ECHOcommunity Conversations

Chaya for Livestock Feed

I find the new growth of Chaya to be more palatable than older leaves. So, I shear off the old growth to stimulate new leaves. Can Chaya be used for animal feed? Must it be boiled out or can it be fed raw?

Thanks and blessings,
George F Dones
Llorente, Eastern Samar, Philippines

I’d be interested to hear the answer to this question as well! Also, if chaya can be fed to livestock, which kind of livestock?
Thank you!

Hi George
I have about 7 000 Chaya trees on my property since 2009. My geese and chickens grace freely between the Chaya trees and eat the green leaves and never got ill from it. I founded they are more healthy and lay more eggs. There is also plenty of wild antelope on my property that eat the Chaya leaves and I never saw they got ill. In the beginning some of the small Chaya trees about 1m high was totally eaten even the tick branches. I only use the Chaya leaves during harvesting and fed the stems from the leaves to my rabbits. I never experienced any problem with my animals eating the raw Chaya leaves.
Rian Gouws South Africa

Hello Rian!

Thanks for your response! Sounds like you have a great project there. Have you ever fed the raw leaves to hogs? Chaya grows well here in Eastern Samar and we are looking to add Chaya to our non-commercial hog ration. I just want to make sure it doesn’t induce abortion or any other malady. Thanks and blessings, George

Hi George,

For most species, chaya must be processed in some fashion to release the anti-nutritive (toxic) hydrocyanic glucosides. Chickens seem to tolerate raw leaves, possibly because of the cell walls being crushed in their crop and the volatile toxins released before digestion occurs. Other monogastrics (such as pigs), should not be given raw chaya, in principle.

Ruminants usually will not eat raw leaves because of the toxic compounds, so processing is almost always required in order to incorporate into their diet. Ungulates (like the antelope mentioned in one post) tend to deal with the issue through their browsing habit–not eating more than the body can detoxify itself.

As for processing, there are many methods that range from drying and crushing into a protein leaf powder, boiling (for five minutes; then maybe drying and processing), and some extraction techniques that are a bit more high tech. The basic principle, though, is to crush as many cell walls as possible for the volatile glucosides to dissipate.

Hope this helps!



Your response is much appreciated! We will continue to be careful with Chaya.