One aggravation that is associated with keeping chickens is their tendency to eat ornamental plants that you would really rather they leave alone.
But, our feathered friends just can’t help it; it is in their nature. And that’s because so many plants, including many flowers, are attractive and edible to chickens, and can even provide them with some nutrition.
How about lilacs, for instance? Lilacs are one of the most popular springtime flowers, now grown all over the world. Can chickens eat lilacs safely?
Yes, lilacs are safe for chickens to eat. All parts of the flower are safe, including the flowers themselves, the stems, and the leaves. However, lilacs have very little in the way of true nutrition for chickens.
If lilacs are growing on your property, this is good to know because you can let your chickens nibble on them when they are free ranging with no worry.
But if you grow and tend to lilacs in your garden or around your home, you’ll need to take extra steps to keep your chickens off of them, because they will eat them! I’ll tell you everything you need to know about chickens eating lilacs below.
What Benefits Do Lilacs Have for Chickens?
Comprehensive nutritional data for lilacs is generally unavailable or unreliable, but it has been deduced that they offer little in the way of real nutrition for chickens.
They will provide them with a smattering of vitamins and minerals and a few calories, but not much more than that.
However, lilacs are a generally entertaining treat for chickens, and it’s common to see them nibbling off the tender petals of flowers whenever they encounter them.
In any case, you don’t need to worry if your chickens are eating any part of the lilac plant.
Are Lilac Seeds Safe for Chickens?
Yes. Lilac seeds are completely safe for chickens, and they will probably eat several of them as they peck at the plant.
Are Lilac Stems Safe for Chickens?
Yes, they are. Lilac stems are fairly tender, but tend not to be a chicken’s favorite part of the plant.
That being said, don’t be surprised if you see them eating the newest and most tender stems while avoiding the older, tougher ones.
Are Lilac Flowers Safe for Chickens?
Yes, they are. It is the lilac flowers themselves that are the choicest bits of the plant for chickens.
Small, delicate, and aromatic, chickens will usually start by eating all the ones they can reach before continuing with the other parts of the plants.
Are Lilacs Safe for Chickens Raw?
Absolutely, yes. Raw lilac is almost certainly how your chickens are going to encounter it and eat it, and this happens to be the very best way to serve it to them.
Although it offers scant nutrition in the best of circumstances, raw lilacs will contain the most vitamins and minerals that chickens can expect to get from them.
Can You Cook Lilacs to Give Them to Chickens?
You can, but there’s absolutely no reason to. Lilacs are safe for chickens when raw and fresh, no doubt about it, and cooking lilacs will absolutely destroy whatever scant nutritional value they have.
Don’t do it, don’t waste your time.
Are Lilacs Safe for Baby Chicks?
Lilacs are completely safe for chicks, but you should let them grow up a little bit before you serve them lilacs or let them nibble on the flowers themselves.
Fresh green vegetation can be challenging for chicks, being a potential choking risk and also having a higher propensity to cause crop problems.
For these reasons, wait until your chicks are at least 4 weeks old before letting them try lilacs.
How Frequently Can Lilacs be Fed to Chickens?
Lilacs are only an incidental menu item for chickens, or a treat if you want to call them that though they are really just more entertainment than anything else.
If you let your chickens free range, you can let them eat lilacs whenever they feel like it because they probably aren’t going to pay them that much attention if they have other, better sources of food that they can find.
But if you’re harvesting lilacs to serve them to your chickens, try to only give them a small portion maybe once a week.
Even though they aren’t harmful, they don’t offer anything in the way of nutrition that chickens actually need, if they fill up on lilacs they are missing out on other foods that they should be eating instead.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Lilacs to Your Flock?
You don’t have to do much if you want to serve lilacs to your chickens. The very best way, if possible, is to let your chickens just nibble on them wherever they are growing on your property- assuming, of course, that you aren’t trying to protect the lilacs!
If you’d rather harvest the lilacs yourself and then hand them over to your chickens you can simply place the blooms in a bowl, on a tray or scatter them on the ground, and let your chickens peck at them.
Make Sure Lilacs Weren’t Sprayed with Pesticides before Feeding to Chickens
Before you allow your chickens to eat lilacs, be sure that the plants have not been subjected to any chemical sprays, be they pesticides, fertilizers or something else.
All of these chemicals are very bad for chickens, and all birds tend to be highly sensitive to contamination and can easily be poisoned.
If you can, try to avoid using any chemicals and stick with all-natural organic or alternative methods of pest control or fertilization, if possible.
If you have any doubts whatsoever about the safety of lilacs, simply don’t let your chickens eat them!
Lilacs are Safe, But Only By Themselves: No People Food!
Something you might not have known about lilacs is that they aren’t just showy, pretty flowers: They are actually used in a fair few specialty food products, including preserves, syrups and various desserts. It’s true, look it up.
But as delicious and delicate as so many of these sweets are, they aren’t things your chickens can have just because lilacs are safe for them.
Baked goods, desserts, toppings, sauces and the like all contain lots of other ingredients that chickens just shouldn’t have.
Sugar butter, preservatives, salt, things like that: all are bad for chickens and all of them can lead to serious health problems though the lilac essences are harmless.
If you don’t want your chickens to wind up with hypertension, sodium poisoning or some other equally horrible disease, don’t give them any people food made with lilacs.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.