Chickens mostly eat chicken feed for sustenance, but they love getting produce as a treat or supplement to their usual fare.
Chickens can eat most of the vegetables that people eat, be it items from your kitchen or your garden. How about green beans? Can chickens eat them?
Yes, your chickens can eat green beans, but they should be cooked first. While green beans are relatively low in protein and calcium, they are a packed with vitamins B2, B6, C, and K. They also have lots of iron and manganese. Chickens will benefit from the nutrients in green beans, and should enjoy them as an addition to their regular diet.
Green beans are one of the best all-around veggies when it comes to good nutrition, and that counts for your lovely chickens, too.
Keep reading and we will tell you everything there is to know about these stringy but tasty beans.
Nutritional Profile of Green Beans
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamins and some minerals for your chickens, but a poor source of protein and carbohydrates.
|100g Green Beans||Amount|
|Total Fat||0.28 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||7.41 g|
|Dietary fiber||3 g|
|Vitamin B-6||0.121 mg|
Green beans have excellent levels of B2, B6, C, and K, and are also loaded with manganese, iron, and magnesium as well as a fair bit of phosphorous. This adds up to a supremely healthy supplement for your birds.
Benefits of Green Beans for Chickens
The many vitamins and minerals in green beans can be a great benefit to your chickens. Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is great for growth and reproduction in chickens.
It also helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Vitamin B6 is good for the nervous system, immune system, and red blood cells.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage, and it aids in the absorption of iron. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health.
Manganese helps with energy production, calcium absorption, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids.
Iron is also essential for red blood cells and immune function, while magnesium aids in energy production and protein synthesis.
All in all, that is a ton of health benefits from just one veggie. You just need to make sure you cook it first!
Chickens Should Not Eat Raw Green Beans
You might be wondering if you can just toss some green beans in the coop for your chickens to munch on. We don’t recommend it.
While most vegetables are safe for chickens to eat raw, green beans should be cooked before feeding them to your flock.
Raw green beans contain a compound called hemagglutinin, which can cause red blood cells to clump together.
When this happens, it impairs oxygen flow to cells and can make your chickens very sick. Cooking green beans deactivates the hemagglutinin, so it is safe to feed them to your chickens cooked.
Now, green beans are not particularly toxic in this way, even for chickens, and you shouldn’t worry if they get a raw green bean to two from your garden. But you still don’t want to serve them raw green beans deliberately!
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Green Beans?
Yes, and this is how you should serve them. You can cook green beans in a variety of ways, and your chickens will love them no matter what.
You can boil, steam, sauté, or roast green beans to feed to your chickens. As long as you cook them all the way through, you’ll deactivate the hemagglutinin and they will be safe and healthy for your chickens to eat.
Can Chickens Eat Canned Green Beans?
No, never. Canned green beans are preserved in a way that makes them very unhealthy for your chickens.
The canning process usually involves adding salt and other preservatives, neither of which are good for your chickens. Don’t give them to your birds even though they are cooked and convenient.
Never Serve Chickens Green Beans Made with Harmful Ingredients
You must never prepare or give leftover green beans made with any harmful ingredients to your chickens.
This includes green beans that have been fried, cooked in bacon grease, canned in vinegar, or anything else that can hurt your birds.
At the very best, high-calorie additives will make your birds gain weight and miss out on essential nutrients.
Beware of Pesticides on Grocery-bought Green Beans
If you are going to give your chickens green beans from the grocery store, try to make sure they are organic.
Chickens are very sensitive to pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, and unfortunately green beans are often cited as a high-retention crop when it comes to pesticides and other chemicals.
If you don’t grow them yourself or cannot find organic in stores, that is alright; just make sure you wash them thoroughly before you cook them up for your chickens.
How Often Can Chickens Have Green Beans?
As long as they are cooked, you can supplement your chicken’s diet with green beans a couple of times a week.
Your chickens should eat primarily chicken feed as their daily staple (since it is nutritionally complete) but you can supplement anywhere from 10% to 20% of their calorie intake with fresh and healthy produce, cooked green beans among them.
Preparing Green Beans for Your Flock
Now that you know all about feeding green beans to your chickens, it is time to learn how to prepare them. The first thing you need to do is wash the green beans thoroughly.
This will remove any dirt, pesticides, or other chemicals that may be on them. You can either soak them in a bowl of water for a few minutes or rinse them under the tap.
Once they are clean, you can cook just the green beans in any way you like. As we mentioned before, boiling, steaming, sautéing and roasting are all great options.
Then let them cool and either scatter them or place them in a bowl for your flock to enjoy. They will make short work of them!
Never Give Your Birds Moldy, Old Produce
It should be pointed out that you should never give your chickens produce that is moldy or otherwise gone bad.
This includes green beans that have been sitting too long and have started to mold, discolor or otherwise spoil. Even cooked, this can make your chickens sick.
Generally, if you would not prepare produce for yourself or your family, don’t prepare it for the flock.
Can Baby Chicks Have Green Beans, Too?
Yes, once they are old enough (about 6 weeks) and as long as they are cooked all the way through. You are also advised to cut them into small pieces so they can eat them more easily.
Remember to go very sparing on the quantity as chicks should be eating pretty much nothing but early-life feed starting out.
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Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.