Can Chickens Eat Sauerkraut? Is It Safe For Them?

If you love eating sauerkraut on hotdogs or reuben sandwiches as much as I do, then you’ve likely wondered if it’s okay to give your chickens the leftovers.

So Can Chickens Eat Sauerkraut?

Yes! Chickens can eat sauerkraut. However, because of the high salt content, they should only consume a small amount occasionally Sauerkraut is a probiotic and can aid in the development of good bacteria that can help your flock fight salmonella and E-coli.

Although sauerkraut is not harmful to chickens, it’s important to know how to feed them properly to keep your flock healthy and happy.

Any curious pet owner will want to be fully informed on which foods their feathered friends can and cannot eat. Chickens are omnivores that thrive on a variety of vegetables, fruits, table scraps, grains, and cereals.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know to feed your chickens some sauerkraut.

What Is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is nothing more than picked cabbage. It is made by fermenting shredded cabbage in salt or brine, which helps release the water and produces the fermentation.

Related: Can Chickens Eat Cabbage?

The fermentation process produces lactic acid bacterias that kill unwanted organisms. It is a popular and delicious dish many Americans love.

Sauerkraut Nutritional Information

One cup of canned sauerkraut (142 g) consists of:

NutrientsQuantity
Calories27
Dietary Fiber4.1 grams
Flouride9.9 mcg
Calcium42.6 mg
Zinc0.3 mg
Iron2.1 mg
Magnesium18.5 mg
Sodium939 mg
Phosphorus28.4 mg
Potassium241 mg
Copper0.1 mg
Vitamin B60.2 mg
Vitamin A25.6 IU
Niacin0.2 mg
Choline14.8 mg
Vitamin C20.9 mg
Betaine0.7 mg
Folate34.1 mcg
Water131 grams
Ash3.1 grams

(Source)

Is Sauerkraut Safe for Chickens?

If fed occasionally and in small amounts, it should be fine for your feathered friends. Some store-bought sauerkraut can contain high amounts of salt which can be harmful to your chickens.

Chickens should not be fed foods that are extremely high in salt as it can cause them to suffer from salt poisoning.

Benefits of Sauerkraut for Chickens

Sauerkraut contains probiotics help support a healthy digestive system by creating “good” bacteria that can protect your flock from E.coli, Clostridium, and Salmonella.

The most common probiotic strains found in sauerkraut are Lactobacillus plantarum.

Many experts believe feeding chickens early in life can help them live a good life.

The Kind of Sauerkraut to Feed Chickens?

Not all store-bought sauerkraut is the same, this is the reason many pet owners create their own. However, if you’re like me, you’d rather have a list of the best sauerkraut probiotics.

When shopping for sauerkraut to share with your chickens, opt for fresh sauerkraut that is made without vinegar. The label should specifically say “probiotic” or “fermented” or “raw.”

The two brands that are best for probiotics are:

BrandSalt Content
Farmhouse Culture, Organic Kraut170 mg
Gold Mine Organic Fresh Raw Unpasteurized Sauerkraut210 mg
Wildbrine Raw Organic Kraut240 mg

If you’re buying sauerkraut to share with your chickens, avoid the flavored varieties (dill, garlic, jalapeño, lime and etc) as they may contain seasonings that can be toxic to your chickens.

Do Chickens Even Like Sauerkraut?

Believe it or not, most chickens will love it. If you’re not sure if they’ll like, it start out by giving them a small amount of your leftover kraut.

Whenever giving them any new food into their diet, it’s best to start out slowly. Then monitor the chickens to make sure there are no allergic reactions or digestive issues.

How to Feed Chickens Sauerkraut?

If your chickens love it, then it’s okay to feed them a small amount, as long as you don’t do it everyday. Ensure you’re feeding them the best sauerkrauts for probiotics, so they’ll get the most benefits.

Put a small amount in some bowls and mix the snack with the rest of their feed. This will ensure that one chicken doesn’t eat too much of the sauerkraut and it is spread evenly throughout the flock.

Don’t forget to change out their old dirty water with some fresh, whenever you feed them.

Make Your Own Homemade Sauerkraut

making sauerkraut for chickens
When making homemade sauerkraut for your chickens, watch the salt content.

If you’re the type of chicken owner that prefers to feed your flock the healthiest foods, then you may want to consider making your own. Homemade sauerkraut is so much better than any of the stuff you can buy at the grocery store.

The best part, you don’t need any special crock or equipment, but you will need to make sure you have some mason jars.

What You Need

  • Cabbage
  • Salt (canning and pickling salt)
  • Containers to store it in
  • Time (the whole process takes 3-6 weeks.

Slice the sauerkraut about a 1/4 inch thick (take out the hard part or the heel). Put the shredded cabbage into a bowl, sprinkle the salt on top of the cabbage.

Use a one gallon jar, stone crock, or food grade plastic container to ferment the cabbage. Place the cabbage into the container.

Sprinkle more salt on top of the cabbage. The amount of cabbage will vary depending on how much sauerkraut you’re preparing. If you’re planning on feeding it to your chickens, then I recommend using as little salt as possible.

Mix the salt thoroughly to coat the cabbage as much as possible. Push the cabbage down into the container, to release the liquid from the cabbage.

Keep compacting the cabbage, until you have a nice layer of water on the surface.

Weight the cabbage down with some clean glass jars that contain water. Some people will use a ziplock bag that is filled with water and brine.

Now put the container in a room that is about 60-75℉ and it will take about 3 weeks for the sauerkraut to be ready for your chickens.

When Not to Feed Chickens Sauerkraut?

While sauerkraut is not toxic to chickens, there are some instances when you don’t want to feed it to them.

If You Don’t Know The Contents In Sauerkraut

Believe it or not, most store-bought sauerkraut is not healthy as it contains high amounts of salt. If you didn’t buy or make the sauerkraut, then you should pass on giving it to your chickens.

When You Have Baby Chicks

If you have baby chicks that are a few days old, I’d personally pass on feeding them sauerkraut. Baby chicks require a essential nutrients that will help them develop and grow in a healthy mature chicken.

Other Probiotic Foods That Are Good For Chickens

Now that you know foods with probiotics are good for your chickens, here’s some other foods that contain probiotics and can make a healthy treat.

Moderation is the key to finding a balanced diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Chickens Eat Fermented Food?

Yes, in fact, many chicken owners will ferment their chicken feed, because it has many benefits for their flock.

Final Word

In summary, it’s perfectly fine to feed sauerkraut, as long as it is done in moderation. Chickens not only like it, but it is a natural probiotic that will aid in a chickens gut health.

Always read the label on any type of foods you feed your chickens and avoid giving them too much salt. Consult your veterinarian if you believe your chickens have eaten something that is harmful or they can’t digest.

To keep your chickens happy and healthy, you should consider growing your own cabbage and make your own, so you can control the amount of salt that goes in it.

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