Chickens are wonderful domestic animals. They are cheerful, resilient, and easy to manage. They are also easy to feed, given that they can eat almost everything we eat. From grains to grass and meat to herbs, my chickens enjoy a variety of foods. One of their favorites is parsley.
Can chickens eat parsley? Chickens enjoy eating a variety of herbs, which include parsley and others. This herb comes with many health benefits to your chickens. Above all, it is safe for them to eat.
When it comes to feeding your chickens different herbs, parsley must be on your list. This highly nutritious green herb is versatile in terms of growth. It thrives best in sunny conditions, although it requires shade occasionally.
Parsley comes in two main varieties; curly leaf (French) and flat-leaf (Italian). The flat-leaf variety has a slightly more robust flavor than the curly leaf. Both are good for your feathered friends to feast on. Feed them fresh to your birds or dry them a little bit before adding to feed.
Incorporating a few green herbs such as parsley into your chickens’ diet can improve their well-being. Just like grass and weed varieties, herbs are regarded as green treats for your backyard chickens.
Parsley, being a green herb, is easy to grow. Also, it is perennial, which means that it will be available for your birds throughout the year. This herb can grow in any soil conditions and does not need plenty of water to thrive.
Parsley is actually a favorite green treat for most chickens. They will eat leaves and stems, leaving nothing behind. As a nutritional powerhouse, the herb is a must-have if you want to raise a healthy flock of backyard chickens. All you need is access to this nutritious herb, and everything else will fall in place.
Below are health advantages of feeding your chickens parsley:
Health Benefits of Parsley to Your Chickens
Adding herbs into your flock’s diet will help them stay healthier and happier. Herbs such as parsley will strengthen their immunity, enhance their productivity, and keep them active. So, you should consider feeding it to your birds in addition to their regular diet.
Here are significant benefits of feeding parsley to your chickens:
Parsley is a rich source of nutrients. A ½ cup or 30 grams of fresh, chopped parsley can provide the following nutrients:
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 2grams
- Dietary Fiber: 1 gram
- Fat: <1gram
- Vitamin A:106 % of the Reference Daily Intake or RDI)
- Folate: 12% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 54% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 546% of the RDI
- Potassium:5% of the RDI
This green treat is rich in different types of vitamins, particularly vitamin K. As you may know, vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting as well as bone health.
The herb is also a reliable source of vitamin A and vitamin C. Both are essential nutrients because they possess antioxidant properties.
Even though it is low in calories, parsley is packed with a unique flavor. That’s why it is always considered an excellent ingredient for several recipes and a tasty treat for chickens.
1. Parsley is Rich in Antioxidants
This herb is a rich source of many powerful antioxidants for your chicken’s health. Antioxidants are compounds known to prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. Your chicken’s body needs a healthy balance of free radicals and antioxidants to maintain their optimal health.
The most common antioxidants found in parsley include:
- Vitamin C
This fragrant herb boasts a class of antioxidants popularly known as flavonoids. Flavonoids, however, come in two major categories, which include apigenin and myricetin. Numerous studies show that flavonoids may reduce the risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease.
Lutein and beta carotene are two antioxidants that makeup carotenoids. Research shows that a higher intake of carotenoids can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Vitamin C is also another great nutrient with potent antioxidant effects. It plays a critical role in promoting your chicken’s immune health. Besides, the vitamin offers protection against chronic disease in chickens.
2.Parsley May Support Bone Health
Bones require certain minerals and vitamins to grow healthy and strong. Since parsley is packed with essential nutrients like vitamin K, you can rest assured that it will promote bone health among your flock. As a matter of fact, a 30-gram cup of parsley can provide an impressive 546% of the RDI for Vitamin K. This amount of vitamin K is just enough to keep bones healthy and strong.
Vitamin K promotes the growth of stronger bones by simply supporting bone-building cells known as osteoblasts. The vitamin also activates some proteins that typically increase bone mineral density. With an increase in bone density, your birds will have strong bones that can prevent fractures.
3. Parsley Can Help Promote Eyesight
Chickens need good eyesight to help them find food or detect predators before they get attacked. Feeding them parsley can help them achieve this goal.
As a green herb, parsley contains nutrients that can protect the eyes. The nutrients are lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene. These three carotenoids can promote healthy vision and protect the eyes.
To be specific, carotenoids contain vitamin A which is essential for protecting the cornea and conjunctiva. When protected, these two organs ensure that the eye functions optimally.
4.Parsley May Promote Heart Health
Parsley is regarded as a nutrient-dense herb with the ability to improve heart health in both humans and chickens. The herb contains vitamin B (folate), which is essential for heart health. A 30-gram cup containing parsley can provide up to 12% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for vitamin B.
Intake of dietary folate in substantial amounts can reduce heart disease in certain chickens. Higher absorption of these nutrients is likely to reduce the risk of heart problems by a whopping 38%.
Conversely, a lower intake of vitamin B may increase the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B lowers amino acid homocysteine levels to benefit heart health. This explains why folate in parsley protects the heart against diseases.
5.Parsley May Help in Digestion
Traditionally, people used parsley to treat gastrointestinal and digestive disorders. The same case can also apply to your chickens when they feed on it.
The fiber content in this green herb plays a significant role in digestion. This is because it helps move food throughout the digestive tract. At the same time, it acts as a source of nutrients for beneficial bacteria in the chicken’s gut. As a prebiotic fodder, parsley provides nutrients to good bacteria, which in turn aid in food digestion.
Extracts from this nutritious herb are believed to contain anti-ulcer properties. As a result, the herb can help prevent gastrointestinal problems in your chicken’s gut. It attains this by inhibiting the production of excess gastric juice. With a healthy gut, your birds will lead a good life and become highly productive.
How to Feed Parsley to Your Backyard Chickens
There are many options that you can take when feeding parsley to your chickens. The bottom line is, any option can work for you provided that you have this herb within reach.
You may want to use any of the following ways when feeding parsley to your chickens:
Toss them a few chopped up leaves-Take some parsley leaves and wash them to remove dirt or traces of pesticide. Then chop them up into small tiny pieces before scattering them where your chickens roam. They will certainly enjoy munching this green treat throughout the day.
Add some leaves to their feed-If you discover that your chickens are not eating parsley from the floor, you can add some to their staple feed. Mixing this herb with their feed will make them eat it without even noticing its presence.
Give them access to the herb-This option is only possible if you have grown some parsley somewhere in your home garden. Once the herb is mature, you may let your birds gain access to it in order to enjoy its taste. In some cases, you might use a net to control the amount of parsley your chickens can eat in your garden. Keep in that this herb should only serve as a treat and not the main chicken feed.
Which other herbs should I feed my backyard chickens? Besides parsley, you nay provide your chickens with herbs such as basil, calendula, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, sage, and many more. All these green herbs are nutritious and will help your chickens achieve their health goals in a short time.
Is it right to feed my backyard chickens raw parsley? Yes! Parsley, in its raw state, boasts many essential nutrients for your chickens. Make sure to wash it properly before feeding your birds.
It is indeed true that chickens can eat parsley. This herb is packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, among others. All these nutrients play different roles in keeping your chickens healthy and productive. They promote the digestive system, improve vision, and help in preventing heart disease. Feed your chickens parsley in moderation to help them achieve their dietary needs.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!