Chickens are fun to have as pets, but they are also beneficial for the owners as they lay eggs. The best part about chickens is their clean and simple diet, consisting mainly of greens that enhance their health in multiple ways.
Like grass and other microgreens, herbs are highly beneficial for backyard chickens. Adding fresh or dried herbs to these animals’ habitats is a good way to keep them in optimal health.
As a first-time chicken owner, you may be skeptical about which herbs are safe for your chicken, such as parsley. But luckily, parsley is an excellent addition to your chicken’s diet, as it is packed with vitamins and other benefits for your pet.
Continue reading to know whether chickens enjoy parsley or not and how beneficial it is for them.
Can Chickens Eat Parsley?
Chickens can eat parsley, as the herb offers various health benefits for the animal. In addition, since parsley is one of the most readily available and easy-to-grow herbs, adding it to your chicken’s diet is no hassle. You can also add thyme, mint, oregano, and sage to their diet.
Chickens don’t always enjoy the taste of parsley, but the herb is also safe for them to eat. It is a nutritional powerhouse, containing healthy amounts of vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, along with calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium.
Chickens that eat parsley can improve their blood-vessel development and stimulate egg production. Experienced farmers often feed crushed air-dried parsley to their chickens to get better eggs at a faster rate.
It’s worth noting that you should not feed parsley seeds to your chicken, as they can be toxic for the animal. Instead, provide them with parsley stems and leaves. Make sure to chop the parsley stems before feeding so your chicken doesn’t choke the long stem. To remove pests, you must also remember to wash the parsley leaves before adding them to the chicken feed.
Health Benefits of Parsley for Chickens
There are endless benefits for chickens with parsley in their diet, so adding this nutritional herb to your chicken feed should be a no-brainer. Some of them include:
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Like all animals, chickens require a healthy dose of antioxidants in their diet. Antioxidants have multiple health benefits for chickens, such as preventing cellular damage caused by free radicals. It helps to maintain a healthy balance of free radicals, allowing antioxidants to optimize your chicken’s health.
Luckily, parsley is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Each of these antioxidants benefits your chicken differently, so parsley is a must-add ingredient for your chicken feed.
For example, flavonoids reduce the risk of health diseases in chickens, while lutein and beta carotene reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. Besides, vitamin C promotes your chicken’s immune health and protects against certain chronic diseases.
2. Improves Eyesight
Chickens rely on their eyesight to detect predators at the right time and find food in their habitats, which is why you must help them retain their sharp vision. Adding parsley to their chicken feed is a great way to help them achieve this goal.
As mentioned before, parsley contains endless nutrients, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. These nutrients contribute to better, sharper eyesight. More specifically, it’s worth noting that carotenoids contain vitamin A, which protects the chicken’s cornea and conjunctiva.
3. Promotes Bone Health
Like any other animal, chickens require robust bone health to function correctly. Fortunately, parsley is rich in strengthening nutrients such as vitamin K, allowing you to promote bone health among your flock.
Feeding your chickens one small cup of parsley fulfills the chicken’s required daily intake of vitamin K, making it a surefire way to strengthen their bone health. Vitamin K supports bone-building cells known as osteoblasts in a chicken’s body.
Additionally, the vitamin also activates proteins that increase bone mineral density. As a result, your chickens can benefit from stronger bones that don’t fracture easily.
4. Helps With Digestion
Parsley has always been used to treat gastrointestinal and digestive issues, and it’s no different with chickens. Since parsleys are high in fiber, it helps improve the chicken’s metabolism and resolve digestive disorders.
Besides that, parsley is also a prebiotic fodder, which provides nutrients to the good bacteria in your chicken’s stomach. As a result, the animal’s stomach functions better and experiences no pain.
Parsley also contains anti-ulcer properties, preventing gastrointestinal problems for your chicken in the long run. It also reduces excess gastric juice and contributes to a healthy gut.
5. Supports Heart Health
Parsley is famously rich in nutrients, which is why it promotes heart health for all animals. It contains many vitamins that contribute to better heart health, such as vitamin B (folate). For example, 30 grams of parsley provides 12% of chickens’ dietary requirement for vitamin B.
A healthy amount of folate can reduce heart disease by approximately 38%, an excellent result of feeding your chickens some parsley. Besides that, vitamin B also reduces amino acid homocysteine levels, ultimately contributing to better heart health.
How to Give Parsley to Chickens
You can give your chickens fresh herbs to eat by hanging a bunch and letting them pick at them. You can also incorporate them into their meal. Another great way to feed them is to utilize aromatic herbs by scattering them in the habitat and adding them to their dust bath.
It is much easier if you grow fresh parsley around their habitat, but only the mature hens will feed on their own. For younger chickens, make sure you carefully wash the parsley to get rid of any dirt and pests that may have been present in the field. Then, roughly chop the parsley into little pieces and place it in their habitat so the chickens can consume it.
You can feed them parsley at any time of the day since parsley supplies the majority of the nutrients they require.
What Herbs Can Chickens Eat?
For chickens, almost all common culinary herbs are safe. However, it’s best to ensure a plant is safe for the poultry before introducing it to your birds. So, mainly the herb and your desired benefit will determine whether you should feed them or not.
Besides parsley, here are some herbs that are safe as well as beneficial for the health of your flock:
Now that you know all the beneficial herbs to feed your chickens, you can update their diet to something healthier. Undoubtedly, parsley and all the other herbs mentioned above contribute to a diet richer in vitamins and minerals. So, you should make an extra effort to ensure your chickens are eating some daily.