Eggplant for Chickens: Is It Safe or Not?
Popularly known as aubergines, eggplants are a rich source of minerals and vitamins for chickens. Eggplants can provide your chickens with several health benefits crucial for their growth and production. While eggplants are healthy, edible, and nutritious for chickens, some of these plants can poison your chooks.
For instance, the leaves and stems of eggplants can be toxic to your birds. Chickens can eat either cooked or raw eggplants.
Eggplants as Food for Chickens
Chicken keepers have this misconception that eggplants are mere treats, so these plants can’t substitute chicken feed. However, eggplants are good food for chickens for all sorts of good reasons. Here is why eggplants qualify to be excellent food for your chooks.
They Are Rich in Multiple Nutrients
Nutrition is an imperative factor to consider when feeding your chooks. It isn’t about the quantity of food you give to the flock, but how nutritious it is makes a real difference. Eggplants score well on the nutritional front. They are exceptional nutrient-dense food for chickens, meaning these plants have a high amount of minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
Plus, eggplants have fewer calories than commercial feeds. For instance, a cup of eggplants has 10% manganese, 1 gram of protein, 4% vitamin K, 3% vitamin C, 5% potassium, and 5 % folate. Eggplants also have smaller amounts of other crucial nutrients, such as magnesium, copper, and niacin. Consequently, eggplants boast a high nutritional profile that helps promote your chickens’ growth and overall health.
Take vitamin K in eggplants, for instance. It can help your flock get healthy bone mineralization. The potassium in these plants will be vital for your chickens’ hydration and muscle development. The vitamin B6 in eggplants will help your chooks maintain healthy appetites, while the vitamin C in these plants will help strengthen their immune systems.
The high phosphorus content in eggplants will help the birds metabolize calcium, thus boosting egg development and production. Your hens need plenty of folic acid for maximum egg production. Eggplants are high in folic acid, so they are an excellent food for your hens because they will boost their egg production.
Eggplants are High in Antioxidants
This is another reason eggplants are a fantastic food for chickens, besides these plants containing various minerals and nutrients. Eggplants are high in antioxidants, substances that protect a chicken’s body from damage resulting from free radicals, which are harmful substances in a chicken’s body.
Studies show that eggplants can make antioxidant-rich food for chickens, helping the bird overcome chronic diseases like Avian Flu, Fowl cholera, and Marek’s disease.
Eggplants Are Easy to Add to Your Chickens’ Diet
Eggplants are versatile, so you can easily incorporate them into your chickens’ diet. Because of their versatility, your chickens can consume these plants differently. You can either roast, bake, or sauté these plants for your chocks. Furthermore, you can add them to chicken feed to give the flock a delicious and highly nutritious treat.
Chicken keepers can use eggplants as low-calorie food for their chooks. Consequently, you can substitute those high-calorie chicken feeds with eggplants, reducing your flock’s calorie and carb intake while increasing the nutrient and fiber content.
Is Eggplant Good for Chickens?
A resounding yes. Eggplant is suitable for chickens thanks to its vast nutritional profile. Eggplants are easy for chickens to eat and digest. These plants will make a significant part of your chickens’ healthy diet.
Eggplants don’t have toxins or chemicals that harm domestic fowl. Eggplants are excellent for nutrient and mineral-deficient chickens because they have all the minerals and nutrients chickens require for growth and egg production.
However, some parts of eggplants can be dangerous for chickens. The leaves, calyx, and stem of eggplant contain high levels of solanine, a poisonous compound prevalent in all plants belonging to the vast nightshade family.
The toxic compound can cause severe side effects to chickens. Some side effects your chickens will experience from consuming solanine in eggplants include lethargy, excessive drooling, and diarrhea.
Alternatives to Eggplants for Chickens
Eggplants are great for chickens, considering their wealth of minerals and nutrients. As good as these plants are for your flock, there are some equally great alternatives to eggplants for chickens.
Pumpkin, for instance, is one great alternative to eggplants for your chickens. The vegetable contains similar nutrients, fiber, and minerals to eggplants. Pumpkins are also low in fiber and calories, which can help your chooks maintain a healthy weight.
Vegetables such as chard, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, and spinach are great alternatives to eggplants for your birds. These vegetables are high in fiber and vitamins K, C, A, and B6.
Other food items that will provide a similar texture and flavor to eggplant include cauliflower, butternut squash, beets, and Zucchini.
Tips for Feeding Eggplants to Chickens
It would help if you adequately prepared eggplants before feeding them to your chickens. While these plants are healthy and edible for chickens, some parts of these plants can be poisonous to your chickens. They include the leaves and stems, so you should remove these parts before serving eggplants to your chickens.
Kindly read through these tips for feeding eggplants to your flock:
- Remove the leaves and stems from eggplants before serving these plants to your flock.
- Cut the eggplants into cubes and mix them with vegetables or chicken feed if you serve raw eggplants to your flock.
- Steam the eggplants if you want to provide cooked eggplants to your flock.
- Discard eggplant leftovers when your chickens have enough of this treat.
Potential Side Effects of Feeding Chickens Eggplant
Eggplants are excellent for chickens because of their wealth of nutrients and minerals. Like anything else you provide to your chickens, there are potential side effects of feeding these plants to chickens. For instance, the leaves and stems of eggplants have a high concentration of solanine, which will affect your flock’s long-term health.
Chickens can experience unpleasant side effects upon consuming too many eggplants. For instance, your flock could suffer from bloating and diarrhea if it consumes too much of these plants. Eggplants can also cause inflammation or burning of a chicken’s throat.
Eggplants are incredibly healthy and nutritious for your flock. These plants can also serve as supplements for your chickens’ diet because they have everything chickens require for egg production and growth.
Nonetheless, the stems and leaves of these plants are toxic to chickens. Furthermore, excess consumption of eggplants by chickens can lead to severe side effects like diarrhea.