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Can Chickens Eat Broccoli? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Chickens are hardy birds with a wide variety of foods that they not only can safely eat, but that they enjoy eating. Providing a varied diet to your chickens will ensure they are receiving all the vitamins and minerals that they need, and it also brings a source of enrichment to their lives. Novel foods or old favorites served different ways can be fun and exciting for your chickens. One food item that is widely available in both grocery stores and home gardens is broccoli, so you may wonder if you can feed broccoli to your chickens. Yes, they can! We have more details below on what you need to know!

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Can Chickens Eat Broccoli?

chickens in farm_ piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

Chickens can eat broccoli, and most chickens love it! You won’t have to fight with your chickens to get them to eat their veggies. Make sure you’re not replacing your chickens’ primary diet with broccoli, though, because it won’t provide them all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Is Broccoli Good for Chickens?

When fed in moderation, broccoli is great for chickens! Broccoli is a low calorie treat with a great flavor and is packed with nutritional benefits. It’s high in fiber and protein while staying low in fat and carbohydrates. It’s also high in calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K. All of the nutrients in broccoli can help boost immunity, support healthy feather and egg production, maintain muscle mass, and provide a sense of satiety.

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How Much Broccoli Can My Chicken Eat?

sliced broccoli
Image Credit: Pixabay

In your chicken’s daily diet, fruits and vegetables should make up approximately 5-10% of the daily intake. What this means, though, is that there should be daily variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure your chicken receives all necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. So, while there isn’t a specific amount of broccoli you can feed per chicken, it should be fed in moderation and in conjunction with a nutritionally sound diet with a commercial chicken feed as its base and an array of fruits and veggies daily as supplementation and treats.

If fed in moderation, broccoli can be fed to your chickens 2-3 times per week if it’s served as one item among a variety of fresh foods offered to your chickens. You can also safely rotate through foods based on what is seasonal, so you may be able to offer broccoli to your chickens somewhat more frequently if your garden has had a bumper crop and you need some avian help eating it all in a few weeks. Once other crops come into season, you can add those into the rotation and decrease the broccoli.

Other Considerations

Broccoli, like most foods, should be fed to your chicken in manageable portion sizes. Chopping veggies up before feeding will help your chickens use the last amount of energy to get the food. However, some foods can be used as a game or enrichment experience for your chickens, and broccoli is a great option for this. Feeding your chickens a head of broccoli will give them an opportunity to “forage” the head for food and it will make clean up much easier for you. This helps prevent rotting food in your chicken coop.

Broccoli can be fed to chickens raw or cooked in a variety of ways, including baked, broiled, steamed, and blanched. You want to avoid preparing broccoli for your chickens by cooking with oils or butter and it’s best served plain to help your chickens achieve the most nutritional value. Avoid feeding your chickens broccoli that has salt or spices added to it. Chickens do not have the capacity to handle as much sodium as humans do, and the amount of salt you may season your own food with is potentially far too much for a chicken. It’s safest for your chickens to only provide plain broccoli to them.

chickens_ KRiemer_Pixabay
Image Credit: KRiemer, Pixabay

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In Conclusion

Your chickens will likely love the opportunity to help you eat up leftover plain broccoli or extras from your garden. Most chickens seem to enjoy eating broccoli and it’s a great healthy addition to their diet. It’s nutrient-rich and low in calories, making it an ideal treat. You may have to talk children into eating their broccoli, but your chickens will happily eat it and not even realize it’s not a treat!


Featured Image Credit: Auntmasako, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

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.