Beets are popular root vegetables used in many cuisines around the world. If you enjoy eating beets, you may wonder if your chickens can eat beets too.
So can chickens eat beets? After extensive research, I’ve discovered that chickens can eat as they offer a beneficial boost of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds (1).
But this answer is only a tiny part of the discussion.
There are many other topics to discuss before deciding whether beets suit your chickens.
- Beets are a highly nutritious, safe food for chickens to eat. In fact, beets are a perfect option to function as a treat in a chicken’s diet.
- Poultry owners can expect various benefits from chickens eating beets. Some include a high water content, excellent protein source, and a top-tier fiber source.
- Serving chickens beats can be done in two ways. You can give it to them whole or mix it into their daily feeds.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Beets?
Beets are definitely among the healthiest foods chickens can eat. With their high nutrition content, beets make an excellent treat for your chickens.
If you’re interested in knowing about the beet plant’s nutritional value, here are a few highlights that grabbed my attention: (1)
- Calories: 44
- Protein: 1.7 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- 2 grams of fiber
- Vitamin C: 6% of the RDI
- Folate: 20% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Phosphorous: 4% of the RDI
- Manganese: 16% of the RDI
- Iron: 4% of the RDI
Of course, these numbers can be overwhelming to some people. So it’d be wise to simply it by discussing the health benefits provided by the beet plant.
As a result, it’ll become much more apparent what this healthy treat can offer your chickens. So let’s not waste any more time and start with the first benefit:
#1 Provides High Content of Water
One of the most apparent benefits is “beets are composed of 87.57% water“ (2).In other words, it’s an outstanding secondary hydration source.
I’ve even used them to give my backyard chickens more water on hot summer days. It’s an easy way to keep the flock hydrated when facing the grueling heat.
#2 Great Source of Protein
Beets are well-known for being high in protein. It’s a crucial trait because crude protein is vital in helping a chicken’s organs function properly.
For instance, protein will help build up, repair, and strengthen their muscles. It’s a simple way to ensure they remain in good shape and healthy.
Flock owners can expect protein from beets to help in other areas. Some of them include bone metabolism, controlling sugar content levels, and preventing heart-related diseases.
So overall, an excellent natural source of protein like beets is good for a chicken’s entire body. It makes sense why many chicken owners swear by using these veggies.
#3 Excellent Source of Fiber
A chicken’s digestive system can be tricky to control and maintain. So having lots of fiber is necessary to keep them comfortable and healthy.
Therefore, beet greens come in handy with it being an excellent chicken dietary fiber source. It’ll have no problem helping regular bowel movements in chickens.
You can then expect food to move through the digestive tract smoothly (3). I’d also suggest using this source of fiber whenever a chicken’s suffering from digestive issues.
Can Chickens Eat Beet Leaves?
Beet leaves are a fine addition to your chicken’s balanced diet. You don’t have to worry about them posing health risks or being unsafe.
On the contrary, these leafy greens are packed with nutrition. So feeding them to your chickens will be very beneficial.
The preparation is manageable, too. You can serve these beet greens to chickens raw or cooked as their soft texture is easy to tear apart for chickens.
So the next time your preparing a meal, don’t throw away the beet leaves. Instead, save the leaves and toss them into your chicken coop as a healthy treat snack for chickens.
How To Feed Beets To Chickens
The first thing to understand is you can feed chickens beets, raw or cooked. Both offer plenty of nutrition for the chickens.
However, if I had to choose, I’d go with cooked beets for one reason. Cooked beets are easier for chickens to eat and digest.
In any case, here are two methods of feeding beets raw or cooked to chickens:
#1 Feeding Chickens Whole Beets
Since all parts of the beets are toxin-free, unlike nightshade family plants, you can serve them whole.
For raw beets, they’ll peck at it and eat pieces of it at a time. But I’ve found it’s a great way to keep them active. Just one beet can keep a couple of chickens busy for hours.
Since the flesh is soft, they’ll consume it quickly for cooked beets. You can also cook the leaves and stems of the beet plants.
#2 Mixing Beets With Chicken Feeds
This method is a great way to add additional nutrition to their feeds. While their feeds contain enough nutrition, adding beets to the mix will give them an extra boost.
Before mixing the vegetable with the feeds, dice the cooked or raw beets into small pieces. It’s best to make it as small as their feeds to make it easier to eat.
I often recommend this option to chicken owners with pickier eaters. It can be an excellent way to disguise adding healthy snacks like beets into their daily food.
How Much And How Often To Feed Beets To Chickens
While beets are loaded with nutritional benefits, flock owners must still practice moderation for two reasons.
The first one is that beets don’t have enough nutrition to meet the chicken’s needs. So feeding them only beets or too much will cause them to become nutrition deficient.
From there, it’ll lead to many health issues for chickens, especially for egg production. It’s a much better idea to limit your chicken’s beet intake.
The second reason is your feathery friends could become addicted to eating beets. When they do, they will ignore their daily feed, affecting their health significantly.
Therefore, you should only supply chicken with beets as treats. So I’d recommend using them as a supplement treat to a top-tier commercial feed for chicken flocks.
I must also note that beets and other vegetables should only be 10% of a balanced diet for chickens. The additional 90% should come from quality commercial feeds.
Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat
The beet plant is one of many options to supplement a chicken diet with veggies. You’ll come across a wide range of vegetables that could benefit your feathery friends.
Below, I’ll show you a few of these beautiful vegetable alternatives.
Spinach has earned the title of being a superfood for humans and animals. It comes from spinach providing high amounts of essential nutrient supplements and vitamins.
But I fell in love with using spinach for chickens because of its versatility. For instance, it allows poultry owners to serve this veggie raw or cooked.
So it ends up being a convenient, healthy treat for chickens. Honestly, I’d have difficulty choosing other suitable treats for chickens over this vegetable.
Any pet owner will have a hard time passing up kale as a useful treat option. It’s high in nutrition and effortless to serve, especially chickens.
My healthy flock of chickens seems to go nuts over kale whenever I give it to them. I don’t know what about kale, but my feathered friends are crazy about it.
Broccoli offers an outstanding balance of being low in calories and high in nutrition. So it provides chickens with great nutritional value without making them fat.
You can also count on it to keep your chickens healthy and hydrated during summer. It’s a vegetable known for being high in water content, much like beets.
Raw carrots or cooked carrots are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Therefore, it’s not shocking to see poultry flock owners use them as treat options.
I also love using them during summer due to their high water content. It’s just another way to keep my flock cools with a secondary hydration source.
#1 Is beetroot poisonous to chickens?
Both beetroot and beetroot leaves aren’t poisonous to chickens. There isn’t any reason why you can feed chickens beetroots, as they’re nutritious and safe.
#2 Can chickens eat cooked beetroot skins?
Cooked beetroot skins are safe for chickens to eat. Every part of the beetroot plant, even beet pulp and beet seeds, is okay for chicken consumption.
Can chickens eat beets? Yes, and I would encourage it with all the essential vitamins/nutrients the beet plant can provide chickens.
I’d only ask flock owners to limit the servings to once or twice weekly. If they do, these beets will provide all the wanted benefits.
1. Beets, cooked, boiled, drained Nutrition Facts & Calories [Internet]. nutritiondata.self.com. Available from: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2349/2
2. Varner A. MODELING AND OPTIMIZATION OF THE DEHYDRATION OF BEETS FOR USE AS A VALUE-ADDED FOOD INGREDIENT [Internet]. Available from: https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/varner_audrey_s_201405_ms.pdf
3. Pettersson D, Razdan A. Effects of increasing levels of sugar-beet pulp in broiler chicken diets on nutrient digestion and serum lipids. British Journal of Nutrition. 1993;70:127–37.
Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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