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Can Chickens eat eggplant? Many chicken owners are asking this question whether chickens like eggplants or are toxic for them. Eggplant is not a common treat for kids but many backyard owners like to keep this option open.
It is not a popular veggie among human beings and is not liked for its taste. It is considered a vegetable but most people are unaware that it’s technically a fruit.
Every flock, breed, and individual chickens have their preferences and liking for a certain fruit, veggies, and snacks.
Eggplants, aubergine, or brinjal can be eaten by the chickens as they are fussy eaters and do not think twice about whether they should be eating certain treats or not.
Chickens are prone to sickness, therefore, they should only be given healthier treats. There are many concerns about feeding eggplants to chickens and many questions raised by them, is eggplant toxic for chickens? And how to safely feed it to chickens? Here’s everything you need to know about chickens eating eggplant.
Can Chickens Eat Eggplant?
Yes, chickens eat eggplant, this nutritionally dense fruit is safe for chickens to eat as it is for humans. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and we have been told time and again to stay away from them.
This rule is not as black and white as you believe and some members of this family can be eaten with some safety precautions.
It is an exceptionally good source of vitamins and minerals. From a nutritional and supplement standpoint, eggplants are rich in fiber and antioxidants and great for chickens.
It does give a nice vitamin boost but bears in mind that do not feed them too many eggplants or certain parts of the fruit that contains Solanine which can be potentially toxic to chickens and all living beings.
Do not make it a big part of their diet and only feed them once in a while to overcome certain deficiencies.
It is no doubt a nutritional fruit, you will find many medical and nutritional websites raving about the health benefits of eating eggplant. It has all the nutrients essential for a chicken’s growth.
Are Eggplants Toxic to Chickens?
Being a member of the nightshade family does not give it a good reputation. Most people want to stay away from feeding their animals with nightstand fruit or vegetables.
Eggplant defies the rule and is quite healthy for the chickens.
When carefully fed under strict supervision, no damage would be done.
One safety trick that you should swear by when feeding eggplant is avoiding all the green parts.
Poisonous Part of the Eggplant
Certain parts of the eggplants are toxic for chickens, so, they should not be fed to avoid unpleasant consequences.
The green parts contain solanine which is harmful to humans and chickens alike. These poisonous parts include leaves, stems, and calyx.
If the chicken eats the calyx or leaves of the eggplant, it is going to get sick.
It will cause a burning or flaming reaction to the throat. When eaten in access, excessive solanine will lead to vomiting, nausea, irregular beating of the heart, and in extreme cases, death.
It is even more detrimental to chicks and weak chickens. So, remove the green parts and leaves at the tip before feeding them.
Nutritional Content Of Eggplants
Eggplant is a powerhouse of different essential vitamins and minerals. It grows from a flowering plant and contains seeds.
It contains different amounts of vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, magnesium, thiamine, manganese, fiber, potassium, folate, and more.
The right amount of Vitamin B6 is important to maintain the healthy appetite of chickens. According to research, absence or deficiency of Vitamin B6, chickens become anemic, develop skeletal disorders, and exhibit nervous behavior.
If chickens are unhealthy or prone to sickness, it is because of the weak immune system. Antioxidants provide the essential boost to the immune system. Provide kiwi fruit to chickens for pure Antioxidant alternative.
Eggplant is rich in folic acid and it is essential for egg production. The right amount of eggplant intake will provide enough folic acid to increase egg production. You can feed papaya to chickens as a folate alternative.
Current studies show Phosphorus is crucial for egg development. It also metabolizes calcium.
It will provide chickens with enough potassium for muscle development and hydration. As per the NRC, a laying hen requires 150 mg of potassium per day. Raisin for chickens is also a good alternative to potassium.
It increases water uptake and reduces heat stress in chickens during hotter temperatures.
One cup of eggplant has 2.5 grams of fiber per serving. Chickens require about 10% fiber content in their diet.
Sufficient fiber intake boosts feed intake, aid in digestibility, and reduces feather pecking.
Chicken farmers know the value of copper and how important it is for their development.
It increases growth for meat consumption and decreases the overall cholesterol level. PLOS ONE published research that shows, With a copper deficiency, chickens have problems like anemia.
The deficiency of this element could lead to a decrease in appetite or neuromuscular disorder.
A lack of Thiamine also results in impaired digestion and affects their respiratory rate and body temperature.
Eggplant provides a sufficient supply of this essential element.
Manganese provided by eggplants can result in improved growth, bone development, and shell quality of the chickens.
How Much Should You Feed Eggplants to Chickens?
Eggplant is a nutritional fruit but that does not mean that it can replace the actual diet.
Like any other treat, it should only be given once a while in moderate quantity. 90% of the food intake of the flock should come from a quality commercial feed.
Whereas the 10% is attributed to veggies, fruits, and other foods. So, feed them eggplant once every week in a moderate amount.
How To Feed Eggplants to Chickens?
Make some preparations beforehand to feed your chickens with eggplant. If you do not want to put much effort, just throw it in front of the chicken after removing the poisonous parts like the stem and the leaves. Only serve the edible and healthy parts of the eggplant. There can be two ways to serve eggplants
It is better to cut the fruit into smaller cubes than to see the chickens struggle with it.
It comes in different sizes, and a lot of it will go to waste if not properly cut or served. Most chickens owners serve it raw.
Wash the eggplant thoroughly, cut it into small cubes, and serve them either alone or with other chicken foods and vegetables.
Chickens love fresh, cool eggplants, either hang them in the run or cut them into smaller halves and throw them out on the pasture.
Some chickens like cooked eggplants more because it does not have a bitter taste. Steam the eggplant and pour some salt.
Chickens would love to feast on the steamed or cooked eggplant.
However, do not try to serve fried and seasoned eggplant leftovers, frying the eggplant decreases the nutritional value and the seasoning used for eggplant delicacies can hurt the chickens.
Avoid serving eggplants that are heavily salted or mixed with spices and seasonings.
It is a healthy snack to give to chickens, no matter what you have been told. Remove the poisonous parts including stem, leaves, and calyx before serving them to the naive chickens. They would love to pick at the chilled flesh on a warmer day.
- Meta-analysis of the correlation between dietary copper supply and broiler performance
- Effects of Dietary Phosphorus Level on the Expression of Calcium and Phosphorus
- The effect of Vitamin B Complex Syrup on intestinal bacterial population in broiler chickens