Everyone loves a tasty roasted brussel sprout. You might often find that you don’t eat as many as you get at the store. Or you grow them in your garden, and they spoil before you can eat them wrong. Instead of letting them go to waste, wouldn’t it be great to feed them to your chickens? But can chickens eat Brussel sprouts?
Can Chickens Eat Brussel Sprouts?
Yes, they can and enjoy them as much as you. Your chickens will go crazy for a brussel sprout treat. And this treat is also nutritious for them! Why are these vegetables so great for them? Let’s find out below.
The main problem with feeding treats to your chickens is that they fill them up. And if your chickens get full on goodies, it stops them from eating their feed. But if your chickens eat Brussel sprouts, you don’t have to worry about this. Brussel sprouts are extremely low in calories and carbs, so that they won’t fill your chickens up.
If you have young chickens, they need more protein than laying hens for growth. You could give Brussel sprouts as a delicious and protein-packed treat. Each cup of Brussel sprouts contains 3 grams of protein, though your chickens should never eat that much.
Fiber is good for chickens of all types. Fiber doesn’t just keep their digestive systems in check. It also decreases ammonia in feces. The way this works is that fiber feeds the good bacteria in the intestines. These good bacteria can then bloom and use up the ammonia-causing nitrogen. When then works at preventing it from passing into the feces. So your coop will stay cleaner, longer with a high fiber diet.
Brussel Sprouts are rich in vitamin A, which is excellent for all-over organ health. But did you know it’s also crucial for the immune system and reproduction? Giving your chickens an extra dose of vitamin A will keep your chickens healthy and eggs large.
We all need an extra dose of vitamin C to keep us healthy. And your chickens could use a little boost now and again too. If you notice that your chickens are a bit low in winter, give them a few Brussels. The increase in vitamin C will keep their immunities up. And luckily, these vegetables are best growing in the winter. So that means your chickens will have a morality boost available in cold months.
For laying hens, vitamin K is essential to their diet. Without it, your chickens can’t metabolize vitamin D or calcium. And without these, your egg’s shell quality will decline. Your chickens could even develop lower bone density and broken bones. If your chickens eat Brussel sprouts, this could help prevent that.
Folate is another name for vitamin B-9. This vitamin is essential for blood circulation and production. And every female animal on the planet needs folate, especially when they are pregnant. So if your chickens are actively laying eggs or even breeding, they need lots of folates. If your chickens eat Brussel sprouts, they will get a nice dose of folate for the day.
Another vital ingredient in eggshell formation is manganese. Specifically, manganese is excellent for protein absorption and keeping your metabolism up. And luckily, Brussel sprouts are the best veggie for this job.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Brussel Sprouts?
Raw Brussel sprouts have the most amount of vitamins and nutrients. Often, when we cook our vegetables, the process starts to leach and denature the essential vitamins. But if you have ever tried to bite into a raw brussel sprout, you know that they are tough.
So how can chickens eat Brussel sprouts raw? Chopped! Making a nice slaw out of Brussel sprouts and a few other raw vegetables is a great way to give your chickens a tasty treat.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Brussel Sprouts?
We usually love our Brussel sprouts steamed, roasted, or even fried. But can our chickens eat our leftover cooked sprouts? As long as you don’t use salt, your chickens will have no problems eating it. And as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t feed leftovers after three days. In this amount of time, mold spores can take over and get your chickens sick. If you wouldn’t eat it, it’s not safe for your chickens.
The best way to feed them cooked Brussel sprouts is to toss them in a little olive oil and cook until tender. When you cook them this way, you can set aside some for your birds. And then season the rest for you and the family. But you could also steam Brussel sprouts to make them softer and more palatable to your hens.
What About Frozen Brussel Sprouts?
Can chickens eat frozen Brussel sprouts? If you don’t have access to fresh sprouts, frozen is the next best thing. Most of our vegetables are frozen soon after harvesting, which locks in vitamins. You can feed halved frozen Brussel sprouts as-is or thawed.
Frozen Brussel sprouts can even be a fun treat in the summertime. They will not only feed your chickens but also cool them in the heat. Not to mention your flock will have a blast pecking at them.
Can Chickens Eat Brussel Sprout Plants?
If you have a garden, your chickens will inevitably get into it at some point. Chickens especially love picking at small plants, and you might wonder if this is safe. Eating young brussel sprout plants are perfectly fine as long as they can’t choke on it.
But you probably don’t want them scratching around your vegetables so that they leave some for you. Once they get a taste of what’s in the garden, they will keep coming back.
Can Chickens Eat Brussel Sprout Leaves?
Did you know that the brussel sprout is related to the cabbage plant? Because of this close relation, Brussel sprouts grow dark leaves from the top of the plant. Some people even eat these nutritious leaves. But if that isn’t as appetizing to you, try feeding it to your chickens.
They love the texture, and it gives them a healthy dose of antioxidants. You can cook these leaves or chop them up like you do the Brussel sprouts. You can even hang them for extra enrichment.
Can Chickens Eat Brussel Sprout Stalks?
Another issue that home gardeners have is what to do with the brussel sprout stalks. Composting is always a possibility, but why not give it to your chickens instead? Stalks usually hold the same amount of nutrients as the sprouts themselves. And you can cook this or chop it up and feed it raw. They will leave your chickens happy, and you also won’t waste food.
Can Your Chickens Eat Too Many?
Can chickens eat Brussel sprouts? Yes. But as with all treats, there is such a thing as too much. Your chicken’s primary diet should consist of feed. Without this, your chickens will become malnourished and won’t produce quality eggs. The second most important dietary source should come from foraging. Foraging is where most chickens get their protein and various nutrients from plants.
The general rule of thumb is that treats should not exceed more than 10% of your chicken’s diet. And you don’t want to give your chickens treats daily. Even healthy treats can make a healthy flock obese. So moderation is key.
Our Favorite Ways To Feed Brussel Sprouts
Besides just chopping up some Brussels, you might be wondering how to enrich your chickens even more. Luckily for you, there are a few ways to do this. Here are our favorite ways to feed Brussel sprouts.
#1 Stringing Them Up
If your chickens are bored, we have the perfect idea for you. You can string brussel sprout halves on a line and hang them for your chickens. They will love to peck at them to get them down. And if you place your brussel sprout garland just right, it can take them hours to finish it. Talk about the perfect winter boredom buster.
#2 Layer Slaw
You can coarsely chop your vegetables to make a slaw for your chickens. Some favorites to add to this mix include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and zucchini. Mixing these vegetables will give your chickens something fun to peck through for all their favorites.
#3 Frozen Block
We mentioned that frozen vegetables are amazing to cool your flock in summer. But why not take it a step further and freeze a few vegetables in a block of water? Your chickens will be curious and come to check out this strange frozen block. And as they peck at it, they will find pleasant surprises inside to eat. Just remember to chop the vegetables small enough to eat because frozen vegetables are harder to swallow.
Can chickens eat Brussel sprouts? Absolutely, and they are arguably some of the best vegetables for them. Since they are jam-packed with nutrients and antioxidants, they are a treat you won’t feel guilty about. The better question is, do chickens eat Brussel sprouts? The only way to find out is to try it!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!