Brussels sprouts are like miniature cabbages that are packed with nutrients, go well with many dishes, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
While humans can consume this type of vegetable without any issues, can chickens eat brussels sprouts, too?
Yes, chickens can eat brussels sprouts, either raw or cooked. They even have edible leaves. Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
Continue reading as I explore the reasons that brussels sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse and how to feed them to your backyard chickens.
Table of Contents
- Brussels sprouts are a healthy food to feed your chickens.
- Feed brussels sprouts either cooked until they are soft or cut into small pieces if they are raw.
- Brussels sprouts can be included amongst other healthy food for chicken treats.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts are healthy for chickens to eat because they’re high in antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
All of this nutritional content is important to the well-being of chickens. (1)
To learn more about these healthy snacks, below are some of the health benefits of brussels sprouts for chickens:
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Brussels sprouts have an impressive amount of antioxidants and amazing health benefits. (2)
This green vegetable is especially high in kaempferol, which is an antioxidant that has many health-promoting properties.
Some of these properties include reducing inflammation and promoting heart health, thus reducing the risk of heart failure.
Antioxidants are compounds that help prevents free radicals from destroying the cells in the body.
By feeding sprouts to your chickens as a healthy treat, you’ll help supply the antioxidants that their body needs to promote good health.
2. High In Fiber
Brussels sprouts are high in dietary fiber content. Fiber is an important part of a chicken’s health, especially its digestive system.
Lots of fiber helps promote regular bowel movements and helps food move along the digestive tract smoothly.
Besides promoting a healthy digestive system, fiber can help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar control.
3. High In Vitamin C
When it comes to vitamin C, fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits are known for having a lot of this vitamin.
However, do not discount brussels sprouts. While sprouts aren’t fruit, this type of vegetable is loaded with vitamin C as well.
Vitamin C is one of the essential vitamins that are important to chicken health, as it does many good things for them. For one, it helps grow and repair tissues in the body.
Another thing vitamin C does is prevent chickens from getting sick. If they do get sick, vitamin C can help build their immune systems to get them healthy quickly.
Can Chickens Eat Brussels Sprouts Leaves?
Chickens can eat the leaves of brussels sprouts because they are edible and full of nutrition.
Before feeding them these edible leaves, you should cut or dice them up first. They tend to be tough and make it hard for the chickens to eat.
Another option would be to cook the leaves first to make them softer. However, the leaves will lose some of their nutritional value when cooked.
Can Chickens Eat Brussels Sprouts Raw?
Like other raw vegetables, chickens can eat brussels sprouts that are raw, but they can be a bit hard for them to eat.
For raw sprouts, the best option is to feed them cooked. Cooking will cause the sprouts to become soft, which will make it easy for the chickens to eat.
Another option is to chop or dice the raw sprouts up into small pieces.
Chickens are not picky eaters and will eat just about anything you give them. Just make sure the raw sprouts don’t pose any choking hazards to your chickens.
How To Feed Brussels Sprouts To Chickens
Chickens are great animals to keep and raise due to their ease of feeding. Unlike most other animals, chickens will just eat about anything that’s thrown in front of them.
When it comes to brussels sprouts, they eat them whether they’re cooked or raw.
However, raw sprouts are too tough for them to eat whole. You’ll need to chop them up first so they’ll be easier for your chickens to eat.
Below are some of the options you have to feed sprouts to your flock.
Raw Brussels Sprouts
Feeding them raw sprouts provides them with the most nutrition. However, in their raw form, they can be really tough for chickens to eat.
The best option is to chop or dice the raw sprouts, making them as small as their feed. You can feed the chickens just the raw sprouts or mix them with their feed.
Cooked Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts that are cooked will lose some of their nutrition, but they will be easier for your chickens to eat and digest and still remain a healthy treat.
Cooking the sprouts will make them soft. You can feed the cooked sprouts whole or in small pieces.
Feeding them the whole cooked sprouts will keep the chickens active for a long time. The chickens will peck at the sprouts and eat them a little at a time.
Mixing Brussels Sprouts With Chicken Feed
This method is great for adding a nutritional boost to the chicken feed. You can mix the feed with raw or cooked brussels sprouts.
Make sure to cut the sprouts into small pieces first. Try to make the sprouts the size of the pieces of feed. Then mix it with their feed and place it in a bowl.
The chickens will eat their feed and the sprouts together and will not know a difference.
How Many Brussels Sprouts To Feed Chickens?
Brussels sprouts don’t have any toxins and they’re loaded with nutrition, so you really can feed them any amount without worrying about giving them too much.
However, due to the sprouts not having all the nutrition that chickens require, it’s best to feed them as a healthy treat and not as their main food source.
Brussels sprouts and other vegetables should make up 10% of a chicken’s entire diet. The rest should come from a quality commercial feed.
Therefore, it’s best to feed sprouts to your chickens in moderation.
Also, you should try to rotate other vegetables throughout the week, too. That way, the chickens will get additional nutrition that brussels sprouts don’t have.
Watch this video for an example of how backyard chicken keepers can feed vegetables, fruits, and other treats.
Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat
Cabbage is also very healthy and full of important minerals and vitamins. You can feed chickens raw or cooked cabbage.
To keep them active throughout the day, hang the whole cabbage as a tetherball from a tree or branch.
Kale is packed with vitamins and minerals. Chickens can be fed cooked or raw kale.
Before feeding them kale, you should chop or dice the leaves up first to make it easier for the chickens to eat and digest the kale leaves.
Carrots are great to feed chickens. Raw and cooked carrots are full of nutrition. You can also serve the leafy greens chopped for ease of eating and digestion.
Avoid feeding them canned carrots as those are high in salt content.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What vegetables can chickens not eat?
Chickens cannot eat green potatoes, potato leaves, tomato leaves, tomato plants, rhubarb, and rhubarb leaves. In general, do not feed any leaves from nightshade plants.
2. What other types of food can chickens not eat?
Chickens also cannot eat salty foods, foods containing caffeine, sugary foods, citrus fruits, avocado, chocolate, fried foods, raw beans, and uncooked rice.
Please research before feeding your chickens any new foods.
Can chickens eat brussels sprouts? Yes, they can! Feed them raw sprouts and their leaves chopped into fine pieces. They can also eat cooked brussels sprouts.
Chickens enjoy tasty treats. Just be sure that treats make up no more than 10% of your flock’s diet, and research any new foods before you give them to your chickens.
1. Manchali S, Chidambara Murthy KN, Patil BS. Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetables. Journal of Functional Foods. 2012; 4: 94–106.
2. Podsędek A. Natural antioxidants and antioxidant capacity of Brassica vegetables: A review. LWT – Food Science and Technology. 2007; 40: 1–11.
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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