The cabbage is a common vegetable. You can easily find it in any store. Maybe you’re even growing your own. Because of how common it is, you might be thinking if you can give them to your chickens. However, you might be worried if it’s safe for them. Chickens love eating, but they cannot safely eat everything.
Let us help you with that. Today, let’s talk about cabbage.
This article will cover
- Can Chickens Eat Cabbage?
- Is the Cabbage Good for Chickens?
- Unexpected Summer Treat
- Do Chickens Like Cabbage?
- Serving Cabbage to Chickens
- Can Chicks Eat Cabbage?
- Cabbage VS Iceberg Lettuce
- Watery Treats
- Things to Remember When Feeding Cabbage to Your Chickens
Can Chickens Eat Cabbage?
The answer is yes.
If you look at the nutritional value of the cabbage, you will see that it doesn’t contain anything poisonous for chicken. Sure, it has some natural sugars. However, it’s not high enough to be worried about. Other chicken treats contain much more sugar or salt.
Click here to have a more detailed look at the components of the cabbage.
he cabbage consists of different sections like the leaves, core, and rib. However, you don’t have to worry about that. You can give them every portion. The rib and the core might be a little tough, but your chickens can eat them.
Is the Cabbage Good for Chickens?
Like with us humans, not everything that your chickens could eat would be healthy for them. Let’s see how good the cabbage is for your chickens.
Cabbage contains many different nutrients. It has all sorts of minerals and vitamins that could be helpful to your chickens. However, it doesn’t have all the things that your chickens need. For example, it has protein, but only a tiny amount of it.
The cabbage could be healthy if given in moderation. However, it could not be a staple in your chickens’ diet. On the other hand, it would be a good chicken treat.
Unexpected Summer Treat
You can give your chickens this vegetable at any season. However, you can best optimize its components during the summer.
The cabbage has a large amount of Vitamin C. Chickens don’t usually need this vitamin. They could produce this vitamin under normal circumstances.
However, chickens have some trouble making it when they are under stress. One type of stress that chickens could face is heat stress. As you would expect, this type of stress usually comes during the summer. You can give them a little more cabbage than usual when summer rolls in to help with this.
Furthermore, the cabbage is mostly water. While this substance is always needed, it is especially essential in the summer.
These two things make the cabbage an unexpectedly great summer treat!
100g Cabbage Nutrition
Do Chickens Like Cabbage?
We now know that your chickens can eat cabbage. Furthermore, we also know that it could be healthy for them. Now, let’s talk about if they like them.
I’m not a fan of this vegetable. However, it seems chickens are! With that said, don’t forget that chickens also have their preferences. One chicken might go crazy for cabbages, while another might hate it.
Give your chickens a few bits to see if they would like it. If they take a peck and move along, then they probably don’t like it. However, if they demolish it and fight each other for it, I think it’s safe to assume they like it.
Serving Cabbage to Chickens
You could peel a few leaves and give them to your chickens. However, there are several fun ways you can serve this vegetable to your little guys.
You can give the cabbage to your chickens whether it is cooked or uncooked. However, we hope you’re not giving them the leftovers. As we have said, chickens don’t need much sugar or salt. Usually, leftovers would mean that there’s seasoning in it.
Earlier, we said that the cabbage could be a great summer treat. To maximize that, you can refrigerate the cabbage. This way, it would be a little more refreshing. It will help with the heat.
You can give the whole cabbage to your flock. You can throw it to the chickens. (Hopefully, not directly at them. That might injure the little guys!) On the other hand, you can hang the cabbage.
We already know that chickens love eating. There’s no doubt about that. You can ask any chicken keeper.
You might think that there’s nothing else that could top that. Wrong! For some reason, chickens love picking at dangling food.
This method could also help in another chicken problem. Chickens get bored. When chickens are bored, they could get stressed and do all sorts of mayhem (e.g., feather picking). If you’re looking to keep your chickens busy, then you might want to put a dangling cabbage in front of them.
Can Chicks Eat Cabbage?
The general rule is that the chicks can also eat what the chickens can.
However, you have to take their digestive system into account. Their digestive system is not yet as developed as the adults. If ever you want to introduce treats to the chicks, you should put in some extra care.
This vegetable is easy to eat. However, if you want to be extra careful, you can cook it to make it soft. Furthermore, you can also chop it to be sure it will not be a choking hazard. However, keep in mind to only give them a few bites.
Chicks should mostly stay on starter feed so that they can grow up healthy. They should mostly have starter feed until the 6th week. After that, you could be a little more generous with the treats.
Cabbage vs. iceberg Lettuce
It can be easy to confuse cabbage with iceberg lettuce due to their similar appearance. Hopefully, you’re not like me. This is not a mistake you want to make with your chickens.
No, iceberg lettuce is not poisonous for your chickens. Your chickens could eat it, but it’s not that healthy either. There are only a few good things about it.
One, it has a low amount of sugar and salt. Two, it is mostly water. I’m not sure if there’s a third point. It does have some other nutrients. However, like the sugar and salt, only in low amounts.
The cabbage and the iceberg lettuce are both safe to eat, but if you have to pick between the two. We suggest you go for the cabbage. Click here to have a more detailed look at the components of the iceberg lettuce to compare it with the cabbage.
If you’re getting ready for the summer, or you’re just looking for other watery treats, then don’t worry! Here are some treats you could add to your chicken treats list.
Watermelon – The watermelon is rich in water. To be specific, it has a water content of 92%. Furthermore, it is one of the few treats that renders every part safe to eat. Additionally, there are many fun ways to serve it as well!
Cucumber – The cucumber is also rich in water. It has a water content of 96%. You can also let your chickens eat every part of the cucumber. However, we’re not sure if they’ll like them. They might eat the flesh and seeds, but not the skin.
Lettuce – We did warn you about the iceberg lettuce. However, other varieties of lettuce tend to have more nutrients, making them a better treat option.
Remember that watery treats are only good in moderation. Furthermore, the food your chickens eat affects their poo. If you see their poo start to become marshy, then it might be time to lay off the watery treats.
Things to Remember When Feeding Cabbage to Your Chickens
There are some handlers that like giving food that is about to rot to their chickens. However, remember that mold is harmful to chickens. As I always say, if it has mold, then it has to go.
If your cabbage came from the store, then it is most likely covered with some chemicals. The cabbage is not harmful to your chickens, but those chemicals are.
Make sure you wash the cabbage thoroughly to get rid of all the unhealthy substances. The same goes if you have home-grown cabbages and you’re using pesticides.
Can chickens eat cabbage?
Yes! It doesn’t have any substance that would be considered toxic. Furthermore, it has a lot of things that are good for your chickens. Additionally, it is rich in water and Vitamin C, which makes it a good summer treat.
Finding new treats to introduce to our chickens is hard. Chickens might love food and eating, but we can’t just give them every food. Some treats are bad for them. I know you don’t want to make that mistake.
Want to know more about treats that you can feed to your chicken? You can check out our chicken feeding tips.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.