Eggplant is a nightshade family member, so can chickens eat eggplant? The answer is yes, chickens can but in moderation.
However, this plant contains alkaloid compounds that may pose a risk to our flock. So there are precautionary measures you should know about, especially if your chickens can access your eggplant garden.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll discuss the following to give you insights:
- how chickens can benefit from eggplant
- what eggplant part is safe and poisonous for chickens
- how to feed eggplant to chickens
So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Can Chickens Eat Eggplant?
Yes, chickens can eat eggplant just like us humans. It’s one of the healthiest vegetables in boosting your chicken’s immune system, thanks to its nutrient-rich flesh.
It’s a source of vitamins and minerals to help your chicken grow bigger and healthy. And there are many ways to prepare to make your flocks enjoy it.
But are all parts of eggplants edible for chickens?
Can Chickens Eat Raw Eggplants?
Giving raw eggplants to your chickens is completely safe for them. These are not poisonous. So, you can directly give it to them.
However, an eggplant’s stem, leaves, and calyx contain a toxin called solanine that could be dangerous if taken.
Can Chickens Eat Eggplant Seeds?
Because eggplant seeds don’t have any toxic elements, it’s safe for your little critters. You can directly give it to them without removing the seeds.
However, if the eggplant is old or has been resting for a long time, the seeds will darken their color. Then they’ll turn bitter, so your chickens might discard them.
Can Chickens Eat Eggplant Skin?
The skin of an eggplant is also safe to eat, even for your flocks. Besides, it contains many Nasunin—a type of antioxidant good for your chickens.
These minerals help prevents damage to your chicken’s cell membrane. It also averts neuroinflammation and develops blood flow.
Can Chickens Eat Eggplant Peels?
Because peels can also define as skin, it has the same nature and nutritional content. If the skin of an eggplant is safe for your chickens, then so are the peels.
However, you should remove its green part because it’s poisonous.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Eggplant?
If raw eggplant is safe, it’s also safe even if it is cooked as long as it’s free from seasonings, spices, and salt. Too much seasoning content will harm your chickens.
If you want to cook it before serving, it’s better to steam it than fry it because the nutritional content will decline when fried.
Eggplants’ Nutritional Contents
Eggplants are not only delicious fruit but also healthy because of their nutritional content. So, here are the nutrients that your chickens can benefit from eggplants.
The antioxidant is an important element that helps boost your chicken’s immune system. It will help them prevent illness or diseases by being more productive and living healthily.
Another essential vitamin your chickens need to boost their immune system is vitamin C. Like antioxidants, this will help fight bad bacteria and viruses.
Folic acid plays an important role in egg production. Because eggplant has this nutrient, adding it to your hen’s diet can help them lay more eggs.
Phosphorus is one of the important components of the bone. It helps strengthen the bone’s structural and metabolic function and the chickens’ egg formation.
A sufficient amount of potassium in the chicken’s body helps improve its growth performance.
It also helps develop muscle and prevent dehydration, especially when the weather is hot.
Another compound that eggplant has is fiber. It helps prevent indigestion and improves the absorption of food in the small intestine. At least 10% of the fiber is enough for your chicken’s diet.
This vitamin is essential in synthesizing prothrombin. It is a type of protein that is produced by the liver. It helps the healthy mineralization of bone, improves the blood clotting mechanism, and protects your birds against coccidiosis.
Pyridoxine, commonly called vitamin B6, is another element you and your chickens can get from eggplant.
It plays a big role in metabolizing amino acids, increasing chicken’s appetite, and preventing anemia.
Thiamine, commonly known as vitamin B1, helps improve your chickens’ metabolic energy.
Lack of it will affect their development and normal growth, body temperature, and respiratory rate.
Copper is also essential for chicken’s eighth development and lowers its cholesterol level, making it ideal for meat production. Furthermore, the lack of copper makes chickens more prone to anemia.
The development of the chicken’s bones, shell quality, and growth rely on manganese which is also present in eggplants.
The development of hens’ bones and neurological systems depends on niacin. Niacin is also in charge of transforming different nutrients into useful energy.
Related: Can Chickens Eat Lemons?
What Part of Eggplant is Poisonous to Chickens
Is eggplant toxic to birds? As mentioned earlier, chickens can eat eggplants except for the stems, leaves, and calyx.
Since this vegetable belongs to the nightshade family, the green parts of these plants contain a toxic element called solanine.
These toxic substance act as a defense mechanism of the plants from their predators. And, of course, as humans, we can initiate ways to prevent this substance by removing them.
However, your chickens don’t have that ability. So, they need you to remove the green parts of the eggplants before they can enjoy it.
If your chicken accidentally eats those parts, especially the leaves and calyx, they will feel burning in their throat.
But, too much consumption of the toxic could result in serious problems. So, how does it affect your chickens?
Effects of Solanine on the Chicken’s Body
Once you or your chickens accidentally take the toxic parts of the eggplant, you may experience neurological or gastrointestinal disorders.
Below are the serious problems that your chicken might experience after ingesting solanine:
Drooling or salivation don’t happen in chickens because they have little saliva in their mouth. However, if this happens, it means there’s something wrong with their body.
They might have taken a lot of solanine in their body, so they need immediate veterinary action.
Your chickens may also feel weak, lethargic, uninterested in foraging, and often sleep after ingesting solanine.
In this case, they may need medication or supplements that help boost their energy.
Abnormal droppings of your chickens mean they’re suffering from diarrhea. It happens when a toxic substance like solanine disturbs the balance of good and bad bacteria.
To help them recover, consult your veterinarian for proper medication.
If your chicken feels weak and loses their appetite, it might be due to the solanine it accidentally took.
It is the most common sign when they feel something wrong inside their body. So, you need experts to give immediate responses to their problems.
Trouble in Breathing
The solanine from the green parts of an eggplant can be a dangerous element that can cause difficulty breathing because it might affect your chicken’s respiratory system.
If not given immediate care, too much consumption of that toxic solanine can lead to sudden death. So, you should be more considerate and keep an eye on your chicken’s health.
How Many Eggplant Should Chickens Eat
Eggplant consumption must not exceed 10% of the chicken’s overall diet. Chickens can obtain more nutrients when they forage for food in the ground.
However, if you give them a large amount of eggplant, they will not seek more food since they are already full. And inadequate nutrient intake will lead to weight loss for hens.
How to Feed Eggplants to Chickens
You need to prepare eggplant properly before giving it to your chickens. Although healthy and nutritious, eggplants do contain certain harmful elements.
The leaves and the stem are among these components. Before serving to hens, they should be taken out.
When offering eggplants to chickens, it is advisable to chop them in half because of their various sizes. It can be placed on grass with the cut side up so chickens can peck at the eggplant.
Additionally, hanging it will allow the chicken to gnaw on the skin. And others might opt to chop the chicken into pieces and combine it with other chicken dishes or veggies.
Fresh vegetables are a favorite chicken food, particularly on hot summer days, because it helps them stay cool as a result.
You can boil the eggplants because some chickens enjoy eating them well-cooked. The bitter taste of eggplant is eliminated during cooking, making steamed eggplant an excellent choice.
Never season the served eggplant with salt. Giving eggplants to our flocks can be done in numerous ways.
The only thing to consider is giving your leftover eggplant to your hens. Seasonings in certain delectable eggplant dishes can be detrimental to your chicken.
Furthermore, the eggplant loses nutrients when it is fried. Whatever your choices are, the chickens will still consume the eggplant’s peel, meat, and seeds.
Other Vegetables That Are Toxic for Chickens
Your chicken flocks like treats and explores the yard, searching for trees, flowers, bugs, and juicy worms. They also eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
However, you have to ensure they won’t have access to your garden containing the following plants to avoid adverse health effects.
Plants in Nightshade Family
Species of plants belong to the nightshade family, like potatoes and tomatoes. These plants are classified as Solanaceae in Latin.
This is due to the presence of a substance called solanine in them. Chickens get poisoned by this. However, the chemical can be broken down if the plant is cooked.
So you may normally feed your chickens any cooked tomatoes or potatoes. If you are concerned, stop giving these things to your chickens.
The skin and pits of avocados contain a toxin called persin, which causes myocardial necrosis, a condition where the heart of your chicken will stop beating.
However, it’s healthy, and a little bit of it is safe, so chickens can eat avocado in tiny amounts. But too much can be fatal.
Apple seeds contain cyanide, which can cause digestive issues and other adverse health effects. Any other apple component is okay as long as you remove the seeds.
Onions can sometimes be fatal or induce anemia or jaundice when fed in large quantities. This is due to thiosulphate, which kills red blood cells.
While citrus fruits are unlikely to kill your chickens, they reduce egg output. Giving citrus in moderation or modest amounts is always preferable.
Raw or Dried Beans
Chickens can eat green beans, but they contain hemagglutinin is present in uncooked beans and can be fatal to your chickens. The worst offenders are kidney beans.
Given that the leaves and pits of this fruit are poisonous to hens, it is recommended to avoid giving your chickens apricots or allowing them to forage beneath an apricot tree.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eggplants and Chickens
Is eggplant poisonous to animals?
Animals like dogs and chickens can eat eggplant in moderation, but chickens must avoid the leaves and calyx, which contain solanine, a toxin that can cause serious problems in birds. But other parts of eggplant are safe for bird consumption.
Can chickens eat overripe eggplant?
The eggplant is still safe for chickens, even if it’s overripe.
But if you notice that the outside has lost its luster and looks wrinkly, and the flesh inside is already slimy and brown with black seeds, avoid feeding them to your flock.
Rotten or spoiled eggplant can cause adverse effects on your bird.
Can chickens eat eggplant stems?
Eggplant stems, leaves, and calyx contain an alkaloid called solanine which is harmful to chickens, so chickens shouldn’t eat these parts.
But the good news is they can eat the flesh but in moderation.
Is eggplant bad for chickens?
Raw eggplants aren’t bad for chickens! In fact, they’re healthy and beneficial for your birds because they’re rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, and phosphorus.
They also contain vitamins K and B6, thiamine, copper, manganese, and niacin.
Final Recap: Can Chickens Eat Eggplant?
To sum up, chickens can eat eggplant, except for the leaves, stem, and calyx, which contain the solanine toxin.
So make sure to remove them before feeding them to your bird.
Like any other nutritious treat, it’s important to feed them in moderation. You can serve them raw or cooked eggplants but avoid adding seasoning, salt, and spices.
Keeping those tips in mind, your chickens can benefit from eggplants without adverse health effects.