can chickens eat lotus root

Rooting for Lotus πŸ“ Can Chickens Safely Enjoy Lotus Root in Their Diet?🌸

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Alright buckaroo, let me tell ya about the funniest dang thing that happened the other mornin’ out in the ol’ chicken coop.

I swung by like I usually do to dole out the scratch and scraps to the ladies.

But something was off with ol’ Scratch – instead of being first in line like she always is, pecking away at the vittles, she was tucked away in the corner eating something under her wing!

Now I know chickens better than anyone, and if it’s edible they’ll gobble it up for the whole world to see.

So her sneaky behavior had me doing a double take, that’s for sure.

I sauntered on over real casual-like, not wanting to startle her none.

When I caught a glimpse of what she was cramming in her beak, I could hardly believe my peepers – it was a great big ol’ lotus root!

Where in tarnation did she find that thing? We don’t grow any lotus around here so I had no clue how she got her claws on it.

But more importantly, I wondered if lotus is even safe for chickens to munch on.

You’ll just have to keep reading to find out, pilgrim!

How Scratch scored her lotus loot

can chickens eat lotus root

As it turns out, ole Scratch is craftier than I give her credit for.

A few days prior I was doing some weeding in the veggie patch out back.

Must have accidentally dropped that lotus root without realizing it.

Leave it to Scratch and her hawk eyes to sniff it out! I reckon chickens really will eat just about anything, even weird plants they’ve never laid eyes on before.

It sure gave me a hoot imagining her parading around the yard with that whopper under her wing like a dog with a bone, protective of her “find”.

She must have spent a good long while getting acquainted with that lotus too, taking tentative pecks and getting a feel for the taste before fully committing to chowing down when she knew it was safe.

I can picture her now, out in the rain one morning, cautiously sampling that strange root bulb while keeping an eye out for predators.

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Once she was sure it wasn’t gonna do her no harm, I bet she started gorging herself real good whenever the chance arose.

Not wanting to share her secret stash with the other ladies!

By observing her over multiple days, I assessed she’d thoroughly inspect and test small nibbles of any new foods before accepting them as edible.

It was fascinating to watch her evolved survival instincts in action.

Really makes you respects chickens and their wisdom even more!

Is lotus root good eatin’ for chickens?

can chickens eat lotus root

Believe it or not, lotus root is actually considered non-poisonous for chickens to peck at and can be part of a balanced diet in moderation.

It’s low in calories and fat but packs a lot of fiber, potassium and vitamins C and K.

The crunchy texture also helps wear down their beaks which is important for maintenance.

I was glad to know Scratch’s risky snack wasn’t going to upset her crop.

In fact, I started thinking I might add some small lotus root pieces to their regular feed – it could be a real treat!

I did some research and found lots of homesteaders and small farmers who include lotus root in with their chicken’s other veggies, grains and protein.

As long as it’s not overfed and displacing more nutritious foods, in reasonable amounts the chickens seem to love the unique flavor.

Apparently the Asian variety is most commonly used since it has a pleasantly mild and crunchy taste compared to some kinds.

Always best to introduce new foods gradually though to avoid any tummy troubles.

Tips for testing new grub safely

can chickens eat lotus root

Now y’all know chickens are noshers and will try just about anything, but it’s important to introduce new vittles cautiously so as not to upset their delicate systems. Here’s some guidance I like to share:

  • When trying something new, start by giving just a teensy bit to only one bird and monitor close-like for several hours
  • Keep an eye out for any signs they aren’t settling well such as the runs, lethargy or loss of appetite
  • If all seems well, very gradually offer it to more of the flock over about a week
  • Always give human food scraps a good ol’ scrub before handing them over

Hope this yarn gave you a chuckle and settles your mind that lotus root is a-okay for your fine feathered friends too! Let me know if you have any other questions, pardner.

Prepping lotus root for chickens

Once you’ve sourced some lotus root, there’s a few ways to prepare it for the ladies.

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For small bits in feed, I like to peel it then dice into roughly 1/4 inch cubes.

This size is easy for them to gobble but not so big it causes choking risks.

You can also shred it lengthwise into long matchstick strips using a mandoline slicer or sharp knife.

Strips are fun for them to peck at too.

Another option if you have a spare lotus bulb is to throw the whole thing in their run.

Then they can forage and pick at it throughout the day.

Just be sure to remove any uneaten portions after 12-24 hours so it doesn’t start growing mold in the coop.

Always wash produce thoroughly before serving to chickens.

Their digestive systems are more sensitive than ours so it’s best to eliminate any dirt or residues.

Drying lotus in the oven at 225F for 1-2 hours also increases the crispness they’ll enjoy.

But it’s not completely necessary.

Storing lotus root for future use

If properly stored, lotus root will last several weeks in the fridge.

First give it a nice rinse under cool water to remove any dirt or debris.

Then pat fully dry with a paper towel, especially important as moisture is the enemy here.

You can either leave it whole or prep/slice it beforehand, your preference.

For long term storage, seal slices or cubes in an airtight freezer bag then stash in the freezer for 4-6 months.

Whole bulbs will keep best wrapped tightly in plastic wrap then tucked into the veggie crisper.

Check periodically for any signs of mold and remove/replace with fresh pieces as needed.

Proper cooling and containment are the secrets to preventing rot and enjoying lotus all season long with your chickens.

Pairing lotus with other chicken foods

For a varied, nutrient-rich diet it’s good to combine lotus root with assorted feedstuffs.

Commercial poultry feed makes a good everyday foundation to build upon.

I like mixing in table scraps 2-3 times weekly such as melon rinds, carrot peels, lettuce bits.

Oyster shells should always be provided as outdoor access birds to aid digestion and strengthen eggshells.

Other tasty, nutritious veggie additions include zucchini, pumpkin, green beans and sweet potato.

Chickens relish high protein snacks too.

Worms, insects and mealworms are favorite treats.

Scraps of boiled egg, yogurt or cottage cheese supply calcium and fat when given sparingly.

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With a varied menu including lotus root, your chickens will be healthy, energetic and very happy campers!

Can baby chickens eat lotus root?

Young chicks have more delicate digestive systems than fully grown laying hens.

Wait until they are around 4 weeks old before introducing lotus root as anything new.

Start with only tiny, pea-sized pieces at first to ensure their bodies can handle it.

Watch them closely for signs of tummy troubles like diarrhea that could indicate intolerance.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution with baby birds and stick to tried-and-true starter feed.

As they mature to pullet age around 16-20 weeks, bigger morsels of lotus are suitable.

Gradually increasing frequency over weeks builds tolerance gradually without stressing immature GI systems.

With patience and care, lotus root can certainly be an enriching supplement even for young chicks.

Growing lotus yourself for chickens

For an ultra-local lotus root source, consider planting your own patch.

Most lotus varieties are very easy to cultivate and thrive with a minimum of care.

Start from ready-to-plant rhizomes ordered online in spring once nighttime lows are above 50F.

A sunny spot near a pond, river or other moisture source suits them best.

Soil should be constantly moist but well-draining like a loamy potting mix.

Within a few months you’ll see beautiful large pads and blooms floating atop leaves.

Come fall, harvested rhizomes can be overwintered indoors or replanted outside each year.

Homegrown lotus is truly a treat for you and your chickens alike!

Can other livestock eat lotus root?

While lotus root is non-toxic for chickens, what about other barnyard animals?

Pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits and horses can all safely consume lotus in moderation.

Like with chickens, start by offering small amounts to establish digestive tolerance.

Cattle and deer tend to avoid eating lotus in pastures so it’s not considered highly palatable.

Donkeys, mules and llamas may sample it out of curiosity but lotus is not part of their natural diets.

Always monitor introduction of any new food.

Signs like diarrhea mean an animal cannot tolerate it.

With its tasty crunch and respectable nutrient profile, lotus root is a versatile plant for small farms.

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