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Can Chickens Have Strawberries – Many people keep chickens as pets, and the fresh eggs produced daily are something of a bonus.
Whether you’re keeping chickens as pets, or solely as egg producers, it’s essential to understand their diet better so that they stay healthy and happy.
If you’ve been wondering what to do with all of those cut-off strawberry tops, then you may ask “Can chickens have strawberries?”.
Let’s find out more about the do’s and don’ts of feeding scraps to chickens, as well as whether strawberries are good for them.
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Can Chickens Have Strawberries?
When you’re deciding what to feed your chicken, it’s important to understand that chicken digests food differently from humans.
They also have smaller stomachs in relation to their size, but like humans, they do need a balanced diet in order to stay healthy.
And of course, we all want a healthy and happy flock that produces delicious eggs daily, right?
Chickens absolutely love strawberries, so the answer is yes, yes, and yes!
Recommended Daily Consumption
You should, however, limit their daily consumption of sugary snacks, such as strawberries, to a maximum of 10% of their total diet.
Their digestive systems don’t have the metabolic ability to process more sugar than this, so overfeeding them sugary treats will eventually lead to an unhealthy chook.
Warning on the Calyx
It would help if you also were more wary of giving them strawberry calyxes, which is the green bit on the top, from shop-bought strawberries due to pesticides it may be contaminated with.
Strawberries featured very high, number four in fact, on a list of the most pesticide-contaminated food items in 2015.
Birds are susceptible to pesticides and are more susceptible than most to health problems brought on by pesticides.
If you eat an egg from a sick bird, then you will get sick.
If your chickens are eating the calyxes of store-bought strawberries, then you’ll need to limit their amounts to avoid diarrhea.
You can also wash or soak them first to try to remove the bulk of the contaminants, or better yet, buy organic or grow them yourself.
In most farm animals, including chickens, diarrhea without immediate treatment often leads to death, so you should avoid causing it at all costs.
Strawberry as a Treat
Chickens love almost all fruits and vegetables, and many people choose to keep a flock to help recycle their family waste of peels and leftovers.
You can also use treats, such as strawberries, to help gain your flock’s love and trust.
Regularly hand feeding them these treats will also help you tame your chooks.
Before long, they’ll answer your call and come running to you to see what treats you have in store for them.
Food Your Chickens Will Love
If you don’t have strawberries to hand your chicken or aren’t willing to part with them, chickens also love these fruits listed below.
Just make sure that the bulk of their diet should still be made up of pellets or crumbles to ensure they get the protein and calcium they need.
Here is a list of some of the fruits that your chickens will love to snack on.
Remember that these sugary, fruity treats should be limited to a maximum of 10% of their total diet.
Avoid giving your chickens the apple seeds as they contain cyanide, but raw or cooked apples, even apple sauce, will be great for them.
Chickens love the flesh of bananas but won’t eat the skins.
Bananas are a great source of potassium, which is really good for them too.
Blueberries and raspberries are very delicious to chickens and make a great bite-sized treat.
Being slightly larger than berries, these snacks are also perfect for treating your chickens and easier to hand feed to them.
Eat the center of the melon and give the outer rind to your chickens and watch them go crazy over it!
Watermelon, cantaloupe, your chickens will love this healthy treat, seeds, and all.
If the pears are still quite hard, then you’ll probably want to cut these into small pieces for your chooks, but pears make great treats otherwise.
The softness of the flesh of a peach is a perfect choice for your chooks.
They won’t eat the hard pit in the center, and if you’re worried about them hurting their beaks on it, then you should remove it first.
Yes, they’re a fruit. And yes, your chickens will love them!
Chickens will love to eat most vegetables that you have to hand, whether they’re whole veggies, peels, or stems.
You can give them to your flock either raw, cooked, or straight from your leftovers, as long as you haven’t put too much salt on them.
Pumpkin will go down extremely well, and all of those seeds in the middle will act as a fantastic, all-natural de-wormer!
Your chickens will eat most grains, including cooked rice, pasta, grits, and oatmeal.
Oatmeal can also be fed to them raw, and dried corn is great for the winter months.
Although it has low nutritional value, it will help them pile on some weight to keep them warm during the cold snap.
Quick Note on Baby Chicks
Chickens pick up bits of grit and sand from the floor outside to aid them in the digestion process.
Before chicks are outside in the coop, they won’t be able to do this, so you should restrict their food to chick starter while they’re in the brooder.
Or if you do want to give them other food, including treats, then provide them with a small dish of sand or a chuck of parakeet grit.
Food Items to Avoid
While chickens may be famed to eat anything and everything, there is actually quite a lot of food that you should avoid giving them, and others that you should restrict.
If you do feed them items on this list, then you may see a reduction in the number of eggs they produce, or worse yet, run the risk of them getting sick.
The number one rule is not to give them any leftovers that have mold on them as mold is toxic to chickens.
While older food that no longer looks appealing to your family is fine, if it has any sign of mold on it, including strawberries, then it should be discarded.
Overall, the vast majority of your leftovers will be perfectly safe to feed your flock, but watch out for the following:
- Moldy or rotten food is an absolute no go as we said. Over-ripe fruits and veggies are fine, but once it’s turned moldy, they shouldn’t be eating it.
- You must avoid salty food, as much as possible. Some salt is okay, but heavily salted food can be deadly.
- Avocado skins and pits should be avoided as they contain the toxin, persin. The fleshy part can be given to chickens in moderation.
- Bones should be avoided, as should raw meat as it can carry parasites. Some also believe it can lead to cannibalism within the flock.
- Raw potato skins
- Processed food isn’t good for you or your birdy friends.
- Dairy food such as milk and cream should be avoided since chickens can’t digest lactose.
- Greasy food is challenging for chickens to digest and therefore should be avoided.
- Green and sprouting potatoes are toxic to humans and birds due to the presence of solanine, which affects the nervous system.
- Tomato, pepper, and eggplant leaves also contain solanine.
- Grass clippings and weeds shouldn’t be given to your chickens as larger pieces can get stuck in their throats. They can eat these things, but it’s best to let them forage for themselves.
- Pasta and bread are okay in smaller amounts.
- Cookies and sweet treats are also good but should be restricted.
- Chocolate should be avoided, as it contains theobromine which is toxic to all birds and many pets.
- Citrus fruits should be avoided due to the acidity, and they may cause slower egg production or diarrhea
- Garlic, chives, beans, and onions are okay, but they will affect the taste of the eggs.
- Dry or uncooked beans should be avoided as they contain the toxin, hemagglutinin. Bad for birds and humans too, as it can cause red blood cells to clump together.
- Raw eggs should be avoided since they might get a taste for them and start eating their own. You can feed them eggs as a protein source but make sure you cook them first
Winner, Winner, Chicken’s Dinner!
So, the answer to “Can chickens have strawberries?” is a resounding yes, but you should limit the amount you give them.
Your flock will enjoy most fruity snacks. However, harder fruits should be cut into smaller pieces to make it easier for them to eat.
While chickens can be fed almost anything, it’s good to be aware of the food items that are toxic to them so that they don’t get sick or produce fewer eggs. Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste
Moldy and rotten food is especially bad for your chooks, so be sure to clean out their coops regularly to get rid of any older food.
If your chicken gets diarrhea, then you should get it treated immediately; otherwise, you run the risk of losing it.
If you keep your chickens in a coop, as opposed to free-roaming backyard breeds, you can also forage around your garden for other tasty snacks.
They will greatly appreciate any bugs, worms, or slugs you find. These make a great source of protein too!