Can Chickens Eat Raisins? We have done the research for you!

can chickens eat raisins
Can chickens eat raisins? This question is asked by many chicken owners around the world

Can chickens eat raisins? Yes, chickens can eat raisins – but only in limited quantities. 

Raisins provide nutritional and health benefits to chickens and are a sweet yummy treat that can form part of your chicken’s diet. However, there are some things to consider when pondering the question ‘can chickens eat raisins?’ and proceeding with feeding raisins to your chickens. 

Because they are so sweet they should only be given in moderation. Over feeding of sweet treats can lead to an imbalance in nutrition and unhealthy weight gain in your flock. You must always ensure you are giving your flock a balanced diet with a variety of feed.

As long as you only give your chickens raisins in moderation, you chickens can benefit from eating raisins without having any negative effects.  

What this article covers

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Can Chickens Eat Raisins? Risks of feeding raisins to your chickens

As we mentioned earlier, with the possibility of too many raisins given in a chickens diet, there can be some health risks involved. As raisins have a high sugar content, it can cause an imbalance in nutrients and the high sugar content of consuming raisins may also cause the chickens to gain excess weight.

How many raisins should you feed your chickens?

You don’t want to feed more than a teaspoon of raisins per chicken per day. Due to the high sugar content in raisins, it’s best to keep raisins as an occasional treat for your feathered friends. 

can chickens eat raisins
Although raisins are high in nutrients, they are also high in sugar.

Health and nutritional benefits of raisins for chickens

Raisins contain many vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your chickens diet. We have consulted the scientific literature to find our what health benefits raisins can give. More below!

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the nutritional facts for a 1 ounce serving size are:

Calories – 129

Protein – 1.42 g

Fats – 0.11 g

Carbohydrates – 34.11 g

Sugars – 28.03 g

Dietary fiber – 1.9 g

The same serving size also contains some valuable vitamins and minerals, including:

Vitamin C – 1 milligram (mg)

Calcium – 27 mg

Iron – 0.77 mg

Magnesium – 15 mg

Potassium – 320 mg

Phosphorous – 42 mg

Sodium – 11 mg

As a study posted to the Journal of Nutritional Health notes, raisins have very high antioxidant levels and phenol content compared to other popular dried fruits.

Specifically, raisins are a good source of antioxidants called flavanol glycosides and phenolic acids, and they have an ORAC value of about 3,400. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity and reflects the antioxidant value of a food.

This study and this study found increased gut microbial diversity and a positive immune system response when analyzing the results of feeding broiler chickens grape extract over several weeks.

Therefore, adding raisins into your chicken’s diet can help prevent cell damage and may aid in cancer prevention.

Just remember that raisins do contain high levels of sugar. However, when given in moderation, treats such as raisins do have many health benefits and will no doubt be enjoyed immensely by your feathered friends. 

Can baby chicks eat raisins too?

It is generally not advisable to give raisins to your baby chicks. Baby chicks are small, do not have the beak size to pick up or swallow a raisin. They also have specific nutrient requirements in their first few months of life. 

Wait until they have reached maturity before you start offering them raisins as part of their diet. 

can chickens eat raisins
Baby chickens should not eat raisins

How to feed raisins to your chickens

The simplest way to feed raisins to your flock is to simply scatter them out and watch them run to gobble them all up! There are some other options too though you can consider. 

Pre-soaking 

Pre-soaking the raisins in some water for a few hours will make the raisins soft and easier to swallow and digest. This can be especially helpful for older chickens or chickens who have an injury to their beak.

Try soaking the raisins in a few cups of water for 2-3 hours to allow them to soften up. Then drain off the water and take them out to your girls and scatter them around. 

Chopping

Chopping the raisins up into even smaller pieces will enable them to be shared out easier, especially if you only have a small supply of raisins and a large flock. 

Just put them on a chopping board and roughly chop them until they make up many tiny pieces. Then you can mix them into some other scraps or just take them out to your chickens and scatter them around at feeding time. 

can chickens eat raisins
Soaking or chopping raisins can make them easier for your chickens to eat

In Summary…

Overall, raisins can be given as a treat and in moderation as part of your chicken’s diet. Your girls will appreciate the health giving benefits and the sweet flavor of the raisins. 

Ensure you maintain variety in their food consumption and a healthy diet by also giving them plenty of kitchen scraps, mealworms and high quality chicken feed. These are some high quality products we use for our own flock.

Chicken Care Shopping List

Are you looking for a shopping list of everything you need when caring for your precious flock? We have put together an easy reference of items for your convenience. 

If you have been pondering the question ‘can chickens eat onion?’. Read our article here to find out the answer!

References

Onion Nutrition – https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/09298?fgcd=&manu=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=default%E2%84%B4=asc&qlookup=raisins&ds=SR&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=

Antioxidant levels – https://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.4163/jnh.2017.50.3.203

Gut microbiology and immune system function – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.30768097/ and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21325227/

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AUTHOR

The team at My Chicken Guide are chicken enthusiasts! We grew up tending to our family chickens and still maintain our passion for chicken care to this day! Our head writer is a qualified Environmental Scientist and our team has over 20 years experience in raising and caring for chickens.