It is a no-brainer knowledge for people who are chicken enthusiasts as they are aware that apart from chicken feeds and worms, there are various chicken treats, and one of them is the zucchini. Can chickens eat zucchini? Yes, they can eat it and they cherish it quite a lot.
This article will cover
- What is zucchini?
- Can your chickens eat zucchini?
- How to feed your chickens with a zucchini?
- Is zucchini good for chickens? Why?
- Can you feed zucchini seeds, leaves to your chickens?
What is zucchini?
At first glance, people often mistook zucchini for a cucumber because of its visual similarities, from the color, shape, and other times, its size. Zucchini is a fruit, but most people misinterpret it as a vegetable, and one factor is its vibrant green color. In contrast to its bright outer color, its inner part is light in color.
Zucchini belongs to the Cucurbita pepo species, which is tantamount to squash and pumpkins. It is a kind of gourd that is considered to be part of summer squash. Farmers harvest zucchini while it is not yet ripe in order to quickly eat the skin while it is still soft and swallowable.
The zucchini begins to show up at the earliest possible time once the winter weather is nearly at its end and the weather gets a little warmer. Hence, it is mainly seen only during the summer season.
Zucchini is recognized to be one of the food treats chickens are fond of. Chickens like zucchini because it is rich in flavor. Its flavor is a mixture of relatively sweet and barely bitter. The taste of sweetness becomes more explicit once it is cooked. And you can feed your chickens zucchini, may it be raw or cooked.
Apart from its richness in taste, several nutritious compounds are found in a zucchini that is great for your chicken.
Can your chickens eat zucchini?
Yes, you can feed your chickens zucchini. Information that might shock people who are unaware that apart from pellets and worms, there are numerous amounts of treats that a chicken can eat. Unusual food treats for chicken that are not common knowledge include carrots, celery leaves, broccoli, shrimp, and the list goes on. And zucchini is classified as one of the foods that are safe for chickens.
Zucchini or also known as courgette can be fed to your chickens as a goodie. This is a pretty good treat as it can also serve as an organic dewormer for your flock of chickens. It contains a lesser quantity of cucurbitacin that helps incapacitate the worms in their body.
Often, it has no detrimental compounds that may cause any harm to your precious chickens. Again, yes, chickens are allowed to eat zucchini. However, if you intend to grow your zucchinis in your backyard, you might recognize if it is contaminated with cucurbitacins. A cucurbitacin is a biochemical compound found in several plants that contain toxic properties that are harmful once consumed in vast quantities. Hence, once fed to chickens in large amounts might cause health risks to your chickens. It is essential that you watch out for the food intake of your chickens.
The zucchini will taste bitter as a sign of cucurbitacin, and for you to avoid potential health hazards to your chickens, it is best to get rid of it quickly. As zucchini are part of the Cucurbitaceae plant family, it will come as no surprise that there are chances that they will contain some cucurbitacins that cause the bitter taste.
How to feed your chickens with a zucchini?
Feeding zucchini to your chickens is simple. It does not require much process. All you need to have is a knife to divide the zucchini into two. After doing so, you can start feeding zucchini to your chickens the way it is. It will be convenient for them to consume the seeds and their inner flesh.
Although, it is preferable to feed your chickens fresh food almost every day, just how much fresh and safe water they need on a daily basis. Though if you do not feel like throwing the leftovers from their previous meal, it is still expected if you plan to feed them with some zucchini scraps still. Just remember the importance of due diligence to ensure that the scraps or leftovers are still edible. This is necessary in order to eradicate unwanted or unintended health risks for the chicken just because of carelessness.
Zucchini can help you grow your chickens appropriately if you combine it with commercially produced top-quality pellets. In this way, you are helping them optimize their potential growth.
Another way on how to feed your chickens with zucchini is by mixing it up with other vegetables. Apart from dividing it into half, you can also dice it and combine it with other vegetables and fruits safe to feed chickens and commercially produced chicken pellets. By doing so, you are optimizing a more improved balance and healthy diet for your chickens.
Once you have grown zucchini in your backyard, it is also great to consider letting them grow more prominent because it becomes more substantial. As well as the seeds will grow accordingly, which your chickens will enjoy eating.
You can also feed your chickens cooked zucchini, although it would be best to give them raw. That way, they can provide on it with ease as they get their beaks through it, unlike the cooked one. They enjoy it better than the smashed one as it only gets stuck to their face or beaks. But fear not, as they also know how to clean themselves up.
Is zucchini good for chickens? Why?
Yes, zucchini is good organic food for chickens. It is a well-known fact that most vegetables and fruits are a good source of nutrients, if not all. Humans and animals should consume these fruits and vegetables.
Nutritious foods and vegetables that are deemed to be safe for chickens include zucchini. There are various healthy compounds in a zucchini, such as minerals, vitamins, fiber, lots of water, antioxidants, and a lot more than our chickens and we can benefit from.
The vitamins zucchinis contain provide enough support for good circulation and a better and healthier immune system. We have established that zucchinis are filled and rich in water as it contains 95 percent of water and is high in fiber content, hence, helping in better digestion.
100g Zucchinis Nutrition
Zucchini can also help avoid dehydration and serve as an alternative once they run out of accessible water in their respective coop.
However, it is not always good to have too much of something. Even with the health benefits discussed, it is still recommended that the amount of zucchini that you can feed your chickens weekly is only one serving so that they will not quickly hate its taste.
As much as they go nuts about zucchinis, they, too, are not different from some of us. Being fed the same thing every day will just result in them being fed up with its taste.
Since we have also established that summer is the season for zucchinis, you can also feed your chickens this treat. Zucchini is abundant in water; ergo, it can help supply the required amount of water your chicken needs. Especially during summer, it helps to avoid dehydration.
It is considered to be one of the organic foods that are considered to be safe for chickens. As zucchini has a lot of macronutrients that are good for your chickens, it is definitely a perfect addition to a healthier diet for your chickens.
Can you feed zucchini seeds, leaves to your chickens?
Yes, your chickens are allowed to eat the seeds and leaves of a zucchini. You can feed them these two parts of zucchini as it is also proven to be safe for them to consume. Although, it is a common question being asked by chicken owners.
It is common knowledge that there are seeds and leaves of fruits and vegetable plants that are toxic for your chickens. It is a valid question that should always come into your mind, especially when you consider feeding them fruits and vegetables as an addition or alternative to their diets. It is always better to be hesitant than just letting them eat anything because we thought it was good for them.
You should avoid these fruits and vegetables and get rid of them if you accidentally or have an existing plant in your backyard. As there will be times that you will let your chickens freely in the coop, they might have unknowingly fed themselves some plants that are supposedly prohibited to them.
Once you have done due diligence that seeds and leaves of such plants are not recommended as it is unsafe and toxic for your chicken, you cannot feed them those. But when it comes to zucchini, it is considered to be safe to provide your chicken its seeds and leaves. Chickens like zucchinis, particularly its seeds, are so fond of them, signifying that it is their favorite part of the fruit to eat.
We have now established if your chickens can eat zucchini and you can now include it to your list of the fresh organic treats that are safe for your chickens. Regardless if it is commercially bought or has grown by yourself, just make sure that it is not bitter.
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.