Kale is a leafy green that’s popular to grow in the garden. If you are growing some and have backyard chickens, you may wonder if you can feed them some.
So, can chickens eat kale? Yes, chickens can eat kale. The leafy greens have many essential nutrients that the chickens can benefit from. You can serve kale to them, either cooked or raw.
Is Kale Safe For Chickens?
Kale doesn’t contain any toxins, so it’s safe for chickens to eat.
However, it’s important to know the source of the kale. If it’s bought from the grocery stores, the leafy greens will likely have pesticides and other chemicals on them. These chemicals are used to prevent pests from damaging the kale, and also help them grow.
The chemicals are toxic to the chickens, which will make them sick, even death can occur.
Therefore, it’s important to wash the kale thoroughly first to remove any pesticides or other chemicals that may be on them.
If you’ve grown kale in your garden and don’t use any pesticides, it’s still a good idea to wash them first. This will help remove any dirt and pest that may be on them before feeding the leafy greens to your chickens.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Kale?
Kale is one of the healthiest leafy greens. It’s nutrient-dense, yet low in calories, which makes them healthy food for chickens.
A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) contains:
- Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
- Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 26% of the DV
- Calcium: 9% of the DV
- Copper: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
The above data is from NutritionData
High In Antioxidants
Kale is one of those leafy greens that are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants include beta-carotene, flavonoids, polyphenols, and vitamin C.
The antioxidant is a compound that helps prevent and repair damaged cells in the body. The damaged cells are usually caused by free radicals.
When there are too many damaged cells in the body, it will lead to the development of cancer and other diseases.
High In Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another nutrient that kale has a high amount of. This vitamin is essential for the body as it helps protect it from illness and supports collagen synthesis.
Chickens that get plenty of vitamin C will be less likely to become sick. If they do become sick, giving your chickens foods that are high in vitamin C such as kale will help them recover quickly.
Good Amount Of Fiber
Kale has a good amount of fiber. Fiber is important for the digestive system. It helps food move through the digestive tract smoothly.
Also, fiber helps prevent constipation in chickens.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Kale?
Baby chickens can eat kale, but you should wait until they are about 3 weeks old first. Chicks under 3 weeks old have a weak digestive system. Eating kale will make it difficult for them to digest, which could lead to impaction.
Instead, baby chickens should be fed an entire diet made up of quality starter feeds. The starter feeds have been formulated with the right amount of nutrition to keep the chicks healthy and strong.
Once the chicks are about 3 weeks old, you can start to introduce kale to them. Start by giving them a small piece of the leafy greens to start with. If they don’t seem interested in it, you can try to mix it with other vegetables or starter feeds.
How Do You Feed Kale To Chickens
When it comes to feeding kale to your flock, it can either be raw or cooked. Just keep in mind if you’re feeding them cooked kale, many of the nutrients will be lost.
Make sure that the kale is thoroughly washed to remove any pests that may be in there.
For raw kale, simply toss the entire vegetable or cut them into smaller pieces.
As for cooked kale, make sure there are no salt, sugar, or any other additives added. These things are harmful to their health.
How Much Kale Should Chickens Eat?
Kale is nutritious and healthy for chickens to eat, but it should only be given to them in small amounts.
Kale doesn’t have enough nutrients to meet the chicken’s dietary needs. Feeding them just kale could cause them to have not enough nutrients in the body, which will lead to health issues.
Therefore, for an adult chicken, a couple of pieces of kale is enough. As for baby chickens, a small piece of the leafy greens is sufficient.
How Often Should Chickens Eat Kale?
Kale should be fed to the chickens in moderation. These leafy greens aren’t one of their staple food.
Kale should be given to them as a treat. This means kale should make up only 10% of their entire diet. The rest of their food should come from quality commercial chicken feeds. The feeds are formulated with the right amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary needs.
Therefore, you should only give kale to your chickens, once or twice per week.
Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat
There are many varieties of lettuce that are available. Most lettuces are safe for chickens to eat, except for iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce has very little nutrition, and it’s high in water content. Instead, feed them romaine lettuce, which has plenty of nutrition and is low in water content.
Spinach is healthy and nutritious food for your chickens. It’s a good source of calcium, folate, and vitamin A, K, B2, B6, and E. However, spinach also contains oxalic acid, which is an organic compound that could interfere with other minerals in the body. Feeding them too much spinach will prevent nutrients from being absorbed by the body.
Kale is known as a superfood for its high nutritional value. You can feed them kale that is cooked or raw. Both make a great treat for chickens.