Chickens will eat anything from worms to grass and even cheese and stones. But can chickens eat creeping Charlie? Is it safe for them? Read on for all the answers!
Can chickens eat creeping Charlie?
The interesting fact is that there are many research papers that back both sides. Some claim that feeding creeping Charlie to chickens is safe, and others say that it can be dangerous and extremely toxic to them.
The opinion of many is to play it safe and avoid giving them the plant altogether because you don’t want to see your chickens getting food poisoning or, worse, dying.
But I think creeping Charlie is a good addition to a poultry feed. I have tried giving them handfuls of creeping Charlie (I was careful not to give too much at once). They seemed to like it, and I saw that they were not affected.
If you don’t want to throw away weeds that could be a good source of nutrition for your chickens, then you can go ahead and try feeding them. But make sure that you don’t give them too much at once. It could be possible that the toxicity claims spring from consuming large amounts of the plant.
If you are raising a bunch of chickens free-range, then you don’t really have to worry. Chickens generally have a good idea of what’s good for them and what’s not. Some chickens might try pecking at weeds like creeping Charlie, and others will leave them alone. Did you know that chickens can eat cactus too?
Often, I have found that chickens love common lawn weeds like plantains, dandelion greens and creeping Charlie. Humans eat creeping Charlie, so it is most probably safe for chickens, too.
Many people try to get rid of weeds like creeping Charlie through heavy doses of Roundup. These will adversely affect your chickens and your field, too. The best way you can tackle these weeds is to let your animals eat them.
Chickens usually only peck at these weeds and do not eat the roots. If you want to clear your yard from overgrowth, my best advice is to use goats. Read this article for more information.
Is Creeping Charlie edible?
The scientific name of creeping Charlie is Glechoma hederacea. Creeping Charlie is a weed that most people try to get rid of. But weeds have numerous benefits, too. They help hold the ground soil in place. Creeping Charlie grows close to the ground and forms a mat-like ground cover.
Creeping Charlie is a plant that spreads by seeds and by stolons. It has medicinal properties and an aromatic smell. Creeping Charlie is used to make tea due to its numerous health benefits. It aids in digestion and has a minty flavor.
The young leaves of creeping Charlie can be eaten raw or cooked. You can even toss them into a salad for their minty flavor and add them to soups or even omelette. They are added to beer, too.
What foods are toxic for chickens?
While creeping Charlie is not very dangerous to chickens in small quantities; there are some types of food you should keep them away from. These include
- Avocado skins and pits can be dangerous to chickens.
- Raw green potato skins
- Raw or dried beans
- Rhubard, tomatoes and onions
- Mouldy food.
Plants and weeds which you should not feed your chickens include brackern fern, azalea, lupine, oak trees, periwinkle, tulips, horseradish, ivy, rhododendron, hyacinth, hydrangea, lantana, castor bea, fox glove and apricot plants.
Can chickens eat creeping Charlie? Summary
It is safe to give your chickens creeping Charlie, albeit in small quantities. Creeping Charlie is a weed that is used to make tea and even eaten by humans due to their medicinal properties. It aids in digestion and is a good source of vitamin C.
*All pics are courtesy of Unsplash.com