One of the questions that chicken keepers frequently ask is ‘can chickens eat strawberries?’ 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 strawberries.
In this article we will discuss feeding strawberries 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 strawberries healthy for chickens?
Yes, strawberries like most other fruits are high in water content, vitamins and nutrients. Fresh strawberries 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 strawberries and this fruit is one of their favorite treats!
Strawberries also provide diversity in a chickens diet and help to keep their diets interesting. You could think of strawberries as a bit of a healthy sweet treat to give to your chickens. Strawberries are also high in vitamin C and manganese to boost a chicken’s immune system.
Nutritional Profile of Strawberries
100 grams of raw strawberries contain:
- Calories: 32
- Water: 91%
- Protein: 0.7 grams
- Carbs: 7.7 grams
- Sugar: 4.9 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
Strawberries are very high in water content to help keep your chickens hydrated.
Strawberries are also said to improve blood pressure, good cholesterol, and platelet functions.
They are also high in antioxidants which contribute to a well functioning immunity, optimal growth, healthy egg production and numerous other beneficial health functions for your chickens.
Are strawberries safe for chickens to eat?
Yes, strawberries 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 strawberries are:
- Strawberries are sweet so treat them like a healthy treat. Give them in moderation but not so much that your chickens start preferencing strawberries over other healthy foods that balance their diet.
- Try and source organic or spray free strawberries for your chickens due to the high pesticide use when producing this crop.
- Too many strawberry tops or leaves (the calyx) can cause digestive upset. More on this below.
Can chickens eat strawberry tops (the calyx)?
Yes. Chickens can eat strawberry leaves, or the top of the strawberry, also known as the calyx. However, again, too much of this part of the strawberry can cause diarrhea in your bird. As with all animals, diarrhea can be detrimental due to it causing dehydration in an animal.
The strawberry tops or calyx contains small amounts of cyanide which is what causes this digestive upset when too many are given.
Only give these to your chickens sparingly to avoid unwanted health issues.
Can chickens eat strawberry jam?
You may have thought of trying strawberry jam on your chickens or chicks, being that it is softer and easier to digest. Please do not give your chickens or chicks jam. Because store bought and sometimes home made jams are full of sugar (and other additives), they are not a safe food for your chickens. Chickens should never eat sugary or salty processed foods.
How to feed strawberries to chickens
The easiest way to feed strawberries is to just throw the whole strawberry on the ground for your chickens to peck at. Another way is to chop them up into smaller and easier digestible pieces.
We love to hand feed our chickens these sweet treats. It’s a great bonding experience.
Its best to feed your strawberries raw due to the fruit retaining its water content ensuring the chicken is not taking in too much concentrated sugar, which can occur when strawberries are cooked and the water content is evaporated.
As with other foods, do no feed your chickens moldy strawberries either as this can make them very sick.
Another stimulating activity you can create for them is to hang a whole bunch of strawberries 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|
So, can chickens eat strawberries?
Yes! Go ahead and give your chickens the delicious and nutritious benefits of strawberries.
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 thoroughly enjoying eating a bowl of strawberries. You can see that they love this delicious red berry!
Happy feeding 🙂
Strawberry nutrition profile – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/strawberries