Can chickens eat strawberries? Many farmers have wondered this since we all know this fruit is essential to a healthy diet. Notice that not only do chickens have smaller stomachs than ours but their digestive system also functions differently.
So is it possible? Let’s find out the answer right below!
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Can Chickens Eat Strawberries?
Yes, chickens do love strawberries and it is safe for them to eat. This kind of fruit offers a great source of nutrients, antioxidants, and is so yummy to brighten up your flock’s day.
Full Of Nutrient
This is the first reason why feed chickens strawberries.
As being omnivorous, they can eat both plant and animal-based food. So, not only do they enjoy strawberries as much as we do, but the nutrition they take in also has a good impact on their health.
Let’s talk about fiber. Every 100 grams of strawberry contains 2 grams of fiber. A fiber-rich diet is essential to your chicken’s stomach, specifically for most good bacteria living in it. It also prevents your birds from obesity and many other diseases.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin B9, all known as folate. This vitamin is crucial to the development of healthy tissue, pushing the growth of your flock.
Read More: Can Chickens Eat Uncooked Tomatoes? If you have leftover tomatoes from your garden, you may think of sharing them with your chickens. Check this post out before you do!
Contain Many Antioxidants
Just like us, chickens need antioxidants to boost their immune system. And, strawberries are a great source of these substances, including Vitamin C, and procyanidins.
Part of a healthy immune system is a healthy gut that can fight off harmful bacteria. Many plant compounds in strawberries like ellagic acid and ellagitannins can assist this process of your chicken very well, making strawberries not only a delicious treat but also a healthy one.
Read More: Can Chickens Eat Celery Stalks and Leaves? Chickens can eat both celery stalks and leaves if they’re prepared correctly, otherwise they may cause digestive issues.
Make Them Happy
Hungry chickens are much easier to get stressed and experience stress-related conditions like picking feathers. But keeping your flock full isn’t enough. If you find your chooks likely to fight with each other or being noisy, chances are they are bored, even if they are fed sufficiently.
That’s why a balanced diet is very important to them. Chickens are natural foragers who like to go around looking for a wide variety of food. So giving your flock strawberries occasionally is a great idea to keep them healthy both physically and mentally.
Read more: Why do Chickens eat Rocks?
Can Chickens Eat Strawberry Leaves, Tops, Plants?
Strawberries are a member of the rose family. When the fruits are still growing, the strawberry tree will produce a substance called hydrogen cyanide to help shoo the pests away.
This chemical is toxic to both humans and chickens if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, do not feed your chickens green strawberries, as well as strawberry leaves and stems.
Only when the plant is mature does hydrogen cyanide drop, making its components safe to eat.
You should read: Can chickens eat watermelon?
When & At What Age Can You Feed?
You can feed your chickens strawberries whenever you like during the day. If you want to save the fruit for a special occasion then summertime is going to be perfect. Water in strawberries will help cool down and hydrate the chickens during hot days.
For the baby chicks, it is safe to feed them after they are 1 week old. But because their digestive system isn’t fully developed yet, you should gradually introduce the fruit into their diet.
Always make sure to feed them soft and fully-ripe strawberries. It is also recommended to give them chicks grits to assist the digestion process.
Read More: Can Chickens Eat Grapes With Seeds? Chickens can have a varied diet, but can grapes be included? Learn why or why not in this guide!
How To Feed?
Now you have known strawberries are good for your chicken, don’t leave just yet because knowing how to feed them is just as important. Here are essential notices for you.
1. Only feed in moderation as a treat
It’s undeniable that strawberries are full of goodness for your chickens, but they have a sugar content that you should be careful when it comes to feeding quantity.
It’s true that compared to many other fruits, strawberries are not that sweet, but a large amount of them will surely be. Inappropriate sugar consumption can cause serious metabolic problems in your chicken that can lead to their death.
In the end, no matter how good strawberries are, they are still a treat for your chicken. The number of treats mustn’t account for more than 5% of your flock’s total diet.
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2. Wash it thoroughly before feeding
Besides hydrogen cyanide in the strawberry plant that is harmful to your chicken, there are also other substances used in agriculture like insecticides and pesticides that pose the same threats. People use these chemicals to deter insects during production and there can still be residue on the products you buy.
Therefore, if you don’t want your chicken to suffer from serious help problems, it’s necessary to give the strawberries (fruits, stems, and leaves) a good wash before feeding them. Being poisoned from pesticides or insecticides is deathly to your flock.
3. Avoid feeding moldy & rotten strawberries
You may underestimate the effect of fruits that go off on your chicken because you think they are birds. Well, the truth is, their bodies are sensitive to rotten fruits, as much as we are. Anything from a mild illness to death can occur if your chicken has eaten bad strawberries or even has just come close to them.
That is to say: always check and remove all the strawberries that have gone bad or are molded before feeding your chicken.
Read our related article, Can Chickens Eat Bananas Peels? Here’s how you can feed bananas to your flock!
4. No strawberry jam
Consuming a large number of strawberries isn’t healthy for your chicken’s digestive system, due to a large amount of sugar. So you might understand why strawberry jam is just the same case.
Jams or jellies have a lot of sugar in them, not only as an added flavor but also as preservatives, not to mention other artificial preservatives in any processed food. All of these are not beneficial to a healthy chicken.
That being said, refrain from topping up your chicken’s breakfast with some strawberry jams, they would thank you for it!
Read our related article, Can Chickens Eat Cucumbers Skin? Learn all about this common garden vegetable and if it’s ok to feed to your flock!
5. Give chicken grits
Strawberries have sugar in them that can be hard to digest. Even if you are feeding in a moderate amount, it’s better to have something to support the diet. Yes, we are talking about chicken grits!
Grit helps chickens in their digesting process. Therefore, it is highly advised to increase the amount of grit when you start feeding them strawberries. This can apply to any new food introduced to your chicken’s diet, too, especially sweet fruits!
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So in conclusion, can chickens eat whole strawberries? Absolutely! As long as they are given in an appropriate amount, in good condition, and are cleaned properly before use, strawberries will be a great, healthy treat to your beloved chickens.