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Radishes are one of the more popular root vegetable to grow in a garden. They are not too difficult for beginners and they taste great on salads. You can also freeze them to save all year around. With all of these options have you ever wondered can chickens eat radishes?
Keep on reading if you want to find out whether or not chickens can eat radishes or not!
Can Chickens Eat Radishes?
Yes, chickens can eat radishes. Radishes are a completely non-toxic including their leaves. You can give them to your chickens raw from the garden or you can cook them up. Your chickens will love them either way.
Can chickens eat the rest of the radish?
So, we know chickens love the red, fleshy part of the radish. But, can chickens eat the rest of the radish; like greens, leaves, or seeds.
Some plants are toxic if the plant is eaten, like tomatoes and green potatoes or can just make them uncomfortable for a while, like mango leaves that contain the same chemicals as poison ivy (although, in some cases they can also cause a severe health problem). Same goes for rhubarb which chickens can eat, but only the stalks because the rest of the plant contains oxalic acid which is poisonous.
That is not the case with radishes. Chickens can eat the entire plant with no issues. You probably won’t find them snacking on seeds very often, it is a rarity mostly due to access and size.
One other question that is asked often is if chickens can eat radish plants while they are still sprouts. It is perfectly safe for them to do so. However, if you are growing radishes you probably want to keep your chickens away from any sprouts that are coming up because they WILL eat them and destroy your potential garden before it can start.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
Can chicks eat radishes?
No, they chicks really shouldn’t eat radishes until they are a little bit older because radishes can be too hard to digest. Chicks should stick to a specialized chick feed. After a month, give or take, it is safe but also give them grit, as well.
Are radishes a healthy snack?
Radishes are not only safe but they are also a very healthy snack for chickens. Now, you shouldn’t feed radishes every meal of the day, but a few times a week will provide a good boost in their nutrients and keep happy and healthy.
When giving chickens anything outside of free ranging and their feed we stick to the 90/10 rule. This rule simply states that 90% of a chickens diet should come from a specialized feed and whatever bugs and scratch they get from the ground. That leaves 10% of their diet for special snacks and treats, like grapes, cherries, rice, blackberries, and cantaloupe.
- Antioxidants: repair damage from free radicals, fight off/prevent future damage, protect from oxidative damage, anti-inflammaty, lower blood pressure, improve heart health in high enough doses, development and health of tissue, skin, and feathers
- Anthocyanins: promotes blood flow
- Vitamin A: eye, skin, respiratory, and digestive health
- Vitamin B6: healthy blood vessels, eye/vision health, nervous system , immune system
- Calcium: bones and egg shell strength
- Vitamin C: joint, cellular, and immune health; collagen synthesis
- Vitamin E: immune system support, cell regeneration
- Fiber: only small amounts or they can become constipated, get a blockage, etc; energy, growth, and digestive health, reduce cholesterol, controls blood sugar, digestive health
- Vitamin K: blood clotting, bone metabolism
- Potassium: temperature control; hydration & electrolyte regulation, metabolism; heart health/heart disease preventative
- Water: hydrating
The table below, courtesy of the USDA FoodData Center, is the nutritional value of ½ cup (58 g) of air-popped popcorn.
|Carbohydrate, by difference||1.97||g|
|Fiber, total dietary||.928||g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||1.08||g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||8.58||mg|
|Vitamin A, IU||4.06||IU|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||.754||µg|
How to feed radishes to chickens
You can feed radishes to chickens raw from the garden or store bought. But the best way to do it is to cook them first. “Why?”, you ask. There are a few reasons.
Raw radishes have a pretty strong, pungent odor AND flavor to them; especially when they are fresh. When you boil them down, the strength of the smell and taste will drastically be reduced.
Radishes are also faiyl hard and tough making them difficult for chickens to peck through and eat. Cooked radishes are significantly softer, thus, making them easier to eat AND digest.
With all that being said, we prefer to cook our radishes and chop them into small bits. Then, mix them in, or sprinkle on top, their regular feed. You don’t need a lot either. A single radish, cooked and cut, is enough to feed about half a dozen chickens.
Fresh food from the garden is almost always a a perfect snack for your flock. Radishes just barely scratch the surface.
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.