The Top 6 Reasons to Include Broccoli In Your Chicken’s Diet
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse for chickens. The green vegetable is packed with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fibers that are vital for the chicken’s metabolism.
The nutrient profile of broccoli is off the charts. Just take a quick glance at the contents of broccoli and compare them with the daily recommended intake for Laying Hens:
|100g Broccoli||Amount||% DV Laying Hen|
|Calories||34 kcal||~11 %|
|Protein||2,82 g||~15 %|
|Vitamin A||623 IU||~21%|
|Vitamin C||89,2 mg||~90%|
|Vitamin B6||175 µg||~6%|
|Vitamin E||0,78 g||~5,8%|
|Vitamin K||16,4 µg||~3,4%|
|Calcium||47 mg||~ 1%|
It’s clear that broccoli is rich in micronutrients. Let’s dig a little bit deeper to see what these numbers actually mean in terms of health benefits for your flock.
Here are the top 6 health benefits of broccoli for chickens.
1. Broccoli Boosts a Chicken’s Immune System
Broccoli is full of vitamin C, an essential element of the chicken’s immune system. Optimal vitamin C levels prevent various illnesses and respiratory diseases, especially when suffering from heat stress.
Many people associate vitamin C with fruit like oranges or strawberries, but broccoli brings all the vitamins without the dreaded sugars. A small 100-gram serving of broccoli provides a laying hen with almost all of its optimal vitamin C nutrition.
On top of that, broccoli is rich in vitamins E and A. Both are powerful antioxidants that fight off infections.
2. Broccoli Boosts Healthy Muscle Development
Scientific research based on broiler chickens fed with broccoli stem-and-leaf meal report quality improvements in chicken meat. The breast muscles were much more able to hold onto water in the muscle fibers.
Chickens that got 8 to 12 percent of broccoli meals in their diet had much healthier muscles. The only side effect of the broccoli supplementation was a deeper pigmentation of the chicken’s skin and shanks due to the xanthophylls in broccoli.
3. Broccoli Increases Egg Quality
A study using 72 white Leghorn laying hens fed with dried broccoli florets reports improved egg quality. The eggs of the Leghorns had a darker yolk and were heavier than the eggs of the hens on the control diet.
It’s well demonstrated that optimal levels of vitamin C can improve egg-laying performance and egg quality. Adding broccoli florets to the diet had no negative effects on laying performance or eggshell qualities.
4. Broccoli Promotes a Hen’s Healthy Digestion
The fibers and antioxidants in broccoli support healthy bowel movement and boost the chicken’s digestive system. Broccoli is also rich in glutathione, an essential element for the integrity of intestinal linings. It supports a healthy microbiome for the beneficial gut bacteria to grow.
Chinese scientists performed an experiment where they added fermented broccoli residues to the chicken’s diet. As a result, the populations of E.Coli and C. Perfringens decreased. C. Perfringens bacteria are responsible for Necrotic Enteritis in chickens, an inflammation of the intestines that can cause blood in the chicken’s droppings.
5. Broccoli Aids a Chicken’s Blood Sugar Control
Chickens are walking, flying, and running all day long. To support that activity, they maintain high blood sugar levels. They are insulin-resistant by nature, a bit like diabetics.
Studies have shown that broccoli can support better blood sugar control in people with diabetes. The exact mechanism is still to be discovered, but it’s assumed it has to do with broccoli’s high levels of antioxidants.
6. Broccoli May Aid a Chicken’s Hearth and Vascular Health
Several studies provide evidence that broccoli may support heart health and prevent vascular diseases. One study reports higher levels of healthy HDL-cholesterol levels after consuming broccoli sprout supplements.
Studies on rats clearly showed that broccoli supplementation protects the heart against diseases that cause problems with oxygen uptake in the blood and tissues.
Such issues typically arise when blood flow is restricted or reduced in parts of the blood vessels due to plaques. This can be caused by several factors, such as high blood pressure, high sugar levels, air pollution, tobacco smoke, or obesity.
Some articles we mentioned here:
- Can chickens Eat Strawberries – also high in vitamin C like broccoli
- Can chickens eat oranges – another common vitamin C food source
- The chicken digestive system – how chickens digest their food
- The chicken respiratory system – how chickens breathe and why it’s so different from how we breath
Some other food sources that commonly come along with broccoli in table scraps:
- Chickens love to eat cucumbers
- Avoid overfeeding your flock with tomatoes
- Avoid feeding your flock onions
If you want to learn more about chicken feed, please consult our ‘Chicken Food Page‘ to go and see every specific food article we address, including all articles on what chickens can and can not eat. Or go to our listicle food summary on ‘The Classroom‘.