Can Chickens Eat Mustard Greens?

Unlike most birds, chickens are less picky regarding their diet.

So, if you serve them mustard greens, they will eat it regardless of raw or cooked form.

But, like all other vegetables, mustard greens have limited nutrients.

So Can chickens eat mustard greens? 

Chickens should be given Mustard Greens only in moderate amounts, preferably as occasional treats.

Now, this sounds like I am discouraging you from giving veggies to your chickens.

However, my aim is to clarify that:

Inexpensive greens cannot substitute chicken feed and a balanced food variety.

That said, Mustard Greens do add value to your chickens’ diet. 

This leads me to my next point

Are Mustard Greens Good For Chickens?

They most certainly are.

You see, mustard greens are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as water and antioxidants. 

These are essential for the maintenance of healthy muscles and skin.

You see, these nutrients play a vital role in controlling regular metabolic functions and homeostasis. 

The leaves also contain small amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and even fats.

Another thing is, mustard greens also provide energy to chickens.

But if you are into details, here is a list of beneficial nutrients in mustard greens for chickens health:

Nutrient Subtype/ Detail Benefits
Proteins 2.9g protein per 100g mustard green Maintains muscle and feather health and appearance.
Lipids 0.4g fat per 100 g mustard green Helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

Increases palatability of feed.

Carbohydrates 4.7g carbs per 100 g mustard green Provides energy and strength.
Vitamins Vitamin A Vital role in egg production and hatchability.

Essential for eye health.

Vitamin C Reduces stress.
Vitamin E Maintains nerve health.

Helps in muscle movement.

Vitamin K Wound healing, blood clotting, and immunity.

Helps avoid coccidiosis.

Vitamin B B1 Reduces the risk of muscle paralysis.

Helps maintain feathers.

B2 Prevents diarrhea and curled toe paralysis.
B3 Reduces the risk of bow legs and abnormal mouth cavities

Anti-inflammatory for the tongue.

B6 Essential for amino acid metabolism.

Maintains nerve health.

Deficiency can result in convulsions and spasms.

Water Regulates heat stress and digestion. 
Minerals Calcium Maintain eggshells, bones, and feathers.
Phosphorous Contributes to egg contents, especially yolk.

Also, improves hatchability.

 Reduces the risk of rickets in chickens.

Iron Raw material for red blood cells.

Helps in egg and feather maintenance.

Potassium Helps the body endure harsh environments. 
Antioxidants Mainly 

Beta carotene

Lowers the risk of diabetes.

Helps maintain skin.

Now that we know all the awesome benefits of mustard green, let’s look at how you can feed mustard green to your chickens

How To Feed Mustard Green To Chickens?

However, you may deem fit.

Now, humans have a wide assortment of taste buds.

Most of us find raw mustard greens somewhat bitter.

That is why mustard greens are often seasoned or partially cooked to use in salads.

In contrast, chickens have a limited number of tastebuds, they cannot tell much of the foods apart based on taste alone.

Chickens are not usually picky eaters and are always ready to try new foods.

This also explains why chickens are so eager to eat a muddy-moving earthworm rather than commercially made chicken feed. Anyways,

This means that chickens would not be able to taste the bitterness of raw mustard green, they can eat it in any form.

Or, you can feed mustard greens in the following forms:

1. Raw Leaves

Now, chickens don’t have teeth, but they do have sharp beaks designed for pecking on the ground. 

Chickens are naturally comfortable eating dusty stuff.

However, if you are serving your chickens raw mustard leaves, make sure to thoroughly wash them.

This will remove any residual pesticides and fertilizers.

2. Shredded Leaves

Well, these are literally raw leaves just washed and cut into small bits.

Shredded mustard greens will help your chickens easily share their food.

Technically, the shredded or not-so-shredded form would not make much difference.

3. Cooked Leaves

You can steam mustard leaves to soften them up and reduce some of their bitterness before serving your chickens.

This may help you if your chicken is an unusually picky eater. Also, if your chicken is sick, then steamed mustard leaves will be easier to swallow.

Still, this method will require you to do an additional task. 

But if you wish to give your chickens pathogen-free food, then steamed mustard leaves are an ideal choice.

Note: Never add seasonings to any of your chicken’s feed. This may cause ionic imbalance, likely leading to renal and liver complications.

Though chickens cannot taste much. However, they still possess a small number of taste buds and they may reject several things based on a bitter taste.

So, if a chicken eats certain leaves, it may not eat the flower buds of the same plant.

Can Chickens Eat Mustard?

They can, but they usually don’t.

You see, Mustard Seeds or simply “Mustard” does not contain any substances harmful to chickens.

However, these taste somewhat spicy and sweet at the same time. 

Most chickens reject mustard, even though it is completely safe for them.

In fact, the chickens are notorious for disliking mustard seeds, so much so, that mustard seeds are often used to discipline egg-eating chickens.

How Can Mustard Seeds Help Egg-Eating Chickens?

Because mustard seeds are non-toxic but chickens repeatedly avoid them.

To stop a chicken from eating her own eggs, you can do the following steps:

  1. Take a raw egg and drill a tiny hole.
  2. Remove all the contents of the egg. You can also rinse the outside of the shell with water, but be very careful not to crush it.
  3. Fill the shell with mustard seeds.
  4. You can tape the hole with medical tape, but I suggest you use hot glue.
  5. Put the egg inside the nest of egg-eating chicken. 

Once the chicken pecks this egg and eats some mustard seeds, she will stop eating her own eggs. 

If she persists in her behavior, try putting fake eggs made of thick plastic.

Otherwise, see a professional.

You may think that letting your chicken eat her own eggs should be fine, or at least nutritious for her health.

However, stopping egg-eating behavior is essential.


  1. Hens that develop a taste of their own eggs, frequently lay eggs just to eat them. This behavior may cause severe malnutrition and health concerns for your chickens.
  2. Egg eating behavior is somewhat contagious. When one hen starts eating her own eggs, others may learn this behavior and may also develop a palate for eggs.
  3. Finally, a hen eating her own eggs is not economical for a poultry form or even pet chickens.

Perhaps, for you the term “Mustard” stands for Mustard Sauce.

So, you may still be wondering:

Can Chickens Eat Mustard Sauce?

They neither can nor should.

You see, mustard sauce is a cooked condiment of mustard seeds and several other ingredients.

Most recipes include vinegar, wine, salt, and lemon juice. 

Nearly all these ingredients are toxic for chickens. 

Mustard sauce is not a chicken feed by any standards.

But, condiments aside, certain greens may not be healthy for a chicken.

Now, you may curious:

What Greens Can Chickens Not Eat?

Now, chickens cannot safely consume most ornamental plants and wild herbs.

They may also be unable to eat certain fruits and vegetables.

The Greens, I am mentioning here are only the green leafy vegetables and salads that a chicken cannot safely eat.

That clarified, here is a list of greens that chickens cannot eat:

Greens Toxic for Chickens Toxic Substance Remarks
Iceberg Lettuce Negligible nutritional value and excessive water. Causes diarrhea and stomach issues.
Spinach Oxalates. May cause renal and liver problems.
Rhubarb Abundant in oxalates and oxalic acid. May cause increased salivation, jaundice, or tremors.
Tomato and Potato leaves Oxalate crystals and solanine Nerve issues and spasms.
Raw Amaranth Leaves Oxalates and excessive sulfur. May cause nutritional imbalance and renal failure. 

Cooked or dried leaves may be alright in small amounts.

Onions Thiosulphates May alter egg contents and skin appearance.

However, most greens are safe for chickens to consume. 

This leads me to my next point

What Kind Of Greens Can Chickens Eat?

Here is the list of greens that most poultry workers deem fit for chicken health:

Greens Safe for Chickens Primary 


Asparagus Vitamin A, C, E, and K. 

Folate, Potassium, Phosphorous. Antioxidants.

Helps in Muscle health. 

But, it can only be given in small amounts. Otherwise, it may alter egg taste.

Broccoli Vitamin C and K1.

Manganese, Potassium, Iron.

Antioxidants include Quercetin, Lutein, Beta Carotene. 

Improves fertility and meat quality. reduces oxidative stress.

Can feed in raw form, but cooked is usually preferred.

Brussels sprouts Vitamin C and K.


Phosphorus and Folate.

Help maintain gut health.

Feed only limited amounts.

Collard Greens Vitamin K.

Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium.

Help in forming strong bones and eggshells.
Cucumbers Vitamin C and K.

Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium.

Feed only in raw form.

Perfect for maintaining ionic balance.

Carrot, Radish, and Beet 

(Tops and Peelings)

Vitamin A, B6, and K.


Antioxidants and Biotin.

Improves fertility and immunity. 

Reduces dermatitis.

Can be given in the raw form, but cooked is preferred.

Kale Vitamin A, B6, C, and K. Manganese, Calcium, and Potassium. Can be given cooked or raw.

Moist kale can be used to give cleansing baths to chickens and small birds.

Lettuce Vitamin A, B, C, and K.


Helps maintain water balance.

Serve raw.

Avoid Iceberg lettuce.

Cabbage and Cauliflowers Vitamin B6, C, and D.

Iron, Calcium, Cobalamin, Magnecium.

Can be given as occasional treats only.
Swiss Chard Vitamin A, C, E, and K.

Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, Folate, and Phosphorous.

Helps in development and growth.
Turnip Greens Vitamin A and K.

Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Folate.

Contribute to forming egg yolk.  

Enhances immunity.

Some other greens can also be given to chickens, but as rare treats. 

These include:

  1. Arugula
  2. Kohlrabi
  3. Mizuna and Mache
  4. Sorrel
  5. Wheatgrass
  6. Endives
  7. Chicory
  8. Radicchio
  9. Spinach

But if you allow your chickens to free-range, you may encounter wild greens.

In this case, you can permit your chickens to eat:

  1. Dandelion stalks
  2. Lambsquaters
  3. Chickweed
  4. Purslane
  5. Plantain

Perhaps, you have been feeding some of the poisonous plants to your chickens.

In that case, I assure you that:

Small amounts of poisonous plants may not be toxic for most chickens. 

Still, prolonged eating of poisonous plants may reduce your chicken’s life span.

Now, you may be concerned about the kitchen scraps you feed your chickens. 

What Foods Are Poisonous To Chickens?

Normally, anything beyond moderation can be toxic for chickens.

Anyways, here is a list of foods that are often mistaken safe, but are poisonous for chickens.

Food Toxin Remarks
Avocado Persin Small amounts cause collapse, lethargy, and heavy breathing.

Overdose may cause death.

Butter Too fatty  Heart diseases
Chocolate Caffeine Causes heart rate issues.
Raw eggs Encourages chickens to eat their own eggs.
Citrus Inhibits calcium absorption.
Coffee and Tea Caffeine and Nicotine Liver and heart problems.
Dry beans phytohemagglutinin May cause blood clots.

Cooked beans are usually safe.

Eggplant Solanine-like compounds Solasonine and Solamargine. Avoid raw eggplants.
Fried food Too fatty Heart and liver concerns.
Fruit Pits and Seeds Cyanide Overdose may cause death by suffocation.
Garlic Thiosulphates Intervenes egg-laying process.
Green Potatoes Solanine Heart failure
Uncooked rice May swell inside the digestive canal and cause blockage.
Wild Mushrooms Toxins May be poisonous.
Seasoned and Processed Foods May cause ionic imbalance, renal and liver failure.
Raw chicken  Salmonella Improper and infection-causing food.
Alcohol Nerve damage.

Wrapping Up

Mustard greens are healthy and nutritious for chickens, though they should only be given in moderate amounts.

You can feed your chickens both raw and cooked mustard greens, but never mustard seeds or mustard sauce. 

Anyways, I hope this helped you make informed choices regarding your chickens’ diet.

Check out my article – Can chickens eat poison ivy?

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