We love to spoil our favorite chickens with unique treats. It brings us joy to see them trying out something new and special. But, of course, we want to make sure what we are feeding them is safe. So, can chickens eat celery?
Yes, chickens can eat celery. Though, you should always chop it up for them.
Normal Diet of a Chicken
Chickens are omnivores by nature and eat a wide variety of foods. They will forage for insects and even small animals such as snakes and lizards if allowed to roam.
The main components that make up a healthy chicken’s diet include protein, grains, greens, insoluble grit, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and, of course, water!
As you can see, greens are an important part of a healthy and happy chicken’s diet! The Open Sanctuary Project recommends supplementing a chicken’s diet with fresh greens but warns to avoid certain greens such as avocados and green tomatoes, to name a few. Celery does not make their list of greens to avoid, so we can consider it safe for our chickens.
Benefits of Celery
Celery is made up of 95% water, so this is a great snack for your chickens to keep them hydrated during the hot summer months. Chickens not only get their daily water intake from drinking fluids, but also from consuming insects and veggies.
Calcium is another great benefit of celery for your chickens. Good quality eggs need calcium to support strong shells. Calcium also helps prevent osteoporosis in chickens which can be devastating to your flock.
Celery also contains other beneficial nutrients such as vitamins A, K, and C, potassium, folates, and antioxidants.
Potential Dangers of Celery
Celery has a long, fibrous stalk that can harm your chickens if not chopped up. How can it harm your chickens?
As we probably already know, chickens do not have teeth to aid in the digestive process. Instead, they have a beak to peck and break up large chunks of food. After the chicken pecks, picks up, and swallows their food, it travels to their crop. In the south, this crop is sometimes referred to as the “craw.”
Their crop is found at the base of their neck and is a muscle pouch designed to aid in digestion. Because chickens are prey animals, they need to be able to ingest food quickly and that means less time chewing. The crop allows them to do this by storing the food and breaking it down into smaller pieces before moving the food along further in the digestive system.
Well, what does this have to do with celery? Long fibrous material, such as straw, grass, string, or uncut celery can get caught in a chicken’s crop and cause what is called an impacted crop. Without treatment from an impacted crop, a chicken can die.
This is one reason why it is important to monitor your chickens closely and always be on the lookout for signs of lethargy or fatigue which could indicate an impacted crop.
How to Feed Your Chickens Celery
Don’t worry though! As long as you chop up celery into smaller pieces, it is perfectly safe and healthy for your chicken to consume.
When picking out celery you should pick celery that has tightly packed stalks, vibrant green leaves, and no spotting or discoloring. Once you’ve picked out some great celery, then be sure to chop it up crosswise into smaller half-inch pieces.
Why Won’t My Chicken Eat Celery?
Now here is another important consideration. We know now that celery is safe for our chickens, but now our chickens won’t eat the celery!
Just like people, chickens are individuals that have their preferences and dislikes. Celery is made up mostly of water and, due to that, it has an overall somewhat bland taste. While some chickens may enjoy celery due to its crunchiness, other chickens may be underwhelmed by the lack of flavor.
So now you know that celery is safe for chickens, provided that you chop it into small pieces first. If your chickens enjoy celery, great! If they don’t, that’s okay too. Trying different treats and seeing what your chickens like is a fun part of chicken owning. We suggest trying grapes or strawberries next!