If you’ve been around, I’m sure you’ve heard people raving about how tasty, nutritious, and how much of a superfood honey is. To this day you can find tons of scientific research linking organic or raw honey to tonnes of health benefits for humans.
But what about your flock, are they able to share in the fun?
Well, as we know, not all foods that are considered healthy for humans are considered healthy for chickens.
Here we got through whether chickens can eat honey, what the nutritional benefits really are for chickens, and how you can serve it to your chickens safely!
Can Chickens Eat Honey?
Depending on how the honey has been processed, if at all, it will change just how healthy it is for your chickens.
The good news is, chickens can eat honey, whether it’s raw, organic, pasteurized, or even processed. Of course, as a general rule, the more natural the honey is the more healthy and safe it will be for your chickens to eat.
However, as we all know honey can be rather sticky – so you can’t simply put a dollop of honey in the yard and expect your chickens to swarm over and eat it. They may try but it will get their beaks unpleasantly sticky.
Although your chickens will still eat honey this way, and simply wipe the excess honey off their beaks, there are actually a few better ways you can feed honey to your chickens!
One of the most famous ways is to combine honey, garlic, and apple cider vinegar with water, in a mix called “magic water” and feed to your baby chicks or chickens as a healthy immunity boost.
Another way is to thoroughly mix honey with a healthy table scrap meal for your chickens!
Can Chickens Eat Honeycomb?
Because of just how healthy honey is for your chickens, it’s no surprise that chickens can eat honeycomb. It’s usually even healthier than simple honey, as it’s normally completely unprocessed and natural.
Do be aware that it can lead to sticky beaks and feathers, but it’s still considered OK for your chickens to eat, as they will normally just wipe their beaks or take a dust bath if they get themselves too messy!
Just be sure your chickens aren’t overindulging in honeycomb, as they still need to eat 90% of their diet from formulated seed mixes or layer pellets in order to get all the protein, calcium, fats, and fiber they need to remain happy and healthy. But, honeycomb is a perfectly healthy treat for your chooks!
What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Honey For Chickens?
Although the nutritional benefits of honey slightly vary depending on its type and source, all-natural honey has the same overarching health benefits for chickens. Of course, the healthiest is considered the purest and organic.
Honey is low in fats and fiber, but is completely rich in a variety of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals – the whole party’s here.
For chickens, honey offers some excellent health benefits, such as:
- Improve chicken’s welfare, particularly during hot weather.
- Healthy weight gain to help underweight chickens.
- Relieving heat stress.
- Antioxidants improve organ functions and immunity.
- Has some essential amino acids to build their bodies.
Of course, you should keep in mind that some commercial honey products might contain a lot of sugar, and a lot less of the natural minerals that raw or organic honey would offer.
It’s important to note that chickens shouldn’t consume too much sugar. Luckily, although honey does have sugar in it, your chickens won’t be eating enough to get any negative effects from it.
Can Chicken Consume Other Honey Products?
In addition to honey, bees also make other products, such as beeswax and royal jelly. Despite being chewy, clean beeswax is digestible and won’t cause any intestinal problems to your hens.
Additionally, royal jelly is also very healthy for chicken. In fact, a study published by Cambridge University shows that adding royal jelly to chickens’ feed improved poultry production significantly.
So overall honey in all forms is considered healthy for chickens. But, there are certain foods that do contain honey that is actually not considered healthy for chickens to eat. These are foods like honey buns, honey cakes, or other honey sweets.
This is the same dilemma as with cinnamon, as cinnamon is considered healthy for chickens, but cinnamon rolls or other baked goods are not.
How To Serve Honey To Your Chicken?
The stickiness of the honey can be a major problem if you simply serve them plain honey. It can stick to their beaks, and end up on their feathers causing a lot of unnecessary mess.
So, if you’re looking to feed honey to your chickens so they can reap the health benefits without the mess, the better ways to serve honey are:
- Mix honey in your chicken’s drinking water. Add two heaping tablespoons of honey to 1 liter of warm water and give it a thorough mixing. Once it’s all incorporated, simply fill their drinking water with your mix and sit back and let your chickens slowly consume it over a few days.
- Mix honey with other foods like oats, whole grain bread, or a healthy fruit and vegetable mix. Even a teaspoon of raw honey on bread or within a fruit mix will go down a treat, without mess, and without sacrificing any health benefits!
- Honey, milk, and oats, my personal favorite for chickens. As a treat, warm about 50ml of milk, mix in a teaspoon of honey and mix it with half a cup of rolled oats. My chickens literally can’t get enough of this, and it’s even healthy to feed your baby chicks rolled oats and honey for their development too!
To summarize here, chickens can absolutely eat honey. Just like with most foods though, you want to steer away from processed counterparts and try to stick with organic, raw, and natural foods.
If you do, your chickens will thank you as they reap the benefits of honey, including immunity, reducing stress, and plenty of antioxidants and minerals to keep them happy and healthy.
Instead of feeding your chickens a whole dollop of honey which can get quite messy, try making honey water, mixing honey with your weekly table scrap meal, or giving them a healthy honey-oat-milk treat – you can even crush eggshell in for added calcium too!