Can sheep eat cabbage

Can Sheep Eat Cabbage? What You Need to Know

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Sheep are grazers with minimal feeding demands. Grass and weeds are enough for them to thrive. However, these dietary needs can change. For instance, pregnant sheep may require food supplements to keep them and their unborn lambs healthy.

Still, there’s no hard and fast rule to what your sheep eats. At one point, you may be tempted to feed them leafy vegetables, which begs the question, can sheep eat cabbage? Yes, sheep can eat cabbage but in moderation. Feeding sheep too much cabbage can cause digestive issues and increased levels of Sulphur which causes poor animal performance.

Can sheep eat cabbage

Can Sheep Eat Cabbage? Explained Further

Cabbage is a healthy vegetable packed with a lot of valuable nutrients. Studies show that half a cup of cooked vegetables consists of almost a third of the vitamin C humans need for the day.

Sheep, too, need vitamin C and other valuable nutrients, which they mostly get from green hay and high-quality pasture. Therefore, whether sheep can eat cabbage, one of the richest sources of vitamin C, is less of a debate.

However, how you feed cabbage to your sheep may differ from humans. Whether you feed it as salad or juice, too much cabbage for the sheep can lead to poor animal performance.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Cabbage to the Sheep

Cabbage is a low-calorie cruciferous vegetable rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It provides vital health benefits, including high fiber content essential for digestive tract health and weight management.

Studies show that 100g of raw cabbage contains up to 92,57g of water, 37.5mg of Vitamin C, 196mg of Potassium, and 48mg of Calcium.

These are essential nutritional requirements for a robust and healthy sheep capable of producing quality meat and wool.

Besides, a cabbage diet boasts of high sulforaphane—an essential compound that activates natural detoxification enzymes and cleans the liver.

Cabbage diets for sheep also lower DM, OM, and NDF digestibility better than controlling. Lambs fed with cabbage have lower nitrogen intake and retention than those that aren’t given any cabbage.

Additionally, like humans, a cabbage diet for sheep lowers blood pressure, improves eye health, and prevents macular degeneration.

How to Introduce Cabbage to Your Sheep

Sheep feed more on vegetation, so introducing cabbage or any leafy vegetable should not be a big problem.

And while most sheep are likely to accept cabbage, it doesn’t mean all your sheep will embrace it. Some sheep tend to be selective about what they eat.

As a result, avoid making a drastic change in your sheep diet, whether it’s cabbage or any other unfamiliar diet.

Thoroughly wash cabbages bought from the store well to get rid of chemicals such as traces of herbicides before feeding them to your sheep.

Start by giving small amounts and watch how they behave after feeding. Remove any yellow or wilted leaves and only feed them the fresh parts of the cabbage.

You may chop the cabbage leaves up for the weaning lambs and feed them as fresh fodder in the feeder. Make it fine enough for easy digestion.

Alternatively, you can ferment the cabbage as silage or chop it and spread it on the hay for the sheep to graze.

If you choose to feed cabbage in a feeder, avoid replenishing it immediately after they finish the first serving. Monitor them for a day or two and keep them thirsting for more instead of quenching the desire at once.

feeding cabbage to sheep

Related Questions About Feeding Raw Cabbage To Sheep

Despite the low risks associated with feeding cabbages to sheep, many people still have questions about cabbage diets for sheep. Here are common questions people ask about feeding cabbage to sheep.

Can I feed cabbage to the lambs?

Like most young ones, lambs are choosy and tend only to try out foods they see their mothers eating. However, timing is essential before introducing cabbage and other hard things to lambs, which still have developing digestive systems.

The best way to introduce your lambs to cabbage is by giving them finely chopped cabbage leaves in smaller quantities and monitoring their behavior.  You may consider experimenting with cabbage juice first.

How often should I feed cabbage to sheep?

Everything you feed your sheep—fruits, vegetables, and even hay should be in moderation to avoid complications that may result in bloat.

Once they’re used to the cabbage diet, aim for at least three weekly feedings. This will allow room for other essential foods for a balanced diet for the sheep.

What other vegetables can sheep eat?

Cabbage is a staple part of a sheep’s diet, rich in essential nutrients that keep sheep strong and healthy. Apart from cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce are nutrient-packed vegetables you may add to your sheep’s diet.

Can you feed cabbage juice to the sheep?

Cabbage juice offers the same nutritional benefits to your sheep as when you feed it chopped.

While preparing cabbage juice may take time, especially in large amounts enough for your flock, you may offer to give your sheep a special treat once in a while.

Can sheep eat raw cabbages?

Studies show that raw cabbage is significantly richer in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins than steamed or cooked. Your sheep benefit more from raw cabbage if you keep to the desired quantities and feed correctly.


Cabbage is a nutritious vegetable consumed by many around the globe. Statistics show that the U.S. per capita fresh cabbage consumption reached approximately 5.9 pounds in 2021.

And since cabbage is a rich source of essential nutrients your sheep need to thrive, why not include this inexpensive yet accessible vegetable in your sheep’s dietary plan?

And the best thing about a cabbage diet for your sheep is that you can serve it as salad, juice, fermented or raw without losing its valuable nutrients.


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