Kale is leafy green vegetables that are known for their superior nutrition value. This vegetable has leaves that’s similar to Romaine lettuce, but thicker. Kale is an easy plant to grow which makes them popular in gardens. If you are raising backyard chickens, you may be wondering if the chickens can eat kale.
Can chickens eat kale? Yes, chickens can eat kale including the stems. These leafy greens are loaded with nutrition, especially vitamins A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Due to their soft texture, chickens will no problem eating them.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Kale?
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Feeding these leafy greens to your chickens can benefit their health a lot.
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
It also contains 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, and phosphorus
The above data is according to NutritionData.
Kale Is Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants
Like other leafy greens such as spinach and cabbage, kale is very high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that help the body counteract oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Free radicals can be caused by many things. It can be from the foods that chickens eat, normal metabolism, cigar smokes, and radiation.
Kale is an Excellent Source of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is needed by the body for the development, growth, and repair of body tissues.
Also, vitamin C is involved in many other body functions. This includes the formation of collagen, the proper function of the immune system, and wound healing.
Kale Has a High Amount of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in green leafy vegetables like collard greens, spinach, and kale.
Vitamin K is needed to help make various proteins for blood clotting and building of bones.
Additionally, vitamin K is found and used by other organs in the body such as the liver, brain, bones, heart, and pancreas.
By feeding chickens plenty of kale, they will get the vitamin K needed for the organs to perform normally.
Can Chickens Eat Kale Stems?
Yes, chickens can eat kale stems. However, they are tough, chewy, and fibrous.
To make it edible and safe for the chickens to eat, it’s best to cook them first. You can either boil or steam them.
Once it’s cooked, you can feed them to the chickens directly or cut the stems into small pieces first. Either way, it’s great for them to eat as a treat and won’t cause any choking hazard.
How To Feed Kale To Chickens
All parts of the kale plant can be fed to the chickens. Kale can be either be fed to the chickens as raw or cooked. However, cooked kale tends to be a little easier for them to eat.
Below is the different method to feed kale to the chickens:
Fresh Raw Kale
Raw kale will have the most nutrition and it’s best to feed them. Raw kale tends to be a bit tough for chickens to eat, especially the stems. To make it easier for them to eat it, you can cut the leafy greens into smaller pieces first.
Another method to feed chickens is to cook the kale first. Doing so will cause them to lose some of their nutrients, but it will make it easier for the chickens to eat them.
Once it’s cooked, you can simply give it to the chickens and they will start to peck at it and eat it.
Mixing Kale with their Feeds
To give their feeds an additional boost of nutrition, you can mix it with the feeds. Using this method is best used with raw kale. Cooked kale will cause their feeds to become wet and mushy.
Start by cutting the kale into bits and pieces. You can also use the stems as well. Once cut, place them into their feeds and mix it thoroughly. Then place it into their feeding bowl and let the chickens eat this nutritious mix.
How Much And How Often To Feed Kale To Chickens
While kale is very nutritious and contains no toxins, it still should be fed to chickens in moderation.
Kale doesn’t have enough nutrition to meet the chicken’s diet requirement. Feeding them too much kale could prevent them from eating their feed. This will of course lead to health issues for the chickens since they are not getting enough nutrition.
Kale should be fed only 10% of their main diet. The rest should come from quality commercial feeds. The feeds have been formulated with the proper amount of nutrition to meet the diet requirement of the chickens.
Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat
Iceberg lettuce is a great treat to feed chickens, especially during the summer months. While this variety of lettuce doesn’t have a lot of nutrition, instead it contains a lot of water. This is an excellent treat to keep the chickens hydrated.
Cucumber is an excellent treat for chickens. It’s loaded with nutrition and high in water content. This makes them a good food for hydration.
Spaghetti squash is a seasonal vegetable that’s found only during the winter season. This winter vegetable is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Another mineral that the chicken benefit greatly from is fiber. Fiber helps promote a healthy digestive system.