We love sharing our food with our chickens. Sometimes they get just as excited to have a treat as us. And who doesn’t love the look of excitement on a chicken’s face when you toss them something tasty. Maybe you are enjoying a nice banana, and you decide to share some with your hens. You know that they can eat bananas. But can chickens eat banana peels? Let’s take a look!
Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?
You can feed chickens banana peels, but with caution. The better question is, will your chickens eat them. Some chickens love banana peels, but others will snub their beaks at it. If your chickens will eat them, they are very healthy. But there are some precautions you should take.
Are Banana Peels Safe For Chickens?
Bananas are often sprayed with pesticides to prevent bugs from decimating the crop. These sprays stay on the bananas until washed. Well, most of us don’t eat the peels, so it’s not a problem for us. But these chemicals could make your hens incredibly ill.
So to prevent this, you will need to wash the peels with warm water to remove chemicals. Or you can buy organic bananas that are never grown using these types of chemicals and sprays. Doing either of these will keep your flock safe.
How Do You Prepare Banana Peels For Your Chickens
Peels are tough to digest, and that’s why some chickens don’t even attempt to eat them. You will need to do a little bit of preparing to make the peels soft and easier to digest. The first step is to boil banana peels for your chickens for 10 minutes.
Boiling the peels make them tender enough to eat. But some owners find that they still have to take it a step further. Chopping up the bananas also helps some hens eat and digest the peels better. You could even blend in a blender to mix with food. Since the peels tear off in long fibers, they can sometimes get caught in the crop. Smaller pieces are more palatable, and you can add them to treat salads.
Some chickens also love peels hung from a line for extra fun. They won’t eat the entire peel most times, but it can give them wonderful enrichment. To do this, all you need to do is boil the peel as usual and then hang it by the end on wire. Your chickens will have a blast, and you will find it pretty entertaining yourself.
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Are Peels Healthy?
We all know that bananas are healthy. But have you ever considered the nutrition of the peel? Believe it or not, the peel is jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients that your chickens need. What are these nutrients?
The first reason you should feed bananas and banana peels is for the water content. A whole banana is 75% water, and a lot of that is in the peels. So in warm summers, bananas could help hydrate your flock.
Did you know that water alone isn’t enough to hydrate your chickens? They also need potassium and small amounts of salt. When you combine these, it makes the essential electrolytes to keep you and your hens hydrated. Bananas are high in potassium, and you can say the same for the peels.
Feeding your flock ripe banana peels is the perfect treat for the summer months. They aid in providing more water intake and electrolytes to keep them healthy. Your hens will love and appreciate such an accomodating treat.
Vitamin A is essential to keep your hens healthy and fighting off disease. Vitamin A is so important because it helps mucous-producing glands in the eyes, nose, and throat. These areas are the first line of defense when your chickens encounter viral diseases.
The mucous in these areas trap viral infections before traveling into the lungs and bloodstream. So you want these glands supported in any way possible. And a banana peel is the perfect option to boost your chicken’s mucous.
We all want our chickens to be happy. After all, the happiest chickens produce the best eggs. And did you know that vitamin B6 can boost serotonin levels to keep them happy? Feeding your flock banana peels will give them a healthy dose of B6. So get ready for some elated chickens and tasty eggs.
As chickens age, their feathers dull, their feet get rough, and their metabolism slows down. These all contribute to chickens reducing the number of eggs they produce. But you can help encourage laying with higher doses of vitamin B12.
Banana peels have a fair amount of B12 that can boost all of these. Your hens will develop a bright and shiny plumage, have a little pep in their step, and might even lay a few eggs.
Banana peels are high in magnesium, but why is that so important? Magnesium aids in heart health and energy in your hens. It can also help your chickens produce larger eggs more frequently. And if you are a breeder, an extra dose of magnesium could make your eggs more viable.
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Banana peels are a great source of fiber to fill your chickens and aid in digestion. Giving your hens with a bit of constipation could help move things along nicely. In winter, feeding the occasional banana peel is also a good substitute for the fiber they miss from their foraging.
We use antioxidants to fight infections and viruses, and chickens could benefit from them in the same way. One unlikely place to get a high dose of antioxidants is from banana peels. But not just any peels. Unripe banana peels are the highest in antioxidants. Just boil them a little longer until they are tender enough to eat.
Let’s not forget the biggest immune-boosting vitamin, vitamin C. Giving your hens a little banana peel along with their regular food also gives them a healthy dose of vitamin C. So your hens can fight off illnesses faster.
Most people wouldn’t think that fruits have protein, but banana peels are incredibly high in them. The peels are a thick protective later that uses protein bonds to keep the fruit inside safe. These proteins are also vital for chickens. Most laying hens need at least 16% protein that they get from feed and foraging. But in molting times, they might need an extra dose, so go ahead and give them a peel.
Along with this protein, banana peels are high in healthy fats. Your hens use these fats when molting to produce fantastic plumage. It’s also essential for egg production and heart support. So throw your hens a banana peel every so often. They will love the change, and you will love all the benefits.
How Often Can Chickens Eat Peels?
Can chickens eat banana peels? Yes, they can, but you might want to think twice before making it a regular treat. Bananas might be high in vital nutrients, but they aren’t part of a complete diet. Bananas and their peels are high in sugar which can cause problems with chickens. Too many banana peels could also increase your hens risk of crop impaction from the peel fibers.
Your chickens should only get peels once every few weeks. Anything more, and your hens could experience some issues.
How Do I Know That My Chickens Have Had Too Much?
Contrary to what you might see online, you can’t overdose on bananas. Some people claim that feeding too many bananas can cause a potassium overdose and kill a flock. But this is nearly impossible as your chickens would need to eat over 20 bananas apiece for this to happen.
But feeding too many bananas and peels could cause other issues. For one, it could cause your hens to experience horrible diarrhea. Over time, you might notice that your hens get a little on the hefty side. And if they become too overweight, they will drop egg production. So it’s best to keep bananas as a special treat that they don’t get often.
Can You Give Baby Chicks Banana Peels?
Chicks need a regular diet full of all the things they need. In the first two weeks of life, a chick should only eat starter feed to get its immunities up. Doing this also prevents malnourishment since chicks will fill up on treats and abandon feed.
However, after two weeks, you can start to introduce small amounts of treats. Bananas and their peels are very healthy for chicks in small quantities. But you will want to take extra precautions.
Organic is always best to prevent any pesticides leaching into the bananas. It also eliminates the risk of not washing the peels well enough. You will also want to blend the banana and peels to ensure that your chicks can eat them well. If you do all of this, your chicks will love the special treats.
Do Your Chickens Love Banana Peels?
Can chickens eat banana peels? Yes, but not all of them will. The only way you will find out is if you try.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!