Endemic to the central parts of Asia and north-eastern Iran, garlic is a member of the allium family that has been used both in the seasoning of food as well as traditional medicine for decades. Even today, it is commonly used in most households as a health supplement. But can these herbs be fed to chickens as well? That’s what we aim to explore in this article.
Can chickens eat garlic? Yes, chickens can eat garlic as part of a healthy diet and are very accepting of this pungent ingredient. The naturally occurring antibiotic properties in garlic make it a great ally in the battle against illness and disease and for promoting optimal health.
Rich in vitamins, minerals, and many other properties, garlic is just as beneficial for your feathered pets as they are for you. The best way to feed them garlic is to mix crushed cloves of it in their feed, water, or even in oil. However, too much garlic can result in high levels of thiosulphate in their body, which can, in turn, lead them to diseases such as anemia and jaundice.
Below, we are going to discuss various aspects of feeding garlic to chickens: its nutritional composition, health benefits, downsides, preparation, serving ideas, and more.
Is garlic healthy for chickens?
Being an herb, garlic is as popular for its medicinal benefits as its flavor, if not more. But can your feathered pets benefit from it as well? And are there any risks involved with feeding garlic to chickens? Let’s find out:
We will begin by talking about the benefits first. In order to learn the benefits of garlic for chickens, we are going to take a look at their nutritional composition first:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.7 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.569 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||1.235 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||3 mcg|
|Vitamin C||31.2 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||181 mg|
|Iron, Fe||1.7 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||25 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||1.672 mg|
|Potassium, K||401 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||153 mg|
|Sodium, Na||17 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||1.16 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.1 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
As the table indicates, the presence of all the aforementioned vitamins and minerals in garlic is what makes them so healthy for all animals. However, let’s narrow down to talk about garlic’s advantages for chickens’ health:
- Garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiprotozoal, and antimicrobial properties along with a substantial amount of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which is how it can help your chickens in fighting against all kinds of pathogens in their environment. In other words, it is an ideal herb for their immune health.
- Garlic can be used as an effective antibiotic as it targets the harmful bacteria in your chicken’s body. Thus, if your pets are sick, giving them garlic might accelerate their healing process.
- If your chickens are becoming underweight due to their unwillingness to eat, garlic might help as it can stimulate their appetite.
- Garlic contains Allicin, a naturally occurring element that can change the taste of your chickens’ blood so that the red mites are not attracted to it. These herbs can, therefore, be used as a natural red mite deterrent for them.
- You can also apply garlic paste to your chickens’ wounds or abrasions, for it has antiseptic properties.
- Some studies have also shown that garlic can not only improve the size and quality of chickens’ eggs but also reduce the bad cholesterol in their body effectively.
- Since garlic is claimed to improve chickens’ respiratory health, you can use it to give your pets garlic-infused steam as well.
In light of all the advantages garlic has for your chickens, the risks involved are very few. And even these wouldn’t become a concern for you if you’re feeding them garlic in moderation. However, if they’re eating too many cloves of garlic, these are the things you should be worried about:
- Although there is little scientific evidence to back this up, many chicken-owners have claimed that if their chickens eat garlic too often, its taste gets infused in their eggs, making them slightly bitter.
- Garlic, like all the other members of the allium family, contains thiosulphate. Thiosulphate is a natural compound that can destroy the red blood cells in your chickens’ bodies when consumed in large quantities. This could easily lead your pets to diseases such as anemia and jaundice.
This is why it is essential that you follow moderation while feeding garlic to your feathered pets so that they can gain all its benefits without having to suffer from any of its downsides.
How to feed garlic to chickens?
If you are about to introduce garlic to your chickens’ diet for the first time, it is only natural to wonder how to go about it. But we’ve got you. Given below are some pointers that might come in handy when you feed garlic to your chickens:
- Garlic is one of those veggies that are most nutritious in their rawest form. So, you must always feed them to your chickens raw.
- When garlic is crushed, all its antioxidants are released and can be absorbed easily. This is why you should always prefer to feed them crushed garlic. Moreover, the benefits of the crushed garlic begin to lessen after the first 24 hours, so make sure to feed these to your pets before that.
- When your chickens are new to garlic, you should sprinkle chopped garlic into their regular feed. However, once they have gotten used to their taste, you can also feed them these separately.
- If your chickens are displaying signs of weakness or losing appetite, you can mix half a clove of chopped garlic in their feed every day until they are healthy again.
- In order to save time and effort, many chicken owners have purchased garlic powders for their pets and claim to have similar results. So, if prepping garlic for them is a problem for you, you can opt for their powdered form as well.
Practicing moderation with feeding garlic to chickens
When it comes to your pet’s diet, there is always an optimal quantity of everything you feed them, including garlic. If you stick to this quantity, it will enable your pets to make the most of their food.
As far as garlic is concerned, there are three ways in which you can feed these herbs to your chickens: with their food, water, and oil.
If you’re mixing garlic with their regular feed, you should do so twice a week. Take a clove of garlic, and either chop it finely or grate it before mixing it into the feed. In the case of water, if you give them water by the liter, a single clove would be enough. However, for a gallon of water, you will need four cloves. For one liter of oil, you can use half of a garlic clove.
Is it okay for baby chickens to eat garlic?
Have you noticed how having baby chicks in your yard suddenly makes you more concerned about their health and diet?
Although it is natural to be careful towards the need of your younger pets, as far as garlic are concerned, they are completely safe as long as you’re feeding them these veggies in moderation.
You can begin by mixing small portions of crushed garlic cloves in their water initially. It might take the chicks more time to get used to garlic’s taste than the adults, so you will need to be patient.
Frequently asked questions
Can I feed eggshells to chickens? Yes, you can certainly feed eggshells to chickens. These shells are rich in calcium, and since chickens need a lot of calcium in the process of egg-laying, they can benefit from them.
Should I feed milk to my chickens? No. Feeding milk to your chickens is a bad idea because they are lactose intolerant, i.e., they lack the enzymes that are required to break down milk or other dairy products. Feeding them milk can result in digestive problems like diarrhea.
Which plants are good for the chickens’ health? Plants like marigold, sunflower, nasturtiums, lavender, and echinacea can be a great addition to your garden if you have pet chickens; they will make your garden appear colorful and alive, and are also great for the health of your feathered pets.
Why could my chickens be eating their feathers?
Although you should expect occasional feather-eating from your chickens as it is their typical behavior, if they’re eating their feathers excessively, one of the following reasons could be behind it:
- The lack of protein in their diet
- Stress from excessive bullying or overheating in their coop.
Conclusion: Can chickens eat garlic?
Chickens are some of the most common animals. Although they have been domesticated, their breed from jungle fowls still remains. They are one of the earliest avian species to be domesticated by humans, along with ducks and geese.
Humans were not only attracted to chickens for their meat and eggs, but also for their fighting, watching, and cock-fighting purposes. Chickens help prevent infestation by insects or any pest on fields and plants. They are not just confined in domestic homes; they can also be seen in parks, farms, chicken coops, pet shops, and even backyard parties.
To sum it up, chickens can safely eat garlic in moderation.
Garlic has many health benefits for chickens: it can strengthen their immune health, improve the quality of their eggs, and enhance their appetite. However, due to the presence of thiosulphate in these veggies, your chickens should not overfeed on them. Thiosulphate in large quantities can destroy their red blood cells and ultimately result in diseases like anemia and jaundice.
If your chickens are new to garlic, begin by mixing garlic in their regular feed to get them used to their taste. After a while, you can also feed them crushed garlic cloves separately.