Can chickens eat kale? Green diet secrets

Raising your backyard chickens means lots of care. What is the healthiest diet for them? Which vegetables are the best to feed? How much food should you give them at once?

Among many healthy foods, kale is one of the most popular. However, can chickens eat kale like humans? Isn’t it toxic for them? Can you feed kale safely?


Can chickens eat kale?

By nature, kale is a dark green leafy vegetable that comes in different forms, sizes, and colors.

Health benefits

Kale is a super vegetable that is full of health benefits both for humans and for chickens.

It is very high in vitamins and nutrients.

Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables and belongs to the most nutrient-dense foods!

Here is a list of the most vital components that kale contains:

  • Beta carotene
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

Beta carotene is an antioxidant that protects the body from harmful molecules that are known as free radicals. Thus, it prevents many chronic diseases.

Calcium is a vital element for bone health, as well as it is crucial for cellular functions.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that protects the organism against certain chronic diseases.

Potassium is an important mineral for the body cells as it maintains the electrical gradients within them. Besides, it helps to lessen the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties. It helps you to maintain vision, bone health, cell division, reproduction, and the immune system. Having enough vitamin A prevents a lot of health risks.

Vitamin B6 is crucial for brain activity. It keeps healthy the nervous system and immune systems. Besides, it lessens the risk of getting heart disease.

Vitamin C is one more antioxidant that is a great protective element against free radicals.

Kale contains vitamin C in large quantities. That is much more than in other vegetables. For example, this is 4.5 times more than it is found in spinach. In global, kale is one of the greatest sources of vitamin C!

Vitamin K is useful in blood clotting since it boosts certain types of proteins to bind calcium.

Kale is one of the most abundant vegetables in the world. Today we can find many different types of it. Most of them are widely available and come in many forms and colors.

However, like many other foods, excessive consumption of kale may cause some health issues. For example, too much calcium oxalate that is contained in kale can cause kidney and bladder stones. So, the best way is to consume kale in moderate amounts.

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Is kale healthy for chickens?

As for chickens, kale is a very healthy snack option. Along with its nutritional benefits, it is a great supplement for a healthy diet.

Kale leaves are high in many beneficial components that help in fighting off many serious diseases. They are good at lowering blood pressure and preventing sickness. 

Kale is full of essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K. In complex, they can strengthen the chickens’ health in many aspects.

That is especially true for the raw kale that keeps all the vitamins available for chickens.

If possible, try to give your chickens uncooked kale. Choose the softer edible types of kale that don’t require any extra cooking. Just wash the kale before feeding your chickens!

As for the kale stems, they are rich in vitamins K and C which are great for the immune system.

Too much kale can cause some health issues, so don’t overfeed your chickens.

Can chickens eat kale stems? Chickens can eat kale stems as well as leaves. Since the stems are rich in vitamin C, they are good for the chickens’ immunity.

Chopped and softened, kale steams can be a tasty treat for your chickens. Chop the kale stems into chunks and toss them into the chicken feed.

How much kale can I feed chickens?

Mixing kale with chicken feeds is a great idea. Since kale is a natural extra nutritional boost, you can mix some raw kale with chicken feeds.

However, kale should only be 10% of the regular diet of your poultry birds. The rest of the 90% should be their main feed. Never give your chickens too much kale.

How to cook kale for chickens? There is nothing difficult when it comes to cooking kale. You can feed your chickens kale both raw and cooked. However, some types of kale such as red Russian kale have to be pre-cooked.

Before feeding kale to your birds, wash these leafy vegetables thoroughly to remove any dirt or traces of pesticides. Repeat this procedure two or three times to make sure that the kale is safe and clean.

Then, chop kale into small pieces. If you want to cook stems, chop them well into small chunks. A good idea is to soften this green mass by hand to feed your chickens kale without any straining.

As a variant, you can feed kale without any cooking. Just take a handful of soft kale leaves, such as curly kale or baby kale. Tight them in a bunch and suspend them in the run or coop so your chickens can peck them.

Which type of kale is the best for chickens?

If chickens can eat kale, which type is the best for them? These leafy green vegetables are so varied, so which type of kale you should choose for your chickens?

Besides, some types of kale are not quite safe for chickens to eat.

Here is a list of the main 5 types of kale and their benefits:

#1. Curly kale

Common curly kale is the most popular type of this green leafy vegetable. You can get it at any grocery store or vegetable garden.

Curly kale is good for birds as well as for humans. It is rich in different antioxidants, such as potassium, vitamin B6, and many others.

Besides, this type of kale tastes good for chickens. You can feed them either raw or cooked kale.

#2. Baby kale

One more popular type of kale that you can easily get in the local grocery store, is baby kale. You can buy it pre-packaged in bags or boxes. Sometimes it comes packaged with other salad greens. 

Its leaves are much smaller and thinner than other types of kale. It is incredibly soft and tender, so you can serve it either raw or cooked.

Chickens can safely eat baby kale as it has an extra soft texture.

#3. Dinosaur kale

Dinosaur kale looks a bit different from other types of kale. Its appearance and texture are much thinner, and its leaves are dark, almost blue-green, or even black-green.

Chickens can eat all parts of this kale. They will like both cooked and raw kale.

#4. Red Russian kale

Red Russian kale tastes similar to common curly kale, but it is much sweeter and looks a bit different.

You can recognize red kale by its flat reddish leaves and slightly purplish stems. Having a mild peppery flavor, it is one of the tastiest kale varieties.

Your chickens will like this type of kale! However, it is too tough for them to eat.

Remove the woody and fibrous stems that are not edible for chickens. Soften the leaves by hand before feeding chickens.

You can serve red kale both raw or cooked.

However, cooked kale is more desirable as it is much softer to eat.

#5. Redbor kale

Redbor kale has a deep red and maroon color. Since it is high in dietary fiber, it is good for your chickens’ digestion.

Redbor kale is crispy and quite easy to eat. It has a mild cabbage-like flavor, so your chickens will love it.

redbor kale 1296 728 body


Can chickens eat kale and chard?

Leafy greens are just perfect for chickens. Not only do chickens enjoy the leafy veggies, but these are the best healthy options for them. So, kale and chard are one of the best chicken foods along with many other collard greens.

Here is a list of leafy greens and other vegetables that your chickens can eat:

Beet greens
Swiss chard
Turnip greens

What should you not feed your chickens?

Chickens eat many kinds of vegetables that are good for their health. However, there are several vegetables that you can’t feed chickens as they can cause some health issues:

Citrus fruits

Why can’t chickens have spinach?

Spinach is one of the best snack options for your chickens. Among the leafy greens, it is one of the richest in nutrients.

Spinach is a great natural source of many minerals. In addition, it contains significant vitamins, such as A, B6, C, and K.

If you are looking for greens and veggies that can help you to maintain the optimal health of your chickens, then spinach is one of your best options.


Generally, kale is safe and healthy for chickens. You can feed them most types of kale either raw or cooked. Add kale to the chicken feed or serve it as a tasty snack.

Remember that feeding your chickens kale helps you to maintain their health much stronger!

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Irene Harper

I am a fan of healthy eating, so I studied a lot of information on how to grow microgreens on my own.

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