Today we are going to talk about one of those misunderstood subjects. Can chickens eat eggplant treats?
If you know anything about chickens, you are supposed to stay away from nightshade family members. But this rule isn’t as black and white as you might think.
In fact, there is a lot of gray in there. Let’s take a closer look together.
Is Eggplant Toxic To Chickens?
Part of the nightshade family can be deadly to chickens. But that doesn’t mean you must avoid all parts of the nightshade plants.
Eggplants, for example, are a healthy treat if you feed them right. The trick to this vegetable is to avoid all green parts of the plant.
Leaves and vines are all poisonous to you and your chickens. So if you feed eggplant to chickens, cut these parts off.
And if you are looking to repurpose these green parts, you can always put them in the compost pile.
Why Eggplant Is Bad For Chickens
Nightshade is such a dangerous plant because it contains high concentrations of solanine. In small amounts, this substance is fine to ingest.
But if your chickens eat enough of it, they can experience the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drooling
- Trouble breathing
- Weakened hearts
- And in high amounts, death
So if you grow your own eggplant, you will want to watch for these symptoms.
Your backyard chickens typically avoid eating eggplant greenery, but it’s always a good idea to block it from the garden. And always plant far away from the chicken coop.
And it might surprise you that Nightshade includes a wide variety of plants. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, petunias, and other flowers are all considered nightshade varieties.
So keep this in mind when planting your garden.
Can Chickens Eat Eggplant Treats?
In short, yes! Your chickens would love an eggplant treat. They are healthy treats that are low in calories.
And eggplants are easy to grow, so you and your flock could have an endless supply of them. So, what benefits does feeding eggplants give your hens?
When you feed eggplant to chickens, the biggest benefit they get is fiber. Your chickens need as much as 10% fiber in their diets.
And they might get most of this from their feed and foraging, but a little extra in treats won’t hurt. Fiber keeps them full and their digestive tracts regular.
Another great benefit of eggplant is that they are jam-packed with antioxidants. Why are these so important?
Well, antioxidants are essential for boosting the immune system and preventing illnesses. And we all know that if our chickens are sick, they can’t lay quality eggs.
So, treats like eggplants are perfect to keep them healthy.
We all know that our laying hens need a lot of folic acid. And what better way of boosting their reproductive systems than with eggplants.
Your eggplants are a goldmine of folic acid that can increase egg production and give you larger eggs. Not to mention if you are breeding, it provides your fertilized eggs a higher hatch rate.
One surprising element in eggplants is phosphorus. Now you might be wondering why phosphorus is so essential. But it’s one of the most important things your chickens need for egg development.
That’s because, without phosphorus, your chickens can’t metabolize calcium. So for strong eggshells, give your hens some eggplant.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Young chickens go through a lot of growth and development in their first year of life. And to support this, your hens need plenty of thiamine.
Thiamine is also important for older hens to keep up with their metabolism.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Another crucial B vitamin is niacin. Chicks and pullets need niacin for neurological and bone development.
And lucky for them, the eggplant is a tasty treat with lots of B3. It can even be a bonding experience for younger birds and their owners.
If you raise broilers, your chickens will need a lot of magnesium. That’s because magnesium is essential for muscle development and heart health.
And since you don’t want fatty broilers, eggplant is the perfect low-calorie, low-fat, healthy snack.
Healthy birds need vitamin C to keep them that way. Like humans, vitamin C boosts the immune system and helps chickens get over illnesses faster.
So if you have a chicken that’s feeling down, give it a bit of eggplant. It will perk them right up and get their bodies healing faster.
Our chickens get hurt in mysterious ways sometimes. And if your chickens have anemia or vitamin K deficiencies, blood clotting can be difficult.
So giving your hens an extra dose of vitamin K will help with blood clotting disorders.
And finally, eggplant is also high in potassium. Everyone needs potassium for muscle development and hydration.
That’s why eggplant is the perfect summer vegetable to keep you cool and hydrated. And that’s just a few of the best reasons to feed eggplant to chickens.
Can I Eat Eggplant Raw?
So if you want to feed eggplant to chickens, you might be wondering the best way. You can feed eggplant raw or cooked. And
you might find that your chickens prefer them a specific way. Some chickens prefer cooked eggplant because it takes away the bitter taste.
But you might find that your chickens love to pick at the flesh when it’s chilled on a warm summer day. You can even hang them for a fun game and snack combo.
Or freeze them and float them in water for a refreshing splash. The possibilities are endless.
You should only be wary of fried and seasoned eggplant leftovers. Frying the eggplant depletes the nutrients; some seasonings could hurt your hens.
Raw eggplant or steamed are the best ways to give your hens the most nutrients.
Can Chicks Eat Eggplants?
We don’t recommend any treats for the first 4-8 weeks. This is because chicks fill up so quickly on treats and become malnourished.
But after your chicks get a little older, you can feed them some cut-up eggplant as a treat. In fact, your chicks and pullets could benefit from all of the nutrients in eggplants.
It can boost immune systems, prepare them for egg-laying, and make them happy. You can even use small bits of eggplant to train and bond with your chicks.
Just remember to keep treats to a minimum under 18 weeks old. A tablespoon of finely chopped eggplant is plenty for small chicks.
How Much Eggplant To Feed Chickens
Since eggplant only has 30 calories per cup, you can feed it more often without worrying about filling up on treats.
But you don’t want to provide more than a few tablespoons per chicken to prevent diarrhea. And as always, make sure that the overall treatment consumption is never more than 10%.
Otherwise, your hens could have a weight problem and all that goes along with that.
What Is The Most Dangerous Vegetable For Chickens?
So can chickens eat eggplant treats? You bet they can. But it might have you wondering what the worst vegetable for your flock is. We believe that green potatoes and skins are probably the most dangerous.
Green potatoes are so dangerous because they contain toxic levels of solanine. And sometimes, you can’t always tell that the skins are turning green or about to sprout.
If your potatoes are green at all, or if you question how old they are, it’s best to toss them.
What Should You Not Feed Chickens?
However, you shouldn’t let your guard down to just nightshade plants. You shouldn’t feed your chickens a variety of plants and food. Here is a short list of things you should avoid at all costs.
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Avocado pits and skins because of the toxin persin
- Coffee grounds
- Salty foods
- Apple seeds
- Citrus fruits
- Raw eggs and meat
- Junk foods
- Uncooked beans
- And uncooked rice and pasta
This list contains just a few of the most toxic foods for your hens. There are more, and you should always double-check any table scraps before feeding.
What Vegetables Are Good For Chickens?
We talk a lot about the bad things for your chickens and don’t focus on the good stuff. And the truth is, most of the fruits and vegetables that are safe for us are also safe for your chickens. Some of the best vegetables are:
All of these vegetables will boost your chicken’s immunity and egg production. And they are all easy to grow in your backyard.
So you can have a chicken garden with enough food for everyone. There is nothing more satisfying than a self-sufficient homestead.
So Go Ahead!
Can chickens eat eggplant treats? Go ahead! Your chickens will love the special snack. You can even get creative and find new fun ways of feeding vegetables.
Fun, refreshing, and nutritious. What more could you ask for?
Below is a Pinterest-friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!