Spinach is known as a superfood due to its high nutritional value. If you enjoy eating spinach, you may wonder if you can feed spinach to your chickens as well.
So, can chickens eat spinach? Yes, chickens can eat spinach. The leafy greens provide plenty of vitamins and minerals. While spinach is packed with nutrition, it also contains a compound called oxalic acid. Too much oxalic acid in their system can cause health issues, which include preventing calcium absorption and fewer eggs production in laying hens.
Is Spinach Safe For Chickens?
Spinach is safe for chickens, but only in moderation. This means a small amount of spinach at each feeding.
Spinach contains oxalic acid, which is an organic compound found naturally in them. The compound can interfere with other minerals in the body. One of the minerals is calcium, which is essential for the health of the chickens and also egg production. The oxalic acid will prevent the absorption of calcium in the body.
Laying hens and baby chickens require a lot of calcium in their diet. Without enough calcium, laying hens will produce low-quality eggs. This will result in eggs that are small and don’t taste that good.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Spinach?
Spinach is packed with nutrition, which makes the leafy greens healthy for the chickens to eat.
This vegetable is an excellent source of calcium, manganese, folate, and vitamin B6, B6, and E.
The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw spinach are:
- Calories: 23
- Water: 91%
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Carbs: 3.6 grams
- Sugar: 0.4 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
The above data is from the USDA
Below are some of the health benefits of feeding spinach to your chickens:
Promote Strong Bones
Spinach has a high amount of calcium. This nutrient is important for the development and maintenance of bones.
Chickens that get plenty of calcium in their diet will less likely have an injury to their bones.
Good For Digestion
Spinach is high in insoluble fiber, which is good for digestion. It bulks up the stool and makes it easier for it to pass through the digestive tract.
Also, it helps prevent constipation.
Good For Hydration
Spinach has a high content of water, which makes them an excellent food for hydration. During the summer months, when it’s usually very hot, feeding the chicken spinach will keep them from becoming dehydrated.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Spinach?
Baby chickens can eat spinach, but only when they are about 3 weeks old.
When the chicks are under 3 weeks old, their digestive system isn’t developed enough to digest the spinach properly. If they do eat it, the leaf greens could cause impaction.
Instead, baby chickens should be fed a strict diet of quality starter feed. The feed has been formulated with the right amount of nutrition that the chicks need to grow strong and healthy.
Once they are about 3 weeks old, you can introduce spinach to them. Start by giving them a small piece of the leafy greens.
Since spinach is new to them, it may take them a while to eat it. Sooner or later, they will get curious and eat it.
How To Feed Spinach To Chickens
When it comes to feeding spinach to your chickens, you can either give them cooked or uncooked.
However, cooked spinach will lose a lot of nutrition.
For cooked spinach, make sure that you are not using any salt, sugar, or other seasonings. Salt and other seasonings are bad for them. It’s best to feed them cooked spinach that is plain and has no seasonings.
For raw spinach, make sure that you wash them thoroughly first. This will help remove any pests that may be on the leaves. Also, it’s best to use only fresh spinach, as it will contain the most nutrients.
Then simply toss the spinach to your chickens or place it in their feeder for them to eat.
How Much Spinach Should You Feed Your Chickens?
Spinach has an abundance of nutrition that the chickens need. However, it also contains oxalic acid, which is harmful to your chickens in large amounts.
Therefore, it’s best to feed spinach to your chickens in small amounts. For an adult chicken, a couple of spinach is enough for them to reap the health benefits of the leafy greens. As for baby chickens, one or two leafy greens are plenty for them.
How Often Should You Feed Spinach To Your Chickens?
Spinach should be fed to your chickens in moderation. Again, spinach contains oxalic acid, which can be harmful to them.
Also, the leafy greens don’t contain enough nutrition to meet your chicken’s dietary needs.
Most leafy greens are healthy and can be fed to the chickens often, but for spinach, it should not be.
Therefore, spinach should be fed to them a couple of times per month.
Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat
Cucumbers have an abundance of nutrition. Besides vitamins and minerals, cucumbers also have a high amount of moisture. Feeding your chickens during the summer will keep them hydrated.
Broccoli is nutrient-dense, yet low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat. This makes broccoli a good treat for the chickens. You can either feed them cooked or raw.
Radishes are packed with nutrition that is healthy for the chickens. You can either feed them raw or cooked radishes. Also, the radish greens can be served to them. If you’re feeding them raw radishes, you’ll need to cut them into smaller pieces first.
Spinach has a lot of nutrition that’s healthy for the chickens to eat. However, it also has a high amount of oxalic acid, which is harmful to the chickens. To prevent health issues, only feed spinach to your flock in small amounts, once or twice per month.