- Chickens can eat kale, and it’s encouraged as part of a balanced diet.
- Aim to feed chickens kale 2-3 times a week, especially if they are confined.
- Chicks can start having chopped kale after 4-6 weeks, mixed with their starter feed.
Kale has become incredibly popular for us humans thanks to its stellar nutritional profile. But did you know that chickens can also benefit from eating this leafy green? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding kale to chickens.
Is Kale Safe for Chickens?
The short answer is yes, and kale is perfectly safe and healthy for chickens to eat. In fact, chicken owners are encouraged to offer kale as part of a balanced diet. Kale contains lots of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and antioxidants. It also provides chickens with omega-3 fatty acids for healthy brains and bodies. Just like with humans, kale offers great nutritional value for chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Raw or Cooked Kale?
Chickens can eat kale raw or cooked. Raw kale retains more nutrients, so this is the optimal way to feed it. However, chickens will readily eat cooked kale too. Lightly steaming or sautéing the kale can make it easier for chickens to digest. But avoid overcooking it, as too much heat destroys the beneficial nutrients.
What Are the Benefits of Feeding Chickens Kale?
There are many excellent benefits to feeding kale to chickens:
- Provides antioxidants for immunity and health
- Excellent source of vitamin A for eye and reproductive health
- Great source of vitamin C for growth and egg production
- Contains omega-3 fatty acids for brain and nervous system function
- High in calcium for proper bone development
- Aids digestion and gut health
- Encourages foraging behaviors
- Provides carotenoids to enhance egg yolk color
Are There Risks to Feeding Chickens Kale?
There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding kale to mitigate potential risks:
- Feed in moderation, as too much can impact egg taste
- Introduce slowly to avoid digestive upset
- Chop well or crush stems to prevent choking
- Avoid spoiled kale, as it can harbor molds and bacteria
- Feed as part of a varied diet, not the sole green
NOTEKale is one of the safest leafy greens for chickens when introduced slowly, fed properly, and in moderation.
How Much Kale Can Chickens Eat?
Chickens can eat around 1-2 cups of chopped kale per day. This provides excellent nutrition without overdoing it. The amount can be adjusted based on the number of chickens you have. Make kale around 5-10% of their overall daily feed.
How to Feed Kale to Chickens
Here are some tips for feeding kale to chickens:
- Chop kale leaves and stems into bite-sized pieces first
- Mix some chopped kale into their feed or offer it free choice in a separate dish
- Hang a kale bunch inside the coop for chickens to nibble on freely
- Toss chopped kale in garden beds for chickens to forage
- Offer a variety by also rotating in other greens like lettuce, spinach, and chard.
How Often Should You Feed Kale to Chickens?
Aim to feed chickens kale 2-3 times per week as part of their fresh foods. Chickens who free-range may nibble on kale daily as they find it. But for confined chickens, target including kale in their diet a few times a week for a nutritious boost.
Can Baby Chicks Eat Kale?
Baby chicks can start eating small amounts of chopped kale after 4-6 weeks old. The high vitamin A in kale is important for chick growth. Introduce it slowly mixed with chick starter feed. Increase the amount as the chicks grow. By 12 weeks old, chicks can eat kale more regularly.
Kale is a very healthy, nutritious plant treat for chickens, both young and old. Including it as part of a balanced diet will keep your flock happy and healthy. Just feed it in moderation raw, cooked, or mixed into feed. Your chickens will be thrilled with this delicious green!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can chickens eat kale raw or cooked?
Yes, chickens can eat kale both raw and cooked. Raw kale can provide them with essential nutrients and fiber, while cooked kale can be a good source of nutrients and is easier for some chickens to digest. However, it’s essential to ensure that no seasonings, oils, or additives are present if you feed them cooked kale.
Can chickens eat kale every day?
While kale is a nutritious vegetable, it’s not recommended to feed chickens kale every day. A varied diet is crucial for chickens to obtain a balanced intake of nutrients. Overfeeding kale could lead to an imbalance in their diet or potential health issues. It’s best to offer kale as part of a diverse range of treats and greens.
Can chickens eat kale stalks?
Yes, chickens can eat kale stalks. Kale stalks contain fiber and can be a part of their diet. However, ensure that the stalks are fresh, clean, and free from any pesticides or contaminants. Chopping the stalks into smaller pieces can make it easier for chickens to consume and digest them.
Can chickens eat kale seeds?
Chickens can consume kale seeds, but they are generally not a primary food source for them. If you’re growing kale and notice seeds, chickens might peck at them occasionally. However, it’s essential to provide chickens with a balanced diet primarily composed of their regular feed and other nutritious treats. Ensure that the seeds are clean and free from any mold or contaminants before offering them to the chickens.