If you want to raise healthy and happy chickens, then you need to make sure you take extra care of them. This includes preparing well-balanced diets for them! While there are so many food options out there for these fowls, can these chickens also eat sweet potatoes?
A Chicken’s Nutritional Needs
Whether you have chickens for pets or poultry farming, you must know what to feed them so that they would be able to get the required nutrition that their little bodies need. Chickens must get a healthy dose of the following
By being familiar with what their needs are, it would be easier for you to figure out what to give them exactly. When a chicken is in great health, it can carry out the necessary functions that they need to do daily.
If your chicken is not in its healthiest state, it can affect the eggs they lay and the chicks they have. Basically, there is a domino effect. So if you want to raise a really healthy flock, then your chickens have to be healthy from the get-go.
Given that there are several types of food that chickens can feed on, it doesn’t hurt to consider adding another alternative. In this case, you can consider feeding them sweet potatoes. It’s a practical, nourishing, and sustaining food alternative for your beloved fowls.
Are Sweet Potatoes Safe For Chickens?
Sweet Potatoes have long been consumed by human beings and other animals. Since time immemorial, the sweet potato has been part of people’s diets. In some cultures, sweet potatoes are an everyday staple that they can’t live without.
While it’s safe for humans to eat sweet potatoes, we can’t always automatically say that it’s safe for all animals. However, if we are talking about chickens, then the answer to the question is a big, fat “yes”! Sweet potatoes are definitely safe for chickens to eat! And you should start incorporating it into your flock’s diet as soon as possible.
If you are considering the other type of potato, please don’t. Just stick to sweet potatoes while you’re at it. Basically, stay away from plants belonging to the Nightshade family. The plants under this family are not safe for your pets, especially your chickens.
Compared to the usual white potato, sweet potatoes do not contain solanine. This is the toxic substance that potatoes produce to protect themselves. When a potato is exposed to direct sunlight, it turns green and this signals the production of solanine.
This substance is bad for chickens so it’s better to not expose them to something like this. While there is an abundance of potatoes anywhere in the world, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
To make sure that your chickens are safe and sound, just stick to the ones that do not produce potential toxins like sweet potatoes. It’s a healthy option that does not pose a threat to their well-being. It’s perfectly safe for chickens to consume sweet potatoes. And that is in moderation of course!
What’s in a Sweet Potato?
In some developing countries, those raising animals such as chickens have started using sweet potatoes as animal feed. The amazing thing about sweet potatoes is that all of it can be fed to your chickens.
The chances of food wastage are low! It’s also easy to source. It won’t be difficult for you to find sweet potatoes for your chickens. If you have a big plot of land that you can plant on, perhaps you can cultivate your own!
When you feed your chickens sweet potatoes, you are giving them the chance to absorb various vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that they need in order to function well.
Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A. A chicken that does not get enough Vitamin A would most likely get sick more often. This is because this vitamin is vital for the immune system.
Whenever chickens get sick and there are damages caused by either infections or inflammations, their bodies cannot easily regenerate. If this happens, recovery would take much longer than it should.
Vitamin A is also vital in the growth and development of a chicken. The fowl might not be able to grow into its full potential if there is Vitamin A deficiency. The egg production in hens who do not get enough Vitamin A in its system might also decrease.
Another great benefit that comes out of consuming sweet potatoes is Vitamin D3. This vitamin is ideal for chicks and hens. It helps in growth and egg production respectively. If a growing chick has Vitamin D3 deficiency, some parts of their bodies like the beak and legs might be deformed.
The Vitamin D3 needed by a chicken depends on its level of calcium and phosphorus. There should be a proper ratio between the two in order to determine the amount of Vitamin D3 needed by the chickens.
The amount of Vitamin D3 needed also varies, depending on how old the chicken is or in what stage of life they are currently in right now. You might want to look that up before you start adding sweet potatoes to your chickens’ diet.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates for chickens. When it comes to carbohydrates, there is no doubt that you can get plenty of those from a sweet potato.
By feeding them sweet potatoes, it would give the chickens more energy. This is especially important given the chickens need all the energy and vitality they can possibly have in laying eggs and other activities that they need to do.
Other Nutrients in Sweet Potatoes
Apart from the major vitamins and minerals that you can find in sweet potatoes, it contains other nutrients that chickens need. Chickens can get protein, fiber, fat, sugar, and many others.
While this helps ensure that the chickens are healthy and strong, you need to monitor their intake as well. Remember that too much of something is not good for anyone’s health and that includes chickens as well. There has to be the right balance. It is up to you, as the flock or chicken owner, to find out how to make this work.
Cooked or Raw Sweet Potatoes?
Regardless of how you cook it, sweet potatoes are nutritious and healthy. Whether cooked or raw, it’s a great food source for chickens. And it’s great to know that you can serve sweet potatoes to the chickens in several ways.
When preparing sweet potatoes, you might have to cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces. This is because chickens do not have teeth that could help them chew their food.
This is especially ideal for sweet potatoes that you do not plan on cooking. If you don’t do this, then the chickens might have difficulty eating and digesting. This might deprive them of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that they might get from it.
If you are serving cooked sweet potatoes to your chickens, you should keep it as is. Try not to add anything to it like butter, margarine, milk, and other stuff that you would normally add to your cooking. You can just boil those sweet potatoes. You can either cut or mash it before serving it to the chickens.
Given that there are different ways to serve sweet potatoes to chickens, they might prefer one way over the other. Just observe which one they like the most and you can stick with it. When you do, that would probably make the chickens happy! Not only are they getting the nutrients they need, they are also getting it their way!
Can You Add Sweet Potatoes To Your Chicken’s Feed?
Instead of feeding cooked or raw sweet potatoes straight-up to your chickens, you can also incorporate it in their feed. It would give their food more variety and texture.
If you are considering this, make sure you do not overdo it. You might consider how old the chickens you are feeding. You have got to get the ratios right. If you don’t, then it might be too much for them, especially to the young members of your flock.
It can overwhelm their system, causing an imbalance in their diet. Instead of making sure the chickens are healthy, it might make them sick instead. You surely do not want this to happen.
As your chickens grow, you can make the necessary adjustments to the ratio. Through this, you are able to make sure that your growing chickens are getting the right amount of nutrients. So remember to keep track of their growth and their daily nutritional needs.
Feed Your Chickens Sweet Potatoes Now
You can feed your chickens many different things, with sweet potatoes being one of them. Regardless whether they are served cooked or raw, chickens can eat sweet potatoes as their feed alternative. It’s just a matter of making sure they get their daily nutritional intake so they would grow healthy and vital members of your flock!