So, Can Chickens Eat Roses?

Left of their own devices, chickens will graze and nibble on all sorts of plants, including ornamental plans that we would prefer they leave alone.

Golden Comet hens inside coop

Plenty of chicken owners have come out to check on their birds only to discover they have massacred their favorite perennials. How about roses, can chickens eat roses?

Yes, chickens may eat rose petals and rose hips safely, although they tend to avoid the stems for obvious reasons. While rose petals do not offer much in the way of nutrition, rose hips are full of vitamins and minerals that can help chickens stay fit and healthy.

This is good news for chicken owners who have wild roses growing on their properties, but bad news for anyone who is trying to grow beautiful, decorative examples.

Your chickens will happily eat them with a very little provocation. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding roses to chickens

Health Benefits of Roses for Chickens

Rose petals don’t have much to offer chickens outside of being an interesting snack for them, but rose hips are packed with nutrition.

Rose hips are a good source of vitamins C, E, and K, as well as flavonoids. They also contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.

For chickens, vitamin C is important for immunity, tissue repair, and growth. They don’t need much extra since they can create it for themselves internally, but a little extra does not hurt.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage, while vitamin K helps with blood clotting.

The flavonoids in rose hips can have antibacterial properties, which is good news for chicken owners.

These compounds can help keep your flock healthy by preventing or treating respiratory infections and other diseases.

Calcium is important for chickens for many reasons. It helps them develop strong bones and laying hens produce thick, viable eggshells, as well as keeping their nerves and muscles functioning properly.

Magnesium is involved in energy production, while phosphorus helps with cell growth, repair, and metabolism. Finally, iron is essential for oxygen transport in the blood and plays a role in immunity.

Can Chickens Eat Rose Petals?

Yes, but they don’t offer much nutrition or calories. Chickens will usually eat rose petals if they are available, but they won’t get much out of it.

The petals are mostly water and don’t contain many vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients.

They may enjoy the taste or the smell of roses, or they may just be curious about them. Either way, there is no harm in letting your chickens nibble on a few rose petals now and then.

Can Chickens Eat Rose Hips?

Yes, and this is the part they will derive the most benefits from. Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant, and they contain more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than the petals.

Rose hips are the primary source of vitamins C, E, and K, as well as flavonoids. They also contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.

As we mentioned before, these nutrients can help chickens stay healthy in a number of ways.

Can Chickens Eat Rose Stems?

No. They are woody and thorny, two attributes that make them most unappealing to all but the most hardcore of chickens.

They will tend to avoid stems in favor of the more tender petals and hips.

If you have wild roses growing on your property, there is no need to worry about your chickens eating the stems as they should instinctively avoid them.

Can Chickens Eat Roses Raw?

Yes, and this is the preferred way to serve it to them. Chickens will eat roses with no preparation, but you can make them even more appealing by offering them hips or petals plucked from the thorny stems.

Can Chickens Eat Roses Cooked?

Yes, if you really want to cook them but you don’t have to. Keep in mind that cooking roses will diminish their already limited nutritional value.

That being said, lightly steamed rose buds or steeping petals in their water before allowing it to cool can make for a nice treat.

Never Feed Roses to Chickens that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients

Since we are talking about cooking, you should never serve roses to your flock that have been prepared with harmful ingredients, or used as an ingredient in something they cannot have.

Hips are sometimes used to make syrups or jams, and those are things that no chicken needs.

Ingredients like salt, sugar, butter and oils are bad news for chickens. At best they will be facing substantial weight gain from these high calorie ingredients, but at worst more serious health issues might arise.

Conditions like fatty liver syndrome, sodium poisoning, sour crop, hypertension and more can all arise as a result of eating these things.

Beware of Pesticides and Herbicides on Commercial and Wild Roses

Another possible complication with feeding roses to chickens or allowing them to eat wild roses is the possibility of pesticide or herbicide exposure.

These chemicals can have subtle but far reaching negative effects on the health of your birds, and many common ones are known to hurt birds in particular.

Wild and domestic roses are likely to be sprayed with either in an effort to eliminate or protect them, respectively.

If you plan to serve your birds the petals left on a bouquet of roses you’ll need to be careful that they were not treated with any kind of artificial preservative.

If you grow your own roses, be very careful about the products you use on them and make sure they are safe for chickens if there is any chance your birds could get at them.

The same goes for wild roses. If you aren’t sure, it is better to keep your chickens away from any that might have been sprayed with chemicals.

How Often Can Chickens Have Roses?

Roses are generally healthy and wholesome but they cannot have them all the time. Chickens should subsist primarily on their chicken feed, which has all of the nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy.

Roses can be fed to chickens periodically as a treat, but no more than 10% of their daily intake should come from treats or supplemental foods of any kind.

Preparing Roses for Your Flock

If you aren’t going to let your flock nibble on wild, live roses the best bet for serving them is to pluck the petals and/or hips from the stem before scattering them around for them to eat.

You can do this by hand, or use a knife or scissors if you prefer.

Once you have a good handful of petals, give them a quick rinse in cool water to remove any dirt or debris. If you want to, you can then chop them up into smaller pieces for easier eating.

Can Baby Chicks Have Roses, Too?

Yes, chicks can eat roses but they’ll need to get a little older before trying them for the first time. Around 6 to 8 weeks is a good age to start offering them as a treat.

Keep in mind that chicks are still growing and developing, so they need a little more care when it comes to their diet than fully grown chickens.

Too many treats can lead to health problems down the road, so be sure not to overdo it. As always, chicks should be living pretty much entirely on starter feed that is appropriate to their stage of development.

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