Can Chickens Eat Kohlrabi? The Ultimate Guide For Chicken Owners

Article Summary

  • Chickens can eat kohlrabi and parts of it in moderation, including the leaves, stems, and bulb, as it contains beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants.
  • Feeding kohlrabi should be done in moderation (1-2 times per week), and portions should be limited to avoid health issues.
  • Kohlrabi is generally safe for chickens, but it should be fed in moderation due to the presence of glucosinolates, which can cause thyroid problems if consumed in excess.

Have you considered feeding your backyard chickens kohlrabi? This crunchy, nutritious veggie can be a healthy addition to their diet. However, there are some important factors to consider before tossing kohlrabi into the coop.

In this complete guide, we will cover everything you need to know about feeding kohlrabi to chickens:

Can You Feed Chickens Kohlrabi?

Yes, chickens can eat kohlrabi. The leaves, stems, and bulb of the kohlrabi plant all contain nutrients that are beneficial for chickens.

Kohlrabi is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. These nutrients support immune health, digestion, bone strength, and overall wellbeing in chickens.

So in moderation, kohlrabi can be a nutritious supplement to your flock’s diet.

Is Kohlrabi Safe For Chickens?

edible portions of kohlrabi are the stem and leaves…

Kohlrabi is considered safe for chickens to eat. However, there are some precautions to keep in mind when feeding kohlrabi to avoid potential health issues.

Kohlrabi contains compounds called glucosinolates. While these compounds are thought to have anti-cancer effects in humans, they can cause thyroid problems in chickens if fed in excess.

To prevent adverse effects, kohlrabi should be limited in a chicken’s diet.

What Is In A Kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi is a unique looking vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. It has a large bulbous stem that grows above ground, with leaves sprouting from the top.

The edible portions of kohlrabi are the stem and leaves. The tough outer layer of the bulb needs to be peeled away before feeding it to chickens.

Inside, kohlrabi is crisp, juicy, and pale green or purple in color. It has a flavor that is somewhere between cabbage and broccoli, with a touch of sweetness.

Both the bulb and leaves of kohlrabi contain beneficial nutrients for chickens, making all parts of this vegetable suitable for poultry feeding.

Nutritional Benefits

Here are some of the top nutrients kohlrabi offers:

  • Vitamin C – Supports immune function and health.
  • Dietary fiber – Promotes digestion and gut health.
  • Potassium – Important for muscle contractions, heart health, and nerve signaling.
  • Calcium – Needed for bone strength and egg shell quality.
  • Antioxidants – Help neutralize harmful free radicals to prevent cell damage.

By providing these nutrients, kohlrabi can strengthen your flock’s overall health and resilience.

Risks And Precautions

While kohlrabi itself is not toxic, there are some potential downsides to be aware of:

  • Glucosinolates – As mentioned, these compounds can cause thyroid problems if chickens eat too much kohlrabi.
  • Gas or bloating – The high fiber content may cause digestive upset in some birds.
  • Interacts with medications – Kohlrabi should not be fed with antibiotics like cephalexin.

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To avoid issues, feed kohlrabi in moderation – no more than 1-2 times per week. Introduce it slowly and watch for signs of digestive distress.

Also, only feed the bulb and leaves – never the stem, flowers, or seeds which are more concentrated in glucosinolates.

Signs Of Overfeeding Of Kohlrabi

Monitor your flock closely when first offering kohlrabi. Stop feeding it if you notice any of these signs of a negative reaction:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Drop in egg production
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy or low energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling around eyes, beak, or neck area

These may indicate thyroid dysfunction or other health effects from excessive glucosinolates. If you observe these symptoms, remove kohlrabi from their diet and consult your veterinarian.

What Part Of Kohlrabi Can Chickens Eat?

The leaves and bulb of the kohlrabi plant both make excellent poultry feed. However, chickens should not eat the stem, flowers, or seed pods.

The leaves are easy for chickens to forage on and provide nutrients like vitamin C and calcium. Chop the bulb into bite-sized pieces after peeling off the tough outer rind.

Avoid giving chickens the woody central stem which is very fibrous. The developing flowers and seeds contain higher glucosinolate concentrations and are also not recommended.

Stick to just the leaves and bulb for safe kohlrabi chicken treats.

Can Chickens Eat Kohlrabi Plant?

Yes, chickens can eat all parts of a growing kohlrabi plant except for the developing flowers and seed pods.

Letting chickens forage on kohlrabi plants provides stimulation along with healthy greens. Just be sure to limit their access to avoid overconsumption.

Picking some leaves for them to supplement their feed is also an option. The bulb can be harvested once mature and chopped for them to eat.

Allowing controlled foraging on kohlrabi plants lets your flock enjoy the benefits while preventing potential issues from overindulging.

Can Chickens Eat Kohlrabi Leaves?

Kohlrabi leaves are nutritious and safe for chickens to eat. The dark green leaves are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Chickens will enjoy foraging on the leafy greens of kohlrabi plants. You can also harvest leaves and chop them up to mix into feed.

Offer leaves in moderation along with a balanced diet. Too many can cause loose droppings. But in reasonable amounts, kohlrabi leaves make a beneficial addition.

Can Chickens Eat Kohlrabi Peels?

Yes, chickens can eat kohlrabi peels. Just be sure to chop or shred them into small pieces first.

The tough outer rind of kohlrabi needs to be peeled off before humans can eat it. But chickens can benefit from this fibrous part of the vegetable.

The peels provide tons of fiber to promote good digestion and gut motility. They may also contain nutrients just under the surface.

Chop peels finely or cook them to soften. Then add small amounts into their feed a couple times a week for healthy variation.

Can Chickens Eat Kohlrabi Greens?

The leafy green tops of kohlrabi are edible and provide great nutrition for chickens.

Kohlrabi greens contain vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants. The foliage is also an excellent source of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, the greens supply chlorophyll, amino acids, and digestive enzymes. All these nutrients support overall health.

Chop the greens and mix them into feed occasionally as a healthy supplemental food for your flock. They will relish the chance to peck at fresh kohlrabi tops.

How To Feed Kohlrabi To Chickens?

Here are some tips for safely feeding kohlrabi to chickens:

  • Chop leaves, peeled bulbs, and stems into bite-size pieces.
  • Mash or boil to soften if necessary.
  • Mix in sparingly with regular feed – no more than 10% of daily intake.
  • Start with only a handful per chicken and monitor reactions.
  • Slowly increase amount if they tolerate it well.
  • Feed only 1-2 times per week to avoid glucosinolate overexposure.
  • Ensure plenty of fresh water is available at all times.

Spreading feeds out helps prevent chickens from only eating the tasty kohlrabi. Keep an eye on bully birds too.

Proper introduction is key to making sure kohlrabi is a healthy supplemental food.

How Much Kohlrabi Can Chickens Eat?

It’s recommended to limit kohlrabi to only 1-2 times per week for chickens. Portion sizes should be:

  • No more than 1/2 cup of chopped leaves and stems per chicken.
  • Around 2-3 inches of peeled bulb pieces per bird.

Feed other greens like Swiss chard and cabbage in rotation rather than just kohlrabi.

Even healthy treats should be fed in moderation. Overdoing it with kohlrabi increases the risk of thyroid dysfunction down the line.

As long as you stick to occasional, reasonable amounts, your flock can safely enjoy kohlrabi.

How Much Kohlrabi To Feed Chickens?

When starting out, introduce just a small handful of chopped kohlrabi leaves or bulb pieces for each chicken.

Observe them closely for the first 24 hours and make sure they readily consume it and don’t have any adverse reactions.

If all goes well, slowly increase the serving size to 1/4-1/2 cup of chopped kohlrabi pieces total per chicken.

Offer this amount just once or twice a week at most, rotating with other vitamin-rich veggies. This prevents potential thyroid inhibition from overfeeding.

Follow suggested maximum quantities and frequencies to ensure your chickens gain nutritional benefits without risk.

Can Baby Chickens Eat Kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi can be fed to baby chicks over 4 weeks old in small amounts. Young chicks seem even more prone to effects of glucosinolates, so extra precaution is needed.

Chop leaves and peeled bulb into tiny, bite-sized bits. Mix in a little with their starter feed.

Start with just a few small pieces per chick and slowly increase until they are eating around 1 tablespoon per feeding.

Only offer kohlrabi once or twice a week. Monitor closely for any concerning symptoms.

With careful introduction, even baby chickens can benefit from the nutrition in kohlrabi. Just be extra conservative with portions for young flock members.

In summary, kohlrabi can be a healthy addition to a chicken’s diet when fed properly. Offer leaves, stems and peeled bulbs in moderation 1-2 times per week. Limit portions and watch for signs of reaction. By following some simple guidelines, you can safely allow your flock to enjoy the nutrients from kohlrabi plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is kohlrabi safe for chickens?

Yes, kohlrabi is safe for chickens to eat. Both the bulb and leaves of kohlrabi contain nutrients that are beneficial for chickens. Kohlrabi can be fed raw or cooked. It is a healthy treat and supplement to a balanced chicken diet.

How much kohlrabi to feed chickens?

Kohlrabi should be fed to chickens in moderation, 1-2 times per week. Offer chickens a few thin slices of kohlrabi bulb or a handful of leaves per chicken. Too much kohlrabi can cause loose droppings. Monitor to ensure chickens don’t get diarrhea after eating kohlrabi.

Can chickens eat kohlrabi seeds

Yes, chickens can eat kohlrabi seeds. The seeds provide extra protein and nutrients for chickens. Make sure seeds are dried fully before feeding to chickens. Feed seeds as an occasional treat, sprinkling 1-2 teaspoons per chicken. Do not feed more, as excess seeds may cause crop impaction.