Garlic is part of the onion family and is widely used in cooking and some natural products with it’s health benefits for people being widely recognised.
But, what about birds? For example, can chickens eat garlic and get any benefits from it?
Chickens can eat garlic and this plant has been fed for many years by generations of chicken keepers who have fed garlic to their birds to help them to resist a range of infections and other ailments and to bolster their immune systems.
What is garlic?
Garlic is part of the allium family which includes other vegetables such as leeks, shallots and onions.
It has a strong flavour and pungent smell and is often used in cooking, although it can also be eaten raw.
Like some of it’s family members, garlic grows as a bulb beneath the surface of the ground with the bulb being made up of separate sections known as ‘cloves’.
Can chickens eat garlic safely?
Garlic is incredibly good for chickens to eat. When it is included in the diet of chickens garlic can help the birds to repel a wide range of pests and illnesses.
The odour and effects of the garlic will help to keep things such as mites, lice and worms at bay.
How to feed garlic to chickens
There are a few ways that you can feed garlic to your chickens, but before you start make sure that you only use fresh, uncooked garlic for your birds.
It is best to crush garlic, rather than chop it, as this releases the anti oxidants that your chickens will benefit from when they eat it.
The best ways to crush garlic or to either simply whack it with the side of a blade of a heavy knife, or use a garlic press such as this best seller on Amazon.
Your options for feeding garlic to chickens are:
- Add crushed garlic to a dish and leave for your hens to eat
- Put crushed garlic in with your chickens’ feed
- Make some garlic water
- Soak some garlic in olive oil overnight and then pour the mixture onto your hens’ food
- Use garlic powder for ease and economy. This is one of the most common ways of feeding garlic to chickens. Garlic powder is widely available in supermarkets and there are some good value items online such as this offer on Amazon.
How to make garlic water for chickens
Garlic water is a great way to feed garlic to your chickens. As your hens drink water you can be certain that they are getting garlic, and it’s benefits, into their bodies.
It is also a cleaner option and easy to make.
Simply crush a clove of garlic into every litre of water that you put down for your hens. ( 4 cloves per gallon of water).
Put the water out as normal for your hens and replace every 2 days.
You can also use garlic granules or powder to make the water, just check the packaging and add the amount of powder that equates to a clove so that you don’t overdo it.
Can chickens eat wild garlic?
Wild garlic is found in many areas during spring time and can be prolific.
If your chickens forage in an area where wild garlic grows then they will benefit from eating it and it is perfectly safe for them to eat.
Can chickens eat garlic leaves?
The main part of the garlic plant grows underground and this is the area of the plant that is normally eaten.
The leaves of the plant are normally discarded and are very rarely put to any good use, in fact the only real time that they are used is when the plant has dried and the leaves are used to tie the bulbs together in a garlic string.
Garlic leaves taste of garlic and contain valuable nutrients that are good for chickens and they can be fed safely to your hens.
Can chickens eat garlic bread?
My chickens have eaten surplus and leftover garlic bread before and have never suffered any ill effects.
Garlic bread does contain other things besides garlic such as salt and often butter and cheese.
In small amounts it probably won’t harm your birds but it is basically junk food so don’t be tempted to feed this as an easy garlic option.
Does garlic kill worms in chickens?
Garlic can provide your chickens with range of benefits and it can help to deal with any worms that may be infecting your flock.
Preventing worms is a far better solution than curing the problem, however, and you should always try to keep your hens’ home clean with regular bedding changes, clean water and feeding dishes, and doing your best to avoid the hen run becoming muddy.
To sum up
Chickens can eat garlic. The plant will provide your flock with a range of beneficial nutrients and other compounds that will help them to stay healthy and resistant to a wide range of parasites and other ailments.