In this article, I’ll answer the question, can chickens eat cabbage? Chickens love greens in the same way they love fruits, grains, and table scraps. That is the reason why I feed them different types of vegetables occasionally. In particular, I give them cabbages to keep them busy and full across the day.
Cabbage is one of the most preferred treats by different breeds of chickens. This type of vegetable is green, full of nutrients, and easy to eat. Besides, it is readily available and affordable.
Cabbage is a reliable treat for your feathered friends. It can keep them happy, satisfied, and energetic once they feed on it. In return, they will produce tasty eggs and delicious meat for your family. That is why keeping chickens is such a lucrative business.
Sometimes chickens get bored, especially in the winter season. Or they may get stressed when they have nothing to distract them. Unless you take drastic measures to keep them busy, they might resort to bad behavior. Proving them a few cabbages will prevent vices such as pecking at each other or aggressiveness.
Since cabbage is packed with essential nutrients, feeding it to your flock will promote their health. With a healthy flock, nothing will prevent you from enjoying a delicacy of fresh eggs and tasty meat regularly. With that in mind, it’s time to find out more reasons why you should feed your chickens cabbage.
Why Should You Feed Cabbage to Your Chickens?
More often than not, cabbage is overlooked by many people for no reason. But this vegetable has an impressive nutrient content that will blow out your mind. This explains why you need to include it among your chicken’s favorite treats.
Cabbage shares the same genus (Brassica) of vegetables with cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. But it comes in various shapes, and colors such as green, white, red and purple, Its leaves are either smooth or wrinkled. This vegetable has been cultivated around the world for centuries.
Nutrition Facts About Cabbage
Even though it is very low in calories, cabbage has many essential nutrients.
A cup of raw green cabbage has the following amount of nutrients:
- Calories: 22
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 54 % of RDI
- Vitamin B6: 6% of RDI
- Folate:10 % of RDI
- Vitamin K: 85 % of RDI
- Manganese: 7% of RDI
- Calcium:4 % of RDI
- Magnesium: 3 % of RDI
- Potassium : 3 % of RDI
On top of that, cabbage boasts small quantities of micronutrients like vitamin A, riboflavin, and iron. When combined with other macronutrients, these micronutrients promote your chicken’s health.
From the list above, you can easily notice the presence of vitamin B6 and folate. The two nutrients play a significant role in the body. They enhance energy metabolism as well as promoting the normal functioning of your chicken’s nervous system.
Additionally, cabbage contains large quantities of fiber and antioxidants, such as sulfur compounds and polyphenols. Antioxidants protect the body against free radicals.
The free radicals are a type of molecule with odd numbers of electrons, which makes them unstable. At high levels, these radicals can become destructive to the body cells.
Health Benefits of Feeding Chickens Cabbage
1.Cabbage May Prevent Inflammation
Inflammation in the body is not a bad thing at all. This is because it triggers certain parts of the body to fight infections. This type of acute inflammation is actually a normal response to infection or injury, and it helps speed up healing.
When it comes to chronic inflammation, the story is somehow different. Such inflammation is generally associated with several diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Although some of these health-related conditions are not common in chickens, it is advisable to have an idea about them.
Vegetables such as cabbage have different kinds of antioxidants that help in the reduction of chronic inflammation. No wonder this vegetable is classified as cruciferous because it can bring down specific blood markers resulting from inflammation.
2. Cabbage Contains Vitamin C
As a water-soluble vitamin, this nutrient performs many functions in the body. It’s necessary for the formation of collagen, one of the most abundant types of protein found in the body.
Collagen provides flexibility and structure to the skin. It is also crucial in the proper functioning of muscles, blood vessels, and bones.
Also, vitamin C promotes the absorption of iron found in most plants, especially cabbages. This nutrient is a more powerful antioxidant, whereby it helps in the fight against certain chronic diseases. In fact, it protects the body against free radicals that are usually associated with different types of chronic diseases.
Even though red and green cabbage is an excellent source of antioxidants, the red variety has more than 30% of these compounds. A cup of sliced red cabbage contains almost 85 % of vitamin C. This is the same amount of vitamins found in one small orange. Furthermore, this percentage represents the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C.
3. Cabbage May Enhance Digestive Health
Fiber-rich cabbage can help improve your chicken’s digestive health just the same way it will improve yours. This green and crunchy vegetable is packed with gut-friendly insoluble fiber that can promote digestive health.
The insoluble fiber in cabbage adds some bulkiness to chicken droppings in addition to promoting the normal bowel movements. As a result, it helps your chickens stay healthy and productive throughout.
Cabbage is also an excellent source of soluble fiber. As you may know, this type of fiber plays a significant role in increasing the number of beneficial bacteria inside the gut. Soluble fiber acts as the primary source of fuel for those friendly microscopic organisms.
Once established in the gut, these bacteria protect the immune system of your birds. Besides, they produce vital nutrients such as vitamin B12 and vitamin K2. All of these are equally important when it comes to keeping your chickens healthy.
4. Cabbage May Health Keep the Heart Healthy
Red cabbage, in particular, has potent compounds known as anthocyanins. Due to the presence of these compounds, this type of cabbage has its distinctive red color.
Anthocyanins are pigments found in many types of plants belonging to the flavonoid family. And red cabbage is one of those plants.
Studies have revealed that consuming plants with higher quantities of anthocyanins can reduce the risk of heart diseases. The same case applies to feeding your chickens’ red cabbages.
Increasing red cabbage intake by 10 milligrams a day can lower the risk of heart disease by 5%. The same case is true with the consumption of dietary anthocyanins because they reduce blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
Since cabbage has more than 36 different types of potent anthocyanins, feeding it to your chickens will help maintain their heart health.
5. Cabbage May Lower Cholesterol Levels
Although all cholesterol is not bad, there is a need to contain it. Too much cholesterol in the body can bring a lot of problems. Not only to you but also to your chickens.
If left unchecked, this substance can lead to so many health conditions, such as heart disease. To avoid such cases, you can feed your flock cabbages in small quantities.
This vegetable has two substances that can decrease levels of bad cholesterol in your chicken’s body.
The two substances are soluble fiber and plant sterols.
- Soluble Fiber: It acts as a remedy for lowering the effects of “bad” LDL cholesterol. The fiber does so by binding with cholesterol to prevent it from getting absorbed into the blood. Eating 2-8 grams of soluble fiber every day can significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels. And cabbage is an excellent source of soluble fiber for you and your chickens.
- Plant Sterols: Cabbage is also rich in substances called phytosterols. These are plant compounds that are similar to cholesterol in structure and can lower LDL cholesterol drastically. They can block cholesterol absorption in the chicken’s digestive tract. Intake of 1 gram of plant sterols per day can lower LDL cholesterol contractions by more than 5 %. By allowing your birds to eat cabbages, you will be helping them to stay safe from “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Should I feed my chickens raw or cooked cabbage? Either way can work as long as you feed them sparingly. However, raw cabbage is a better option because it has all the essential nutrients compared to the cooked one. When you cook cabbage, some nutrients are destroyed in the process. So, cooked cabbage will not have any significant value to your chicken’s health.
Between summer and winter, which is the right time to feed your chickens cabbage? You may supply your birds with cabbage in summer to supplement their staple food. But winter is the most appropriate time to feed them cabbage because they spend most of their time indoors. Suspending a few cabbages in their coop will keep them busy throughout this cold season.
Cabbage is an excellent treat for backyard chickens. It contains many nutrients that your birds need to stay healthy and active. Provided that you feed them in moderation, your chickens will benefit more from eating cabbage.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!