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Can Chickens Eat Asparagus? What You Need to Know!
Asparagus is a rather odd-looking vegetable with an odd name. If you’re wondering if chickens can eat asparagus, the answer is yes, they can. Chickens can eat asparagus, both in raw and cooked form and they enjoy eating it. But before you start feeding asparagus to your chickens, you should know that they should only consume asparagus as a treat. Your flock’s diet should mainly consist of a good commercial feed to ensure your chickens are getting all the important nutrients they need.
Chickens need to eat high-quality feed to ensure their good health. Therefore, asparagus should only be fed to chickens as a treat. Even though asparagus isn’t the cheapest vegetable, it is an easy one to prepare and feed to chickens.
Why Feed Asparagus to Your Chickens?
Asparagus is a fast-growing plant that’s highly prized for its medicinal purposes. There are three types of asparagus including green, white, and purple. The purple variety is a tad bit smaller than the other two but it’s fruitier while the white is delicate to handle.
Asparagus is a healthy food to feed chickens and it’s one of the best vegetables to offer your flock. Chickens can eat all three varieties to supplement their regular diet of chicken feed. Just half a cup of this delicious vegetable contains the following nutrients:
|Vitamin C:||12% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)|
|Vitamin A:||19% of the RDI|
|Folate:||35% of the RDI|
|Vitamin K:||56% of the RDI|
|Vitamin E:||8% of the RDI|
|Phosporus:||5% of the RDI|
While asparagus is a safe and healthy vegetable to feed chickens, it can change the flavor of the eggs your chickens lay if they eat too much. It’s best to feed asparagus to your chickens in moderation. If you notice any unfavorable change in the taste of your flocks’ eggs, simply feed your chickens less asparagus.
Asparagus Growing Tips
While you can find asparagus growing in the wild, hunting it down and harvesting it takes a lot of time and effort. While growing asparagus on your property can take several years to get a good crop, you’ll be harvesting lots of those delicious spears once they do start coming up.
During the spring season, the edible asparagus spears grow quickly out of the plant’s crown. Once you see the spears popping up through the ground, be prepared for an impressive number.
During the peak growing season, you’ll have to harvest asparagus every day so you can pick the spears while they’re in their prime. The best picking time is when the spears are several inches long. Don’t wait until the asparagus plants become tall and start flowering.
Preparing Asparagus for Chickens
When asparagus is in its whole raw form, it can be fibrous and tough for chickens to peck and eat. If you want to feed your chickens raw asparagus, chop the spears up in small bits and either feed the bits to your birds as they are or mix them into your chickens’ feed.
If you’d prefer to feed your chickens cooked asparagus, simply steam some stalks until they’re tender. Once the asparagus stalks are somewhat soft and tender, mush them up and place the cooked asparagus in a dish for your flock to enjoy.
Keeping Asparagus Fresh
Once it’s been harvested, asparagus starts losing its freshness. To ensure that you can keep your harvested asparagus fresh, place the newly picked stalks in a cool environment.
An easy way to keep asparagus fresh is to wrap the stalks in a damp towel, slip them into a plastic bag, and store the bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Another way to keep it fresh is to store the stalks in a plastic container, cover the container with a tight-fitting lid, and store it in your refrigerator.
Other Foods to Feed Chickens
Chickens are natural foragers which means they’ll peck at anything they find in their environment. They do tend to avoid foods that are harmful to them, which is good news indeed. In addition to asparagus, there are other foods you can feed your chickens including:
Vegetables: Chickens enjoy several vegetables like beets, carrots, kale, squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers.
Herbs: Mint, parsley, cilantro, thyme, basil, and lavender are a few herbs your flock will eat.
Perennials: Chickens enjoy eating roses, ferns, daisies, and hostas.
What Not to Feed Chickens
Some foods that can be harmful to chickens like foods containing toxins. Avocado pits and skins contain a toxin cause persin which means you should not feed them to chickens. You can safely feed your chickens the flesh of avocados without a problem.
Avoid feeding your chickens rhubarb because it can have a laxative effect on your birds. It’s also important to avoid feeding your flock any food that’s moldy or rotten. You wouldn’t eat rotten or moldy food and your chickens shouldn’t either.
The majority of your chickens’ diet should be a high-quality commercial feed. When you want to give them something different to eat, make sure it’s a healthy and wholesome treat that will be good for your feathered friends.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.