Kale is a super-nutritious vegetable that is high in protein. It is part of a group of cabbage varieties grown for their edible leaves, though some are also used as ornamentals.
The leaves of kale plants are usually green or purple.
They are thought to be more closely related to wild cabbage than most domesticated varieties.
Interestingly, most birds are fed kale because of its high proteinaceous nature and other health benefits it provides for them.
How about Turkeys? Can they eat Kale as well? Let’s see.
Can Turkeys Eat Kale?
Yes, they certainly can. Turkeys are omnivorous animals; they eat plants, plant matter insects, and reptiles.
Research has shown that turkeys love natural plants. They usually eat all sorts of leaves and grasses.
Therefore turkeys can also naturally eat vegetable plants like cabbage, lettuce, carrot leaves, and of course, kale.
However, for easy consumption, it is advisable to cut up the kale in smaller pieces before feeding it to turkeys.
This article will go into detail on how turkeys eat kale. So, keep reading.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Kale To Turkeys?
As a vegetable crop, similar to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts, Kale has numerous health benefits for both humans and animals.
On a side note, Kale comes in different varieties. Its leaves can be organic green or purple color. Usually, kale leaves are firm, curly, or weighty, and smooth.
Curly kale or Scots kale is the most common type of kale, with green and curly leaves and a hard, fibrous stem.
Now, turkeys have very different dietary requirements than humans. But adding foods like kale to their nutrition is beneficial to them.
If you feed Kale to turkeys, it should meet the majority of their nutritional needs.
Foods such as kale and other table scraps, vegetables, fruits, and so on are all healthy treats for birds.
It’s a fun way to add variety to their diet while also having fun feeding them.
Among the health benefits are, but are not limited to:
1. High source of vitamins
Vitamins are one of the most important nutrient turkeys need to consume daily.
A single cup of raw kale contains vitamins A, K, C, E, B6, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Folate, and other nutrients.
The DV for some vitamins found in kale are listed below;
- It contains 206% of the DV for vitamin A.
- It contains 684% of the DV for vitamin K.
- It contains 134% of the DV for vitamin C.
- It contains 9% of the DV for vitamin B6.
All of these vitamins are necessary for the healthy growth of turkeys.
2. Excellent source of antioxidant
One of the health benefits of kale is that it is a Superfood. It contains vitamins, minerals, and other components that are beneficial to turkey’s health.
Kale is high in antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. Antioxidants are substances that aid in the prevention of oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Antioxidants contain anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and other properties that benefit a turkey’s health.
It also protects them against damage from sunlight. This is most helpful to wild birds during migration.
3. Kale is also a good source of minerals
Minerals are essential elements in the food nutrition of a Turkey.
Minerals like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, and Zinc are all present in kale.
However, calcium is the most important mineral for turkeys.
The presence of calcium in kale helps turkeys in the production of healthy eggs, growing healthy feathers, formation and maintenance of strong bones, and blood clotting.
4. Kale also provides a balanced diet for turkeys
Kale is a great balanced diet meal. It contains energy (carbohydrates), sugar, fat, and protein, all of which are beneficial to turkeys.
5. Kale has a water content of 91.2g
This nutrient-dense, leafy green vegetable has a sufficient amount to quench even the thirst of turkeys. This nutrient helps to keep them hydrated.
Here is a huge and comprehensive list of foods and treats to feed turkeys
How Often Should I Feed Them With Kale?
Turkeys can consume kale daily. Because kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, it has numerous health benefits for turkeys.
Unlike starchy vegetables, which should be given in smaller or limited quantities, Kales can be given to a turkey in larger quantities daily, if possible.
However, feeding them kale 2-4 times a week is ideal.
Can Baby Turkeys Eat Kale?
They most certainly can. When it comes to chick starters, not all are created equal.
Turkey chicks have a higher protein requirement than baby chickens. Because turkeys grow to be much larger birds than chicks, ensuring adequate growth is critical.
Interestingly, a single kale leaf contains 4.3g of protein. Imagine the amount of protein a turkey can get by consuming a handful of kale.
That’s not a poor protein intake for a baby turkey in a day.
When looking at turkeys’ nutrition requirements across the board, you may come across many different theories on how much protein birds should receive at each stage of development.
When selecting a feed for your baby turkeys, keep in mind that the amount of protein in a chicken starter versus a turkey starter can vary by 10% or more. Protein percentages for baby turkeys should range between 26% and 30%.
When a turkey chick hatches, the yolk is absorbed into its abdomen.
The yolk can provide all of the nutrition the chick requires for a day or two. But, turkey chicks should be given a properly formulated starter feed after that.
Do Wild Turkeys Eat Kale?
Wild turkeys consume a variety of grasses and leaves, kale inclusive. Wild turkeys are opportunistically omnivorous.
This means they will eat a wide variety of both animal and vegetable foods.
On a lighter note, turkeys are common dinner guests, especially during holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But what would wild turkeys eat if they could plan the menu?
Knowing what foods turkeys prefer can help birders better understand their foraging habits and where to find turkeys throughout the year when different food sources are available. These birds forage frequently and eat a wide variety of foods, including:
- Acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, or walnuts, cracked open or eaten whole.
- Berries, wild grapes, crabapples, and other small fruits are available.
- Buds, roots, bulbs, succulents, and cacti are examples of fleshy plant parts which they consume.
Can Turkeys Eat Kale Chips?
Yes, they can. Turkeys can enjoy kale chips as a snack. It is a safe treat for both turkeys and other birds.
Although, kale chips have a milder flavor than raw kale. It tastes exactly like it did before it was turned into chips: bitter.
However, after being made into chips, kale retains its nutritional value. As a result, it makes an excellent snack for turkeys.
Also check out this article I wrote on feeding turkeys with nuts
Things To Watch Out For Before Feeding Them Kale.
Fruits, nuts, and berries, as well as vegetables, make excellent turkey treats.
Keep in mind, however, that turkeys naturally consume a diet high in protein rather than sugar.
As a result, high-sugar foods, such as most fruits, should be consumed in moderation as a treat rather than as a staple of their diet.
You should feed your turkey feeds that can meet its nutritional needs whenever possible. Kale is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
This makes it a food choice to consider you’re your birds.
However, when feeding them kale, you must ensure that it is in the proper proportion. Also, ensure the leaf is properly washed before serving them to birds.
Although there are no records of kale being harmful to turkeys.
However, if you observe any strange reaction in your turkey after eating kale, it is advisable to stop feeding the vegetable to them.
How can I feed Kale to my Turkeys?
Serve them raw kale: Turkeys can eat kale either raw or cooked. However, it’s been discovered that raw kale is healthier than cooked kale.
According to studies, cooking veggies reduces their nutritious value. As a result, eating kale fresh provides turkeys with more health benefits.
However, if you opt to cook kale for your turkey, ensure you do not overcook it. Also, avoid including spices such as garlic or onions in your recipe. These spices are toxic to birds.
Chop kale into small bites: It is best to chop kale into smaller bites. This is most especially for smaller birds. Chopping kales lessens the risk of them choking.
Mix kale with other food: Birds require a diversified diet consisting of fruits, seeds, and vegetables. Combining kale with foods like potato, tomato, makes a great treat for turkeys.
Here’s a quick recipe;
In a bowl, put in a small portion of chopped boiled sweet potatoes. Feel free to cook potatoes with cinnamon, olive oil, and sea salt.
However, ensure to include only a little portion of each spice. ½ teaspoon or less would be just fine.
Add 2 leaves of finely chopped kale. Afterward, place finely chopped tomatoes around the mixture and serve to your birds.
Birds are attracted to colors. They would be drawn to a colorful feed. Birders believe that the more colorful a bird’s feeder is, the healthier it will be.
Kale is rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins. They are very safe and healthy for turkeys to consume.
However, for turkeys to get all of the nutrients from this vegetable, it should be served raw.