It’s that time of the year when we have plenty of overgrown zucchini and squash in our garden. Want to know if chickens eat zucchini?
Yes, chickens can eat zucchini. In fact, chickens absolutely love zucchini because it contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They also make for a great cold treat for them on those very hot days. Just put them in the freezer for a while, cut them in half, and give them a frozen veggie sickle.
One of the most popular vegetables for avid gardeners to cultivate in their backyards is zucchini. Chickens have a varied diet and are not picky eaters. They enjoy eating anything that’s edible. That includes zucchini—they also work as a natural dewormer, but it’s important to be careful about how much you give them.
In this article, we will cover topics like:
- What is zucchini? Nutrition in zucchini(courgette)
- Do chickens eat zucchini seeds and leaves? “whole zucchini plant”
- Do chickens eat zucchini stems?
- Do chickens eat zucchini flowers?
- Can baby chicks eat zucchini?
- Can chickens eat yellow zucchini?
- Beware of Pesticides in Grocery-bought Zucchini
- The Best Way to Feed Chickens Zucchini
- Best zucchini varieties for chickens
What is zucchini? (Nutrition facts: courgette (zucchini))
Because of their similarity in color, shape, and even size, cucumbers and zucchinis are frequently confused. The bright green color of zucchinis is a contributing factor to the popular misconception that they are a vegetable as opposed to a fruit. The inside of zucchini is much lighter than the brilliant exterior.
Zucchini is a summer squash that originated in Greece — also known by the name “courgette” in some parts of Europe, and “vegetable marrow” in Britain.
They’re also called “long marrow” and “garden marrow.”
It can be eaten raw or cooked and is often added to salads, stir-fries, and casseroles. Zucchini is also known for its ability to be used in place of noodles in dishes like lasagna.
There are several different types of zucchini available at your local supermarket or farmers’ market.
The most common zucchini has dark green skin with light green stripes, but there are other varieties, including white, yellow, and orange.
The nutritional value of zucchini varies depending on what type you’re eating. One cup of sliced raw zucchini contains about 4 grams of protein and just under 5 grams of fiber (about one-third of your daily needs). Zucchini also contains potassium and vitamin C.
Please check below the nutrition facts for 1 medium zucchini (196g)
Zucchini plants are prolific producers of round, dark green fruits that can range from
4-6 inches long. Fruits are similar in shape to small cucumbers but have smooth skin instead of ridges or bumps.
Wondering how zucchini tastes?
When picked young, zucchini has a mild flavor and a tender texture, but the longer it matures on the vine, the tougher it becomes.
Are zucchini seeds and leaves safe for backyard chickens to eat? Let’s focus more on this section.
Are zucchini seeds and leaves safe for chickens? zucchini plant
Yes, zucchini seeds and leaves are safe for backyard chickens to consume.
Zucchini seeds and leaves from the zucchini plants contain vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C, which are all essential vitamins for your chicken’s health. One of the best natural dewormers for chickens is zucchini seeds!
Zucchini leaves contain more iron than spinach does, and since spinach is often fed to chickens, it would be beneficial to feed zucchini leaves as well.
If the zucchini tastes more bitter, it indicates the presence of cucurbitacin in the zucchini plant. In such a case, you should instantly stop feeding them zucchini, including both the flesh and zucchini leaves.
What about the zucchini stems?
No, you should avoid feeding chickens with zucchini stems, because they contain mild poison. If it’s old and smells bitter, you should immediately throw it away!
Also, stay away from bitter zucchini!
Do chickens like zucchini flowers?
Chickens eat zucchini flowers, however they prefer the inside of zucchini itself! So, they might skip the flowers and jump straight forward to the main part.
Feeding zucchini flowers is not what chickens expect. They expect you to cut in half the zucchini and throw it at them.
Can baby chicks eat zucchini?
Yes, baby chicks can consume zucchini, but we suggest feeding them after 40 days. We know that zucchini is good for a chicken’s diet, but baby chicks have extremely delicate systems and nutritional requirements, and even something as simple as zucchini could cause them upset.
Can backyard chickens eat yellow zucchini?
So, chickens can eat zucchini, but what about the yellow ones?
- Gourmet Gold Zucchini
- Golden Egg Zucchini
- Zephyr Zucchini
- Crookneck Squash
- Pattypan Squash
They contain a lot of minerals and vitamins. In the summer, yellow zucchini can also help chickens stay hydrated and give them another option if they run out of water in their coop.
So, all in all, chickens love zucchini and will eat zucchini mentioned above.
Beware of Pesticides in Grocery-bought Zucchini
One of the biggest reasons that people choose to grow their own raw vegetables and fruits is to avoid the pesticides and chemicals used in commercial farming.
However, when you buy a grocery-bought vegetable or fruit, it’s important not to assume it’s 100% pure.
Zucchini has been found to contain pesticides that are harmful to your health, especially when consumed in high quantities on a regular basis.
When you buy zucchini from the grocery store, you’re likely to receive zucchini that was shipped from another country—which means it could have been treated with pesticides before reaching U.S. soil.
This means that even if you purchase organic zucchini, there’s no guarantee that it won’t contain pesticide residue or other harmful chemicals.
If possible, it’s best to grow your own food rather than buy it at the store — this way, you’ll be able to control what goes into your food supply and keep potentially harmful substances out of your body and backyard chickens.
How to prepare zucchini for chickens?
Are you wondering what the best way to give chickens a zucchini is? Do you split it in half and let them peck the contents out of the halves? How to feed zucchini to chickens?
If you have an overabundance of homegrown zucchini in the garden this summer, here are some ways to feed it to your flock:
Fresh and cooked
You can feed your chickens raw or cooked zucchini. If you choose to cook the zucchini first, be sure to run it under cold water before feeding it to your chickens (this will prevent any bacterial growth).
There are loads of cooked foods chickens will be more than happy to eat – after they’ve cooled down, of course. Try giving them some cooked meat, pasta, rice, cooked spaghetti, etc.
Shredded or sliced?
You can shred or slice up raw zucchini to feed your chickens — just be sure not to cut it into pieces that are too small (smaller pieces can block their throats). If you choose to cook the zucchini first, you’ll want to cut it into larger chunks before serving.
The most common way to prepare zucchini is to slice them in half (long ways) and prepare your camera for it. Just take care to make sure the halves land cut face up.
Take a look at how other chicken keepers prepare zucchini for their chickens:
I spoil my younguns. I cook them in a food processor till tender after cutting the long way, cool them and feed them. My chicks are only 8 weeks old, so I still spoil them a lot. – Gloria from the Chicken Keepers Forum
Some chicken keepers serve zucchini like this:
Something I have done with the over-sized zucchini is make a stuffed dinner. I make a spicy spanish rice with tomatos,onion, bell peppers, rice and hamburger. I slice the zucchini long ways and score the skin, then hollow it out and stuff it. I bake it for about an hour and then top it with cheese. Whatever is left is microwaved as well. That was before I had chickens. Now they will get some too. -Cathy Roberts (backayrd chickens forum)
-Robin Koski from backyardchickens.com
Heck, the best way to feed chickens zucchini and squash is to just throw them in the coop. Let them have the fun of doing all the work. It keeps them busy and entertained.
They also make for a great cold treat for them on those very hot days. Just put them in the freezer for awhile, cut them in half and give them a frozen veggie sickle. ditto, slice them longways and throw them in the run, and get out of the way! -Karen from Arkansas
You can feed chickens zucchini raw or cooked, depending on what works best for you and your flock. Some farmers prefer to cook their zucchini first so that it’s easier for their chickens to digest, but there are no hard rules here — just do what works best for you and them!
As a chicken keeper, you don’t have to limit your chicken’s diet to worms and pellets.
Here are some of the best zucchini varieties for your chickens to devour!
Best zucchini varieties for chickens
There are many different varieties of zucchini. Some are better than others for chickens because they contain more nutrients and fewer carbs than others.
The best sorts of zucchini for chickens are:
Black Beauty Hybrid Zucchini
The Black Beauty Zucchini is an ancient variety of summer squash that can produce fruits that are anywhere from 6 to 8 inches long.
It weighs up to 6 pounds per fruit but has fewer seeds than most other varieties, so it’s easier for chickens to digest without choking on them or causing digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation.
Gold Rush Hybrid Zucchini
This variety has yellow skin and is a large fruit that weighs up to 7 pounds. Its flesh is white and tastes like a regular cucumber. It’s also great for pickling or preserving whole because it doesn’t have seeds like some other varieties do.
The zucchini of the Magda variety are easily identifiable by their characteristic light green hue. The skin is quite thick, and it has a flavor that is distinct and nutty. The vine will be healthier if it produces less. So make the most of the few Magdas you have.
You can give cooked Magda zucchini to chickens, they will love it!
What you should NOT feed your chickens?
Although we have a separate article on what you should NOT feed chickens, these are some of the most harmful foods for chickens’ health:
Candy or chocolate
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are toxic to poultry. Chickens who consume this food will experience the same effects as humans who consume it; they will become hyperactive, nervous, excited, and may even have seizures.
Chocolate can also cause death if enough is consumed.
Onions contain poisonous sulfur compounds that can cause respiratory problems in chickens if fed in large quantities or constantly over time.
Garlic contains thiosulfate, which can result in anemia when consumed by chickens in large doses over long periods of time or when fed frequently in small doses over long periods of time (it may take weeks).
Garlic also alters the digestive system of chickens by causing them to produce excess watery droppings that can lead to anemia or other health problems if left untreated. It is best avoided altogether if possible!
Now you know that chickens can eat zucchini. Also, we discussed some ways you can prepare zucchini for your chickens. So if you’ve got a lot of zucchini stocked up from your backyard garden, don’t feel overwhelmed; your chickens would enjoy eating them.
They have high water content, are rich in fiber, and include a range of healthy vitamins and minerals as well as Omega 3’s. Not only are they good for us humans, but they’re good for our fowl friends too. But as also mentioned above, you should avoid feeding chickens zucchini in excess, and feeding them once weekly is considered safe.
Giving them a mix of other vegetables in their diet would be most appreciated! Apart from other vegetables like carrots, broccoli, celery leaves, etc., mixing zucchini with them would be awesome! Don’t forget that zucchini is a fruit.
You can plant them in your garden or even start them from seeds inside the house during the winter. The chickens will love it!
We hope that you enjoyed our guide on zucchini for chickens. If you have any other suggestions or questions related to this subject, feel free to leave a comment below—we’d love to hear from you.
Shannon Stansberry has been engaged in the business of raising chickens for more than 12 years. In 2016, she accomplished the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. At present, she tends to more than 80 chickens on her 4-hectare farm. Shannon regularly shares her insights and experience on how to raise healthy and contented chickens on the platform Typesofchickens.com