If you want to raise healthy and happy chickens, you must ensure you take extra care of them. It 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 their needs, it would be easier for you to figure out what to give them exactly. When a chicken is in excellent 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 it lays and the chicks they have. Basically, there is a domino effect. So if you want to raise a healthy flock, your chickens must be healthy from the get-go.
Given that chickens can feed on several types of food, it doesn’t hurt to consider adding another alternative. In this case, you can consider providing them with sweet potatoes. It’s a practical, nourishing, and sustaining food alternative for your beloved fowls.
Are Sweet Potatoes Safe For Chickens?
Human beings and other animals have long consumed Sweet Potatoes. Since time immemorial, sweet potato has been part of people’s diets. In some cultures, sweet potatoes are an everyday staple they can’t live without.
While it’s safe for humans to eat sweet potatoes, we can’t always automatically say it’s safe for all animals. However, if we talk about chickens, the answer is a big, fat “yes”!
Sweet potatoes are 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 in this family are unsafe for your pets, especially your chickens.
Compared to the usual white potato, sweet potatoes do not contain solanine. It’s the toxic substance that potatoes produce to protect themselves. When a potato is exposed to direct sunlight, it turns green, which signals the production of solanine.
This substance is bad for chickens, so it’s better not to expose them to something like this. While potatoes are abundant anywhere in the world, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
To ensure 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 threaten 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?
100g raw sweet potato basic nutritional information:
|Total Fat||0.1 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||20.1 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g|
|Vitamin A||14,187 IU|
|Vitamin C||2.4 mg|
In some developing countries, those raising animals, such as chickens, have started using sweet potatoes as animal feed. The fantastic thing about sweet potatoes is that all of them 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 a 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. It’s because this vitamin is vital for the immune system.
Whenever chickens get sick, and either infections or inflammations cause damage, their bodies cannot quickly regenerate. If this happens, recovery will 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 to its full potential if there is Vitamin A deficiency. The egg production in hens without sufficient Vitamin A in their system might also decrease.
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.
Feeding them sweet potatoes, it would give the chickens more energy. It’s vital given the chickens need all the energy and vitality they can have in laying eggs and other activities that they need to do.
Other Nutrients in Sweet Potatoes
Apart from the significant 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 suitable for anyone’s health, and that includes chickens as well. There has to be the right balance. As the flock or chicken owner, it is up to you to find out how to make this work.
How to Serve Sweet Potatoes to Chickens?
If you are a devoted chicken enthusiast, then knowing what to feed and how much to feed your flock is one crucial factor when caring for them. Sweet potatoes are popular garden produce that chickens enjoy. As with other vegetables in the coop diet, it’s essential not to offer too many sweet potatoes at once, or things can easily become unbalanced!
Looking after your chickens is so important –sweet potatoes are one yummy snack they’ll enjoy. But, to keep their diet healthy and balanced take care not to give too much at once! The right amount would be between 1-2 tablespoons per chicken per week, divided into 2-3 feeding sessions as part of an overall varied nutritious meal.
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, as chickens do not have teeth that can help them chew their food.
This is especially ideal for sweet potatoes you do not plan on cooking. The chickens might have difficulty eating and digesting if you don’t do this. This might deprive them of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that they might get from it.
If you serve cooked sweet potatoes to your chickens, you should keep them as is. Try not to add anything to it like butter, margarine, milk, and other stuff that you would typically 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 another. 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 them into their feed. It would give their food more variety and texture.
If you are considering this, make sure you do not overdo it. You should consider the age of 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 for the young members of your flock.
Overfeeding sweet potatoes 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 can ensure your growing chickens get 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 of 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 will grow healthy and vital members of your flock!
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.