Can Chickens Eat Turnips? [The Answer You Need to Know]

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Turnips are root vegetables that are delicious, very versatile, and packed with essential nutrition. So it’s understandable that poultry owners like myself would wonder, can chickens eat turnips too?

According to experts, chickens can eat turnips. These root vegetables contain vital vitamins and minerals our feathery friends need to thrive (1).

However, there’s more to discuss turnips before adding them to a chicken’s diet.

So please, read on and see if these vegetables are the right choice for your chickens.

Key Takeaways

  • Turnips are a healthy, safe vegetable for chickens to eat. In fact, their reliable sources of a wide variety of beneficial nutrients that chickens need to survive.
  • Several health benefits come from chickens eating turnips. A few include boosting their immune systems, promoting bone health, and protecting their livers.
  • Turnips are strictly a treat option rather than a dietary staple. I’d recommend only feeding them to chickens once or twice weekly.

Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Turnips?

Turnips are a healthy treat that’s safe for chickens to eat. After all, turnips tops are loaded sources of “vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium” (2).

fresh turnips root vegetables

You can also expect them to be good manganese, potassium, iron,, copper, and magnesium source. Therefore, they can provide chickens with many health benefits.

Let’s take a look at some to offer a better idea of what turnips can offer. Doing so will make it much clearer whether adding them to your chicken’s diet is a good move.

#1 Boost Immune System

One of the more critical benefits is turnips’ impact on a chicken’s immune system. These root vegetables earn this benefit by being a rich source of vitamin C.

If you aren’t aware, vitamin C protects the body from free radical damage. So chickens fed a high vitamin C diet tend not to get sick easily.

I’ve also used turnips to help chickens through sickness. For instance, a hen had a bad case of the flu, and offering her turnips made the recovery process quicker.

#2 Promote Bone Health

Turnips are also known for being a stellar source of calcium and vitamin K. It’s a crucial combination within any potential vegetable in a chicken’s balanced diet.

For instance, vitamin K plays a vital role in bone metabolism. You combine it with calcium, and it results in stronger, denser bones.

So your chickens become much less likely to break bones or suffer other injuries. It’s an easy way to keep a healthy flock of chickens. 

#3 Protects the Liver

Poultry owners often overlook the anthocyanins and sulfur compounds in turnips. These additions can help promote better liver health in chickens (3).

Given this info, turnip consumption can help a chicken’s digestion process. It’ll improve the liver’s performance to ensure this process goes off without a hitch.

It’s also why I use these healthy chicken treats to help with stomach issues. It’ll help a sick chicken digest whatever is costing them distress.

Can Chickens Eat Turnip Greens?

The greens from the turnip plant are wonderful to feed chickens. I consider them a healthier option over other choices like green beans.

turnip greens

If you do feed chickens turnip greens, they’ll offer a stable source of fiber. You can also expect them to be an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium.

Another positive of turnip greens is their lack of dangerous toxins (4). So I never have to worry about any side effects when giving them to my backyard chicken flock.

My only advice would be to cut them into smaller pieces before serving. It’ll make these leafy greens easier for chickens to eat and digest.

But it’s only a suggestion as you can give them the entire leaves. It’s a great way to keep them busy and active throughout the day. Plus, more exercise is always a good idea.

If you’re a chicken owner, you may be wondering about what other types of foods are safe for your feathered friends. Check out our articles on “is dill good for chickens“, “can chickens have leeks“, and “can chickens have nectarines” to learn more about their dietary needs and what foods to avoid.

How To Feed Turnips To Chickens

As mentioned earlier, turnips have a reputation for being difficult to eat. So feeding them to chickens is mostly about making them less burdensome.

So I’ve outlined three methods to prepare them for your chickens. I’m pretty confident one of them will be a perfect fit for your preferences:

#1 Cook the Turnips

An obvious way of softening raw turnips would be cooking. Now, you have two ways of going about the cooking process.

You can choose to steam or boil them. In either case, turnips need cooking for 10-20 minutes to soften them.

Some people like to cook the whole turnip. However, my preferred way would be cutting it into smaller pieces. It’s more effective and limits after cooking preparation.

After the cooking process, let it cool down to room temperature. You can then place the cooked turnips in their feeding bowl and watch them munch on the turnips.

#2 Grating the Turnips

Another standard method would be grating these nutritious root vegetables turnips. It’s a helpful way to keep the portions small and easy to eat/digest.

Furthermore, the actual process is relatively easy. It only requires cleaning and grating the turnips until you have enough for your chickens.

You then feed the healthy treat to them without worrying about choking hazards. I prefer a different method, but it does the trick.

#3 Mash the Turnips

Mashing the turnips is a messier option than the previous two. However, the chickens won’t care much, considering they aren’t regarded as picky eaters.

So they should be okay with how mashed up the turnips are before serving. Plus, it’s a fun way to prepare turnips for chickens.

How Much And How Often To Feed Turnips To Chickens

Turnips are an excellent healthy treat option for chickens. However, these toxin-free vegetables still require being served in moderation alongside the daily feed.

It stems from turnips lacking the proper nutritional content to be a primary food source. So they’re better suited as secondary supplements to commercial chicken feeds.

In doing so, you’re relying on commercial feeds formulated with the proper nutrition. So it won’t have any issues meeting the daily diet needs that turnips can’t alone.

Overall, turnips should comprise 10% of a chicken’s entire diet. It’s why I only suggest feeding your chickens turnips once or twice weekly.

It’s what I do with mine, and I haven’t had anything but positive experiences. I’ve also found it helpful to rotate turnips with other vegetables.

This rotation will give your chickens additional nutrition that turnips don’t offer. I’ll even discuss a few amazing vegetable alternatives in the next section.

Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat

Several varieties of vegetables are suitable treats for chickens. So I limited my list down to my favorite three healthy vegetables besides turnips that could be beneficial.

#1 Lettuce

Lettuce is an excellent treat to feed chickens. It’s high in nutrition and easy for them to eat and digest.

iceberg lettuce for chickens

But there is one problem with lettuce as it has various types. So I suggest using romaine lettuce, the most nutritious kind to feed chickens.

On the other hand, iceberg lettuce has the least amount of nutrition. But even iceberg lettuce can be a valuable treat for chickens due to its high water content.

This attribute makes it a beautiful vegetable to feed chickens in the summer. It’ll keep them hydrated throughout the day.

#2 Spinach

Spinach is on my list because it’s a superfood packed with vitamins and minerals. These leafy greens not only offer high nutritional content but are easy for chickens to eat.

spinach for chickens, but can chickens eat spinach

Furthermore, spinach is quite versatile. It earns this title by being edible for chickens, whether cooked or raw.

I prefer using raw spinach as it requires almost no preparation. I just toss this top-tier source of vitamin A into the chicken coop and let them go crazy.

#3 Leeks

Leeks are often overlooked treat for chickens. I have always found it odd because leeks have high nutrient content and low calories.

leek leaves but can chickens eat leeks

You can also count on these vegetables to be high in magnesium and vitamins A, C, and K. It’s what makes leeks a better treat option among a wide variety of vegetables.

But if you’re planning to feed them raw leeks, cut them into smaller pieces. Leeks can be tough for our feathered friends, especially baby chicks to eat when left unprepared.


#1 Can chickens have turnip peels?

Turnip peels are fine for chickens to eat without any issues. They’re healthy for chickens with high contents of valuable minerals and vitamins.

#2 What vegetable plants are poisonous to chickens?

All vegetable plants in the nightshade family are poisonous to chickens. These plants include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and ground cherry plants.


Overall, the answer to can chicken eat turnips is a yes and a resounding one. It’s often my first suggestion when someone asks for a treat for chickens.

If you have any leftover questions about turnips, let me know in the comments. I’d love to continue this conversation about this wonderful tasty treat for chickens.



1. FoodData Central [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 31]. Available from:

2. Vegetables: Have you tried Turnips? [Internet]. MSU Extension. [cited 2023 Jan 31]. Available from:

3. AskUSDA [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 31]. Available from:

4. Dejanovic GM, Asllanaj E, Gamba M, Raguindin PF, Itodo OA, Minder B, et al. Phytochemical characterization of turnip greens (Brassica rapa ssp. rapa): A systematic review. PloS One [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 29];16:e0247032. Available from:

Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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