Can Chickens Eat Cabbage? Is It Safe, Toxic, or Good for Them?

Many chicken owners feed their chickens a combo of kitchen scraps, cracked corn, etc., without thinking twice about it. Especially when they get all excited when you see them approaching the coop with food, but can chickens eat cabbage?

Can Chickens Eat Cabbage?

Cabbage contains high amounts of nutrients and vitamins that are easy to eat and can make a healthy treat for your flock. Red, aka purple cabbage, has ten times more vitamin A than the green variety. While safe for chickens, moderation is the key.

Is Cabbage Safe for Chickens?

If fed in moderation, cabbage is safe for chickens, a preferred treat by different chicken breeds. Both green and purple cabbage contain high amounts of nutrients and vitamins essential for your flock’s well being. 

Besides, it is an expensive treat that won’t break the bank. Greens such as mustards, kale, collards, chard, parsley, etc., are great for your chickens, as long as you ensure they eat other foods besides greens. 

Like us, chickens require a well-balanced diet to ensure they get the nutrients they need. 

Before adding any new foods to your flock’s diet, you should seek your veterinarian’s advice, especially if you’re new to chickens. 

Health Benefits of Cabbage for Chickens

can chickens eat red cabbage
Both green and red cabbage are safe for chickens.

As mentioned above, cabbage comprises several nutrients that are beneficial for both humans and chickens. However, since you never want to overfeed them, you want to ensure you’re feeding them the healthiest option available.

To help you understand the differences and which variety is healthiest for your chickens, let’s look at the nutrients found in both the green and red cabbage.  

Green Cabbage

Green cabbage has a higher Vitamin K content than the red variety. Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and coagulation. It also aids in regulating bone mineralization, which aids in bone density. 

Cabbage is high in fiber, which not only makes your chickens feel fuller faster. It can also help improve digestion; it can also help regulate your chickens’ poop.

It has also been known to aid in chronic inflammation that is associated with arthritis, rheumatoid, and heart disease.

Purple Cabbage

Purple cabbage, also referred to as red, belongs to the same family as other nutrient-dense vegetables such as Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli. Chickens will eat broccoli, but there are several things to be aware of.

It tastes similar to the green variety but is ten times higher in Vitamin A and additional minerals, which are excellent. Still, your chicken would likely get those vitamins if you’re feeding them a high-quality feed.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy vision, skin, and a healthy immune system. Both green and red cabbage provide the same benefits for chickens, other than one having a few more nutrients than the other.

You can read more about the differences on this site.

No matter what color of cabbage you feed your chickens, you can’t go wrong!  

Cabbage Nutritional Information

One cup of chopped raw cabbage contains:

Total Omega-6 Fatty acids15.1 mg
Water82.0 grams
Vitamin A87.2 IU
Vitamin C32.6 mg
Vitamin K67.6 mcg
Thiamin0.1 mg
Vitamin B60.1 mg
Calcium35.6 mg
Sodium16.0 mg
Selenium0.3 mcg
Betaine04 mg
Potassium151 mg
Phosporous23.1 mg


Do Chickens Like Cabbage?

Like dogs, chickens love to eat! When eating something tasty, they will plead for more. Like humans, some will like the taste, while others may not.

However, most chickens will go crazy being fed cabbage!

Can Chickens Eat Different Types of Cabbage?

Cabbage is good for chickens, just like it is for humans. Whether you feed it to them cooked, raw, or leftover scraps, your chickens will savor the taste. 

Let’s look at the different ways you can give cabbage to your chickens and its benefits. 

Cooked & Raw

Both cooked and raw cabbage is safe for chickens. Both are low in calories and high in fiber. It’s best to feed your chickens raw cabbage as the cooked variety may expose your chickens to high amounts of salt, spices, and oils, which may be toxic to them.

Red Cabbage

If all you have in your fridge is red cabbage, you can feed some to your chickens. The only difference between red and green cabbage is the number of vitamins and nutrients they contain.

Green cabbage is sweeter when cooked, which is why many people use it to make sauerkraut.

Whole Cabbage

Many people use a whole cabbage to create an exercise ball for their chickens. I’ve shared how to do this below! 


Also known as sauerkraut, it can be suitable for chickens if prepared properly. Be sure to read this post about feeding chickens sauerkraut before you try feeding it to them. 

Is It Possible for Chickens to Overeat Cabbage?

It is possible to feed your chickens too many greens, which could be dangerous to their overall health. Too much of a good thing, regardless of what it is, can adversely affect people or animals. 

Whether you’re giving them chicken feed, human food, or snacks, moderation is the key. Snacks and treats should consume no more than 10% of their regular diet, only what they can eat in 10 to 15 minutes.

The rest of the day, you feed them their layer feed. It ensures they are still getting a large portion of their calcium and nutrients from the feed. 

If your chickens go crazy whenever they eat cabbage. Instead of feeding it to them daily, consider making it a special treat. You can even give them small amounts throughout the day, which will give them something to peck.

How to Feed Chickens Cabbage?

Pick up organic chicken from your local supermarket. While it is a little more expensive than non-organic, the organic variety has had less exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

Wash the cabbage in cold water to ensure it is free from any toxic pesticides. All fruits and vegetables have small traces of harmful toxins and need washing thoroughly before eating. 

Shred the cabbage into small pieces because it’s easier to eat. If you have ducks living with your chickens, they will enjoy eating cabbage and prefer it cooked. 

Throw it on the ground or in their bowls and watch them go crazy over it. They’ll likely pick it up and run around with it dangling out of their mouth with the others chase them around the coop.

Can Chickens Eat A Whole Cabbage? 

Some pet parents will go so far as preparing special treats for their flock. If you want to see your chickens go crazy, consider making a cabbage ball.

All you need is:

  • Head of cabbage
  • Twine or rope (long enough to hang in the coop)
  • Drill
  • Chickens

Make a hole through the middle of the cabbage using the drill. Run the rope or twine through the hole and make sure it’s sturdy. 

Next, hang it from a sturdy board in the coop and low enough so all the chickens can peck at it. 

Once they know it’s there, you can hang it a little higher, so they have to jump up to reach it. You’ll get a kick of watching them jump up and down trying to get a taste. 

Not only does it make a great snack, but they get their exercise in while trying to reach it. It’s a great way to get rid of their boredom!

You can read the step-by-step tutorial on creating an exercise ball for your chickens on the City Girl Farming blog

Why You Should Feed Cabbage to Your Chickens?

Chicken owners are always looking for healthy snacks and treats; they can feed their chickens. They overlook the simplicity of feeding them cabbage. 

This vegetable contains nutrients and vitamins that will keep your flock healthy. It is a member of the genus (Brassicaceae) family and other healthy vegetables such as bok, garden cress, kale, Brussel sprouts, and similar green leaf vegetables. 

Can Baby Chicks Eat Cabbage?

Avoid feeding hatchlings cabbage or any human food. Instead, opt for a high-quality starter feed.

There will be plenty of time to give them human food and other snacks. A hatchling needs the appropriate time to ensure their muscles and the immune system is well-developed, without any interference.

Final Word

Cabbage, like other green vegetables, can be an excellent treat for chickens. It contains many nutrients that will help your flock stay healthy and active. 

Cabbage shouldn’t replace their regular feed. It should be rationed, even if your chickens beg for more. Feeding them too much can cause upset an upset tummy, or even diarrhea.