Chickens are some of the luckiest animals on the planet because they can eat a variety of foods. From meats and vegetables to grains and fruits, life is a never-ending buffet for the humble chicken. But can chickens eat strawberries? Yes, they can, and they love the sweet fruit.
Chickens love strawberries, so adding a few leftover strawberries to their diet will help your chickens thrive and make for a happy yard full of chickens at the same time. Strawberries are perfectly safe for your chickens—in moderation. In this article, we’re going to go into great detail on how strawberries can benefit your chickens, how much you can feed them, how much is too much, and more.
Why Feed Your Chickens Strawberries?
Besides being one of their favorite treats, strawberries are easy to access, tasty, and nutritious. Strawberries are labeled as a superfood for a good reason. They contain vitamins, nutrients, and minerals your chickens need to develop physically and stay healthy. Strawberries are also chock full of vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Feeding Strawberries to Chickens
Strawberries are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C. Antioxidants help protect the cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C can help boost your chicken’s immune system and reduce their stress response. Strawberries are especially beneficial during the warmer months.
For most chicken owners, these health benefits are enough to convince them that feeding a few strawberries to their chickens is a good idea. However, you don’t want to feed them too many. Everything in moderation is key with chickens
Can Chickens Eat Strawberry Stems and Leaves?
It’s essential to feed your chickens the actual strawberry fruits only. The leaves and stems could make them sick. They aren’t poisonous enough to kill your chicken, but they can make them extremely ill. Fruits like strawberries should only make up 10% of your chickens’ diet, and the rest should be made up with chicken feed.
How to Feed Strawberries to Your Chickens
Now that we’ve gone over the health benefits and the fact that strawberries can be fed to your flock of chickens, read on below for a few tips on feeding them.
You want to go easy on the strawberries, even though they’re good for your chickens. Strawberries contain sugar, and although they’re fine for treats, you don’t want to give them to your chickens in large numbers nor every day.
The sugar concentration in the berries can cause gastrointestinal problems, even though strawberries have much less sugar than other berries. Save the strawberries for occasional treats, just to be on the safe side.
Check for Moldy Strawberries
You don’t want to feed moldy strawberries to your chickens. Even just coming in contact with the moldy surface of a strawberry can be dangerous to these barnyard creatures.
Whenever you give fruits or vegetables to your chickens, always ensure that they aren’t rotting or covered in mold.
Chill the Strawberries First
Chickens get hot on a steaming summer day just like you do. Try chilling the strawberries first and giving them to your chickens as a cold treat. Take the strawberries that you don’t plan to eat from your strawberry patch, freeze them, then use them to cool down your chicks when it’s hot outside.
Are There Dangers to Feeding Strawberries to Your Chickens?
If you keep the stems, leaves, and any insecticides used to grow the strawberries away from your chickens, there’s little danger from strawberries. Some insecticides can cling to strawberries, though, so you’ll need to wash them carefully to ensure that you remove any pollutants.
If your strawberries were grown organically, then you likely have nothing to worry about, though you should still wash them carefully before giving them to your chickens. As previously stated, you want to feed strawberries to your chickens in moderation due to the high sugar content. Other than that, you’re free to feed your pet chickens these juicy treats occasionally.
There’s no specific time of day that you can or can’t feed strawberries to the chickens in your yard. They make great cold treats to provide on hot days because they can help lower your chickens’ body temperature. Remember, strawberries are moisture rich, which is beneficial for everyone who eats them, chickens included.
So, the answer as to whether chickens can eat strawberries is yes, but only in moderation, as is the case with any fruit, especially the sugary ones. Strawberries have health benefits for your chickens, taste great, and will keep them cool on a steaming summer day.