Raising backyard chickens looks easy, and the toughest challenge for chicken owners is to put up some fencing, so they are safe. Chickens are not fussy about eating, but this doesn’t mean you can feed these non-domestic animals anything.
In reality, feeding a chicken is not as easy as it sounds, and a slight variation from their regular diet could lead to reduced egg production, deformed eggs, and other issues. Therefore, you need to be extremely careful about what you feed them. There are a lot of food items that you should not feed chickens.
So, you could take stuff from around your garden and have lots of stuff from your veggie garden to feed them. So, can chickens eat sweet potatoes? In our guide, you can learn more about can chickens eat sweet potatoes, the leaves, and the vines? (Read Can Chickens Eat Mango)
By the end, you’ll find out are sweet potatoes safe, and you’ll see what you can and shouldn’t feed chickens to make up for their healthy diet.
Do Chickens Like Sweet Potato Skins?
Chickens love eating sweet potato skins. Therefore, it is best to prepare sweet potatoes by boiling the whole sweet potato to feed as a healthy snack to your chickens, where the chickens can munch on the sweet potato tuber along with the skin.
Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potato Vines?
Sweet yellow potatoes, unlike white potatoes, do not belong to the nightshade family.
The morning glory family includes sweet potatoes. Sweet potato stems, vines, leaves, and peelings are all safe for chickens to consume.
Chickens can also eat sweet potato vines, as these are completely safe to feed chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potatoes Leaves?
Sweet potato leaves are safe for chickens. You’ll find sweet potatoes and white potatoes are part of two different plant families. So, can chickens eat potatoes?
White potatoes leaves are harmful yet giving sweet potatoes to chickens and other sweet potatoes plant parts is not harmful.
The reason that a white potato plant and its part are harmful is that they contain a natural pesticide called solanine, which is often found at high levels in green potatoes.
You won’t find this in sweet potatoes or any part of the plant.
Sweet potato leaves and vines contain some protein, so they make a nutritious snack.
These types of potato are high in essential nutrients, such as beta carotene, vitamin C, and other nutrients; thus, you can use the stem, leaves, vines, and peel as part of your chicken feed and your flock’s diet. (Read Can Chickens Eat Sugar Snap Peas)
Sweet potato roots also offer plenty of carbs that convert into simple sugars. However, if you cut the plants and have dried leaves of your sweet potato plant, don’t feed these as they can harm your birds’ digestive tract.
Sweet potato with mold or that have rotted shouldn’t be fed. You may be tempted to toss moldy sweet potatoes into their pen, yet your chickens may avoid these moldy sweet potatoes, or they’ll try and eat them and be sick.
Can Chickens Eat Sweet Potato Leaves?
Sweet potato leaves aren’t poisonous to hens, despite popular assumptions. However, white, red, and yellow nightshade potato leaves are poisonous.
Sweet potatoes’ leaves, vines, and roots are perfectly safe and suitable for chicken. Leaves, vines, and roots make up diets consisting of digestible carbohydrates and proteins.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Sweet Potatoes?
You may ask, can chickens eat sweet potatoes that are raw? Of course, they can, but they are not easily digestible compared to cooked ones.
Raw sweet potatoes have a digestibility value of 45 to 48 percent in the body, while cooked sweet potatoes have a digestion content of 60 to 65 percent.
Sweet potatoes can be eaten fresh or cooked, chickens love both, and they make excellent poultry feed once you prepare them right.
You should cut uncooked sweet potatoes into small pieces. Chickens don’t have teeth, so it can be challenging for them to eat whole raw potatoes.
Raw potato peels can also be used as these are easy to eat in thin pieces. If you offer cooked potatoes to your chickens, don’t add any seasoning as if you were cooking them for yourself.
Don’t season the food with salt, butter, or milk, and just feed sweet potatoes boiled to your backyard chickens. If you want something different, you could offer them mashed sweet potatoes as their healthy snack, yet there is no difference from the chickens.
Do Chickens Get Nutrients from Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of nutrients for domestic animals and birds, according to studies.
Vitamin, niacin, thiamin, ascorbic acid, carbohydrate, and riboflavin are some essential nutrients in sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes have fiber and fats in their roots, vines, leaves, and stems. As a result, sweet potatoes have a lot of calories in them and are high in fiber and protein while low in carbohydrates.
In addition, the scratch in sweet potatoes is difficult to break down into sugars.
Tubers of sweet potatoes include quantities of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D3, potassium, and beta carotene, making them a nutritious addition to chicken feed and diet.
Vitamin A is essential for a chicken’s growth. Infections, inflammations, and other illnesses can cause harm to your birds. Vitamin A is essential for the flock’s health to be revived or restored.
Vitamin A insufficiency has been linked to a reduction in egg production. Therefore, vitamin A-rich meals, such as sweet potatoes, are essential for egg-laying chickens.
Vitamin D3 is also necessary for chick growth and egg production.
Overall, sweet potatoes are safe and healthful for hens, as you can see.
As a chicken owner, you can certainly add sweet potatoes to their foods to provide a well-balanced diet. (Read Can Chickens Eat Bird Seed)
Raw yams are high in nutrients essential for chickens’ growth and development.
Can I Feed White Potatoes To Chicken?
No, other potatoes than sweet potatoes should not be fed to chicken. White, red, or yellow potatoes are not suitable substitutes for sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are not the same as white, red, or yellow potatoes, contrary to popular assumptions. It’s only that they have a common name, and that’s about it.
Sweet potatoes are safe for hens to eat since sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family. In contrast, white, red, and yellow potatoes are hazardous to chickens because they belong to the nightshade family.
Solanine is a toxic substance found in white, red, and yellow potatoes, belong to the nightshade family.
Solanine is a neurotoxin with a high potency that can hurt your birds. Convulsions, respiratory distress, and diarrhea are common signs of solanine toxicity. In extreme circumstances, it can cause neurological damage, paralysis, or death.
Cooking dramatically reduces the toxicity of solanine, which explains why cooked potatoes are safe for human consumption.
This does not, however, make it safe for chickens. For example, it would be ideal to avoid feeding them potatoes from the nightshade family.
White potatoes are not a healthy option for chickens; however, eating sweet potatoes does not contain solanine, and thus, chickens can eat sweet potatoes cooked.
Sweet potatoes straight from the garden can be fed so they can eat raw sweet potatoes, yet it is harder for them than eating cooked sweet potatoes.
On the other hand, white sweet potatoes are perfectly safe and taste nothing like an ordinary white potato.
The taste is the most notable distinction here. Many people refer to white sweet potatoes as “yams.” Sweet potatoes, both orange and white, are referred to as yams by others.
Sweet potatoes and yams are unrelated, and yams are a member of the lily family, while sweet potatoes are a member of the morning glory family. Like sweet potatoes safe for chickens to eat, yams are as healthy as cooked or raw sweet potatoes.
However, unlike sweet potatoes, yams need peeling and cooking before you feed these to your birds. (Read Can Chickens Eat Whole Corn)
Yams have a thick skin, like tree bark, and it would be hard for chickens to peck through and digest.
Benefits Of Feeding Chickens Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato tubers are high in vitamins and minerals that hens require. This part will examine the advantages of feeding sweet potatoes to hens.
Vitamin A is rich in cooked and raw sweet potato tubers, an essential supplement for chickens. Vitamin A is required for healthy growth, reproduction, and the preservation of healthy epithelial cells in chickens. In addition, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A due to their high beta-carotene (4, 5) content.
Vitamin D3 is necessary for proper calcium and phosphorus uptake and use. Vitamin D3 is abundant in these tuberous root vegetables, making it an excellent supplement.
This is especially useful for young chicks needing calcium and phosphorus for proper growth and bone formation in the chickens’ diet. It can also help strengthen eggshells in egg-laying birds.
Rich In Carbohydrates
Chickens tend to stay warm and active; to do this; they need carbs. But, aside from that, a diet rich in digestible carbohydrates are their main energy source.
Giving sweet potatoes to chickens is a suitable carbohydrate source since they have more digestible carbs than other foods.