Before feeding your chickens vegetable treats, including celery, spend a moment to find out if this type of snack is safe for them to eat. Feeding your chickens nutritionally-balanced foods is one of the best ways of keeping them happy, active, and healthy. Dr. Jess explains below…. Can chickens eat celery safely?
What Do Chickens Normally Eat?
Some chickens aren’t too picky about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you try to give them – but that’s not every chicken.
Some chickens are pickier than others. Their like little feathery children in that respect!
A normal or common backyard chicken diet consists mainly of commercial dry feed and grit, otherwise your chickens could end up having problems properly digesting their food without these as the main part of their diet.
There is also foraging if the chickens are allowed to roam, and treats!
For treats or snacks, most chickens favor foods like mealworms, seeds, and berries.
Good… now that the celery talk is out of the way, we can move on….
Naw, I’m kidding.
Let’s talk about what celery is here for just a second. It’ll help us determine if it is acceptable to our chicken friends or not.
Celery is a vegetable that has long been used in cooking. Most times, the thick, crisp, fibrous stalk is the part consumed.
It is in the same family as parsnips, parsley, and carrots.
Celery stalk is long and tough, tapering to bright green leaves at its top.
Celery contains many different types of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins A, B, C, and K.
It contains Phosphorus and Magnesium.
It’s got fiber. It’s got water.
All these things are fine for chickens to consume in small amounts so far, so……
Can Chickens Eat Celery?
Yes, chickens CAN eat celery.
The real question though, should be…. SHOULD chickens eat celery?
Find out if chickens can eat mushrooms too!
Do Chickens Like Celery?
This is huge! Chickens may not like celery, it may not be their favorite treat.
Celery can be a more bland vegetable compared to other veggie treats that they may already be accustomed to tasting and celery is a little harder for them to eat, being a more fibrous vegetable than many others.
Please also keep in mind that chickens do not have teeth.
They can’t break up celery in their mouths like other animals with a full set of sharp or grinding teeth – celery can be very tough, stringy, and hard to eat.
If that’s the only treat that you are handing out, they may eat it just because or they may just walk away from it all together.
A trick that I have learned through the years that you can use to get your chickens to eat celery is to chop it up and add it to other delicious treats that you know that they love – they won’t even realize that it’s in the mix.
It’ll be gobbled up in no time!
Should Chickens Eat Celery?
Your chickens should have no problems eating small pieces of celery in moderation as a treat, while they are being supervised.
Read on to understand the potential benefits of feeding celery to chickens and how to safely feed celery to chickens.
Is Celery Healthy For Chickens To Eat?
Celery provides many healthy qualities to chickens, including:
- Low Calorie
- Contains anti-inflammatory properties
- Is 95% water (great for hydration!)
- Calcium (needed to make strong shells for healthy eggs)
- Vitamins A, C, and K and Riboflavin (needed for immunity, growth, maintenance, etc.)
How to Feed Chickens Celery:
Your chickens require a well-balanced diet to live a happy, healthy life with you.
Chickens can eat celery and other kitchen scraps in moderation, but their main source of nutrition should be from their commercial feed give to them as well as when they forage for bugs and plants.
When you do feed your chicken celery, there are few things to keep in mind and do to ensure that your pet bird stays safe and healthy:
1. Has the Celery Expired?
First of all, check it’s still in date and fresh. Do not feed your chickens anything that you wouldn’t eat yourself!
The possible mold and toxins that grow on old, expired, or moldy foods are potentially very harmful to your birds.
2. Bite-Sized Pieces
Celery is long and stringy. This can cause problems for your chickens because remember, they live without teeth to break and chew things up.
You can either chop it up into small pieces or finely dice it so it’s easy for them to peck at and ingest.
Once in their crop, the celery should be fine, as long as you gave them small pieces and supplied your chickens with adequate grit in their diets.
Chickens can get impacted crops if they eat something their bodies are not used to digesting or cannot digest, including large pieces of fibrous celery.
- fresh store-bought celery
- cutting board
- kitchen vegetable knife
- Clean the celery stalks to remove debris, dirt, and to inspect for parasites and other pathogens.
- Cut the celery into bite-sized pieces.
- Fed celery in moderation. Moderation is 1-2 small pieces in one feeding. You may need to mix the celery with other vegetables for the chickens to eat.
Contact your veterinarian before changing your pet's diet to make sure that it is the best choice for your pet.
3. Moderation is Key!
If your chickens are loving their celery treats, that’s great.
However, don’t get too excited and overfeed them this snack.
Celery, fed in small pieces, needs to be given in moderation. Moderation is 1-2 small pieces in one feeding and it will usually involve being mixed with other vegetables too.
Remember that celery treats should remain optional in their diet and not a replacement for your chicken’s well-balanced, regular diet with adequate nutrition.
Too many treats might cause them to refuse to eat their regular food. This may result in an unhealthy or sick bird.
Can Celery Be Harmful To Chickens?
Celery is very stringy and fibrous and can get caught up in the chicken’s crop, basically a storage area for food inside the chicken’s body.
This is the reason for cutting or chopping the celery up into smaller pieces.
When a chicken’s crop becomes impacted with food (or other foreign material swallowed by the chicken), the food being stored inside the crop cannot move down the digestive tract into the proventriculus to further digested.
If the impaction is not cleared naturally or with the help from your local veterinarian, then your chicken can succumb to some major health problems and eventually death if not treated successfully.
Bird’s suffering from an impacted crop may show signs of:
- a tender, tight, or firm crop
- lethargic (decreased energy) or weak bird
- putrid odor coming from bird’s mouth
- crop being very full, high on the chest, or very full off to one side.
Chickens can have small pieces of fresh celery in moderation and under supervision.
Celery should always be treated as a snack and not as a major part of the chicken’s over-all diet.
Some chickens will like the celery treat, while others will need it mixed in with more tasty treats in order to eat it.
Celery provides a lot of different nutritional value to it’s consumption, but can also be problematic if not served in small pieces as chickens do not have teeth to help break down large pieces of the fibrous vegetable, which can get stuck and impacted inside the crop.
If you have concerns with feeding your pet chicken celery or you think your chicken may have a crop impaction, contact your local veterinarian immediately!