One of the perks of owning chickens is that they can help you dispose of your food leftovers. But you can’t feed them everything. So, are beets a good food for chickens?

Beets are phenomenal for chickens, but that doesn’t mean you can feed your chickens as many beets as you want.

We break down everything that you need to know about beets and chickens here and highlight a few other foods that you can feed your chickens, along with ones that you should avoid.

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Can Chickens Eat Beets?

Chickens can eat many different foods, including beets. They can eat just about any part of the beet and in any way that you want to feed it to them.

Whether the beets are cooked or raw, chickens will happily gobble them up, and they have plenty of nutritional benefits regardless. That said, for the maximum number of nutritional benefits for chickens, the ideal feeding method is raw.

Beets on a white wooden surface
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Nutritional Benefits of Beets

Beets are extremely nutritious vegetables to feed your chickens. Beets are full of water, which means your chickens get extra hydration by eating them. Other positive nutrients of beets are sugars, manganese, potassium, fiber, iron, folate, and vitamin C.

Feeding Beets to Chickens

If you’re feeding beets to your chickens, it’s best to keep them raw, but you can safely give them in any form. But keep in mind that you should add beets only as treats to their diet.

While beets are highly nutritious, they don’t meet all of a chicken’s nutrition requirements. It’s best to use beets as occasional additives to your chicken’s diet, to mix things up.

Flock of chickens on grass field
Image Credit: KelseyJ, Shutterstock

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Top 6 Alternatives for Chickens

Beets are good for chickens, but it’s not the only food that you can add to their diet. Here are other great things that you can feed your chickens — you might already have a few of these things around your home!

1. Feed

No matter what you plan on feeding your chickens, you need to include high-quality chicken feed to meet all their nutritional requirements. You can supplement their diet with other foods, but chicken feed should be their primary food source.

man feeding chicken
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2. Mealworms

Mealworms are an outstanding protein source for chickens, but you don’t want to make them a big part of your chicken’s diet. Use them as treats, aiming for about three to five mealworms per chicken per day. This will help ensure that you don’t overload them with protein.

3. Eggshells

Your chickens lay the eggs, but did you know you can grind up the eggshells and feed them back to the chickens? Break them up, and bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 10 minutes until they’re brittle.

Not only are eggshells abundant on most chicken farms, but they’re also a great source of calcium for your chickens.

4. Kale

Kale is a superfood for humans and has quite a few nutritional benefits for chickens too. If you’re looking for a nutritional boost for your chickens, consider adding kale to their diets.

chopped kale
Image Credit: Pixabay

5. Pumpkin

When the fall weather comes, so do the pumpkins! Whether you’re carving pumpkins or looking for ways to dispose of decorations, pumpkin is an excellent choice for chickens. It shouldn’t be a dietary staple, but it’s a great choice as a seasonal treat.

6. Apples

Apples are a slightly controversial food choice, but chickens love them and they provide plenty of health benefits. We recommend taking out the seeds to be on the safe side, but most chicken farmers agree that a few seeds won’t harm your chickens.

apples on a wooden table
Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

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The 4 Foods to Avoid Feeding Chickens

While you can feed most human foods to chickens, that doesn’t mean you can freely throw all your food scraps onto your chicken’s trough. Here are a few different food choices that you should never feed chickens.

1. Avocadoes

While avocados are tasty treats for humans, they’re highly toxic for most other animals, and chickens are no exception. This is especially true for avocado pits and skins, but we recommend playing it safe and keeping the whole fruit far away from chickens.

2. Chocolate/Candy

Both chocolates and candies have way too many ingredients that aren’t good for chickens. Chocolate in particular has theobromine, which is toxic for poultry. Candies are high in sugars and other ingredients that simply aren’t good for chickens. Do your chickens a favor and keep the sweets for yourself.

3. Green Potatoes

There’s nothing wrong with adding regular potatoes to your chicken’s diet, but if you have potatoes with green skins, keep them far away. Green potato skins contain solanine, which is toxic to chickens.

4. Dry Beans

If you cook beans, they’re perfectly fine for chickens. This has nothing to do with softening the beans or making them taste better. Instead, it’s all about cooking out the hemagglutinin. It’s present in dry beans and toxic for chickens.

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Final Thoughts

If you have a few extra beets in your kitchen, go ahead and feed them to your chickens. They provide many nutritional benefits and chickens seem to absolutely love them! Just ensure that you feed them a wide variety of foods in general, so you meet all their nutritional needs, not just the ones that beets provide.