Can Chickens Eat Leek? Is It Safe?

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Leeks are an onion-like vegetable that grows in the spring. They have a mild flavor compared to onions and other members of the allium family and a frequently used in a range of dishes. However, if you’re growing them at home you may be wondering whether any extra leeks that are left over can be fed to chickens. Will they actually eat them and are they toxic? 

Leeks are safe for chickens to eat and they will generally eat quite a few of them provided that you cut the leeks up into relatively thin strips. If this is not done the chickens are unlikely to be able to eat the leeks very easily and at the very best will just pick at the stalks.

Will Chickens Eat Other Members Of The Onion Family?

Chickens will eat a range of other plants in the allium family which includes onions, garlic, and chives. However, the amounts of onion and garlic that chickens can eat will be limited because of the pungent nature of the plant which usually will put the chickens off eating too much of it at any one time.

 so it is best to feed the chickens onions in limited quantities in combination with a range of other vegetables to ensure that they do not get overwhelmed by the flavor.

Can You Feed Chickens Leeks That Have Flowered?

Chickens will eat leeks that have flowered however one of the biggest problems when a leek flowers is the central store becomes extremely tough and is almost impossible to cut in half which makes it extremely difficult to feed them leaks under the circumstances.

When leeks flower you are far better off to collect seeds from the plant and dispose of them in the compost bin as they are typically not terribly good for eating yourself or giving to chickens no strictly speaking it is possible to do so.

Can You Feed Chickens Too Many Leeks?

The answer to this question is yes. Chickens can eat too many leeks but you should be careful about how much you feed them. Leeks are safe for chickens and they can even eat the whole thing, but they don’t digest it well so the vegetables can cause more problems than good in the long run.

The bottom line is that leek is a relatively safe ingredient to feed your chickens. But if you do decide to add it as an occasional treat, remember that your birds will appreciate something a little different like corn or carrots occasionally as well. 

Leeks are also a beneficial source of fiber for chickens and they even have benefits for their eggs. They contain calcium which helps keep eggs soft and white and also contain vitamin C which provides an important source of antioxidants for all chickens. 

Leek is a mild-tasting vegetable that contains no cellulose or toxins making it a great addition to your flock’s diet. Though leeks may not be an everyday food item for your flock, they have many benefits and are good for your birds as long as eaten in moderation with other foods that make up their diet

What Types Of Plants Should Chickens Be Eating?

As mentioned above chickens should be eating a range of different vegetables in their diet which can include leafy greens, root crops, and fruit. To ensure that they remain healthy is best to minimize the amount of sweet fruit such as oranges and melons as the sugar content is too high in these plants.

Additionally, any root crops that are provided to the chickens also need to be shredded as they tend to be very hard and it is difficult for the animals to access the food. Ideally, root crops should be passed through a food processor and grated for them which will usually make them soft enough for the chickens to consume easily.

It is also common for many owners of chickens also to provide offcuts from their ornamental garden to the chickens. This can be somewhat dangerous if you are unsure about the toxicity of the plant that you were giving them. Many of our most common garden plants are actually extremely toxic to both humans and chickens. Examples of this include foxgloves and Lily of the valley.

Even some edible plants that we eat also can be toxic to chickens such as tomato plant leaves and rhubarb leaves. As such is important that you research the plants that you intend to give to your chickens or alternatively simply apply the rule of thumb that I use which is to only give chickens things that I would eat myself.

Can You Feed Chickens Stale Or Mouldy Food?

It is generally best to provide chickens with relatively fresh scraps from the kitchen rather than giving them the dregs of what is in the bottom of your refrigerator crisper which can have started to develop mold and deteriorate. The reason for this is that the mold and bacteria on the food can cause problems with chickens.

Additionally, it is also not advisable to give them food that is relatively old and stale because if they do not eat it immediately it can quickly spoil in the pen leading to a risk of disease. It will also attract rodents in some cases.

Conclusion

Chickens can eat leeks quite happily provided that they are cut up for them. However, it is important to ensure that you don’t go over the top with the number of leeks that you give chickens as it can cause problems if they eat too many leeks at any one time.

Relevant Articles

Can I Eat Flowering Leeks?

Can You Plant Leeks In Clumps?

Why Are Leeks Gritty?

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