Aching to know the answer to your burning question, “Can chickens eat Broccoli?”
What If I told you that I — thanks to my local chicken expert — finally uncovered the secret:
“YES,“…he told me…” chickens CAN eat broccoli, including the stalks.”
With its many minerals and various superb nutrients, broccoli packs a great addition to the perfect meal option you can feed your chickens either raw or cooked (your choice!).
But there’s more: If you’re hooked (like me) on all the bells and whistles of this lovely veggie, Keep reading…
- Broccoli is a vegetable packed with various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
- You can feed this veggie either raw or cooked and mix it into your chickens’ feeds (have fun!).
- Although it’s packed with some stellar nutrients, broccoli lacks the essential dietary requirements of chicken feeds. Moderation is key!
A Brief Introduction to Broccoli
Registered health nutritionist Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice) says this about broccoli:
“Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables. ”
A great veggie engineered for salads, soups, stews, and smoothies, broccoli is one of the popular vegetables used for cooking.
Did you know that broccoli is low in calories? Here’s a brief list of some special nutrients that 1 cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli offers: 
- Calories: 31
- Water: 89%
- Protein: 2.5 grams
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Sugar: 1.5 grams
- Fiber: 2.4 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
While broccoli is tasty and plentiful for humans to munch on, can you feed this veggie to your chickens? Here’s the kicker…
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Broccoli?
There’s more to this question than a simple yes and no retort. I’ll start by listing 4 of the incredible health benefits that this veggie offers:
1. Broccoli Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Broccoli contains antioxidants that can help the body in many different ways. One of the ways is that it helps prevents cell damage from free radicals.
The free in free radicals isn’t about freedom. Allow me to explain:
Free radicals are molecules created by many things, such as the food chickens eat, metabolism, and cigarette smoke.
What’s more, broccoli contains flavonoids responsible for recycling vitamin C efficiently. Vitamin C is critical to the health of the chickens.
This vitamin helps strengthen chickens’ immune systems and prevents them from getting sick.
2. Broccoli Helps Strengthen Bones
Broccoli contains a high level of calcium and vitamin K. These are very important to strengthen the bones and prevent brittle and weak bones.
In addition, broccoli is also full of other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous—this help contributes to overall bone health.
3. Broccoli Promotes Healthy Digestive System
Broccoli contains a large amount of fiber and is vital to the digestive system’s overall health.
The fiber promotes regular bowel movement and helps move foods through the digestive tract more smoothly.
4. Broccoli Helps Strengthen The Muscles
Proteins are the body’s building block, needed for both growth and maintenance of the muscles.
Thankfully, broccoli is relatively high in protein, which makes up 29% of its dry weight.
The effect? Feeding chickens food that is high in protein will help strengthen their muscles and keep them healthy.
Now, If you’re a visual type, consider watching this brilliant video by NestedTV (it covers all the basics above):
How To Feed Broccoli To Chickens
There are a couple of different ways to feed broccoli to the chickens. You can feed them raw or cooked (and it’s tasty).
Below are some of the methods to feed broccoli to the chickens:
Method 1: Whole Broccoli
Feeding whole broccoli is an excellent way to keep them busy. You can either feed cooked or raw broccoli to your chickens as follows:
1. Cook the broccoli.
2. Collect and toss this cooked delight on the floor.
Cooking broccoli will make it easier for your chickens to eat and digest this veggie. What’s more, you’ll notice that your chickens will immediately peck at it and eat it — and they’ll thank you!
Remember, chickens don’t have teeth to chew their food. Instead, they grind up their food in their gizzard with the help of grits.
So keep this in mind when you prepare this veggie. Ensure the broccoli isn’t too big and — above all — monitor your chickens!
Method 2: Mixing With Their Feeds
This method is yet another method to feed chickens and a great way to boost the nutrition of their feeds. To achieve this, follow these steps:
1. Cut the broccoli into small pieces and mix them.
2. Place the pieces in your chickens’ feeding bowl. What’s great, they’ll start pecking at this treat right away!
I want to caution you: when cutting the veggie, aim for the size of the chicken pellets.
Doing so will craft a meal your chickens will love and digest more quickly than a meal that is too rigid and difficult to digest.
“What if they don’t like sliced broccoli?” You may wonder. Thankfully, your chickens don’t have any taste buds, so they won’t be able to tell the difference between pellets or broccoli slices!
How Much And How Often To Feed Broccoli To Chickens
So, Can chickens eat broccoli? Now that you know the answer, I’ll cover some essentials…
While broccoli doesn’t contain toxins and is safe for chickens to eat, feed your chickens broccoli in moderation only. Here are 2 reasons:
Broccoli doesn’t have enough nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary requirements.
Sticking with only broccoli will cause them to be deficient in nutrition and could lead to health problems.
Feed this veggie — as delicious as it may be — only as a treat. Like any other vegetable, broccoli should only make up 10% of a chicken’s main diet.
The rest (the other 90%) should be quality commercial feeds.
So, stick with once or twice a week, not more! That should be enough broccoli for them to get all the nutrition from this veggie.
Spice it up:
Rotate broccoli with other vegetables throughout the week. This creative process will give your chickens additional nutrition that broccoli doesn’t offer.
Instead, by doing this, they’ll get an excellent, all-around source of nutrition.
1. Do Chickens Like Broccoli?
Yes, they love it!
But for a flavorsome treat, feed your chickens the veggie’s florets and stalks.
2. Can Chickens Eat Broccoli Stalks?
Yes, they can! But it can be a bit tough for them. To avoid a horrendous meal, cook these stalks first.
You can either steam or boil them before feeding them to the chickens.
So, can chickens eat broccoli, or is it all a lie? You bet they can — and this veggie is nutritious too!
A healthy treat and a touch of love, broccoli is part of a balanced diet and will nourish your backyard chickens with some essential nutrients and colorful benefits (yummy!).
It’s an excellent food for chickens but should be paired with an adequate diet, possibly a chicken feed packed with essential nutrients.
If you enjoyed my article, leave a comment or more. And tell me about your exuberant tips, tricks, and methods to feed broccoli to chickens. I’d be glad to hear from you!
Until next time…
1. Bjarnadottir A. Broccoli 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits [Internet]. Healthline. 2015. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/broccoli
2. FoodData Central [Internet]. Usda.gov. 2019. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/747447/nutrients
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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