Farmers everywhere are looking for ways to treat their chickens, save money on feed, and recycle food waste.
Not only do chickens make light work of excess kitchen scrap, but giving them some provides enrichment and a nutrient boost!
Before feeding your flock, it’s best to check if what you’re about to feed is suitable for chickens.
Chickens and humans share several favorite food items, such as berries, noodles, lettuce, seeds, pumpkin, watermelon, and broccoli.
Similar to broccoli, the question that has been asked and answered about another Brassica family member is about cauliflower. So, can chickens eat cauliflower?
In this article, learn whether you can feed your chickens cauliflower and what its benefits are to your flock!
Can Chickens Eat Cauliflower?
Yes, you absolutely can, and to their great delight!
Birds will quickly gobble any cauliflower tossed into their pen. Let’s take a deeper look at why…
What is a Cauliflower?
First, if you’re unfamiliar with this particular vegetable, let’s discuss what cauliflower is.
Cauliflower is one of many vegetables that fall (or grow) under the Brassica oleracea family. They are similar to broccoli in seed and growth but vary in taste and color.
Cauliflower grows from seed, forming a white (most commonly, though it comes in various colors) head that remains semi-covered by rubbery leaves that protrude from a low-growing stem.
It grows in popularity with a mildly nutty, sweet flavor that can be enjoyed raw with dip, sauteed, fried, baked, or steamed.
Why is Cauliflower Good for My Chickens?
Cauliflower is fun to peck apart for birds and contains several minerals and vitamins that benefit a chicken’s health.
Vitamins Found in Cauliflowers
Especially important in chickens, Vitamin E contributes to regular egg production, immune system function, and healthy fertility.
Vitamin E plays a role in nerve function, creating a healthy circulatory system and proper muscle use.
It helps metabolize carbohydrates, leading to normal growth in young birds and adults.
It is responsible for the biosynthesis of proteins and also essential for bone composition and blood clotting.
It is essential for blood cell health, creating energy and supporting metabolism.
Minerals Found in Cauliflowers
maintains healthy muscles and prevents dehydration. This mineral is especially important in summer!
It’s a no-brainer that chickens require calcium for proper bone growth, eggshell production, and formation.
This mineral participates in generating energy supply, supports antioxidant use in the body, and builds immunity.
This mineral is primarily known for promoting bone development.
It’s another important mineral for egg production, carcass development, and soft tissue health.
Fiber and Carbohydrates
Cauliflower is also an excellent source of available fiber and carbohydrates.
Fiber helps in nutrient absorption in the intestinal tract, while carbohydrates provide a readily available energy source. Also, carbohydrates are required for all cell functions.
How Do I Feed Cauliflower to My Chickens?
Watching a flock of birds receive a lone cauliflower over the fence is quite comical.
Most often, each hen plucks a piece and scatters, taunting the birds who have not yet located the food source.
This nutrient boost can also double as an enrichment activity in any season.
Tying cauliflower on a string in the coop or pen will provide hours of entertainment as the birds peck and twist the swinging vegetable.
Can Chickens Eat Raw Cauliflower?
The best thing about feeding cauliflowers to your chickens is that they are edible, whether cooked or raw.
When feeding raw cauliflower, make sure to chop them into smaller pieces since they are harder to peck than cooked ones.
Raw cauliflower is also recommended compared to cooked versions because they are packed with all the nutrients.
However, keep in mind to feed cauliflowers in moderation, just like any treat.
Should You Give Cooked Cauliflowers?
Yes, you can give chickens cooked cauliflowers too!
Cooked cauliflowers are softer, and you can give the whole vegetable to your chickens instead of chopping it.
However, practice the proper cooking process of this vegetable to avoid losing its fundamental nutrients.
Can You Give Frozen Cauliflowers?
Frozen cauliflowers can be the perfect summer treat! You can freeze this vegetable overnight and throw the entire piece to your flock the day after.
Your chickens will enjoy pecking this cool, tasty treat. If you want to get more creative, you can tie the frozen cauliflower with a string and hang it over your chickens.
As an added bonus, if you’re like me and sometimes go overboard with seed starting, chickens will devour the cauliflower seedlings too!
What Parts of a Cauliflower Can Chickens Eat?
Every last piece! Chickens usually pick at the head first as it easily crumbles, but they are not opposed to the leaves and stems for dessert.
Can Chickens Eat Cauliflower Leaves?
You can feed all the parts of a cauliflower, including its leaves.
Some chicken owners would just directly feed the leaves along with the white curd. Others are more comfortable cooking them.
Whatever your decision is, the leaves of the cauliflower are as edible as any other parts.
Can You Feed Chickens Cauliflower Stems?
Yes, you can feed the stems of the cauliflower to your chickens.
While others don’t want to include it as a treat, you can throw it along with the rest of the vegetable.
You can also opt to cook the stems so that your chickens will have a better time enjoying this treat.
Pro-tip: Chickens can work double duty for your farm if you maintain a backyard garden!
Cauliflower is notoriously susceptible to pests as the leaves cover (and often hide) the head, which is a perfect home for insects and garden pests like aphids.
I’ve welcomed a chicken or two in the garden and peeled back a leaf so the chickens could snack on the aphids, which allows it to grow without issue for human consumption!
How Much Cauliflower Should You Feed Your Chickens?
Know that cauliflowers should only be given as a treat and not as the main menu. With that said, you should only give it in moderation.
In fact, having an average-sized cauliflower is enough for two chickens to share.
Does Cauliflower Treats Affect Your Chicken’s Eggs?
No study or evidence shows that cauliflower has a direct effect on the chicken’s eggs—may it be their quality or frequency of laying.
There are also many factors to egg production. Being able to provide a well-balanced meal and healthy treats can affect how well your chickens will lay.
Can Chickens Eat Cauliflower: Conclusion
Cauliflower is considered a safe and tasty item on the chicken menu!
All parts of the cauliflower are suitable for your flock. As a winter treat, the enrichment activity and added nutrient boost will make for happy hens.
In the summer? A frozen cauliflower will keep your birds busy for an hour.