Can Chickens Eat Green Beans?
Most poultry keepers love feeding their birds the leftover foods from their tables, usually to lower their poultry care expenses and balance the birds’ diets. While doing this, few wonder whether the foods they are giving their chickens can harm them.
Free-range chickens are omnivores that will eat almost anything they come across, but some foods are more beneficial than others, while a few might harm them.
With green beans being a staple of almost all cuisines, they are almost always a part of the leftovers and scraps fed to chicken. You might wonder if you can safely feed these beans to your chicken. Yes, chickens can eat green beans, also called string beans, snaps, snap beans, or French beans. The article below will cover the important tidbits about feeding your chicken green beans.
Are Green Beans Good for Chicken?
Yes, green beans are good for chickens. Chickens will need a balanced diet to lay healthy eggs and attain healthy weights if they are table birds. It is thus crucial to include healthy vegetables like green beans in their diets.
However, you should know that most raw beans, including green beans, have lectins. Lectins are toxins that can poison your birds. As such, you should not give raw green beans to your chickens.
Some of the symptoms in humans that can arise from eating raw green beans include bloating, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. These symptoms of a serious stomach upset are nothing you want for your birds.
Thankfully, green beans do not have as high amounts of lectin as other bean varieties. Therefore, if your birds have a few raw green beans while free ranging, do not worry about this. Just observe them and get a vet if anything seems amiss.
You should also avoid feeding canned green beans to your chickens. Though tender, delicious, and cooked, canned beans contain considerable amounts of sodium. During canning, the can is filled with copious amounts of sodium to keep the beans fresh.
This sodium can damage your birds’ kidneys. Because canned green beans are marinated in sodium, even rinsing and draining them will not effectively eliminate the sodium.
Benefits of Green Beans for Chicken
Green beans have several minerals and vitamins for your chickens. Thankfully, they are low in fat and energy. 100g of cooked green beans will offer your birds 89.92g of water, 32 calories, 1.9g of protein, 2.8g of fiber, 39mg of calcium, 10.8mg of vitamin C, 29 micrograms of folate, 40mg of phosphorous, 26mg of magnesium and 44 micrograms of vitamin K.
Calcium ensures your birds lay healthy, strong eggs while promoting their heart health and bone development. Vitamin K promotes blood clotting and protects your chickens against coccidiosis, while vitamin C enhances the quality of eggshells.
Folic acid promotes good feathering, enhances egg production, and fights anemia, while magnesium is essential for bone development and metabolism.
Can Chickens Eat Green Bean Leaves?
Yes, the stalks and leaves of green beans are safe for your birds. Before offering them to your chicken, you only need to ensure everything is cooked. Nonetheless, chickens will sometimes nibble on the soft stems and leaves of the green beans in your vegetable garden when foraging.
This should not concern you much because the toxic agricultural chemicals on the plants are not enough to cause much harm. Moreover, these leaves and stems are unlikely to choke your chicken.
How to Feed Green Beans to Your Chickens?
Though they have a decent nutritional value, green beans should only be a treat for your bird because their fiber and water content can fill your chicken and lead to a reduced intake of their formulated feeds.
You can offer your chicken 100-200g of cooked green beans twice or thrice weekly. Here are tips for correctly feeding your chickens green beans.
- Always source fresh green beans for your chicken.
- Preferably, feed your birds organic green beans. If not possible, wash the beans thoroughly to eliminate the agricultural chemicals on the skin.
- Cut the tips of green beans because these can choke your chicken and have little nutritional benefit.
- You can toss the beans on the floor for your chicken to forage them or mix them with other treats for a perfect medley. Alternatively, you can serve the beans in a bowl separate from the main feed so the birds can eat enough beans. This also allows you to monitor how much green beans the chickens have eaten.
- Add the green beans gradually into your chicken feed and observe how the birds eat it. If the birds love it, you can feed them more, provided you do not surpass the recommended amount.
- Skip the seasonings on your cooked green beans and limit the sugar and salt in them. Too much sugar or salt harms your chicken.
Other Vegetables for Your Chicken
You have several healthy veggie options for your chickens other than green beans. These vegetables contain lower amounts of sugar than fruit and are thus more beneficial for your birds. Below are a few veggies you can include in your chicken diet.
- Cucumbers keep your bird hydrated while supplementing its vitamin and mineral intake.
- Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, protein, calcium, vitamin K and fiber.
- Asparagus is packed with minerals and vitamins.
- Celery contains manganese, phosphorous, and calcium.
- Carrots are rich in vitamin C, water, energy, and vitamin K.
- Cabbage is packed with moisture, minerals, and vitamins.
With the guidelines above, you are now ready to include green beans in your chickens’ diets. If you have chicks, it is best to negate green beans from their diets. Their digestive systems are not well developed, so you should stick to starter feeds and water for them.
Wait until the chicks are about four weeks old before introducing finely chopped green beans and other treats into their diets. Thankfully, the chicks do not need much. A tablespoon of green beans will suffice for five chicks.