It’s no secret that next to the chicken feed that hens and roosters eat to maintain healthy nutrition, and get the necessary protein and vitamin content, as well as energy, they also enjoy eating treats. Agriculture experts suggest that the diet of chickens should consist of 90% of chicken feed and 10% treats consisting of different fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, not many people know how to keep an adequate ratio between feed and treats which often results in chickens being malnourished or getting sick. Grapes are also one of the popular treatment options for chickens, but should you feed grapes to your chickens?
Chickens are a great nutritional treat for humans, it is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, and vitamin K, as well as iron which is an essential mineral for our body. Can chickens benefit from eating treats that are rich in vitamins? Absolutely!
Although chickens’ diet consists mainly of concentrate and corn feed, chickens are allowed to eat some fruity or veggie treats to boost their immunity thanks to rich minerals and high vitamin content. However, does the same apply to grapes, or are chickens not allowed to eat grapes at all?
There are a lot of mixed opinions among agriculture experts on whether you should give grapes to your chickens or not, but the composition of grapes is much more complex than a few vitamins for the chickens, which is why the benefits and risks should be looked at in detail.
That’s why we wrote this compelling and detailed guide that explains whether chickens should eat grapes in the first place and whether the benefits of eating them outweigh the visible drawbacks. It’s no secret that chickens love to eat mixes of fruits and veggies for their treats, continue reading to see whether grapes should be in that mix.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes?
Whether you want to include red, concord, or white grapes in the treated diet of your chickens, you needn’t worry because chickens love eating grapes. Their smell and taste attract them, and you will find chickens enjoying grapes to the fullest every time you introduce them to them.
However, it’s important to balance it with other nutritious treats, one of which is grapes, when feeding them to your chickens. When it comes to treats, feeding them with treats should never be too excessive. Chickens need a protein-rich diet and they get their proteins and other nutrients from different sources in their feed.
Grapes shouldn’t be given in bulks, nor every day, because it will prevent absorption of important proteins, which contribute to the strong and healthy eggs that the chickens lay. After all, even humans shouldn’t eat too many grapes as it may give them stomach problems. Still, according to a study, eating grapes has a positive effect on laying eggs.
Given how small are the chickens, grapes are more likely to result in the same problem in much smaller quantities. Grapes are very high in fiber and different vitamins, however, so they are obvious benefits to giving them grapes, which we’ll discuss below.
According to the Reddit forum, some people prefer giving chickens frozen grapes during the summer, as that can help them cool down during the summer, due to excessively hot temperatures, and the fact chickens don’t sweat and can’t regulate their temperature as humans do.
Some people also wonder whether baby chicks like having fruity treats including grapes. While there could be nothing wrong if the baby chicks ate grapes, it’s important to note that grapes are too big for their beaks. They wouldn’t know how to chop them off and eat them, so you’d have to prepare this treat for them and feed them yourself.
Additionally, chicks are too little to eat other types of foods other than what’s recommended to them by their veterinary expert. They need concentrate which is filled with all the necessary nutrients that will encourage fast growth and muscle development.
Editor’s notes: Raisins are also the type of grapes that many people want to give to their chickens. Although they’re not poisonous, you likely shouldn’t feed your chickens too much of them considering their high sugar content. If you do choose to feed them raisins, don’t give them more than 1 per chicken.
Health Benefits of Feeding Grapes to Your Chickens
As mentioned earlier, there are numerous benefits of feeding your chickens with grapes as a treat. Below, we’re going to discuss which benefits those are.
Improved Gut Health: Thanks to their high-fiber content, grapes are considered prebiotics, according to a study, meaning that they’re food for the probiotics (gut flora and bacteria.) With that in mind, when consumed in moderation, they can help your chicks have improved digestion.
- Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties: Grapes, just like many other healthy fruits, have antioxidant properties that help improve overall immunity and prevent the inflammatory processes in chickens’ bodies, ensuring they live a healthy life in the flock.
- Improved Meat Quality: If you’re raising chickens for meat, know that eating grapes will improve their meat quality, as well as their shelf life, according to a study.
- It is Rich in Vitamins: It’s no secret that vitamins improve reproductive health and immunity in chickens. Eating treats that are rich in grapes ensures enough vitamin C and Vitamin K consumption. If your chickens eat green grapes, they can also take some vitamin B complex content.
- Hydration: During the hot summer days, it’s of utmost importance to keep chickens hydrated. One of the best ways for hydration is through grapes because it has some of the highest water content compared to other fruits.
- Better Mood: Because grapes are equipped with tryptophan, a key amino acid that helps regulate serotonin, they can improve the moods of chickens and reduce stress.
- Better Egg Production: Earlier in the article, we referenced that chickens that eat grapes will also produce better quality eggs, which is important for both their health and the health of their little chicks.
Potential Risks of Feeding Grapes to Chickens
As you’ve seen, there are so many benefits of feeding grapes to your chicks. Unfortunately, that also comes with some risks, which is why feeding grapes to chicks is good only in moderation – a few times a week.
High Sugar Content
Chickens are less tolerant of sugars compared to us humans. That’s why grapes that are very high in sugar content can pose risks to the health of chickens, especially if you choose to feed them raisins. That’s why it’s important to feed grapes to chickens in moderation.
Because of their high amount of fibers, and sugars, grapes can disrupt the digestive processes in chickens and cause them to have indigestion and diarrhea. Too much diarrhea may cause them to become dehydrated, which is bad for chickens, especially during the summer. If you notice that their poop is more liquidy, consider reducing the number of grapes you give them or cutting feeding them grapes at all.
Unfortunately, grapes contain a toxic compound called tartaric acid which can be bad for chickens if they consume it too much. Avoid feeding too many grapes to the chickens so they wouldn’t feel the consequences of this toxic substance. It’s more likely to occur in ripe grapes, as well as moldy grapes.
Just like other berry-like fruits, grapes may pose a choking hazard. Either consider feeding them small grapes or cutting them into smaller pieces that would be easier to chop by them and swallow. Don’t forget that grapes have seeds, which may also pose a choking hazard for chickens.
How to Feed Grapes to Chickens?
As mentioned earlier, eating grapes comes both with benefits and risks. Here’s a guide on how to adequately feed grapes to chickens.
Cut the Grapes into Smaller Pieces
As mentioned earlier, grapes contain seeds and can be too large to swallow by chickens. That’s why it’s a good idea to feed chickens grapes that have their seeds removed.
Chickens will usually know how to chop small pieces of a grape to consume just enough, but sometimes they’re just too greedy for their amazing taste and will want to eat it whole. Cutting it prevents choking on seeds, as well as choking on a large grape.
Feed Grapes in Moderation
Grapes are best eaten by chicks in moderation. Don’t give them more than one to two grapes per chicken. Additionally, it should be eaten only a few times per week like 1 or 2 times. Don’t feed them with grapes every day, as that may cause them to get sick. If you see they didn’t eat all the grapes, remove them after a few hours and throw them away. This way, the grapes won’t spoil or become moldy for your chicken to eat it.
The best way to feed grapes to your chickens is in moderation. Chickens love grapes and enjoy how flavorful and savory it is, just like humans do. But, just like humans can’t eat it in excessive quantities, the chickens shouldn’t. Feed them grapes in moderation and watch carefully how they react to them. Combine it with other fruits and don’t forget to feed them with other nutritious treats, especially their regular feed.