Wild strawberries look very similar to the normal store-bought ones, except that they’re smaller, rarer, and are bitter rather than sweet. A lot of gardeners will remove wild strawberries when they grow in their gardens, as they are technically weeds. Plus they’re bitter, have a less desirable taste, and have shorter shelf lives than normal strawberries.
But as they say, one man’s trash is another chicken’s treasure.
So can chickens eat wild strawberries? What about the stems and greens that come with them?
Here we go through if wild strawberries are safe for chickens to eat, what nutritional benefits they offer your chickens, and what to be aware of.
Can Chickens Eat Wild Strawberries?
If you’ve got a backyard like mine, wild strawberries just seem to keep popping up in patches in various places, almost out of nowhere. If you’ve got chickens like mine, they forage from every square inch of my property, and are too good at finding anything they can get their beaks on!
Luckily, chickens can eat wild strawberries safely, including stems and greens. Wild strawberries, although considered a weed, don’t have any known risks to chickens if they’re eaten in moderate amounts. Plus, they are less sweet than normal strawberries, having less sugar content which is usually the biggest concern when feeding your chickens berries.
There are a range of different types of wild strawberries, all of which your chicken can feed on safely. There’s a Coast strawberry, Woodland strawberry, Virginia wild strawberry, ‘mock strawberry’, and sometimes what’s referred to as an Indian wild strawberry. Although slightly different in appearance, they all have very similar nutritional value and are safe for your chooks! Similarly, chickens can eat most types of wildflowers too!
All in all, they’re convenient treats for your feathery companions that offer a decent nutritional value.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Wild Strawberries For Chickens
One of the many benefits of raising chickens is the fact that they feed on most foods you would consider table scraps, and still manage to deliver delicious eggs daily — as long as they keep a balanced and healthy diet!
In the case of wild strawberries, you’re not only putting them to good use, but you’re also providing your chickens with welcomed nutrients.
Strawberries, amongst other berries, are considered superfruits because of their high nutritional value. Here’s a breakdown of the important minerals and vitamins wild strawberries contain, including the stems and leaves, which are great for your backyard chickens.
Fiber aids in digestion and prevents constipation, which is a common complaint among chicken owners and can lead to more serious problems. It promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach, which keeps the digestive tract healthy.
If your hen isn’t getting enough fiber from her daily diet, try feeding her wild strawberries, or other fibrous fruits like mangos.
Strawberries normally have a high sugar content compared with a lot of other foods chickens normally eat. But, wild strawberries are small and don’t contain as much sugar as commercial strawberries.
This is great as your chickens can get their nutritious minerals and vitamins without overindulging in too much sugar which would normally be considered unhealthy.
Strawberries have a high content of vitamin C, which is best known for being a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants work on fighting the free radicals that bodies produce, thereby protecting them from respiratory and other diseases, which as we know, are all too common in our chooks!
Vitamin C also boosts the immune system. Not only for us humans but for chickens as well.
If you’re not familiar with vitamin B9, you may know it better as folate. Folate is known for promoting healthy tissue growth. On top of that, it boosts cell function, promoting growth. It’s one of the best vitamins chickens can have while they’re just a young pullet or hen as it will aid in healthy growth.
To Wrap Up
So chickens can indeed eat wild strawberries safely, including the stems, leaves, and fruit. This is good news as it’s not like I could stop my chickens from finding them in the garden if I tried!
Unfortunately, once your flock finds the patch of wild strawberries it will be gone in a matter of hours!
Usually, wild strawberries won’t grow in your yard to any large amount that would be considered unhealthy for your chickens to eat. But, as always, ensure your chickens are getting 90% of their diet from their normal layer pellets or an approved seed mix to make for a happy and healthy backyard chook.