Let’s face it. You enjoy watching your chickens gobble up whatever you give to them. It makes sense that you would want to know what foods are safe and which ones aren’t. The good news is that there are far more treats that do your chickens good than those that could harm them. But what about vegetables like celery? Can chickens eat celery and is it safe? The answer is yes, chickens can eat celery, but it doesn’t always mean that they will want it.
What is Celery?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of chickens eating celery, let’s first talk about the plant. Celery is herbaceous and comes from a family that also contains fennel, carrots, dill, and parsley. There are a couple of versions of celery, including the roots, called celeriac. Some celery is grown for the stalks, while others are used for the leaves and the roots. All of these are edible.
The celery plant produces fibrous stalks that are aromatic, juicy, and have a grassy flavor. Some people may even describe the scent or flavor of celery as salty, bitter, or spicy. Because of the scent, it is called “aromatic,” the same as carrots and onions. In cooking, the use of onions, carrots, and celery makes a delicious mirepoix. Cajun cuisine believes that onions, peppers, and celery are a holy trinity of flavors.
Do Chickens Like Celery?
Chickens are usually not too picky about what they eat, which sometimes ends them up in the veterinarian’s office. Whatever you give a chicken, it will most likely try. However, there are some chickens who will turn their beak up at the morsels others happily take. That is because chickens have personalities, as well as individual likes and dislikes. It is a little bit like that for celery.
This video shows chickens chowing down on both celery and lettuce:
Which parts of celery are the best for chickens to eat? Let’s find out:
You know the dense leafy parts on top of the stalks of celery? That is the part that your chickens are going to want the most. Celery leaves are full of nutrients, including calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Plus, celery leaves are softer and more easy to digest. Whatever celery greens you have to give to your chickens will not go to waste like other parts.
The roots of celery are called celeriac, and this is also safe for chickens to eat. Prior to offering celeriac to your chickens, make sure there is no growth. The roots are slightly softer than the stalks but not as juicy or tender as the leaves. Chickens, however, prefer the roots over the hardest part of the celery.
Can chickens eat celery stalks? They definitely can! However, anyone who has eaten a celery stalk knows how tough they can be to eat. Although humans like that crunch of celery, chickens are far less enthused. If you give a chicken a whole celery stalk, they might peck at it a few times; the stalk is more likely to get trampled. If you want to give your flock some celery stalks, chop it up into smaller pieces.
The Health Benefits of Celery for Chickens
Celery is extremely healthy for chickens. Not a single part of the celery plant is toxic to them, meaning that you can mix together stalks, roots, and leaves into your chicken’s feed. They may not always been too keen on eating it, but when they do, these are the benefits your chickens are getting from celery:
Nutrition Profile of Celery
In 100 grams of celery (that’s more than you would give a single hen) are the following nutrients, vitamins, and minerals:
- Calories: 14 calories
- Water: 95.4 grams
- Protein: 0.69 g
- Carbohydrates: 2.97 g
- Fat: 0.17 g
- Fiber: 1.6 g
- Sugar: 1.34 g
- Vitamin C: 3.1 mg
- Vitamin K: 29.3 ug
- Potassium: 260 mg
- Iron: 0.2 mg
- Manganese: 0.103 mg
- Magnesium: 11 mg
- Sodium: 80 mg
- Folate: 36 ug
- Phosphorus: 24 mg
Celery Strengthens Immunity
Having seen all the vitamins and minerals found within celery, it should come as no surprise that it boosts the immune system. Celery is chock full of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamin C. There are even some trace amounts of zinc. As you may already be aware, chickens are highly susceptible to colds. Giving them vegetables as rich in vitamins and minerals as celery can keep them from getting sick. All these antioxidants also prevent premature aging of the organs.
Low in calories, high in water and in fiber, celery is the perfect vegetable for reducing cholesterol in the blood. Yes, even chickens have to worry about high cholesterol. You do not want your chickens to have too high of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, since it will cause fatty liver and sudden death syndrome. Cholesterol can also affect your chicken’s heart.
Therefore, providing your chickens with celery and other low calorie, high fiber options will stabilize their cholesterol and prolong their lives.
Healthy chickens have healthy guts. Eating celery will keep their digestive systems running optimally. Celery contains a number of nutrients that support enzyme production to fight constipation, bloating, and more. The gut is cleansed from the water content, and the fiber assists with motility.
Protects Against Bad Bacteria
Chickens are tough birds…until they run into bad bacteria that their immune systems cannot handle. Celery contains a rich variety of antibacterial components that assist in building a strong gut microbiome. Simultaneously, those antibacterial properties in celery can fight off harmful bacteria. Adding celery to your chickens’ diet will keep them much healthier throughout the year.
Celery is Hydrating
Celery is made up almost entirely of water, making it the perfect hydrating snack for your thirsty chickens. Hydration is all the more important in the summertime. For chickens, prolonged dehydration can cause many health problems, including diarrhea or constipation, liver stones, and more. That said, you also need to make sure that you do not overfeed or over-hydrate your chickens. In the wintertime, too much hydration could lead to frostbite.
Tips For Feeding Your Chickens Celery
To live a happy, healthy life in the backyard or farm, your chickens need a well-balanced diet. Chickens can be given kitchen scraps like celery in moderation — no more than 10% of their premium chicken feed. Celery should come last, after the feed and foraging for bugs and weeds. However, when you do opt to give your chicken a bit of celery, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Look For Discoloration
Never give your chicken rotten food. It can make them horribly ill. The first thing you should look for is something that indicates the expiration date on the celery. If you cannot find that, look at the condition of the vegetable. The stalks should be green, as should the leaves. You should not detect any yellowing or browning of the vegetable. Celery will usually remain a vivid green until it has gone bad. At that point, it will show some discoloration.
If you do not see any browning or yellowing but notice that the vegetable is slimy or mushy, that too is a sign that you should throw the celery away.
2. Chop Up The Celery Into Bite-Sized Pieces
Should a chicken eat something that is too big for them to digest, they could end up with an impacted crop. This holds true for celery stalks, which are long, hard, stringy, and full of fiber that could take a while to process. Since chickens do not have teeth to grind down the celery before it hits their digestive tract, they need their crops to do the work with grit. Too much celery at one time could cause massive gastrointestinal issues for your chickens, especially if they are not used to consuming celery.
In short, you should chop or dice up celery stalks to make them more easy to digest.
3. Choose Organic Celery
Celery may not be loaded with pesticides and herbicides, but it can be loaded with insects and must be thoroughly checked before consumption. While your chickens will likely not care about the extra protein on their celery, organic celery that is bug and chemical free is your best bet. Organically grown vegetables and fruits are always healthier, as they often contain far more vitamins and nutrients. You could try growing celery yourself or visit a local farmer.
Growing your own celery is easy, as the vegetable is hearty and does not require a specific kind of soil. All you need is some seeds and plenty of sunlight.
4. Only In Moderation
Keep in mind that your chickens may not go nuts over celery, as it is a bland vegetable that is tough for chickens to peck. That is why it is recommended that you toss in only a few bite-sized chunks of celery into your flock’s regular feed. Not only does that add a pleasant surprise as they munch on pellets and crumbles, it can also be hydrating during the summertime. You can also use far less celery, which is good. Your chickens will still eat their feed while getting to enjoy something different.
Remember, even though the thought of giving your chickens all kinds of scraps and treats seems fun, you should never overdo it. Your flock will get too picky and refuse to eat anything but their snacks.
Final Thoughts on Celery for Chickens
Can chickens eat celery? They certainly can and should. Celery may not be their favorite vegetable, since it is bland and tough, but it does have some nutritional benefits. Mix some celery in with your chicken’s feed or other vegetables (like cabbage, carrots, and asparagus) and they will have no problem eating it. Now you know what to do with that leftover celery in the fridge!
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.