Can Chickens Eat Spinach?

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Chickens can eat spinach and it's a nutritional powerhouse, but should only be fed to chickens in small amounts. Spinach contains oxalic acid which can be harmful in high doses.

Spinach is easy to grow and is packed full of nutrients. It’s considered a superfood for humans alongside things like blueberries and acai because of the antioxidants it contains.

If you have spinach plants, or simply bought too much spinach at the store, it can be tempting to toss those leftovers into your chicken coop. After all – your chickens would make quick work of them!

But is spinach a safe food for chickens to eat?

This article will teach the best way to provide spinach to chickens and will discuss why too much spinach can be dangerous to your flock (and particularly to egg-laying hens).

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Spinach?

Spinach can be fed in small amounts to chickens and other egg-laying birds. However, when offering spinach, it’s important to not overdo it. Spinach contains oxalic acid which is not good in large amounts and can be harmful to the quality of eggs that your laying chickens provide.

Luckily, you can somewhat offset this effect by offering apple cider vinegar at the same time that you feed chickens spinach and chard. A few tablespoons added on the leaves or into their drinking water should do it.

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Apple cider vinegar adds to the PH of their stomach acid and this helps break down the oxalic acid so it doesn’t interfere with calcium as much. While apple cider vinegar can make spinach a safe food, offer it as an occasional treat only, and not part of their regular diet. Excess vinegar is not good for your chickens either.

In addition, laying hens require a high amount of calcium because it takes calcium to produce thick eggshells and plentiful eggs. That is why chicken keepers will offer oyster shells in addition to grit for their hardworking hens to supplement calcium.

Spinach can interfere with calcium absorption, so even though it offers plentiful nutrients and health benefits, it can only be given in small quantities.

Is Spinach a Healthy Food for Chickens?

Just as commercial feeds have added vitamins and minerals, it’s important to supplement your chicken’s diet with fresh foods from time to time. Spinach is definitely a healthy food for chickens.

Spinach contains good amounts of:

  • Folic Acid
  • Amino Acids
  • Choline
  • Carotenoids
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B6
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium

Spinach is a superfood because of all of these vital nutrients. It helps the immune system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, and even bone and skin health!

Backyard chickens can always use a boost of healthy nutrients in addition to their chicken feed. It’s important to only offer extra foods in moderation because too much of anything is not good for your chicken’s health.

To ensure you keep the amount of spinach safe, you can offer it as part of a mixed salad with other fruits and veggies that are safe for chickens including cucumbers, grapes, and watermelon.

See Also:  Can Chickens Eat Apples?

Can Chickens Eat Raw Spinach?

For those of us raising chickens, it often becomes apparent that chickens enjoy raw foods more often than cooked ones. That is because chickens like to forage as free-range animals, and almost everything they come across in the wild is raw.

Raw spinach is safe to offer chickens, but it may be better to boil it to reduce the amount of oxalic acid it contains.

Cooking spinach is helpful but it still won’t entirely eliminate the dangers and your chickens will eat it either way.

Can Chickens Eat Frozen Spinach?

Frozen spinach can contain preservatives so be sure to read the nutrition label to see what ingredients the frozen spinach contains.

You can thaw frozen spinach and offer it to your chickens as a treat, as long as it doesn’t have additional seasonings such as salt added.

Can Chickens Eat Swiss Chard and Other Leafy Greens?

Chickens can eat dark leafy greens like romaine lettuce and swiss chard in limited amounts safely.

It’s important that they are not fed too many foods that have oxalic acid though, as it can lead to issues with their eggs and interfere with calcium intake.

Can Baby Chicks Eat Spinach?

Baby chicks should avoid eating spinach and stick to their starter feed.

Starter feed has all of the nutritional content that baby chicks need. If you do want to offer them a treat, try boiling an egg, removing the yolk, and crumbling it into little pieces.

This healthy, high-protein snack is much better for baby chicks than spinach.


A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina recently moved across the globe to Austria, where she bought land specifically to build a small house with room for a backyard chicken coop. Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for a flock of hens owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of chickens, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Chicken Care Taker in 2022.

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