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Can Chickens Eat Bananas? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Yes, they can. Chickens like to eat many different vegetables and fruits. And if you’re thinking of treating your flock with bananas, you’ll discover that they love this tasty snack. While they stand to benefit from this great source of potassium, bananas are also a yummy addition to your flock’s diet.

As chickens are omnivorous, they will eat anything you set before them—they’re not picky. By tossing a few bananas into your chicken’s feeding area, you can find out if they like bananas. There is a possibility that they will leave nothing behind if you give them a few minutes.

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Is Banana Good for Chickens?

Bananas are good for chickens. They are a healthy source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and various phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Bananas are also rich in sugar, which may not be suitable for your poultry if taken in large quantities. There is about 400 mg of potassium in one banana. Even if your flock can consume more than 20 bananas in a day, excess potassium won’t kill them.

However, it would help if you gave bananas to your chickens in moderation. Ensure that fruits make a small percentage of your chicken’s main diet. The potassium present in bananas will enhance the taste and the quality of their eggs.

As a chicken keeper, some of your birds can process sugar quite nicely. But you need to know that bananas have high sugar content. As such, you cannot substitute them for a nutritionally balanced feed. Dry food is an excellent source for your birds’ dietary requirements.

peeled and sliced banana
Image Credit: t_watanabe, Pixabay

Does Banana Have Any Benefits for Chickens?

You will discover that you can get bored of repeating the same old things if you treat your birds with extra little veggies and fruits here and there. It can be rewarding to discover new treats for your birds. Bananas are some of the best fruits with a lot of benefits for your flock.

Some of the health benefits of feeding your birds with bananas are:
  • Potassium – your birds can get the required potassium. Potassium will help with your birds’ electrolytic function and metabolic process, muscle strength, and tension.
  • Magnesium – this health benefit includes essential supplements. Your birds will have a healthy heart, increased energy, and many advantages like better sleep and relaxing effects.
  • Vitamin B12 – your chicken will get a healthy boost from vitamin B12. Apart from being great for eye health, the vitamin also offers increased energy, metabolic process, liver, skin health, and nerve function.
  • Vitamin B6 – vitamin B6 supports a healthy nervous system. The body uses this vitamin to make serotonin and norepinephrine that produce happy hormones.
  • Other dietary details of bananas include 22.8 grams of carbs consisting of fiber and sugar, 75% water, 1.1 grams of protein, omega-6 and omega-3 fats, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated.

Can Bananas Be Bad for Chickens?

Bananas have large amounts of sugar. As such, you must feed them to your birds in tiny quantities to prevent any health issues. Bananas are high in sugar, and this is a big problem with bananas. Though your birds can handle sugar pretty well, the high sugar content can affect their health.

Your chickens won’t digest large quantities of sugar content, which can be bad for their health. With this, you must cease feeding them a lot of bananas. Your flock will like bananas as a treat. You only need to ensure they are in small amounts.

Thus, it is advisable not to give them too many bananas since it can result in all sorts of issues. Don’t let bananas or any other fruits be a crucial part of your flock’s diet. You can give it to them once in a while.

chickens
Image Credit: Engin Akyurt, Pixabay

How Often Should You Feed Bananas to a Chicken?

Feeding bananas to your birds must not be too often. Their treat must not be more than 5% of their diet when they have nutritionally and complete balanced feed. As such, it must be two tablespoons of treats per week. You must give fruit to your flock according to this limit.

If you feed bananas to your birds too often, it will be difficult for them to absorb because of bananas’ high sugar content. It is ideal to provide them with fruit with a higher fiber content since it slows down the sugar metabolism and can quickly process it.

Fruits like grapes have a higher sugar content percentage than fiber. As such, you can feed your flock with them in excess and are not preferable. While your chickens can get a lot regarding nutrition from fruit, you must never exceed the exact feed limit.

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What Happens If You Overfeed Your Chickens With Too Many Bananas?

Your birds may show some signs if the bananas you are feeding them are not right. As with the case of your flock, the signs can be:

Feather Picking and General Unrest

If you notice that your chickens are picking their feathers or those of the others with no seasonal changes, it could be that you are not giving them a healthy diet.

Red chicken preening herself
Image Credit: JLSnader, Shutterstock

Reduced Egg Production

It shows that something is not right with your flock’s diet when you discover a significant reduction in egg production without any change in the season.

Abnormal Eggs

There is something wrong with your chickens’ diet if their eggs contain double yolks or are too small.

Can Chicken Eat Banana Peels?

banana peel
Image Credit: vicran, Pixabay

Chickens can eat banana peels. Though some chickens won’t eat the whole peel and prefer to chop into the little pieces. However, ensure that you are not exposing your birds to dangerous elements if you’re thinking of feeding your flock banana peels.

As a chicken keeper, you won’t incur any risk by exposing your birds to banana peels. However, sellers often douse bananas in harmful pesticides that humans can easily digest and tends to be lethal for more delicate, smaller digestive system of birds. And long after the harvest, the bananas’ outer layer will still have these pesticides.

You can remove any dangerous elements from the banana peels before you feed them to your chickens.

  • Wash the peels – wash them thoroughly like you wash your veggies and fruits.
  • Boil them – by boiling the peels, you will get rid of any harmful chemicals and make the peels softer.

While banana peels have some health benefits, your flock may probably have a hard time eating them. The peels can be tough, and eating them means using extra effort to pull them apart. So, how you make it easy for your birds to enjoy the delicious little treat of bananas and their peels every once in a while?

How Do You Prepare Banana Peels for Your Chickens?

Feeding your flock with banana peels entails a bit of preparation. Since these peels are tough, chickens may not eat one whole peel. Thus, you may want to boil them to make them a bit more enjoyable for your birds.

Boiled banana peels
Image Credit: Topo Supriyanto, Shutterstock

Boiling Banana Skins

One way of making banana skin easier for your flock to eat is to boil them. The skin will soften when you cook them! You can also make the job of eating the peels easier for your flock by tearing apart the peels beforehand.

While boiling, you can keep the peel on the banana. When you finish, chop it up so that your birds can have a blend of bitter and sweet flavors in their snack. Your chickens will find an overripe banana much easier. Overripe bananas tend to be easier for your flock to digest, have less sugar than underripe bananas, and contain many more nutrients.

How Do You Feed Chickens Bananas?

Chicken can shear off the banana skin and eat the banana rind using their sharp beaks. As such, you can throw the whole banana or peel the banana for them. The chickens can also enjoy the nutritional benefit the banana peels offer. The main advantage is fiber, which will end up as a waster in their poop.

Ensure you save your chickens’ delicate digestion. You can achieve this by peeling and dicing the banana before feeding them. They can also get more nutrients from chewing their treat in the long run.

You can also suspend the bananas on a length of string into the feeding pen and attach the peel. This is another way of serving them the treat. Your flock can take their time to peck it. With this, you can eliminate the chances of your birds fighting for the sweet scrap. You can also keep the feeding pen clean while saving on waste.

Before feeding your chickens, you can boil your unpeeled bananas. As such, you can be sure that these bananas are soft for them to eat. Remember that the birds’ beaks are strong enough to tear through the material regardless, and they have no preference for soft or hard bananas.

The best treat for your chickens is overripe bananas since they are easy to digest for your birds and have the maximum of nutrients. Plenty of an underripe banana will probably pass as waster matter.

chickens eating
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

What You Should Not Feed Your Chickens

  • You must not give your birds tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. When you feed your flock with these toxic substances, you might end up killing them.
  • Anything with plenty of salt is an absolute NO. Salt may strain their small kidney, which is quite dangerous.
  • It would help if you never fed your chicken anything moldy.
  • Dried and raw beans can be pretty fatal to your birds.
  • Don’t feed your chickens with green tomatoes or green potatoes.
  • Never feed your birds chocolates.

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Conclusion

You can go ahead and feed your chickens bananas if you want. However, moderation is key! You can have a small portion of bananas as part of a much broader balanced diet. Bananas have enormous benefits for your chicken as they can let your coop look better every day while also improving your birds’ moods.


Featured Image Credit: stevepb, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.