- Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a vegetable with glossy, egg-shaped fruit, and its flesh is not inherently dangerous to chickens.
- The edible pulp of eggplant is over 90% water and contains valuable nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and antioxidant compounds like nasunin.
- In small amounts, eggplant can be a healthy treat for chickens, providing hydration and essential vitamins without significantly increasing calorie intake.
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a common vegetable grown in many home gardens. Its glossy, egg-shaped fruit comes in a range of colors from deep purple to white. But is this nutritious nightshade safe for chickens to eat? Here’s what you need to know about feeding eggplant to backyard chickens.
Are Eggplants Good for Chickens?
Eggplant flesh is not inherently dangerous to chickens. In fact, it contains some valuable nutrients. The edible pulp of eggplant consists of over 90% water, as well as fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and antioxidant compounds like nasunin.
So in small amounts, eggplant can make a healthy treat for chickens. It provides hydration and important vitamins without significantly boosting calories.
Is Raw Eggplant Poisonous to Chickens?
While the flesh is fine, there are some parts of raw eggplant that can be problematic for chickens.
The skin and leaves contain solanine, a natural insecticide and fungicide that protects the plant. Solanine is toxic to chickens at high doses. It’s found in highest concentrations in green parts of the plant, especially young leaves and stems.
NOTEThe small, edible seeds inside the eggplant fruit also contain a small amount of solanine. So allowing chickens to eat lots of raw eggplant seeds could potentially cause solanine poisoning.
Is Cooked Eggplant Okay for Chickens?
Luckily, solanine breaks down when heated. So thoroughly cooking eggplant makes it safe for chickens to eat.
Boiling, baking, or roasting eggplant will destroy the solanine, making the flesh, skin, and seeds harmless to chickens. You can toss cooked eggplant pieces directly into the coop as a snack.
Just avoid feeding chickens burnt or spoiled sections, as those may contain different toxic compounds. And stick to cooked eggplant in moderation, since too much can cause loose droppings.
What Part of the Eggplant Can Chickens Eat?
To safely share your homegrown eggplants with backyard chickens:
- Flesh – Remove the skin and chop the raw pulp into bite-sized pieces. Cook before feeding to chickens.
- Seeds – Roast or boil eggplant before feeding seeds to break down solanine. Only offer a few at a time.
- Leaves/Stems – Do not feed chickens these parts raw. Cook mature plant parts to remove toxins.
- Peels – Peels are fine to feed after cooking. Just avoid uncooked peels, which have the most solanine.
- Flowers – The pretty purple flowers are edible for chickens both raw or cooked.
By preparing eggplant appropriately, you can let your flock enjoy the benefits of this nutritious garden veggie. Just never feed chickens large amounts of raw eggplant or its leaves. A few tasted of cooked eggplant flesh or roasted seeds make a great supplement to their regular balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can hens eat raw eggplant?
While hens can eat cooked eggplant, it’s not recommended to feed them raw eggplant. Raw eggplant contains solanine, a naturally occurring toxin that can be harmful to chickens. Cooking the eggplant helps break down this toxin, making it safer for consumption.
What vegetables can chickens not eat?
Chickens should avoid certain vegetables, including those from the nightshade family, such as raw potatoes and tomato leaves. Other vegetables like onions and leeks can also be harmful. It’s essential to keep these vegetables out of their diet to ensure their well-being.
What food is toxic for chickens?
Several foods are toxic to chickens and should be avoided. These include avocados, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and anything spoiled or moldy. It’s crucial to be aware of these toxic foods and keep them away from chickens to prevent health issues.