Can Chickens Eat Arrowroot Powder?

Can Chickens Eat Arrowroot Powder?

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I’m Tanner and I grew up on a cattle ranch in Texas, so I know a bit about raising chickens and other livestock.

Last Tuesday morning, I was in the kitchen whipping up some homemade sweet potatoes and applesauce baby food for my little one.

To thicken it up some, I used a bit of arrowroot powder I had in the pantry.

After filling up a few jars I had a couple tablespoons leftover, and figured, heck, maybe my chickens would enjoy this starchy powder.

So I moseyed out to the coop with the leftover arrowroot powder and sprinkled a bit on top of the flock’s feed.

Those crazy chickens gobbled it right up in the blink of an eye! Seeing as how much they enjoyed it, I started wondering – is arrowroot powder actually healthy for chickens or are they just pecking at it because it’s new and novel?

What Exactly is Arrowroot Powder?

Can Chickens Eat Arrowroot Powder?

First things first, what in tarnation is arrowroot powder anyways? Well, arrowroot is a fine, chalky white powder made from the starchy roots or tubers of several tropical plants.

The most common commercial sources are the Maranta arundinacea or West Indian Arrowroot plant. To obtain the starch, the roots are dried and ground down into the ultra-fine powder. Arrowroot has been used for centuries as a thickening agent for cooking, baking, and even traditional medicines.

These days it’s often used as a substitute for corn starch or wheat flour. Gluten-free folks like using it in place of regular flour since it contains no gluten.

Unlike flour, arrowroot doesn’t require heat or cooking to activate its thickening and gelling properties. The powder is very lightweight and easily dissolves into liquids at room temperature. This makes it handy for thickening up sauces, gravies, and puddings without clumping.

One interesting historical factoid is that arrowroot was originally used by indigenous peoples in the West Indies to draw out toxins from poison arrow and dart wounds. Thus the name – arrowroot! Pretty neat huh?

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Nutritional Benefits of Arrowroot Powder for Chickens

Can Chickens Eat Arrowroot Powder?

After doing some reading up on arrowroot, I learned it actually provides some great nutritional benefits for chickens:

Firstly, arrowroot is super high in calcium content. This helps chickens develop strong bones and eggshells.

As you likely know, chickens need lots of calcium carbonate and vitamin D3 for proper eggshell formation. Arrowroot provides a nice boost of highly bioavailable calcium to support egg production.

Arrowroot also contains decent amounts of vitamin B-6. This essential vitamin supports a healthy chick metabolism and immune system. B-6 helps the tiny chicken’s body convert food into fuel and build red blood cells.

It also enables the chick’s rapidly developing brain, muscles and nerves to function properly. So arrowroot offers a good dose of B-6 for growth and development.

In addition, arrowroot powder is nearly pure starch, providing a quick and easily digestible carbohydrate source.

This gives an instant energy boost to chickens of all ages. Whether sprinting from a predator or flapping wings to roost, chickens use carbohydrates for fuel, especially in their breast muscle tissues.

Lastly, the fine powder is easily broken down and absorbed in a chicken’s gastrointestinal tract. It won’t cause indigestion or upset stomachs like other starchy foods can.

So arrowroot is gentle on the chickens’ systems.

After learning all this, I realized sprinkling some arrowroot powder in with feed is a cheap, natural way to provide my flock with supplemental nutrition!

How Much Arrowroot Powder Should You Feed Chickens?

Can Chickens Eat Arrowroot Powder?

While arrowroot offers health benefits, more is not necessarily better. Too much can lead to loose, watery droppings just like giving them too many scratch grains or treats. Start with just a small amount:

For full grown hens, try 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per chicken blended into feed or lightly sprinkled on top. For younger chicks and pullets just giving 1/4 teaspoon per bird to start.

Observe how your chickens react over the next day or two. If their droppings remain normal, you can increase the arrowroot powder a bit. But if you notice loose or watery poop, cut back the amount.

I like to use arrowroot as an occasional treat versus every single day. Adding a teaspoon 2-3 times a week seems to work well. The chickens get the benefits without overdoing it. It also keeps them interested since it’s not a daily thing.

And as always, make sure the feed contains insoluble fiber like oats or veggies. This helps balance out the starchy arrowroot and maintain good digestive health.

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The Bottom Line on Chickens and Arrowroot Powder

So after doing some research and experimenting, I can definitively say chickens can and should eat arrowroot powder! When fed in moderation, arrowroot provides valuable nutrition for chickens like:

  • – Extra calcium for proper bone and egg development
  • – B-6 for growth, nerves and immunity
  • – Easily digestible carbohydrates for energy
  • – A healthy supplement to round out their diet

The optimal amount to feed chickens is around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per bird blended into feed or sprinkled on top 2-3 times per week. This gives them the benefits without risking loose droppings.

Combining Arrowroot Powder with Other Supplements

In addition to feeding arrowroot powder on its own, you can blend it with other healthy treat supplements too.

For example, mixing a teaspoon of arrowroot with the same amount of cinnamon creates a tasty powder supplement. Cinnamon provides antioxidants to boost immunity. The combo gives a nutritional boost plus the chickens enjoy the flavor.

Other supplements that pair well with arrowroot powder include brewers yeast, flaxseed meal, oyster shell calcium, and spirulina. Just mix about 1 teaspoon of arrowroot per chicken with 1 teaspoon of the other supplement.

Rotate the combo 2-3 times a week for variety. This prevents the chickens from getting bored with the same old supplement while still providing extra nutrition from multiple sources.

One of my favorite mixes is arrowroot, nutritional yeast, cinnamon, ginger, and a bit of dried mealworms. The chickens go absolutely bonkers for this combo! It makes for a nice “spa treatment” a couple times a week.

Serving Arrowroot Powder to Chickens

There are a couple different ways you can serve arrowroot powder to your flock:

Mixing it into feed is quick and easy. Simply add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon arrowroot per chicken into the feed bucket and stir it up well so it evenly coats all the feed pellets.

Or you can serve it sprinkled lightly on top of feed. The chickens will peck through and ingest some powder with each bite.

Another method is making powder “puffs.” Mix arrowroot with water into a paste, then form small round balls. Let them air dry into hardened puffs. Store in an airtight container and serve a few per chicken.

You can also sprinkle arrowroot in scratch grains or add it to baked treats and scratch cakes. Get creative with how you serve it!

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Signs Your Chickens are Getting Too Much Arrowroot

While arrowroot powder is safe for chickens, too much can cause issues like loose droppings.

Here are a few signs your flock may be getting over the recommended serving of arrowroot powder:

  • – Watery, loose, or runny poop
  • – Seeing undigested arrowroot powder in the droppings
  • – Lack of interest in arrowroot or treats containing it
  • – Decrease in foraging behaviors
  • – Overweight or rapid weight gain

If you notice any of these signs, cut back the amount of arrowroot you’re feeding or eliminate it for a few days. Then slowly reintroduce smaller amounts a couple times a week.

Does Arrowroot Powder Go Bad or Expire?

Like most dry powders and spices, arrowroot powder has a fairly long shelf life. Unopened, it can last 2-3 years in your pantry.

Once opened, arrowroot keeps well for 6-12 months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Extreme temperature fluctuations can speed spoilage, so don’t store it next to the oven or in the refrigerator. And keep it away from moisture which can cause clumping.

Over time, arrowroot may lose some thickening potency but remains safe to eat. If your powder is over a year old, use a bit more than the recipe calls for.

Look for clumping, discoloration, or a rancid smell as signs your arrowroot powder has spoiled and needs to be discarded.

Other Uses for Leftover Arrowroot Powder

Got extra arrowroot powder? Here are some other ways to use it up:

  • – Thicken up sauces, stews, and gravies
  • – Make homemade pudding or custard
  • – Bread chicken, fish, or veal cutlets
  • – Coat fruit for dehydrating
  • – Use as a binder in veggie burger or fritter recipes
  • – Create a crispy tofu coating
  • – Make gluten-free cookies, muffins, and cakes
  • – Whip up homemade baby formula or food
  • – Create face masks, lotions, or dry shampoo
  • – Use as a dry shampoo

With so many uses, that bag of arrowroot won’t go to waste! Your chickens will thank you, and so will your recipes.

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