It’s common knowledge among chicken enthusiasts that besides chicken feed and worms, there are various treats for chickens, one of which is 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 mistake zucchini for a cucumber due to its visual similarities in color, shape, and sometimes 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 related 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.
Zucchini starts appearing as winter ends and the weather warms up. 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 rich taste, zucchini contains several nutritious compounds beneficial for chickens.
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.
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.
If the zucchini tastes bitter, indicating the presence of cucurbitacin, it’s best to discard it quickly to avoid potential health hazards for your chickens. 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.
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 it with ease as they get their beaks through it, unlike the cooked one. Chickens prefer raw zucchini over mashed ones since the latter can stick to their faces 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.
t is one of the organic foods deemed 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’ve established that chickens can eat zucchini, and you can include it in your list of fresh organic treats safe for them. 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 The Foundry.