Boiled eggs are a true mainstay on tables all around the world. In some times and some regions, it was impossible to imagine a healthy breakfast without this essential ingredient. The keyword here is healthy.
Yes, as we are going to discuss in greater length below, boiled eggs are true health bombs stacked with valuable nutrients.
But, what’s good for you, for obvious reasons, doesn’t have to have the same effect on your hens. So, can chickens eat boiled eggs, and if so, are they any good addition to their diet?
The answer is yes.
It looks like the sheer awesomeness of boiled eggs transcends the species and somewhat problematic relationship between chicken and this popular food.
Why is that so, and how exactly do eggs impact the development of young hens? That is precisely what we are going to explore further down below.
What We Need To Know About Chicken?
Once again, we will start the discussion by exploring the hens’ surprisingly tough digestive system. But, let us not get ahead of ourselves.
Chickens are probably the most popular poultry across the globe and are raised chiefly for two reasons – meat and egg production. That puts them into an interesting position of being both the one who consumes and the one who produces the food we are going to explore.
Probably the only time we are going to tackle this situation.
But, joking aside, chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a subspecies of red junglefowl that traces its roots all the way to Southeastern Asia. From a taxonomic standpoint, chickens belong to the vast bird family of Galliformes that, aside from our main stars, includes the likes of turkey, pheasant, partridge, grouse, and fowl.
Although all these birds look like they don’t have anything in common (some of them are even pretty darn good fliers), the thing that signals they are indeed relatives is their eating habits.
Chicken Eating Habits
Taking into account that they were at some point wild animals, chickens have evolved their digestive systems to consume mainly the things that can be found in nature (no boiled eggs, as it turns out). But, nature graced them with the perk of being omnivores which means they can consume both herbs and meat, which drastically expanded their menu and made them more resistant to different types of food.
That is great since hens have a very high demand for energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The energy part is usually obtained from grains like corn, barley, wheat, and even sorghum.
Protein is usually supplied from both animal and plant sources. The hens of ancient times have probably consumed tons of insects that are rich in this essential nutrient. Today, farmers usually feed them with canola, soybeans, sunflower seeds, etc.
Some farmers also like to throw in a couple of fish meals and bi-products of the meat industry, just to be sure.
And then, you get the vitamins and minerals that are primarily obtained from fruit and veggie sources. As long as the food is not rich in toxins like phytohaemagglutinin (you can find it in beans), your little hens will happily devour whatever you throw in front of them and come out stronger and healthier.
The Nutritional Content And Perks Of Boiled Eggs
Now, let’s move to the other star of this story – boiled eggs. This food is so popular and present in global nutrition we are all perfectly aware they are beneficial for our health. But, very few of us know what makes them so awesome.
Well, we are here to right these wrongs.
Let us first take a quick look at the useful goodies you can find in one large hard-boiled egg (let’s say 50 grams):
|Total fat:||5.3 grams|
|Saturated fat:||1.6 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat:||2.0 grams|
|Vitamin A:||6% of the RDA*|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin):||15% of the RDA|
|Vitamin B12 (cobalamin):||9% of the RDA|
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid):||7% of the RDA|
|Phosphorus:||86mg, or 9% of the RDA|
|Selanium:||15.4 mcg, or 22% of the RDA|
As we can see, boiled eggs are laden with lean protein necessary for growth and development. They also represent an excellent source of Vitamin A, B, B12, and B5, as well as zinc and calcium. Sure, the low level of carbs prevents eggs from being a better-rounded meal, but you can find this nutrient in a whole slew of other foods.
The point here, as long as you keep the diet balanced, you get the best of both worlds.
Boiled Eggs Health Benefits
As you can probably guess, this insanely rich nutritional content also provides some very unique health benefits.
- Boiled eggs are very rich in both protein and vitamin D. Both these things are a match made in heaven for the development of healthy, strong bones.
- Although they are rich in cholesterol, boiled eggs don’t have a negative effect on heart health. As long as you don’t overdo them, the boiled eggs will provide you with one of the healthiest sources of lean protein in existence. Also, most of the cholesterol is located in the yolk, which can be easily removed.
- Aside from the more famous components, we have touched upon above, boiled eggs also contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are very useful antioxidants with a very positive influence on overall wellbeing.
Can You Feed Your Chickens With Boiled Eggs?
With all these things in mind, it is perfectly understandable why you would want to feed your hens with boiled eggs. Animals usually tend to get the necessary protein either from plants or meat, which both come with a big asterisk.
The eggs have no such problems. So, to reiterate what we have already said in the introduction, the answer to the question can chickens eat boiled eggs is one astounding yes.
But, that doesn’t mean eggs are entirely devoid of small quirks and concerns. We have already pointed out the relatively high content of cholesterol that can cause serious cardiovascular problems if the eggs are consumed in large quantities.
Rules For Feeding The Chickens With Boiled Eggs
So, let’s check some general feeding rules that will help us to keep the egg consumption under check and our chickens healthy and kicking.
Split The Food Into Two Servings
The good news here is that chickens and roosters of all ages are not exactly compulsive eaters. When they feel full, they will politely walk from the feeders and start minding their own business.
But, pouring down the food into the feeder and leaving it there until the bowl is empty is not something you should do. Different hens eat at a different pace, and some of them who like to take afternoon snacks may leave other roommates hungry.
To avoid these problems and make sure the plate is clean in-between the meals, you can start with four large handfuls in the morning for 12 grown-up hybrids. Reduce the portion if you find leftovers after a couple of hours.
How Often Should You Feed Your Chicken?
This is a tough nut to crack since feeding frequency will generally depend on your lifestyle and the chickens’ feeding habits.
Most people with jobs and other obligations like to serve the food to their hens early in the morning and once in the afternoon when they are back from their job. This frequency is generally ok and allows you to include boiled eggs in both meals without fear of them developing heart disease.
Two servings a day give hens more than enough time to process nutrients, work out between the meals and counterbalance the few negatives boiled eggs might have.
But, once again, we have to take into account the pecking order. More dominant hens will take up the feeder and consume food until they feel full. This may leave some smaller, weaker hens hungry throughout the day.
So, take some time to observe how your chickens feed (you can do that on weekends). Weaker birds at the bottom of the pecking order may require manual feeding. Otherwise, they might end up underfed.
Mix Up The Eggs With Other Foods
As we have seen in our short boiled egg nutritional breakdown, boiled eggs are stacked with protein and healthy components like vitamins and minerals. But, they don’t have everything in store to keep your chickens growing into healthy, vigorous birds.
That is why you need to mix up the meals as much as possible. If you constantly feed hens with nothing but boiled eggs, they will end up malnourished and, even worse, develop a taste for this specific type of food.
That means they will start avoiding other healthy foods even when they are presented to them.
How many eggs should you give to your hens? Well, the University of Missouri has comprised a pretty comprehensive guideline for feeding chickens and turkeys of all ages. Although it doesn’t address this food specifically, you can put the boiled egg under protein.
The guideline can be found here.
We hope this short breakdown cleared up some concerns you might have about the nutrition of your small hens. The question can chickens eat boiled eggs is very frequent in the breeders’ circles and for a good reason too. Boiled eggs are healthy protein-laden power-bombs that are incredibly popular amongst humans.
Since chickens are omnivores just like us, they should be able to benefit from this unique nutritional content as well, right? Sure thing. As long as you keep the boiled egg meals under check and make sure that you are including other healthy foods in the rotation, you can feed this small wonder to your hens as much as you like.