Can Chickens Eat Cabbage? Unveiling the Surprising Truth for Poultry Owners

Chickens pecking at fresh cabbage on a farm.

4 min read

Dillon Bednar, Senior Writer


As a poultry owner, you understand the importance of a well-rounded diet for your feathered friends. One question that may arise is “Can chickens eat cabbage?” It’s a common query that often yields varying opinions. However, the truth may be more straightforward than you think. Cabbage, packed with nutrients, can be a beneficial addition to a chicken’s diet when provided correctly. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the nutritional benefits of cabbage for chickens, how to properly introduce it into their diet, and the potential risks involved.

Join us as we explore the ins and outs of feeding cabbage to chickens, ensuring that you, the poultry owner, are equipped with the knowledge to boost the health and happiness of your flock.

The Nutritional Profile of Cabbage - Is It Good for Chickens?

Cabbage isn’t just a staple in human diets; it can chickens eat broccoli be a nutritious treat for chickens as well. Let’s break down the nutritional value and how it can contribute to a balanced poultry diet.

Packed with Vitamins and Minerals

Cabbage is rich in vitamins and minerals essential for the robust health of your chickens. These include:

  • Vitamin K: Crucial for healthy blood clotting and bone metabolism.
  • Vitamin C: An antioxidant that supports immune system function.
  • Vitamin B6: Plays a role in the metabolism of proteins and production of red blood cells.
  • Folate: Important for cellular growth and function.
  • Calcium: Essential for strong bones and eggshell formation.
  • Potassium: Regulates fluid balance and muscle function.

Low in Calories, High in Fiber

Chickens need fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system, and cabbage is an excellent source. The low-calorie count also means it’s a great way to give them a treat without contributing to excess weight gain.

Antioxidant Properties

Cabbage contains antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress in chickens, promoting overall health and potentially reducing the risk of diseases.

Safe Serving: Introducing Cabbage to Your Chickens’ Diet

Knowing how to feed cabbage to your chickens is as important as recognizing its benefits. Here’s how to incorporate this leafy green safely into their meals.

Gradual Introduction to Their Diet

Introduce cabbage gradually to your chickens’ diet to ensure they don’t experience any digestive discomfort.

How Often and How Much?

Feeding chickens cabbage two to three times a week in small quantities is generally safe. Observe their behavior and droppings to ensure they tolerate it well.

Preparing Cabbage for Chickens

Always wash the cabbage thoroughly to remove pesticides and cut it into peck-sized pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Risk Factors of Feeding Cabbage to Chickens

Even good things come with caution. Here’s what you need to be aware of when feeding cabbage to your chickens.

Goitrogens Concern

Cabbage contains goitrogens, which can disrupt thyroid function if consumed in large amounts. Stick to moderate servings to avoid health issues.

Organic vs. Non-Organic Cabbage

Opt for organic cabbage when possible to minimize the exposure to harmful chemicals that could affect your chickens’ health.

Comparison Chart: Cabbage VS Other Chicken Treats

Let’s put things into perspective with a comparison chart that ranks different chicken treats based on nutritional value:

Treat Vitamins Minerals Fiber Protein Safety for Chickens
Cabbage High High High Low Safe
Carrots Medium Medium Medium Low Safe
Spinach High High High Medium Moderation
Grapes Low Low Low Low Safe
Mealworms Low Medium Low High Safe

Pros and Cons: Should Chickens Eat Cabbage?

To sum up, here are the pros and cons of feeding cabbage to chickens:


  • Adds variety to their diet
  • Provides essential nutrients
  • Promotes digestive health


  • Contains goitrogens
  • Must be fed in moderation
  • Requires proper preparation

Creative Ways to Serve Cabbage to Your Flock

Get innovative with these ideas for serving cabbage to your chickens:

Hanging Cabbage Treat

Hang a whole cabbage in the coop. It provides entertainment and exercise as the chickens peck at it.

Cabbage Wreaths

Create cabbage leaf wreaths for a fun and festive treat during holidays or special occasions.

Mixed Veggie Medley

Combine cabbage with other safe vegetables like chopped carrots and spinach for a nutrient-rich feast.

The Final Verdict: Can Chickens Safely Eat Cabbage?

Cabbage can be a healthy, occasional treat for chickens, offering a variety of necessary nutrients when provided appropriately. Always observe how your chickens react to new foods and consult with a poultry nutritionist or veterinarian if in doubt.

Through understanding the surprising truths about feeding cabbage to chickens and implementing best practices, you can contribute to the longevity and vitality of your coop. Keep this guide as a resource to refer back to whenever you’re contemplating the inclusion of new treats in your chickens’ diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe for chickens to eat cabbage?

Yes, it is safe for chickens to eat cabbage in moderation.

Can cabbage be harmful to chickens?

Cabbage is generally safe for chickens, but excessive consumption can lead to digestive issues.

How should cabbage be prepared for chickens?

Cabbage should be chopped into small pieces to avoid choking hazards and help with digestion.

Are there any benefits to feeding chickens cabbage?

Yes, cabbage is a good source of vitamins and minerals, and can also act as a natural dewormer for chickens.

How much cabbage should be given to chickens?

Cabbage should be given as a treat and not as a primary food source. A small amount, such as a quarter or half of a cabbage head, can be given to a small flock of chickens.

Are there any types of cabbage that chickens should avoid?

Chickens can generally eat all types of cabbage, but it is recommended to avoid feeding them spoiled or moldy cabbage.

Can cabbage affect the taste of eggs?

Cabbage can sometimes affect the taste of eggs, giving them a slightly different flavor, especially if given in excessive amounts.

Should cabbage be the only vegetable in a chicken's diet?

No, a balanced diet for chickens should include a variety of vegetables along with other food sources such as grains and protein.

Are there any precautions to take when feeding chickens cabbage?

It is important to introduce cabbage gradually into a chicken's diet to avoid sudden digestive upsets. Monitor your chickens for any adverse reactions and adjust the quantity accordingly.

Dillon Bednar, Senior Writer
Dillon Bednar

Mission Statement Dillon Bednar is a Senior Nutritious Writer on a mission to educate and inspire individuals to lead healthier