Can Chickens Safely Feast on Colorful Forget Me Nots?

A Closeup of Forget-Me-Not (image by Hans, Pixabay)

Article Summary

  • Chickens can safely eat forget-me-nots in moderation, as these flowers belong to the borage family and offer various nutrients essential for chicken health.
  • While forget-me-nots are generally safe, moderation is important to prevent potential issues like loose droppings due to their diuretic effect from potassium nitrate.
  • Baby chickens under 12 weeks old should avoid such treats until they are fully feathered and older.

Forget me nots are a beloved garden flower known for their bright blue blossoms. But did you know these cheery plants may also make a nutritious snack for backyard chickens?

Read on to learn all about feeding forget-me-nots to chickens. We’ll cover the benefits and risks, which parts to offer, and how much to feed.

Is It Safe for Chickens to Gobble Up Forget Me Nots?

The short answer is yes, chickens can safely eat forget-me-nots in moderation. These edible blossoms contain many nutrients chickens need. Forget-me-nots belong to the borage family, which includes other chicken-safe plants like comfrey.

While the vibrant blooms are the tastiest part, chickens can eat all parts of the forget-me-not plant. The leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, and roots are all edible for clucking hens. This makes forget-me-nots a versatile foraging food.

Nutritional Perks: Why Peck at Forget Me Nots?

Fresh forget-me-nots offer lots of nutrition for chickens. The flowers contain these healthy compounds:

  • Vitamin C – Boosts immunity and health
  • Carotenoids – Antioxidants for growth and egg yolks
  • Flavonoids – Support cardiovascular health
  • Minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc – Essential for the development

Healthy compounds make forget-me-nots a nourishing supplement…

The edible blossoms also provide protein, fiber, and trace amounts of fat. This combination makes forget-me-nots a nourishing supplement to a flock’s diet.

Potential Risks: Can Too Many Be Troublesome?

While forget-me-nots are safe for chickens, moderation is still key. Eating too many may cause loose droppings. This is due to their diuretic effect from containing potassium nitrate.

It’s also best to offer forget me nots freshly picked or dried. Avoid feeding chickens commercially grown flowers, as these may contain pesticides. Wash the blooms thoroughly first.

Finally, introduce new treats slowly to watch for any allergic reactions. But overall, forget-me-nots are a low-risk, nutritious edible flower for chickens.

Pretty in Blue: The Most Edible Forget Me Not Varieties

There are over 500 species of forget-me-nots globally. But the varieties most suitable for chickens include:

  • Myosotis sylvatica – Common woodland forget-me-not
  • Myosotis scorpioides – True forget-me-not
  • Myosotis arvensis – Field forget-me-not

These edible species all produce blue flowers. They easily self-seed and spread in lawns and gardens, providing a renewable chicken treat.

Flower Power: The Most Nutritious Parts to Feed

While all parts of forget-me-nots are edible, the flowers pack the biggest nutritional punch.

The blooms contain the highest levels of vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. Focus on harvesting the fresh blue blossoms or drying them for storage.

NOTE

The leaves, stems, and seeds are okay, too, but less nutrient-dense. Feed them along with the flowers or on their own. Avoid the roots that may be tough to digest.

Feeding Guidelines: How Much is Too Much?

When offering forget-me-nots, moderation is key. Feed chickens no more than 1⁄4 cup of fresh blossoms per hen per day. Or provide 1-2 tablespoons of dried petals daily.

This quantity provides beneficial nutrition without overdoing it. Adjust amounts based on your flock’s size and needs. Observe your chickens after feeding to ensure proper digestion.

Simple Serving Suggestions: How to Feed These Flowers

Fortunately, chickens need no fancy recipes to enjoy nutritious forget me nots. Here are some easy serving ideas:

  • Scatter fresh blooms in their coop or run so hens can naturally forage.
  • Mix dried flowers into feed or scatter on top.
  • Offer freshly picked blossoms in a treat cup or directly in your hands.
  • Stuff flowers into a suet cage or hen treat ball.
  • Add petals into no-bake chicken treats or “chick” cookies.
A Field of Sky-Blue And Pink Forget-Me-Not Flowers (image by mariya_m, Pixabay)
A Field of Forget-Me-Nots

Have fun getting creative by combining these edible blossoms into your flock’s feed routine.

Establishing a Routine: How Often to Offer This Tasty Treat

Feed forget-me-nots no more than 2-3 times per week as a nutritious supplement. Chickens shouldn’t eat these flowers every day.

Begin slowly, offering them only once weekly. Monitor your flock’s health and manure consistency. Gradually increase frequency based on their tolerance up to 3x per week max.

This prevents potential diarrhea and maintains forget-me-nots as a special snack, not a daily diet staple. Aim for a variety of flower treats and moderation when feeding all treats.

From Chick to Hen: Can Baby Chickens Enjoy These Flowers?

Baby chickens under 12 weeks old should avoid most treats, including forget-me-nots. Their developing digestive systems are too delicate.

Wait until chicks are fully feathered and 12 weeks or older. Then, introduce a few petals mixed into the feed. Slowly increase until juveniles reach the 1⁄4 cup fresh or 1-2 tbsp dried daily serving sizes.

Chickens Grazing at a Backyard
Chickens Grazing in a Backyard

Following these tips allows chicks to safely enjoy small amounts of nutritious edible flowers as adults. Avoid feeding forget-me-nots to tender baby chick stomachs.

Forget me nots make a fun, safe treat that adds nutrition variety for backyard chickens. Follow the feeding tips in this article, and your flock will be able to safely enjoy these garden goodies. The vibrant blossoms will bring a touch of color while providing valuable compounds for your chickens’ health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are forget-me-nots safe for chickens to consume?

Yes, forget-me-nots are generally safe for chickens to consume in moderation. These delicate flowers are non-toxic and pose no immediate harm to chickens. However, it’s essential to offer them as a treat rather than a primary food source.

Are forget-me-nots poisonous to chickens?

No, forget-me-nots are not poisonous to chickens. These flowers are considered safe for consumption by poultry. As with any new food introduced to their diet, it’s advisable to observe the chickens for any adverse reactions and provide forget-me-nots in limited amounts.

Can forget-me-nots be included in a chicken’s regular diet?

While forget-me-nots are safe for chickens, they should not be a regular staple in their diet. Chickens require a balanced and diverse diet that includes grains, seeds, insects, and other vegetables. Forget-me-nots can be offered occasionally as a treat, but they should not replace essential components of a well-rounded chicken diet.

Are there specific types of forget-me-nots toxic to chickens?

No, there are no known types of forget-me-nots that are toxic to chickens. The common varieties of forget-me-nots, such as Myosotis sylvatica, are generally safe for poultry consumption. However, it’s crucial to accurately identify the specific type of forget-me-nots before offering them to chickens, and always introduce new foods gradually to monitor any potential adverse reactions.