Can chickens eat courgette, zucchini and marrow

Some of my chickens eating a marrow

Chickens can eat zucchini, courgette, marrows, summer squashes and patty pans as well as the flowers from any of those plants. Chickens should not be give the green parts of courgettes or zucchini plants as they contain a mild poison.

I grow quite a few members of the circubrit family in my backyard garden every year and as the plants get going I always end up with a massive surplus of marrows, patty pans and courgettes or zucchini depending on where you are from.

Then there is the odd monster zucchini that you forget to cut or miss in the amongst the leaves that grows about 2 foot long and will just be full of seeds. One solution to this surplus is to treat your chickens.

Below: My hens demolishing a monster zucchini.

Surplus courgettes and marrows will prove popular if you cut them in half as hens rather like the seeds and flesh.

Can chickens eat zucchini or courgette?

Yes, chickens can eat zucchini, patty pans, marrows or courgettes and the flowers of the plant as well. They have a high water content and are rich in fibre and include a range of healthy vitamins and minerals as well as omega 3's.

Do chickens like courgettes, marrows and zucchini?

In  word yes, they love them all. I will let this video show you what mine think of a marrow.

Is zucchini good for chickens?

Zucchini, marrow and courgette are good for the chickens. They are supposed to act as a natural dewormer for poultry but I m not so sure myself.

Below: Chickens love the seeds and zucchini are full of them.

If got chickens you don't need feel overwhelmed by all that surplus zucchini, just share with the chickens!

What about courgette or zucchini flowers?

The flowers of the zucchini or courgette are a bit of a delicacy in my opinion, I like to eat them deep fried in a tempura batter.

You can and should feed any surplus courgette flowers to the chickens, of course.

Below: The yellow flowers are edible and good for chickens.

The yellow colour in the flower will help colour the yolks of your eggs.

Can chickens eat courgette or zucchini leaves and plants?

No. The green parts of the circubrit family of plants that includes all zucchini, patty pans, cucumbers and marrows contain a toxic chemical called Cucurbitacin which has a strong unpleasant smell and tastes particularly bitter and should be avoided.

These Cucurbitacins are toxic at high levels, but they are so bitter that it is almost impossible for anyone to eat sufficient quantities of the toxins to cause significant harm but chickens do not have anywhere as near as many taste buds as humans do.

It is unlikely that a chicken will be able to eat enough of the green plants to make it sick but you should keep your hens away from zucchini or marrow plants to be on the safe side.

Do you need to cook zucchini or courgette?

You don't need to cook courgettes or zucchini for chickens, you can feed them raw or cooked.

Can you feed too much zucchini to poultry?

Not really. They are a surprisingly well balanced as far as nutrients are concerned although they are a bit short of protein.

A few to peck at will never cause any issues with your chickens and they are well tolerated as far as food type and compatibility go.

How to feed courgette or zucchini to poultry:

If you have a monster with a tough skin you can hang it up and let them peck at it to keep them amused. They will happily spend hours trying to get to the seeds in the middle which seem to be their favourite part of the fruit.

Otherwise just cut the zucchini lengthwise and put it out for them.

If you grow curcubrits especially to feed to your chickens then let the fruit get quite big and allow the seeds to develop as these are the favourite part of the fruit for the chickens and the most nutritious as well.

Below: My egg flock eating the Patty Pan summer squash.

Every year I seem to get a courgette and Patty Pan overload as the plants are super productive in summer and the surplus always goes to my flock.

I also give courgette to my quail, just much less.

If you doubt birds descend from dinosaurs you won't after seeing what they do to a courgette - it keeps them occupied.

For a full A to Z list of everything chickens are allowed and not allowed to eat.