Tuesday, September 25

K is for Kale!

The weather has been absolutely dreadful of late. Yet the hens love to be outside - having said that, having just checked the henhouse  (6.30pm Tuesday) they are all in for the night.
Around teatime I always throw them a small supper - tonight it was bread and kale. Whilst I have witnessed some hens eating raw kale ours prefer it cooked - and with bread! lol!
It is quite amazing what the hens will eat.....

This is a list of everything you can feed a chicken. However, everybody's chickens have their own tiny brains full of likes and dislikes, so while one person's chickens may come running for grapes or watermelon, another person's chickens may turn up their pointy little beaks at it. Anything on this list is worth a try.

General Opinions
Raw and applesauce
Apple seeds contain cyanide, but not in sufficient quantities to kill.
Raw or cooked
Okay to feed, but not a favorite.
Without the peel
High in potassium, a good treat.
Well-cooked only, never dry Also, greenbeans.
Greens also. .
All kinds A treat, especially strawberries.
All kinds - good use for stale bread or rolls Feed starches in moderation.
Broccoli & Cauliflower
. Tuck into a suet cage and they will pick at it all day.
Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts
Whole head - Hang a whole cabbage from their coop ceiling in winter so they have something to play with and greens to eat.
Raw and cooked
They like carrot foliage too.
Catfood * (see bottom of page)
Wet and dry
Feed in strict moderation, perhaps only during moulting * (see bottom of page)
Cheerios, etc.
Avoid highly sugared cereal such as Cocopuffs, etc.
Including cottage cheese
Feed in moderation, fatty but a good source of protein and calcium
On cob and canned, raw and cooked
Crickets (alive)
Can be bought at bait or pet-supply stores.
Great treat – provides protein and it’s fun to watch the chickens catch them.
Let mature for yummy seeds and flesh.
Fish / Seafood
Cooked only.
Pears, peaches, cherries, apples
Bulgar, flax, niger, wheatberries,etc.
Seedless only.
For chicks, cutting them in half makes it easier for them to swallow.
Great fun - the cause of many entertaining "chicken keepaway" games.
Only feed your chickens that which is still considered edible by humans, don't feed anything spoiled, moldy, oily, salty or unidentifiable.
Lettuce / Kale
Any leafy greens, spinach collards, chickweed included. A big treat, depending on how much other greenery they have access to.
Available at pet supply stores or on the internet, although shipping is expensive!
A huge(!) favourite treat, probably the most foolproof treat on the books.
Meat scraps of any kind.
Not too fatty.
In moderation, a good source of protein
Cantelope, etc.
Both seeds and flesh are good chicken treats.
Raw or cooked
Cooked is nutritionally better.
Pasta / Macaroni
Cooked spaghetti, etc.
A favourite treat, fun to watch them eat it, but not much nutrition.
Raw Seeds are a big treat.
Popped, no butter, no salt.
Potatos / Sweet
Cooked only - avoid green parts
Starchy, not much nutrition
Pumpkins / Winter Squash
Raw or cooked
Both seeds and flesh are a nutritious treat.
Cooked only Pilaf mixes are okay too, plain white rice has little nutrition.

Wheat and oat sprouts are great!

Good for greens in mid-winter.
Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds with the shell still on is fine to feed, as well as with the shell off.
A good treat, helps hens lay eggs and grow healthy feathers.
Raw and cooked.
Served cold, it can keep chickens cool and hydrated during hot summers.

Seeds and flesh are both okay to feed.

Plain or flavoured

A big favourite and good for their digestive systems. Plain is better.

 For more amazing facts and fun follow the ABC Wednesday link in my sidebar.


  1. OMG ! this is so much fun. Interesting but funny.
    I remember the cooked spaghetti you feed them and made a video for us to see.
    Do you hang the hole cabbage head low so they can pick at it and it moves around. Food and a toy all in one ! maybe next video please !
    You know how much I love these chicken post !

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Fascinating!!! I never knew chickens had such versatile palettes. I loved the idea of hanging the cabbage! Must be fun watching them go at it!

  3. very informative. i remember when i was growing up in the tropics we raised chicken and only fed them rice and other grains. didn't know they could and would eat other stuff too, including leafy greens.

  4. Hello, I just found your blog via Weaver of Grass. Couldn't help but click on your profile picture as I'm rather fond of geese.. And ducks. And chickens. I could keep going.

    I don't have any birds at the moment as we've just moved house and it's chaotic enough. (Except for a pheasant who seems to have adopted me.) So I can only get my fix by reading great blogs like yours. I thought the chickens crossing the road was hilarious.

    Best wishes, Jessica

  5. Such discriminating palates. I had no idea!
    I think they eat as well as we do...

  6. wow, I thought they just consumed chicken feed and water!

  7. My parents let the chicks they were raising for meat free range all summer and discovered they really will eat almost everything. Flowers, raspberries right off the canes, rhubarb leaves and stalks! One benefit was they didn't have the grasshopper problem I had this summer.

  8. Our hens love any scraps, but their staple favourite seems to be our dogs' cereal food. Thankfully they can't reach my kale, it's fenced off from rabbits, horses and hens!!

  9. I did no know chickens could eat all that. That's really interesting,


  10. Great post Denise- very useful! My chooks love sweetcorn any way they can get it, and a pan of warm porridge on a cold morning!

  11. Chicken and kale, my mum would be LOL upstairs. we did use to feed our ducks with greens.

  12. I never knew apple pips contained cyanide!

    Mealworms! Ha! I feed them to the starlings and blue tits.
    I wonder what my neighbour feeds her hens....
    the eggs are lovely, really orangey yolk, too.
    Sometimes they are small, other times they look like it might have been quite painful.

  13. Good Lor! Can't believe I wasn't following you!! Have just corrected this.

  14. Now those are absolutely entertaining and interesting.

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  15. It's interesting to know that chickens do eat a lot of human's food. Never know that.

  16. They eat healthy, those hes of yours! Don't forget Edamame-bet they'd like that too!

  17. Very interesting diet your chickens have - I'm glad to see they are eating their greens. I love farm fresh eggs, but haven't been intimate with chickens for a great number of years.

  18. Wow, they eat a really well rounded diet.

  19. Good heavens, I have never seen such a long list of foods for chooks! They are nothing but garbage compactors! How very useful. I tend to use my staghorn a bit like a chook ...

  20. I am just absolutely staggered by this list Denise - ours get layers pellets, corn and any bread we don't eat - plus the occasional bowl of pasta left overs.

  21. You chickens are lucky they are living in a 5* hotel/restaurant !

  22. I love it! Many of our friends have chickens and I envy them, but we don't have a proper yard for it at my home.

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  24. I don't think this is working. Testing Testing??

    My chickens are pecans. They do not like pecans.

    When will they lay? They were born at the end of June.

    Your Chickens must have gout.

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  26. They have quite a menu to choose from. Never realized that they ate what we do!!!Very fun post.

  27. My rabbits just LOVE kale but mustn't have too much!
    Interesting to know how to feed chickens. If only I was younger, fitter etc...... I would definitely keep a couple, maybe three.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  28. Wow ! What a varied diet, Denise...
    I can vouch for the delicious eggs that Denise's hen lay, as we visited her on the way home from a holiday in Northumberland.
    After feeding us with a scrummy lunch of a beef chilli and vegetable curry, accompanied by delicious, baked, home grown potatoes, and cous cous, we were presented with a box of new laid eggs, from each of 'the girls',individually marked, with each hen's name....
    An enduring memory, particularly, as Denise also gave us a gift of a china spoon rest, with a large hen painted on it...
    As I have my daily cuppa, (tea) I think of Denise and that memorable visit, Oh! how we laughed....Golden memory !

  29. Any chef would love to cook for chickens with such variety! Who would have guessed at their culinary sophistication!! Kate, ABC Team


Thank you for your comments, always nice to know somebody has taken the time to let me know what they think.