One of the questions that chicken keepers frequently ask is ‘can chickens eat grapes?’ The general answer to this question is yes they can, however there are some things you should know before going ahead and giving your feathered friends grapes.
In this article we will discuss feeding grapes to chickens and the precautions you should take when doing this to ensure your chickens get to eat their nutritious fruits happily and safely.
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Are grapes healthy for chickens?
Yes, grapes like most other fruits are high in water content, vitamins and nutrients. Fresh grapes are a great source of these as well as fiber which keeps a chicken’s digestive system happy, healthy and functioning in its optimal capacity. My chickens go absolutely crazy for grapes and grapes are one of their favorite treats!
Grapes also provide diversity in a chickens diet and help to keep their diets interesting. You could think of grapes as a bit of a healthy sweet treat to give to your chickens. In particular grapes are high in vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that is required for strong bones and prevention of blood clotting. Grapes are also high in vitamin C to boost a chicken’s immune system.
This study even found that the feeding the pulp from grapes improved the chickens growth and meat quality traits!
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of red or green grapes weighing around 151 grams (g) contains:
- 104 kilocalories
- 1.09 g of protein
- 0.24 g of fat
- 27.33 g of carbohydrate, of which 23.37 g is sugars
- 1.4 g of fiber
- 288 mg of potassium
- 15 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 0.54 mg of iron
- 11 mg of magnesium
- 30 mg of phosphorus
- 3 mg of sodium
- 0.11 mg of zinc
- 4.8 mg of vitamin C
- 22 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K
- 3 mcg of folate
Grapes also contain vitamins B and A, and they are high in water content. A cup of grapes contains over 121 g of water.
They are also high in antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. The skins of red grapes contain the phytochemical resveratrol, which appears to protect against several chronic diseases and conditions.
The flavonoids myricetin and quercetin are also found in grapes. These help the body to counteract harmful free radical formation.
Are grapes safe for chickens to eat?
Yes, grapes are safe for chickens to eat – as long as they are given in moderation and and alongside a diverse and planned out diet, balanced with high quality commercial chicken feed. We use this organic brand for our own girls.
Some precautions to keep in mind when feeding chickens grapes are:
- Grapes are sweet so treat them like a healthy treat. Give them in moderation but not so much that your chickens start preferencing grapes over other healthy foods that balance their diet.
- It’s best to chop grapes into smaller sized pieces that are easier for them to eat and digest. A chicken choking on a grape is unlikely however it’s still a possibility so its best to greatly reduce this occurring by chopping them up first. We love our fruit and vegetable cutting tool at home that makes preparing our chickens fruits and vegetables super quick and easy.
Should chickens eat grapes with seeds?
Chickens can swallow grape seeds and these will pass through their digestive system, however these do not break down in the digestive tract and will come out whole in their poop. Therefore chickens do not receive any nutritional benefits from eating grape seeds.
It is best to avoid feeding your chickens grapes with seeds. If you remember, remove the seeds from the grapes before giving them to your chickens.
How to feed grapes to chickens?
The safest way to feed grapes to your chickens is to chop them up into smaller and easier digestible pieces. As discussed earlier, remember to remove the seeds if you can.
You can then hand feed your chickens or scatter them on the ground or in their feed for them to peck and pick up. We love to hand feed our chickens these sweet treats. It’s a great bonding experience.
Another stimulating activity you can create for them is to hang a whole bunch of grapes in a feed basket and let them pick at them. This activity will keep them entertained whilst pecking and watching the basket swing back and forth. We have this one pictured below for our flock and really enjoy watching them have fun with their food when using the basket.
What foods can chickens not eat?
There are several foods that chickens should not eat. We have compiled a quick table below for your reference.
|Acorns||Avocado Skins||Beans – undercooked or dried|
|Chocolate||Chocolate Cake||Coffee Grinds|
|Rhubarb||Refined Sugar||Tomato Plants|
Can chickens eat grapes?
Yes! Go ahead and give your chickens the delicious and nutritious benefits of grapes.
Just remember to give them in moderation and that the vast majority of their diet should come from a high quality commercial feed with other fruits and vegetables given as well.
The video below shows chickens eating whole grapes but we recommend chopping up the grapes as much as possible and also removing the seeds if you remember.
Happy feeding 🙂
Grape nutrition profile – https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174683/nutrients
Antioxidants in grapes – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271156#nutrition
Red grape chicken study – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34735548/