Can Chickens Eat Arugula? Benefits & Nutrition Facts
Absolutely yes, your backyard chickens can eat arugula. This type of vegetable is not only nutritious but also healthy. It has a peppery taste that makes it an excellent addition to your chickens’ diet.
Arugula is packed with essential minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to your birds, not to mention anti-inflammatory properties that help your feathered friends recover from infections quickly.
So, what is arugula? Arugula is classified under the same family as radish, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. It is mainly used in salads but can be fed on chickens in limited amounts and sparingly. Read on to learn more about this leafy green vegetable with a strong peppery taste and smell.
Is Arugula Safe for Chickens?
The answer is yes, arugula is perfectly safe for your chickens. Just like vegetables such as kale and broccoli, arugula is a member of the mustard family known botanically as Brassicaceae. It is a herb with a spicy somewhat peppery or bitter taste.
Even though some of your birds may not find it edible, others will like it from the start. Keep in mind that every green vegetable or herb fed to chickens serves as a treat. For that reason, arugula should not make a large percentage of your chickens’ overall diet. Less than 10% of this vegetable should make the entire chicken feed to help supplement the much-needed vitamins and minerals.
As a treat, make sure to give it to your chickens in small quantities and occasionally. Arugula and other similar vegetables are a less expensive and easier way to ensure that greens are flowing throughout to your chickens.
Benefits of Chickens Eating Arugula
Arugula is arguably one of the top nutritious greens for human consumption. It also comes with quite a number of nutritional and health benefits that your flock of backyard chickens need.
Arugula is loaded with great minerals and vitamins necessary to maintain the health of your flock. It is also packed with about 3% calories and around 27% sodium content, making it an excellent choice of treat for your backyard flock.
A full cup of arugula has approximately 0.516 grams of protein, 5 calories, and 0.132 grams of fat. Minerals and vitamins in this vegetable include iron, calcium, folate, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, Vitam C, and vitamin K.
In particular, vitamin K in arugula promotes the production of vitamin K-rich high-quality eggs. Vitamin K also plays a significant role in blood clotting when your chicken is injured. Vitamin A comes in handy to help in the respiratory, reproductive, and digestive tracts of your chickens. It also nourishes your chickens’ skin in addition to preventing inflammation of the eyelids.
Calcium is yet another important nutrient since it helps in the formation of strong eggs among your layers. Between 4 and 5 grams of calcium per day is enough to keep your flock of layers healthy. Protein in arugula vegetables is about 0.26 grams and helps a lot in the regrowing of feathers during the molting stage.
Iron, on the other hand, is around 0.015miligrams and it is crucial in preventing anemia among your flock of backyard chickens. Folate in arugula promotes egg hatching. Lack of folate can make your layers have a problem forming albumen in their eggs.
Magnesium is another vital mineral found in arugula. It is a vital nutrient when it comes to egg formation as well as protecting against protein oxidation in plasma and the liver. Finally, potassium is about 36.9 milligrams in arugula but it plays a crucial role in water intake for your birds during hot weather conditions in summer.
Apart from minerals and vitamins, this healthy vegetable contains a substantial amount of antioxidants which play a critical role in fighting against oxidative stress among your chickens. Oxidants are also important especially in nutrition, reproduction, and growth in backyard chickens.
How to Feed Arugula to Chickens?
One thing you need to know is that some of your chickens may like arugula while others may not even enjoy eating this herb. This is due to the fact that arugula has a bitter taste.
When it comes to feeding arugula to your chickens, make sure to chop them up into small pieces. Then throw the chopped pieces alongside their regular food.
Alternatively, you can scatter these little bite-sized pieces on top of the run or along their free-ranging area. If possible, suspend a few leaves of arugula inside the coop for your birds to have fun while pecking at them.
At the same time, you can just hold some leaves between your two fingers to hand-feed your backyard flock. Doing so will create an everlasting bond with your flock. If they leave a few leaves untouched, rest assured that they don’t enjoy the taste or smell of this vegetable.
Can Chickens Eat Arugula Flowers?
Your chickens can also eat arugula flowers. This part of the plant is soft and packed with essential nutrients that your birds need to stay healthy and happy. As a matter of fact, the flowers are even softer than the leaves or other parts of arugula vegetables.
Plus, the flowers are not that peppery or bitter in taste like the leaves. So, it is likely that your backyard chickens will enjoy pecking at this colorful part of arugula vegetable when they get the chance to do so.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Arugula?
Yes! Your backyard chickens will even enjoy cooked arugula more than the uncooked one. As stated above, the raw arugula comes with some bitter or peppery taste. So, some of your chickens may not like this kind of taste. When you cook this vegetable, the stronger bitter taste will go away, making it safer and easier to eat. Cooked arugula will also be easy and quick to digest.
So, can backyard chickens eat arugula? Of course, yes. Arugula is a highly nutritious type of leafy green vegetable similar to broccoli, kales, radish, and Brussels sprouts. Your chickens will certainly find this vegetable to be tasty. They will also spend most of their time munching it up if you toss a few leaves to them.
However, make sure to feed them arugula occasionally since it is only a treat and not their main feed. This is to prevent them from switching to arugula and ignoring their nutritionally balanced commercial feeds. With arugula and other vegetables around, your chickens will be happier, healthier, and more productive than before.