It is always a good idea to feed your chickens organic food apart from the usual chicken pellets, as it can provide some of the nutrients they need. However, before giving them vegetables like cauliflower, it’s essential to check if chickens can eat cauliflower.
This article will cover:
- What is cauliflower?
- Can your chickens eat cauliflower?
- How do you feed your chickens cauliflower?
- How much cauliflower should you feed to your chickens?
- Is cauliflower good for my chickens?
- Can chickens eat cauliflower cheese?
What is cauliflower?
A cauliflower, scientifically known as Brassica Oleracea, is a cabbage that belongs to the mustard family or is also called Brassicaceae. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins and minerals where people and animals can benefit a lot.
Cauliflower is considered to be a healthy and all-purpose vegetable that can be served in various dishes. One of the benefits of cauliflower is that it is not difficult to grow, even in your backyard. Hence, it would be beneficial for chicken owners who have backyard poultry farms.
Can your chickens eat cauliflower?
Yes, your chickens can definitely eat cauliflower. However, you cannot feed them cauliflower as part of their essential diet but only as a snack.
You can feed your chickens some cauliflower in a moderate manner. If given more than what they can take, they will find it hard to digest the vegetable.
You can give all the parts of the cauliflower to your chickens, including its leaves and florets. These parts do not contain any toxic substance that can harm your chickens. However, the only problem you might encounter in feeding cauliflower to your chickens is when they start choking from it. Hence, it is always a great decision to prepare it in pieces before providing it to them.
You can watch the video to learn more about how do chickens digest their food:
How do you feed your chickens cauliflower?
There are various ways you can consider how to feed your chickens cauliflower. It would be best to give them cauliflowers in a chunk so they will not have a hard time eating and digesting it. Thus, cauliflower tidbits help in preventing them from the possibility of getting choked.
However, if you do not have much time to prepare it in chunks, you can tie it with a rope or use a treat feeder to make it exciting. There are various types of chicken treat feeders, and you can also make your own.
Your chickens can eat cauliflower, whether raw or cooked. However, raw cauliflower is more recommended than the other. We are all aware that raw fruits and vegetables retain all their nutrients and are considered healthiest when fresh. Occasional cauliflower treats to your chickens are good for them.
Although, chickens will not and do not mind if you give them a cooked cauliflower. They will enjoy it just as much the same. However, be aware that the cooking process then breaks down or reduces some of the fundamental nutrients.
You must be sure you are not giving them rotten and seasoned cauliflower. To cook the cauliflower, you can boil it in water and do not add salt as it is not beneficial to your chickens.
Aside from feeding your chickens cooked cauliflower makes it softer and easier to peck for chickens, it can also help you not have much food wastage as you can serve your leftovers to your chickens. But ensure that after their mealtime, remove all the residue to avoid attracting pests and rodents.
Similar to any other vegetables that can be fed to your chickens, you can offer cauliflower as a supplement to their regular layer feeds.
Learn how to make a DIY chicken treats feeder.
How much cauliflower should you feed to your chickens?
We have established that cauliflower should only be fed to your chickens as a treat. The average size of a cauliflower floret is already enough for your two chickens to share. Always remember that overfeeding is definitely not good. Ensure to check out if their balanced diet is well maintained for them to be truly healthy.
Is cauliflower good for my chickens?
Cauliflower is suitable for both humans and animals, including chickens. It is a food with a low-calorie count and consists of multiple nutrients that will not threaten anyone’s properly balanced nutrition diet, including chickens.
The nutrients found in cauliflower are the following:
We have already established from our previous topics that chickens definitely need the right amount of calcium in their body. They do not just need it for the development of their bones to grow, but they most especially need it for when they are laying eggs.
Often, chickens start to lay soft eggs due to calcium deficiency. However, cauliflower cannot alone provide the calcium your chickens need but are a good addition and boost.
CChickens also need an ample amount of vitamin C, especially during the cold season. This is where they are more prone to getting ill by being infected with various poultry diseases.
Your chickens can get a lot of benefits from the folic acid found in cauliflower. It is a nutrient a chicken must-have, especially for laying hens, as it assists in making the reproductive stronger and helps produce healthy eggs.
Another thing folic acid is good at is how it helps in the formulation of a red blood cell. If your chickens have healthy and robust blood cells, then your chickens will never have a hard time regulating the right body temperature but can also maintain the flow of oxygen very well.
Iron can also help in maintaining the blood circulation of your chickens. Most laying hens need enough iron in their bodies as they are at a higher risk of having anemia. However, the chicken layer pellets or feeds you have been giving them are already enough as it contains ample amount of iron. But, it will not be a problem if you give them tidbits amount of cauliflower treats sometimes do not overfeed them with it.
Magnesium helps vitamin D to become functional. It assists in forming vitamin D for the body to metabolize.
Apart from calcium, phosphorus can also make the bones of your chickens stronger and better. Cauliflower is rich in phosphorus as it contains the nutrients your chicken need to have solid eggshells.
Chicken owners who have joined the bandwagon give their chickens some cauliflower treats more frequently during the warm season. Cauliflower also contains potassium a chicken needs as it helps them to prevent suffering from dehydration. Once taken, it provides a refreshing feeling to your chickens and helps maintain their low body temperatures.
A cauliflower is undeniably high in Vitamin B6, and you have no other reasons why you should not feed them cauliflower. Similar to magnesium, where it lends itself to other vitamins and minerals, Vitamin B6 has the same role.
Vitamin B6 helps the hens in processing and breaking down all the proteins it ingests. The body cannot absorb and at the same time metabolize all the proteins without the assistance of Vitamin B6.
Just as much we humans need vitamins C, it is also the same for chickens. It helps reinforce the immune system of your chickens to avoid getting infected from getting any poultry disease.
Chickens are also prone to inevitable accidents. They also get into trouble which causes them to bleed. Hence, the purpose of Vitamin K is to relieve all the wounds, heal quickly and improve blood circulation preventing blood clots.
Rich in Antioxidants
One of the good sources of antioxidants is cauliflower. You can feed this to your chicken to keep them healthy.
High in Fiber
Cauliflowers are considered to be a superfood due to the vitamins and minerals it contains. One among the rest is that it is significantly high in fiber that is advantageous to the digestive system of the chicken.
It is necessary to sustain the healthy bacterias found in the gut, which will eventually relieve the possible inflammation of the chicken’s digestive system.
Another benefit one can take from the fiber is that it assists in digesting the food properly by helping it move smoothly through the digestive tract. Thus, allowing the chickens to have regular bowel movements.
With all the necessary information, you should not doubt or question why you should feed cauliflower to your chickens. It is rich in all the vitamins and minerals your chicken need.
Below is a table to quickly understand the nutrients in one cup of raw cauliflower (100g)
Can chickens eat cauliflower cheese?
We have mentioned that salt is not suitable for chickens. Hence, this question is that it is not advisable to feed your chickens cauliflower cheese. Cheese comprises a high quantity of fats and salts, which is not a healthy treat for your chickens.
You may allow your chickens to taste this treat, but we highly oppose feeding them this treat. Too much amount of it will only affect their digestive system.
We have answered your question, “Can chickens eat cauliflower?”. You may now include it on your list of vegetables and fruits as a treat that is safe for your chickens. Just make sure cauliflower is being moderately fed to your chickens to avoid them suffering from indigestion.
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.