Have you ever thought about what goes through a chicken’s mind when they spot a tasty treat in the backyard?
Well, we may never know exactly what they’re thinking, but we sure can explore what foods make them go crazy!
Of course, it’s no secret that chickens love fruit, but should you really think twice before offering your chickens dried fruits? What about a nice dried fruit and nut mix?
By experience, here’s what we can tell you about chickens eating dried fruit, and whether it’s OK to feed your chicken’s dried fruit and nut mixes.
Can Chickens Eat Dried Fruit?
If you’re sitting outside munching away on some dried fruit if front of your flock, there’s a good chance they’re thinking it looks cluckin’ good.
I also know for a fact that your chickens simply won’t refuse to eat most kinds of druid fruits when it’s offered to them.
But the real question is: is dried fruit healthy or even safe for chickens to eat?
Well, the short answer is yes, dried fruit is generally safe for chickens to consume, and the vitamin and nutrient content of dried fruit IS generally healthy for chickens too.
However, dried fruit has a much higher concentration of sugar than its fresh counterpart, as it’s missing about 80% of its water content due to the “drying” process.
As we know, chickens shouldn’t have too much sugar, so you should only offer dried fruit to your flock in moderate “treat-like” quantities.
Can Chickens Eat A Dried Fruit And Nut Mix?
Alright, so we know dried fruit is OK to feed to chickens, what about a dried fruit and nut mix?
Of course, nuts should only ever be fed to chickens as a supplement to their normal diets, not as a replacement for their normal feed!
Overall, the problem with fruit and nut mixes is they often have added salt on the nuts, and high sugar content from the dried fruits. This doesn’t scream healthy for chickens.
But so long as you’re feeding your chickens these fruit and nut mixes in small, treat-like quantities it should be perfectly OK, and not detrimental to their health or wellbeing.
Are There Even Benefits?
Whenever you’re feeding your flock, you should always ask yourself: are they actually getting some nutritional benefit from what I’m giving them?
Of course, what goes in one end will come out the other in their eggs, right?
Aside from getting rid of your excess supplies of dried fruit or dried fruit and nut mixes, there are some other inherent benefits that the dried fruit and nuts provide our chooks.
Of course, this does depend on exactly what fruit and nuts are inside the mix, but in general, you’ll be offering your chickens:
- Varied vitamins from fruits: Including Vitamins A, C, and E all beneficial for egg production
- High fiber for regular digestion
- Healthy fats from the nuts
Of course, this is assuming they are fed in moderation and not in excess.
Precautions When Feeding Dried Fruit & Nuts To Chickens
While there are some clear benefits of feeding fruit and nuts to our chickens, there are some pretty significant downsides should they consume too much.
For this reason, it’s 100% essential that we only feed our flock dried fruit and nuts in absolute moderation, as much as you would other treats.
Dried fruits have the same sugar content as fresh fruits, but have lost a lot of moisture over the drying process. Technically this means their sugar content is actually much higher, relative to their size and weight.
Too much sugar can have some pretty catastrophic effects on our chickens when fed in excess, so it’s definitely something to be mindful of when feeding our flock dried fruits.
Many brands of dried fruits contain preservatives. None of these are healthy for chickens. Always ensure you’re feeding your chickens unsweetened and preservative-free options when possible, otherwise keep it to extreme moderation.
How To Feed Dried Fruits To Chickens
To ensure you’re always safely offering dried fruits to your chickens, follow these simple steps:
- If you have a choice it’s always best to use unsweetened, reservative free dried fruits
- Chop the dried fruits into smaller, bite-sized pieces to make each piece manageable for your flock
- Mix in your dried fruits with other healthy treats for your chickens, such as vegetables and seeds for a more balanced snack
- Be sure to only offer dried fruits to your chickens in moderation, as treats, or as part of a healthy table-scrap mix.
Chickens can safely and healthily consume dried fruit and nuts, so long as it’s in moderation (much like chickens eating any kind of fruit).
The best way I’ve found to feed our flock dried fruits is by adding them to our bi-weekly fruit and vegetable mix, along with some high protein seeds to boot.
As long as you feed your chicken’s dried fruit or nuts in treat-like quantities, they can reap the benefits while completely avoiding any downsides which would normally come with overconsumption.
Remember, a healthy flock is a happy flock.