Can Chickens Eat Berries?


What’s there not to love about chickens? They are intelligent, funny, and offer us eggs that are an excellent source of protein. Why don’t you return them a favor – for example giving them treats like fruit. Well that stimulates questions like “Can chickens eat berries?” and the like.

Well today, I’m going to demystify that one: The answer is a solid yes, but with some things that are necessary to address.

Chickens can run and constantly hunt for some food. Chicks have wings that they can’t properly use, but if they could, I’m sure that they would fly and grab some cherries all the time.

Is it good that they can’t reach them on their own? What about other berries that don’t grow on tall trees? How and why should I protect them from chicks? Is there something in the berries that chickens shouldn’t eat all the time? 

I will discuss cherries and many more berry-type fruits in this article. Sit back, relax, and enjoy, as you will shortly find out exactly how much chickens can benefit from berries.

How To Properly Introduce Berries To Chickens?

The general thought is that a garden is necessary for having chickens. They are rarely seen in cities as the environment out there isn’t optimal for the proper nurture of chicks. If you want to find quality eggs, I recommend heading to the local countryside where many farms are located.

It isn’t strictly required for chickens to have ample living spaces. People commonly keep them in gardens that have, to some extent, access to a yard with natural grass. As you probably know, chicks don’t require constant supervision as they are perfectly capable of handling themselves.

Although chickens generally behave correctly, some things are necessary to point out. I believe that if you own both chickens and a yard, you probably have a section of that yard that is used to grow specific fruits and veggies. 

What I’m trying to say; it’s not wise to let chicks get in those gardens. They tend to eat everything they stumble upon, and plants in the garden are a delicacy for them. Protect them by building a fence around every plant you grow, especially berry fruits.

With such a sweet and juicy taste, berries are one of the favorite snacks for chickens. You must keep track of how many berries you can give to chicks. The four most common berries that you can find and offer to chickens are:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Blueberries
  3. Cherries
  4. Blackberries 

When you decide to offer them some of these berries, remember to follow these guidelines:

  • A rule of thumb is to give chickens one or two berries per bird. Any more than that can lead to some health problems. (more on that later)
  • When building a fence to prevent chickens from eating berries that aren’t still picked, consider making it high. Although chicks can’t fly, they possess wings capable of propelling them high if necessary.
  • Always inspect the berries before offering them to chickens. It’s common for all sorts of fruits to be attacked by insects. Remove every berry that is partially devoured as it may contain some toxins left behind from insects.
  • The intact ones are safe for chickens to eat. Remember to wash them to remove any dirt as it is regularly present on berries after picking them up. 
  • Baby chicks can eat berries as long as you offer them just half of a single piece of fruit.
  • Don’t feed chickens berries every single day. As impressive as they are, berries are pretty high in sugars which can cause some problems to chickens if they eat more than they should. Once or twice a week is an optimal amount for offering them some.
  • Give them only fresh berries. Every old and spoiled berry contains certain toxins that are detrimental to chicks’ health.
  • Consider feeding them with berries in the mornings as they are easily digestible at that time. Offering them some in the evening is not a wise idea as they have to eat nutritious food to sustain themselves throughout the night.

How Do Different Types Of Berries Affect Chickens’ Health?

As a multi-vitamin pill for chickens, they will never pass on some berries. Every single one has its ups and downs. To the best of my knowledge, I will give you all the necessary pieces of information on some of them.

Blackberries

Calories43
Sugar4.88 g
Fiber5.3 g
Fat0.49 g
Protein1.59g
*nutritional value per 100 grams of blackberries

Chickens often tend to overeat. It isn’t necessarily a bad idea because they are constantly on the move and frequently run and explore all around the yard. In doing so, they are exercising every day as they are traveling throughout the place.

Still, it is not wise for them to build such uncontrolled eating habits. Every chicken that is obese poses a risk of hatching low-quality eggs. You wouldn’t want that, am I right? To prevent that from happening, try offering them some berries.

Blackberries mainly provide them with dietary fiber that helps them reduce cholesterol levels. And not only that, it provides healthy gut bacteria, controls blood sugar levels, and promotes healthy bowel movement.

Strawberries

Calories33
Sugar4.89 g
Fiber2 g
Fat 0.3 g
Protein0.67 g
*nutritional value per 100 grams of strawberries

With a lifestyle fully equipped with the daily sun, fresh air, and grass all around the place, chickens are sure to live a carefree life. Alongside providing them their regular diet, chicks will undeniably have all the requirements to be happy.

Unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen. Eating any food that has traces of bacteria will potentially harm the general health of chickens. To ensure that that doesn’t happen, consider offering them some berries from time to time.

Strawberries, in particular, are high in Vitamins A, C, and B9. These vitamins aid in repairing and maintaining a proper immune system. That berry also contains small quantities of quercetin which is an anti-inflammatory agent. It is also rich in antioxidants.

Blueberries

Calories57
Sugars9.96 g
Fiber2.4 g
Fat0.33 g
Protein0.74 g
*nutritional values per 100 grams of blueberries

Berries have fewer calories compared to other types of fruits. Even though that’s the case, that doesn’t stop them from being incredibly nutritious. They represent a great source of Vitamin C, K, and manganese, which all aid in protecting against heart diseases, improving balance, coordination, and memory.

Interestingly, chickens often suffer from having bad arteries. Cardiovascular diseases are mainly occurring when dealing with unhealthy arteries. Any damage to blood pressure or clotting can be fatal to the arteries and chickens’ hearts in general.

A healthy solution to this problem can be to offer chickens some blueberries alongside their regular diet. This treat can be beneficial in maintaining the well-being of their arteries. Just remember not to provide them with more than one or two berries at a time.

Cherries

Calories63
Sugars12.8 g
Fiber2.1 g
Fat0.2 g
Protein1.1 g
*nutritional value pre 100 grams of sweet and raw cherries

As you can see, with a whopping 12.8 grams of sugar, cherries are one of the sweetest berry-type fruit out there. Coincidentally, it happens to grow on trees, so you can feel comfortable as to can chickens pick up some cherries on their own.

I would still like to advise you to build a tall fence around those trees because cherries occasionally fall from them. That makes them then easily accessible to chicks as they only need to pick them up from the ground.

Apart from that, cherries are still a phenomenal snack for your chickens. With its numerous vitamins and minerals, it will positively aid chickens’ health. 

If you have lots of chicks, I would like to recommend a fun idea. Gather them in a small area and toss them berries in different locations. Enjoy as they run for their money just so that they can have a taste of one of these delightful treats.

Never forget to keep it at a bare minimum; all of these berries are high in sugar, and that can if eaten regularly, prove harmful to their long-term health. Be considerate and offer them some only once in a while!

Can Chickens Eat Berries? – To Sum Up

I’m positive that there aren’t any concerns left as to can chickens eat berries. A phenomenal treat that is fully equipped with positive nutrients that will aid your chickens’ diet. Be it cherries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries; you won’t make any mistake in offering them some.

Just remember to wash them thoroughly and keep an eye on the ones that aren’t so fresh. Growing them in your garden is an exclusive opportunity to know the exact origin of the berries. People often spray them with various toxins to prevent bugs from eating them.

I highly recommend building some sort of a tall fence to prevent chickens from eating your berries all the time. All of them have high sugar levels, which can cause intestinal problems if consumed more than they should.

Keep the pieces small and offer them once or twice per week. They will greatly appreciate your offerings, and they will provide you with some beautiful eggs in return!

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