Yes, chickens can eat the head of the cauliflower as well as the green leaves. Cauliflower is a healthy snack food for chickens, they’ll be happy to take it off your hands both raw or cooked.
Is Cauliflower Healthy for Chickens?
Cauliflower is a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
According to MedicalNewsToday, 1 cup of cauliflower contains:
- 2 grams of protein
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- A trace amount of fat
And, as I mentioned, a wide range of other minerals and vitamins. There’s even 24 mg of calcium, a small amount, but beneficial for laying hens.
Obviously, cauliflower and other table scraps aren’t going to provide the kind of nutrition chickens need on their own.
At least 90% of a chicken’s diet should come from a good commercial feed. You should make a feed available all day, then offer them leftovers like cauliflower as and when you have some.
Can Chickens Eat Cauliflower Plant Leaves too?
Yes, the green leaves that grow around the white head of cauliflower are safe to eat. Not just for chickens, for us too.
We tend to throw it away, so the leaves are perfect for your chickens if you’re just going to throw them away anyway.
How to Feed Chickens Cauliflower
You can either feed cauliflower to your chickens raw or cooked. Obviously, it’s a lot softer when it’s cooked, so you’ll need to make sure they eat it quickly so it doesn’t spoil.
Raw is probably better. However you give it to them though, they’re going to peck away and munch it.
Hanging fruit and veg is always a good way to feed it to chickens. It gives them something to peck at and play with, check the video below to see a swinging cauliflower being munched on:
Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
There aren’t a lot of foods that are toxic or poisonous to chickens, but you need to be aware of which are so you don’t accidentally cause them some discomfort or health issues.
Here are some of the more common foods that are known to be bad for chickens, put these on the banned list:
Chocolate – As with a lot of small and household pets, there are compounds in chocolate that are toxic to chickens.
Raw Beans – This may come as a surprise, but raw beans are very toxic – deadly in fact. Unless properly cooked, raw beans contain a harmful toxin called phytohaemagglutinin.
Tea and Coffee – I know you’re not going to make a cuppa for your flock. This is more directed at people who use coffee grounds or tea bags for composting in their yard.
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes – Plants in the nightshade family produce a toxin called solanine. This toxin is harmful to chickens (and us!) and present when potatoes and tomatoes are green.
Avocado Pits/Skin – This is one of the known dangers to most household and backyard pets. The skin and stone contain a fungicidal toxin called persin which can cause health issues and even death.
Greasy/Salty Foods – While not harmful in the same way as foods with toxins, junk food isn’t ideal. Especially if you want your chickens to be in prime health and lying tasty eggs.
Sugary Treats – Don’t share treats and foods high in sugar like candy, soda, desserts, etc. They’re hard for chickens to digest, and will lead to health issues in the long-term too.
Foods That Are Good for Chickens
Wondering what else is fine for chickens to eat? Here’s a list of loads of foods that are good for chickens to add some variety to their diet:
Vegetables – Vegetables are one of the easiest ways to give your flock some great nutrition. You can give them the skins, ends, and other scraps you don’t want and they’ll be happy to help you out.
Fruits – I’m yet to find fruit chickens do not go crazy for. Which is great, because fruits are full of good nutrition. Just try giving your flock some apple, melon, grapes, berries, and other fruits I’ve covered in the blog.
Herbs – Herbs are a great way to add some healthy left greens to your flock’s diet. They contain some unique wellness benefits too, it’s well worth checking out some different herbs.
Related – Can chickens eat beets?
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is fine for chickens, as are most vegetables, leafy greens, and some other foods I covered above.
The important thing to remember is the 90/10 rule. This means that 90% of a chicken’s diet should come from their commercial feed, and that leaves 10% for treats like cauliflower and other table scraps/leftovers.
Everything you need to know about cauliflower – MedicalNewsToday.com
Image credits – Header image by Dave Sandoval, cauliflower image by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash.