Can Chickens Eat Arugula? The Complete Guide for Chicken Owners

Fresh Arugula Leaves in a Pan (photo by Daniel Vincek)

Article Summary

  • Arugula is safe and beneficial for chickens, as it contains essential nutrients that support various aspects of chicken health, including immunity, bone health, vision, and egg production.
  • Chickens can eat all parts of the arugula plant, but it’s recommended to chop or shred raw or cooked arugula into smaller pieces for easier consumption.
  • While arugula seeds are nutritious, they should be given in moderation due to their higher fat content.

Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, is a leafy green vegetable with a peppery, nutty flavor. This nutrient-dense food has seen a surge in popularity over the last decade, becoming a staple ingredient in salads and on pizza.

But can chickens eat arugula too? Let’s take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of feeding this zesty green to your flock.

Is Arugula Safe for Chickens to Eat?

The short answer is yes, arugula is perfectly safe and even beneficial for chickens to eat.

Arugula contains high levels of vitamins A, C, K, folate, and various antioxidants. These nutrients support chickens’ immune systems, bone health, vision, and more.

Arugula also provides digestive-aiding fiber, as well as small amounts of protein and calcium. The minerals iron, manganese, and phosphorus found in arugula promote healthy blood, bones, and egg production.

…iron, manganese, and phosphorus found in arugula promote healthy blood, bones, and egg production.

Furthermore, arugula is low in fat and calories. There are no toxic compounds or anything that could cause adverse effects in chickens.

So, arugula gets top marks in terms of nutrition and safety for chickens. Let’s look at the many health perks this zesty green offers.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Arugula for Chickens

Here are some of the top ways arugula supports chickens’ health:

  • Boosts immunity – The vitamins A, C, and K, and antioxidants in arugula aid chickens’ immune function and ability to fight disease.
  • Supports vision – Arugula’s vitamin A promotes good eyesight in chickens.
  • Promotes bone health – The vitamin K in arugula helps with calcium absorption for strong bones.
  • Supports egg production – The folate, manganese, and other B vitamins in arugula promote healthy reproductive systems.
  • Promotes circulation – Arugula contains iron needed for healthy blood and circulation.
  • Aids digestion – The fiber in arugula keeps chickens’ digestive tracts healthy.
  • Provides nourishment – Arugula delivers an array of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients to support overall health.

So by providing nutrients that target immunity, bones, eggs, circulation, digestion, and more, arugula is a valuable addition to chickens’ diets.

Can Chickens Eat Arugula Raw?

Absolutely! In fact, feeding arugula raw is ideal for preserving the most nutrients. It is an excellent choice to add to your flock due to its peppery taste.

Raw arugula retains higher levels of vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds compared to cooking.

Chickens’ digestive systems are designed to handle raw leafy greens without any issues.

You can chop or mince raw arugula leaves to make them easier for chickens to digest. But there’s no need to cook arugula to make it safe for chickens to eat.

Is Cooked Arugula Okay for Chickens Too?

While raw is best, cooked arugula is also fine for chickens to eat.

RECOMMENDATION

Cook arugula lightly (like steaming or sautéing) to retain a decent amount of nutrients. Avoid boiling these greens, as this causes more nutrient loss.

Feeding chickens cooked arugula along with raw provides nutritional variety. It also allows you to use up any arugula you have left over from human meals.

So, feel free to toss chopped, steamed, or lightly sautéed arugula from the kitchen. Just be sure it’s cooled down first to prevent throat burns.

Which Parts of Arugula Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat all parts of the arugula plant, including:

  • Leaves – The dark green, lobed arugula leaves are the most commonly eaten part. They contain most of arugula’s beneficial nutrients.
  • Stems – The pale stems of arugula provide fiber and crunch. They are safe and nutritious for chickens.
  • Flowers – Arugula flowers add color and flavor. The blossoms attract chickens to the plant.
  • Seeds – Mature arugula seeds are another tasty edible part of the plant. They can be sprouted for extra nutrition.
A Closeup View of Arugula Seedling (image by kaboompics)
Arugula Seedling

So feel free to serve up arugula leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds. Just avoid feeding large amounts of the seeds, as they contain more fat.

Can Baby Arugula Be Fed to Chickens Too?

Baby arugula is a young, small-leafed variety perfect for chickens.

The tender baby leaves are easier for chickens to digest than mature arugula. Baby arugula has a milder, less spicy taste as well.

Nutritionally, baby arugula contains similar high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as regular arugula.

The tiny young leaves can be fed raw right from the garden. Or lightly cook baby arugula as an extra soft treat.

Either way, baby arugula makes an excellent healthy snack or supplement for chickens of all ages.

How Should You Feed Arugula to Your Flock?

Here are some tips for safely feeding arugula to chickens:

  • Chop or shred larger arugula leaves into bite-sized pieces for easier eating and digestion.
  • Mix a few handfuls of chopped arugula into the chickens’ regular feed to add flavor and nutrition.
  • Offer arugula free choice in a separate feeding station, so chickens can nibble as wanted.
  • Scatter arugula leaves, flowers, and sprouts across the run or coop floor as a foraging activity.
  • Stuff whole arugula leaves into hanging greens baskets or nets for chickens to peck at.
  • Serve arugula in moderation along with a balanced diet. About 1-2 cups of chopped arugula per chicken weekly is a good amount.

Following these tips will keep your flock interested in arugula while preventing waste or overeating.

What Is the Recommended Feeding Frequency?

Feeding arugula 1-3 times per week is ideal for most backyard chickens. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Broiler chickens can enjoy arugula daily with no issues.
  • Laying hens benefit from arugula 2-3 times per week for nutritional variety.
  • Chicks can start enjoying chopped arugula once fully feathered, 1-2 times weekly.
  • Avoid feeding arugula daily long-term, as chickens may grow bored of it.

Monitor your chickens’ interest level when introducing arugula. Increase or reduce frequency based on their enthusiasm and manure consistency.

Aim to offer a diversity of leafy greens over the course of each week to provide balanced nutrition. Arugula perfectly complements other veggies like kale, lettuce, parsley, and more.

Can Baby Chicks Enjoy Arugula Too?

Once chicks are fully feathered at 4-6 weeks old, they can start enjoying chopped arugula in moderation.

The high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content of arugula supports chicks’ rapid growth and development.

Baby Chicks on Top of a Hay
Baby Chicks on Top of The Hay

Focus on feeding chicks starter feed as their dietary staple. Then add a few bites of chopped raw arugula once or twice weekly for a nutritional boost.

Hold off on feeding arugula to younger unfeathered chicks. Their sensitive digestive systems aren’t equipped to handle greens until 4-6 weeks of age.

With its tasty flavor and abundant nutrients, arugula makes a great first green for newly feathered chicks learning to forage.

So, in summary, yes – chickens of all ages can safely enjoy nutritious arugula as part of a balanced diet. Feed this tangy leafy green in moderation—as such with any plant supplement to your birds’ diet—raw, cooked, or sprouted for optimal nutrition and flock health. Arugula gives chickens’ meals a flavorful kick while providing many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Both you and your feathered friends are sure to be fans of this garden goodie.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can chickens eat bolted arugula?

Yes, chickens can eat bolted arugula. Bolted arugula refers to arugula that has started to produce a flower stalk. While the texture and taste of bolted arugula might differ slightly from younger leaves, it remains a safe and nutritious treat for chickens. Just ensure that the arugula has not been treated with any pesticides or chemicals that could be harmful to the chickens.

Can chickens eat arugula seeds?

Yes, chickens can eat arugula seeds. Arugula seeds are a nutritious and safe option for chickens. They can be given as a treat or as part of their regular diet. Arugula seeds are rich in essential nutrients and can provide additional variety to the chickens’ diet. However, as with any treat, moderation is key, and it’s essential to ensure that the seeds are free from any contaminants or chemicals.

Can chickens eat arugula leaves?

Yes, chickens can eat arugula leaves. Arugula leaves are a great source of vitamins and minerals for chickens. They can be fed fresh or cooked, depending on the preference. Arugula leaves provide a nutritious addition to the chickens’ diet and can be a tasty treat. However, it’s essential to avoid feeding arugula leaves that have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, as these can be harmful to the chickens.

Can chickens eat arugula flowers?

Yes, chickens can eat arugula flowers. Arugula flowers are not only safe but can also provide additional nutrients and variety to the chickens’ diet. They can be offered fresh or dried as a treat. Arugula flowers have a mild, peppery flavor similar to the leaves, making them a tasty and nutritious option for chickens. As always, ensure that the arugula flowers are free from any pesticides or chemicals before feeding them to the chickens.