Stevia as a supplement

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Bladerunner, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Bladerunner

    Bladerunner In the Brooder

    Aug 14, 2009
    I was reading up on stevia today, figuring out how to use the bumper crop of leaves I have. I've never used it other than picking a few leaves off to chew on. I figured, I'm drying a bunch of other herbs today, I'll see what I can do with stevia leaves.

    I found this on wikipedia:

    Possible treatment of osteoporosis has been suggested by the patent application claim that eggshell breakage can be reduced by 75% by adding a small percentage of stevia leaf powder to chicken feed. It has also been suggested that pigs fed stevia extract had twice as much calcium content in their meat, but these claims have been unverified.

    Has anyone here fed their chickens stevia extract? Or leaves, or noticed any effects one way or another from their chickens getting into a stevia plant in the garden?​

  2. Princess Amri

    Princess Amri Is Mostly Harmless

    Jul 16, 2009
    best coast
    You could try it! It might be an interesting experiment!
  3. ace6175

    ace6175 Songster

    May 9, 2009
    That is really interesting! I have a stevia plant also - maybe I should feed it to my chicks.
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    It never occurred to me to me that I could feed the chickens stevia. However, we use the leaves it in our tea! YUM!!! [​IMG]

    I've never tried growing the plant though....hmm, think I need to add that to my herb garden!
  5. RioLindoAz

    RioLindoAz Sleeping

    Jul 8, 2007
    Yuma, Arizona
    Hmmm, stevia would have to contain calcuim to support egg shells, wouldn't it?

    Intresting find.
  6. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Quote:Maybe it increases the absorption of calcium?
  7. RioLindoAz

    RioLindoAz Sleeping

    Jul 8, 2007
    Yuma, Arizona
    Quote:Maybe it increases the absorption of calcium?

    You mean vitiman D?

  8. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Stevia is actually currently banned by the FDA as a food additive, probably unfairly considering what they do allow, because it hasn't been studied enough to know it's long term effects on health so we don't know what it would do to vitamins and minerals in humans much less birds. The few studies they do have to look at used extremely high levels of stevia to find negative impact on reproduction in rodents. While that's worth noting anything is bad in a high enough amount.

    Lots of things increase or decrease calcium absorption to an extent. The impact is usually pretty small though unless there is an underlying health issue or you look at really long term on an animal that is sensitive to calcium problems. Vitamin D is one of the few that has a big impact and is therefore well known. Usually the focus for other animals that need high calcium diets is more on avoiding things that block calcium absorption such as oxalic acid, high doses of vitamin c, and moderate to high levels of iron. When feeding animals on all fresh foods (no premade commercial diet) you have to keep these things in mind in order to make a proper Ca:p ratio. Otherwise if you feed say a vegetable (spinach is a good example) really high in calcium but also really high in oxalic acid and vitamin C most of the calcium gets bound up and excreted from the body making it so your ratio looks much better than what they are actually getting. With some animals you also risk stones in the kidneys or bladder from oxalates and calcium while at the same time they may look to be suffering calcium deficiency. Very frustrating if you don't understand what could be going on.

    Luckily like I said the impact is usually small unless you feed excessive amounts of something, which will probably be causing other problems first, so you can ignore these details if you are feeding a good commercial diet as a base unless you want to experiment. All the little details of how vitamins and minerals interact only becomes really important when you are trying to come up with your own complete diet for an animal or feeding an animal that no commercial diet exists for. I've had plenty of exotic small mammals and now marsupials that there is no premade food out there for purchase.
  9. tls_ranch

    tls_ranch Stares at Chickens

    I don't know if anything has changed, but I can still buy Stevia at grocery stores as packaged sweeteners.

    Also, the FDA did clear the use of Stevia recently and some of the major drink makers of pop (Coca-Cola and PepsiCo) and juice drinks were going to introduce new products sweetened with stevia based products.

    Here's a link:

    I think that Stevia is a pretty good product for those who crave sweeteners and can't handle extra sugar or calories. I personally can't consume the other artificial sweeteners as they make me get headaches and stomach upset and stevia does not.

    For chickens? Who knows.....[​IMG]. If the calcium study is correct about increased calcium absorbtion it could be a useful supplement for egg layers.
  10. RioLindoAz

    RioLindoAz Sleeping

    Jul 8, 2007
    Yuma, Arizona
    Quote:Very intresting. I think thats cleared up many of the questins I've had in the past. I've seen many exotic bird breeders put vitiman C supplements in their breeder's food to prevent sickness in the parents or chicks. Could this have had a negative effect on egg laying due to The Vitiman C?

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