How often should they get a hanging cabbage?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by smudge, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. smudge

    smudge Songster

    Mar 20, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    So, I tried hanging up a cabbage, and all 6 ignored it for a week until the blizzard/cold kept them sheltered/bored enough to notice it. And of course, once some figured out what they could do with it, it was demolished in a 2 day period.

    The next time I went shopping I picked up 2 heads - 1 for me, 1 for them. Must be either very bored, or else now all 6 know what to do with it, because this one was reduced to nothing but the core in a day.

    I also noticed that they ate a lot less of their feed than usual.

    How often is healthy to have a head of cabbage available as a treat for 6 girls? Should I alternate between cabbage and a hanging forage cake?

  2. 24279102

    24279102 Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    Grand Bay, AL
    When one is done I hang another. You'll notice that they last longer in the summer. I can't imagine it being available at all times would hurt them !
  3. jetdog

    jetdog Songster

    Jun 18, 2013
    I hang one a week, just as a treat with no available greens at this time, it keeps them busy and adds some mental stimulation during the grips of winter.
  4. Shalom Farm

    Shalom Farm Chirping

    Nov 23, 2013
    I generally rotate, just to mix it up. I hang it maybe 1 time a month, because of this rotation. However, I'd definitely hang one up 1 time a week if I didn't have other things. Mine eat slow, it lasts about 1 week, so I just replace with another or a different treat.

  5. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I am curious what you are rotating with? I am currently looking at adding a wider variety of treats.
  6. smudge

    smudge Songster

    Mar 20, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    Good all! They've been getting by with kitchen scraps and what they can find in the yard - but obviously they weren't finding much green in the snow (which has melted) and they aren't keen on going out during gale force winds (which we had yesterday) and I worry about them in the cold (high of 13 today), since it's not like they've time to acclimate.

    We've had an over 40F variation in temperature just in the last 24 hours, so they've got to be confused - it's their first winter.

    I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't one of those things one needs to strictly limit (for their sake). Like, much as they like cheese, I wouldn't let that be a significant part of their daily diet!
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    I've read that cabbage can cause goiter (iodine deficiency) in both humans and birds.

    The article doesn't specifically mention chickens nor do they list amounts of certain foods necessary to cause goiter. Cooking the cabbage will reduce the negative effects.

    Use your best judgment.

    I suppose it's a matter of balance. If you're feeding 1 cabbage to six birds regularly for weeks, I suspect you might have a problem. Then there's the issue that they fill up on cabbage and don't have room for the more nutrient dense chicken feed. But as an occasional thing, it would probably be fine. Perhaps making one of those "chicken blocks" with seeds and grain or just throw more scratch on the ground.

    Think about how much cabbage you might eat in a meal. The other night, my wife and I made a chicken soup for the two of us and had leftovers. We used about 1/2 cabbage in the soup, with other veggies. We weigh about 275 combined. Six full grown chickens might weigh about 40 cabbage is a lot of cabbage! Probably not a big deal occasionally, but moderation is key.
    1 person likes this.

  8. ginger7

    ginger7 Chirping

    Sep 3, 2013
    LOL, my father has been observed eating a head of cabbage for breakfast (raw) for breakfast - but he's got some eccentric eating habits.

    But yes, that was my concern - when they did eat a lot of cabbage, their pellet consumption went WAY down. And if the layer feed is supposed to be fairly complete, nutritionally, then this could put things out of balance.

    I've been using a forage block, but there again, there's 1 girl that seems to be a bit obsessive about that - the rest of the girls will be foraging, and she'd rather stay pecking at the forage block, wherever it is. Guess that one's just lazy, and I should just keep it away when I want her to free range.

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