Don't feed your chicken raw sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are delicious and highly nutritious, to be honest it was one of my favorite foods as a child, but feeding raw sweet potatoes to a chicken might not be such a good idea.
Feeding raw sweet potatoes to a chicken is not recommended, as raw sweet potatoes contain dioscorin, a plant toxin harmful to the central nervous system.
The sweet potato is one of those foods recognized for being extremely healthy and beneficial for human consumption, obviously in this case it is always consumed boiled, but when supplying raw sweet potato as food to an animal, in this case a chicken, there is a risk of intoxication.
The sweet potato is classified as a nutritious vegetable, and perhaps because of these characteristics you have the concept that it is totally healthy and noble to eat raw, but this is not the case, you should avoid consuming or feeding your poultry raw sweet potato.
Special care should be taken with the green potato, or more precisely, those that have some areas of greenish color, as it is an indicator of solanine content, a toxic substance that the potato generates to protect itself from bugs and fungi.
Is the raw sweet potato toxic?
As I previously mentioned, the sweet potato contains dioscorin, which is a truly toxic toxin of plant origin. It basically consists of an alkaloid compound, which is present mainly in foods such as yams and sweet potatoes in high concentrations.
The cooking of the sweet potato for its consumption is fundamental because of this, this toxin is destroyed by heat, feeding raw sweet potato to a chicken or a human being is a risk because it is being exposed to the consumption of dioscorina.
No matter how small a dose of raw sweet potato is ingested, the dioscorin content found in sweet potato is potent enough to significantly affect a small amount of raw sweet potato ingested, and a bird as small as a chicken would have a much more noticeable effect.
Can chickens eat sweet potato peel?
The peel of the sweet potato is also very nutritious, in many places in fact the baked sweet potato is cooked and consumed with everything and peel, but we return to the same question, a hen can eat raw sweet potato peel?
The answer is yes, a hen can eat raw sweet potato peel, obviously, you should cut it into dimensions that are easy for them to digest, but something extremely important must be taken into account.
Some sweet potato and potato skins may contain a toxic alkaloid called solanine, which is easy to recognize because it turns the skin a greenish color.
The sweet potato and potatoes develop this toxin as a defense system to prevent insects and other predators and parasites from killing them. It is like a natural pesticide that is found just under the skin in some areas.
Specifically, in tubers or potatoes, solanine is found in the green substance that is just under the skin, which makes eating them raw or with skin a danger to our health, because this alkaloid not only affects animals such as chickens but also causes effects to humans.
This is why it is important to clean potatoes and sweet potatoes well and to remove all the skin, including this green layer that covers them. When boiling them, it is necessary to do it without skin to avoid that this alkaloid can affect them, because it can even be kept after boiling.
So in order to safely feed the chickens sweet potato peels, first look at the color of the peel underneath, watch for green spots.
Can chickens eat sweet potato leaves?
We already know that it is not appropriate to feed raw sweet potato to a chicken and that you can feed the peel but with special care, but what about the leaves of the sweet potato, can a chicken eat them safely?
Sweet potato leaves are safe for a chicken to eat. Several studies have shown that they are rich in valuable vitamins and nutrients. Including vitamins C, B2, and B6. And they do not contain toxins that can compromise health. In some diverse parts of the world, they can even be found regularly on the menu.
Sweet potato leaves can be fed raw to the chicken, their flavor can be a little intense and bitter, similar to spinach, but that matters little to them.
Some nutritional benefits of sweet potato leaves
Sweet potatoes are not only edible. They are super healthy. The young leaves in particular are full of vitamin C. Mature leaves are rich in vitamins B2 and B6. I found one study that examined the nutritional composition in the sweet potato plant.
We all know that vitamin C is a super important component in living beings, whether they are animals or humans. But what do vitamins B2 and B6 really do? In a nutshell:
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) fulfills important tasks in protein and energy metabolism. In addition to milk, it is found in whole grain products.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) supports nerves and defenses.
Another study by the Louisiana State Agricultural Center also confirmed that sweetpotato leaves contain a variety of valuable nutrients. Among them:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B.
- vitamin C
- Vitamin B3
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6