to viruses, bacteria, etc., thereby making their products safe for eating.
Broccoli has large deposits of fiber which helps get rid of unwanted compounds from the body through the digestive system. Since chickens eat a lot of stuff, especially when foraging; you have to flush out toxins regularly from their systems.
You never can tell the harmful thing they have eaten. In addition, broccoli has isothiocyanates which deal with unwanted compounds in your chickens’ genetic make-up.
While you should keep your chickens’ coop free from pollution, you should also include anti-pollution foods in their diet. You can never be too careful when it comes to pollution with chickens.
Their food and water can quickly become polluted with pests, dirt, etc., which breaks their health down rapidly. However, anti-pollution foods like broccoli help fight or alleviate the effects of pollution before they become serious health complications.
If your chickens constantly suffer from allergies, broccoli is a good treatment for them. It contains kaempferol and omega-3 fatty acids which decrease the impact of allergies and fight against inflammation.
The soluble fiber in broccoli aids the removal of bad cholesterol from the body. Too much cholesterol in chickens leads to liver damage, obesity, sudden death syndrome, etc. As such, broccoli is a superfood your chickens should eat.
What Do You Look Out For When Buying Broccoli?
There is a lot to look out for when buying vegetables so that you don’t end up buying the wrong ones. If you buy the right type of broccoli, you won’t only get value for your money; you’ll be securing your chickens’ health in the process. Broccoli is available at any time of the year, and you can find it in stores, farmers’ markets, etc.
Smell the broccoli if you can before you buy it. It should smell nice; an offensive odor indicates that the broccoli has gone bad and isn’t safe for eating. For instance, if the broccoli smells like gas, don’t give it to your chickens.
Besides the smell, inspect the broccoli to see if the stalks are firm and tight. The florets should be dark green and tightly closed. If it isn’t, don’t buy such broccoli. Broccoli with yellow spots on their buds or loose stalks are old and not as tasty and healthy as fresh broccoli.
You should buy the broccoli whenever you need it rather than buy ahead. Buying ahead increases the chances of the broccoli becoming old and losing its taste and strength before you use it. Always buy fresh broccoli whenever you want to feed your chickens with it.
Mode of growth
The best type of broccoli is the one grown organically. If you’re not sure about getting organically-grown broccoli in the supermarket, you can go to a farmers’ market where the products are better and cheaper. Plants are grown with GMOs or other chemicals that aren’t safe for your chickens’ health.
To make the most of your broccoli, you should buy the whole broccoli and cut it yourself. Buying pre-cut vegetables can be dangerous to your chickens’ health. Asides from that, the wholeness of a vegetable preserves the nutrients and prevents the vegetable from quickly spoiling.
If you don’t use up the broccoli you buy at once; you can store it for 5 days in the refrigerator. Don’t wash it before you store it. You should also wrap it with a cling film or plastic bag to prevent moisture from getting in touch with it.
4 Steps For Cooking Broccoli For Your Chickens
You can serve your chickens a tastier version of broccoli by cooking it. Use only firm and tightly closed broccoli if you’re cooking it. You can cook broccoli using different methods such as microwaving, steaming, etc.
You must wash the broccoli before cooking it. Soak it in cold water for some minutes and strain in a colander. Since you’re giving the broccoli to your chickens, don’t wash it with salt. If you feel it’s not clean enough, keep washing with cold water until it’s clean.
Don’t dump the whole broccoli inside water in a pan and place it on heat. It would take longer to get done, and not all sides will be cooked evenly. Instead, cut the broccoli into many parts. Separate the stems from the florets before you split the stems. You can further cut the florets into smaller clusters and cook them. Ensure the cuts are small enough for your chickens to avoid choking.
There are various methods for cooking broccoli. If you want to microwave it, put the washed and cut broccoli in a glass or plastic dish, add some water and place it in the microwave. Don’t go far away when using the microwave as the broccoli gets done faster.
You can also blanch the broccoli, however, without salt. Cover the broccoli with water in a pan and place on medium heat for some minutes. Whichever method you use, ensure the broccoli is tender enough for your chickens to eat.
Once you’re done cooking, allow the broccoli to cool before you serve it to your chickens. As expected, your chickens will excitedly gobble it up. Remember to clean up after they’re done to avoid attracting pests to their coop. Also, only serve broccoli to your chickens if they like it and aren’t allergic to it. You can test them with a small amount first before you go all out.
Other vegetables you can give your chickens include cabbage, beet, lettuce, kale, asparagus, cucumbers, pumpkins, etc. You can either serve them raw or cooked. Make their nutrition comprehensive by feeding them with other vegetables as well.
You won’t know how much your chickens love broccoli until you give them. Broccolis aren’t only tasty; they contain nutrients that enhance your chickens’ health. What’s more is that you can serve broccoli in different forms to your chickens, and they will enjoy eating it. However, ensure your chickens don’t choke on it.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.