Parsley is one of the most popular herbs out there. It’s easy to grow and has a lot of nutrients that will benefit the health. If you own backyard chickens, due to all the benefits this herb has to offer, you may be tempted to feed parsley to your chickens.
So, can chickens eat parsley? Yes, chickens can eat parsley, which includes the stems. This herb is high in nutrients that can benefit the health of the chickens. You can either give them cooked or raw parsley. While it’s healthy for the chickens, you should only feed parsley to the chickens in moderation.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Parsley?
Adding herbs to your chicken’s diet will help them stay healthy and strong. Herbs such as parsley will boost their immune system, help with egg production, and keep them active.
A 1/2 cup (30 grams) of fresh, chopped parsley provides:
- Calories: 11 calories
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 108% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 53% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 547% of the RDI
- Folate: 11% of the RDI
- Potassium: 4% of the RDI
Here are some significant benefits of feeding parsley to your chickens:
Parsley is Rich In Antioxidants
This herb is a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that will prevent free radicals from damaging the cells in the body. Chickens will need a healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals to maintain optimal health.
When there are too many free radicals in the body, the cell will be damaged. This will lead to diseases and illness.
The most common antioxidants found in parsley are carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamin C. All of these contribute to protecting the body from illness and diseases caused by free radicals.
Parsley May Help In Digestion
Parsley is a good source of fiber. The fiber content in this herb plays an important role in digestion. Fiber helps promote regular bowel movement, which helps move food through the digestive tract smoothly.
In addition, it acts as a source of nutrients for beneficial bacteria in the chicken’s stomach. These bacteria will in turn aid in food digestion.
Parsley Support Bone Health
Bones require minerals and vitamins to remain healthy and strong. Since parsley has those nutrients that the bone requires, it makes them a great food choice.
Vitamin K is one of the nutrients in parsley that helps support bone health. A 30-gram cup of parsley can provide 546% of the RDI for vitamin K. This amount of vitamin is enough to keep the chicken’s bone strong.
Vitamin K promotes strong bone growth by supporting bone-building cells known as osteoblasts. Also, this vitamin increase bone density, which will prevent fractures and breaking of the bones.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Parsley?
Baby chickens should not be fed any parsley if they are under 3 weeks old. Their digestive system has not fully developed to be able to digest the herb.
Instead, chicks should be fed a diet of chicken starter feed.
Once they are about 3 weeks old, their digestive system is are more developed and capable of digesting parsley. Start by giving them a piece of the parsley. Chop them into small pieces and place them next to the chicks.
Also, make grits available for them. They will need grits to help grind the parsley down, so they will be able to digest it.
Can Chickens Eat Parsley Stems?
Yes, chickens can eat parsley stems. It’s safe for them to eat, but you’ll need to chop them into smaller pieces first.
Most backyard chicken owners will simply toss the entire parsley, leaves, and stems to the chickens. They will eat the leaves and peck at the stem. Some will eat the stems, while others will leave them alone.
How to Feed Parsley to Your Backyard Chickens
When it comes to feeding parsley to your chickens, you have a couple of options. Below are some methods you can try to feed your chickens:
Toss them fresh parsley- After cleaning the parsley, pick the leaves off the stem and chop them into small pieces. Then toss them to your chickens. They’ll enjoy munching on this green treat.
Add parsley to their feed- A great way to add a boost of nutrition for the chicken is to add parsley to their feed. This method is also a good way to get them to eat parsley.
Cut the leaves into smaller pieces and mix them in with their feeds. The chickens won’t even that there is parsley in there. You can also add other herbs too if you like.
Give chickens access to the herb- This option is only if you are growing parsley in your garden. Once the herb has mature, you can let the chickens in and eat the parsley.
Before letting them into the garden, it’s best to spray down the herb with water first. This will help remove dirt and pests from the herb.
How Much Parsley Should You Feed Your Chickens?
Parsley is packed with vitamins and minerals, but it doesn’t have enough nutrients to keep the chicken healthy. For that reason, only give them a small amount of parsley at each feeding.
For baby chickens, you can give them a leaf of the parsley. Make sure to chop them up finely before feeding the herb to them.
For adult chickens, you can give them a couple of leaves of parsley. This will be enough for them to enjoy and not affect their health.
How Often Should You Feed Parsley To Your Chickens?
While parsley is healthy and great for the chickens to eat, you should only feed them in moderation.
Like all other herbs, parsley should only make up 10% of their entire diet. The other 90% should come from quality commercial feeds. These feeds have been formulated with the right amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary needs.
Therefore, only feed parsley to your chickens, once or twice per week.
Other Herbs That Chickens Can Eat
Basil is a herb that is loaded with nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin K. All of these nutrients are vital for the chicken’s health. All parts of the basil are safe for the chickens to eat.
Cilantro is another herb that you can give the chickens, but only in moderation. This herb is a good source of vitamin A, C, K, and folate. It’s best to feed cilantro to the chickens in a small amount, once or twice per week.
Lavender is a herb that you can give the chickens as a treat. Most chickens will stay away from lavender though. If you want them to eat lavender, you can try mixing it in with the feeds. Also, you can feed them dried lavender by sprinkling some on their food.
Parsley is a herb that makes a great treat for your chickens. It’s healthy and has plenty of nutrition that the chickens can benefit from. Like most other herbs, parsley doesn’t have enough nutrients to support the chicken’s dietary needs. Therefore, only feed the herb to them in moderation. You can give them a small amount of parsley, once or twice per week. This will keep them healthy and happy!