Can Chickens Eat Cabbage?


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Feeding your chickens a balanced and complete diet is important if they are to remain healthy and lay lots of good eggs. Chickens will feed on almost anything hence to prevent health problems and deficiencies, a wide variety of foods should be given.

If you have a brood of chickens then you must make sure that they are cared for and fed well. One way to do this is to feed them well. You may be wondering though, can chickens eat cabbage?

two chicken eating cabbage

Cabbage is a healthy treat for chickens and is safe for them to consume. Cabbage is not only green but also full of nutrients.

The kind of food that you give your chickens is very important. You want them to be energetic, happy and most importantly produce for you delicious eggs.

Cabbage is very healthy and is also full of minerals and vitamins. If you give your chicken cabbage they’ll definitely have a blast.

Vitamins and Mineral Content

Cabbage is loaded with vitamins such as K, C, B6, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and natural antioxidants. Best of all, they can eat the whole thing.

Cabbage is also a nutritive and healthy treat that will greatly boost their health.  This is because it contains a good level of anti-carcinogens hence a very good source of a healthy treat to give your chickens.

High in Calcium

As compared to broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage contains the most calcium.

If you want to make cabbage more enjoyable, you need to mix it with other treats as well.

Can Chickens Eat the Whole Cabbage?

You may be wondering whether you can feed your chickens the whole cabbage or not.

Since cabbage is nutritious and delicious, chickens can devour the whole thing. Perhaps the only part that they may find a bit hard is the stem.

One of the best ways to feed chickens cabbage is to make a hanging cabbage.

All you need is a cabbage, piece of rope (or baling twine), and a drill. Make a whole through the thick part of the stem, lace your string through and tie it up about head level for your flock to browse on throughout the day.

Since chickens can get bored this is also a very good opportunity for them to entertain themselves especially if they are in a coop all day.

However, it’s important to supervise them while eating as they may end up eating the twine used to hang the cabbage.

How much Cabbage Should They be Fed

Whether you are giving them their normal foods or treats ensure that you feed them in moderation. Since chickens can go nuts for cabbage always make sure the treats make up no more than 10% of their diet.

You just need to give them what they will finish within 10 minutes.

The rest of the day, it’s important to give them their layer feed. While you can throw them some little treat during the day make sure it’s moderate. It’s important that they get their calcium and other nutrients from their feed.

Benefits and Risks of Cabbage

whole cabbage

When it comes to chicken treat cabbage is one of the most distinctive, striking, and memorable vegetables out there. Just like other vegetables, cabbage is known for its unique flavor, health benefits, and few side effects.

Perfect for all types of chickens, there is always a reason why cabbage should make part of your chicken diet.

Cabbage is good for chickens just the way it is for humans. Whether you feed them on leftover scraps or fresh cabbage, your chicken will savor the taste.

While its vitamin content may not be as great as other types of vegetables, it’s still a very succulent vegetable. The outer part of it and the green leaves contain more of the vitamins. Although it’s a bit more expensive, it makes an excellent green vegetable to give your chicken.

As a cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium that your chicken needs. These minerals not only make your flock strong but also healthy.

Plus, cabbage can also help the chickens with digestion. When consumed well, cabbage contains a high quantity of probiotics that not only boost their body immunity but also help them indigestion.

The water and the fiber content in the cabbage also help them prevent constipation so they can maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Although feeding your chicken on cabbage posses no major health threat it’s important to moderate how much they eat.

Practically anything that you give in excess can potentially harm your poultry. Cabbage contains something that can significantly harm the thyroid of your poultry.

For it to be harmful to the chickens they must have eaten a lot on a regular basis. The solution to this is, therefore, to provide them with something to eat in addition to cabbage. The best thing is to think in terms of moderation and you are good to go

Animals That Shouldn’t Eat Cabbage

Since cabbage is safe and nutritious, it’s safe for most animals. Although it’s totally animal-friendly, you need to keep in mind that it can cause gas among certain animals if fed excessively.

baby white rabbit eating cabbage

Some uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms of tummy problems include watery stool, frequent flatulence, and bellyache. These types of symptoms are more common in mammals, though, and not a concern for your average barnyard bird like chickens, ducks and geese.

Moreover, since cabbage belongs to the brassica family, it poses several challenges if not used well. Cabbage contains a high amount of calcium hence you should regulate the amount you feed to the cows nearing calving.

Cabbage is also known for poisoning and digestive upsets among cows if not managed well. These include pneumonia, bloat, and nitrate poisoning.

To prevent this make sure the animal is full before supplementing them with cabbage.

Cabbage Treat Recipe for Chickens

  • 4 cups of oat groats
  • 4 cups of hard red wheat berries
  • 1 cup of lentils
  • A small quantity of cabbage

Tips to Remember When Feeding Cabbage to Your Chicken

It’s important to remember these points when feeding your chicken cabbage

  • You should not feed your chickens a lot of cabbage since too much of it may cause diarrhea.
  • Before giving your chicken cabbage make sure you are already feeding them a complete, balanced layer feed.
  • Wash and ensure that the cabbage is clean before giving your chicken
  • If you have more than 6 chickens make sure you get more than one feeder and that they are apart from each other so you can protect the weak hens.

Final Thoughts

Treats such as cabbage should just be treats. Just like dogs chickens will plead for more cabbage. They may even make you feel guilty about rationing. However, you need to remind yourself that you are looking after their well being and health. With that said you should avoid giving them cabbage instead of their normal feeds. Above all, ensure that their feed is well balanced.

April

April has owned and worked with domestic fowl including chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, and guineas since 1998. She has a B.S. in Agriculture from Cal Poly in Pomona, CA where she studied genetics, nutrition and reproduction.

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