Can Chickens Eat Turnips? The Health Benefits and Feeding Tips

Article Summary

  • Turnips are safe for chickens to eat, including both the root and leafy green tops, providing essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and calcium.
  • Turnips are beneficial for promoting bone health, boosting the immune system, encouraging feather growth, aiding digestion, and providing energy to chickens.
  • Feeding both the turnip root and greens offers a balanced combination of valuable nutrients, making turnips a superfood for chickens.

Turnips are nutritious root vegetables that can provide many benefits to backyard chickens. As a natural source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, turnips can be a healthy supplement to your flock’s diet. However, there are some important factors to consider before feeding turnips to chickens. This article will explore the key questions:

Can You Feed Chickens Turnips?

Yes, turnips are safe for chickens to eat. Both the root and the leafy green tops of turnips contain nutrients that are beneficial for chickens. Turnips are high in calcium and vitamin C. The greens are also high in vitamin A. These nutrients help promote bone health, immune function and general wellbeing in chickens.

In moderation, turnips make an excellent addition to a balanced diet for chickens. They can be fed raw or cooked. Chopped into small pieces, turnips are easy for chickens to digest.

Are Turnips Good for Chickens?

Turnips offer a variety of health benefits for chickens:

  • Rich in calcium for strong bones and eggshells
  • High in vitamin C for immune health
  • Good source of vitamin A for vision, growth and feather quality
  • Provide antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene
  • Excellent source of dietary fiber for digestion
  • Contains minerals like manganese, copper and magnesium
  • Low in fat and calories


The nutrient profile of turnips makes them a healthy supplemental food for chickens. The vitamins support overall health while the minerals strengthen bones, feathers and egg production.

Benefits of Turnips for Chickens

Here are some of the top benefits of adding turnips to your chickens’ diet:

  • Promotes bone health with calcium, manganese and magnesium
  • Boosts immune system through vitamin C and antioxidants
  • Encourages feather growth with beta-carotene and vitamin A
  • Aids digestion with dietary fiber content
  • Provides energy from natural sugars like sucrose
  • Hydrates chickens with the high water content
  • Delivers B vitamins like folate and choline

Feeding both the turnip root and greens provides a balance of valuable nutrients. The diversity of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants makes turnips a superfood for chickens.

Do Chickens Like Turnips?

Chickens enjoy turnips prepared in moderation as part of their diet. The sweet, earthy flavor and crunchy texture appeals to chickens. Both the root and leafy greens can be fed. Chopped into bite-size pieces, turnips are easy for chickens to eat.

Initially, chickens may be hesitant to try turnips if they are unfamiliar. Mixing a few chopped turnips into their regular feed is a good way to introduce them. Once chickens acquire the taste, they will seek out turnips on their own. Starting with young chicks can encourage them to accept turnips more readily.

Can Chickens Eat Raw Turnips?

Yes, chickens can safely eat raw turnips. They do not need to be cooked first. Make sure any raw turnips fed to chickens are chopped into small, bite-size pieces for easier eating and digestion.

Feeding raw turnips provides the most nutrition. Cooking turnips can deplete some of the vitamin C and other beneficial nutrients. So raw turnips are ideal if your chickens will eat them that way.

Wash and peel any store-bought turnips before feeding raw…

Wash and peel any store-bought turnips before feeding raw to remove dirt, chemicals or wax coating. Turnips from your garden can be fed raw right after harvesting.

Can Chickens Eat Uncooked Turnips?

Chickens can eat uncooked, raw turnips without any issues. In fact, uncooked turnips are the most nutritious way to feed them. Cooking turnips may reduce some of the vitamin content, particularly vitamin C.

When preparing raw turnips for chickens, be sure to wash, peel and chop them into small pieces first. Chopped into bite-size bits, raw turnips are safer and easier for chickens to eat.

Feeding uncooked turnips provides the full range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that chickens can benefit from. The fiber content also remains intact in raw turnips.

Which Part of Turnips Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat all parts of the turnip plant, including:

  • Turnip Roots – The round, bulbous taproot that grows underground. Peel before feeding.
  • Turnip Greens – The dark leafy green tops of the turnip. Wash before feeding.
  • Turnip Stems – The small stems attaching the leaves.

Both the root and leafy greens offer nutritional value. The greens contain more vitamins while the roots have a higher mineral content. Feeding a combination provides a good balance of nutrients.

Avoid feeding chickens any wilted or damaged parts of turnip plants. Also do not feed the turnip flowers, seeds or seed pods which may cause digestive upset.

Can Chickens Eat Turnip Greens?

Yes, turnip greens are safe and nutritious for chickens to eat. The leafy green tops are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium.

Turnip greens provide more nutrition than the root itself. They can be fed fresh right after harvesting. Chop the greens into small pieces first to make them easier to eat.

Introduce turnip greens gradually if chickens are unfamiliar. Mix just a few chopped greens into their feed at first. Once they acquire the taste, chickens will enjoy turnip greens on their own. Feed greens in moderation as too much can cause loose droppings.

Can My Chickens Eat Turnips?

If you’re wondering “can I feed turnips to my chickens?” – the answer is yes! Both the turnip bulb and leafy greens are healthy additions to a backyard flock’s diet.

In moderate amounts, turnips are completely safe for chickens to eat. They provide a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that benefit chicken health and egg-laying.


The ideal way to feed turnips is chopped into small, bite-size pieces that are easy to digest. Start with small amounts mixed into regular feed to allow chickens to acquire the taste. Once accustomed, chickens will readily enjoy turnips and greens.

Can Chickens Eat Turnip Seeds?

It’s best to avoid feeding turnip seeds to chickens. While not toxic, turnip seeds can cause intestinal upset or diarrhea in chickens if eaten in excess.

The small, hard shells of turnip seeds can also potentially cause impaction in a chicken’s crop or digestive tract. This can be dangerous and even fatal.

If chickens happen to eat a few turnip seeds incidentally mixed in with greens, it should not cause issues. But do not deliberately feed piles of dry turnip seeds. Stick to chopped roots and greens for safety.

Can Chickens Eat Turnip Peelings?

Yes, chickens can eat the peelings from turnips. In fact, leaving the skins on provides extra fiber and nutrients. Just be sure to wash the turnips thoroughly first to remove any dirt or chemical residues.

If feeding store-bought turnips, you may want to peel them since wax or other coatings are often applied. But for homegrown turnips, the skins can be fed safely.

Chop the turnip peelings into small pieces along with the flesh. The peel provides valuable fiber, while the inner part offers high water content. Combined they make a nutritious, hydrating treat.

Can Chickens Eat Turnip Roots?

The root bulbs of turnips, which grow underground, are safe and nutritious for chickens to eat. Turnip roots are high in calcium, manganese, vitamin C and other key nutrients chickens need.

Wash, peel and chop the turnip roots into small, bite-size pieces before feeding. Raw, uncooked turnip roots provide the most nutrition and are easiest for chickens to digest.

Both the root and leafy greens can be fed to give chickens a well-rounded serving of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants present in turnips. Feed roots in moderation along with their regular diet.

Preparing Turnips for Your Chickens

Proper preparation helps ensure turnips are safe and easier for chickens to digest:

  • Wash thoroughly – Scrub under running water to remove any dirt.
  • Peel – Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the outer skin.
  • Chop – Dice turnips and greens into small, bite-size pieces.
  • Puree – For young chicks, puree or mash cooked turnips.
  • Mix with feed – Stir a few pieces into regular feed to encourage tasting.

Introduce turnips slowly at first to allow chickens time to get accustomed to the new taste and texture. Monitor to ensure turnips don’t cause loose droppings.

How to Prepare Turnips for Your Chickens?

Follow these simple steps for preparing turnips to feed your flock:

  1. Wash turnips thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris. Use a vegetable brush if needed.
  2. Trim off the leafy green tops and set aside. Peel the outer skin from the turnip roots using a vegetable peeler.
  3. Chop the turnip roots and greens separately into small, quarter-inch pieces. Chickens can choke on pieces that are too large.
  4. You can puree cooked turnip pieces for younger chicks. But for adult chickens, raw uncooked turnip is fine for digestion.
  5. To introduce turnips, mix a few small pieces into the regular chicken feed to allow them to acquire the taste.
  6. Gradually increase the amount over a week. Monitor for any digestive issues and adjust the portion sizes accordingly.
  7. Store any uneaten turnips in the refrigerator and provide fresh pieces daily. Remove any turnips that start to rot.

Can You Feed Turnips to Chickens Everyday?

It’s fine to feed turnips to chickens daily, but in moderation. About 1-2 small turnips per day for a small backyard flock is sufficient. Too many turnips can lead to loose droppings, so daily amounts should be limited.

Alternate turnips with a variety of other vegetables and fruits so chickens receive diverse vitamins and minerals. This prevents them filling up only on turnips.

Chop the turnips and greens into bite-size pieces and scatter them around the run so chickens can forage. Start with only a few pieces mixed into feed and gradually increase daily portions based on their reaction.


As a treat, hanging a whole raw turnip by a string in their run will encourage natural pecking and exercise. Just supervise so it doesn’t spoil.

Frequently Asked Questions

What veggies should you not feed chickens?

Chickens should avoid certain vegetables that may be harmful to them. Vegetables from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant, contain solanine, which can be toxic to chickens. Rhubarb leaves also contain substances that are harmful. Additionally, it’s advisable to avoid feeding chickens spoiled or moldy vegetables, as these can cause health issues.

Can chickens eat raw rutabaga?

Yes, chickens can eat raw rutabaga. Rutabagas are safe and nutritious for chickens to consume. They provide a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium. As with any new food, introduce it gradually to observe how the chickens react and to ensure it becomes a welcomed part of their diet.

Can chickens eat raw parsnips?

Yes, chickens can eat raw parsnips. Parsnips are a safe and healthy vegetable for chickens when provided in moderation. They contain essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Introducing raw parsnips slowly into their diet allows chickens to adapt, and it’s essential to monitor their response to ensure they tolerate the new food well. As always, maintaining a balanced and varied diet for chickens is key to their overall health and well-being.

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