There is a lot of conflicting information on there about what chickens can and can not eat. Everything from banana peels to sweet potatoes to raisins is debatable in the chicken community. And we are here to put in our findings. Can chickens eat raisins? Let’s take a close look.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes?
Chickens love grapes as a tasty treat on occasion. Grapes grow as the perfect fruit for fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It makes no difference to your hens if the grapes are fresh, frozen, or dried. As long as you aren’t feeding whole grapes, your chickens will have no problems eating them. And what are dried grapes? Raisins! So can chickens eat raisins? Of course, they can!
Why Are Raisins Debated?
It’s a common belief that raisins contain toxin persin that kill our pets. The most commonly cited source for this belief is for dogs. It is believed that grapes and raisins cause kidney failure and seizures in animals. But recent research has found that it would take a lot to kill any animal or person.
But that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to practice caution when feeding raisins or grapes to your flock. Moderation is always crucial, and you don’t want to go planting grapes around your chicken coop.
How Many Raisins Can Chickens Eat?
The standard rule for treats is that you don’t want to feed more than 10% of a chicken’s normal diet. But that doesn’t mean that you can provide your chickens as many raisins as you want. As mentioned before, raisins can be toxic in high amounts. So what is the right portion for each chicken? Generally, you don’t want your chickens to eat more than a tablespoon of raisins apiece. Or 10 grams of raisins per chicken. And you don’t want to feed it more than an occasional treat.
How To Feed Raisins
Another concern for many backyard chickens is that the raisin is hard to digest. Your chickens could develop impacted crops from these small dried fruits. So if raisins are a healthy treat, what’s the best way to feed them?
Most owners find that soaking the raisins in lots of water for an hour softens them up just enough for chickens. Another good option is to plop a few into the water dish. The raisins will soak up water, and your chickens will have fun bopping for delicious treats.
Some chicken owners even find that soaking the raisins makes it easy to break them into smaller pieces and hand feed. Or you can add them to scratch grains to promote eating.
Soaking your raisins not only makes them easier to digest but also gets rid of some of the sugar content. Most raisin brands coat their fruits in sugar to make them more palatable to humans. But these sugars can become a problem for your chickens. So you can either opt for no sugar added, like the small nature raisins or soak them for an hour first to remove it.
Benefits Of Raisins
We mentioned that grapes are packed with everything you need and want in a fruit. But do raisins still carry these health benefits? It might surprise you to know that the drying process doesn’t damage too many of those nutrients. Let’s look at a few reasons raisins are a healthy snack for your hens.
The first and most significant thing raisins are fantastic is their fiber content. Fiber is an excellent thing for chickens who are having a bit of constipation. But did you also know fiber is essential for natural digestion and nutrient absorption? You can even use the high fiber in raisins to help with healthy weight gain. So raisins are a perfect treat for your flock.
Like most fruits, raisins are high in potassium. And this is essential for hydration and digestion. Throwing a few raisins in the water dish during the summer will keep your chickens refreshed and hydrated. You can even add them to wet foods for electrolytes.
Laying hens are notorious for developing anemia. So to combat this, most owners like to add a few high iron treats into the mix. It’s also perfect for growing birds to gain strong muscles, increase red blood cells, and healthy bones.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Most of us think of omegas as an animal-based nutrient. But fruits can also be high in these fatty acids. Why does that matter so much? These omegas are the building blocks of our bodies. They are great for proper growth, healthy skin and feathers, brain development, and so much more.
Folate is a folic acid that laying hens need desperately. Raisins are high in folates that help your hens lay good quality eggs. And it can help boost fertility and higher hatch rates. So give raisins as nutritious treats for high-quality eggs.
With growing bones, getting ready for eggs, and normal aging, our layer hens need a lot of calcium. That’s why we give them a good quality feed and oyster shells. But it doesn’t hurt to add a few calcium-rich treats into the mix too. So can chickens eat raisins? Yes, they can!
You can’t have calcium without magnesium. Magnesium helps build strong bones by binding calcium together for better absorption. So what’s a great way to get more magnesium in your chicken’s diet? Giving them raisins as an occasional snack might help a bit!
For robust chickens, most chicken feed brands add copper to the balanced diet. Copper is a known antimicrobial that supports gut health and boosts immunities. So for strong, healthy hens, give your flock a great snack.
We all know that we need all the vitamins. But what do chickens need vitamin A for? Vitamin A is used in the mucus glands such as tear ducts, saliva, nose, and throat. Without this, your chickens will get infections quickly. So vitamin A packed snacks could keep up your chickens’ health all winter.
Vitamin C is also great to support our immune system to prevent illness. It’s also a great way to give sick chickens a lift when they feel under the weather.
A chicken’s reproductive system relying heavily upon calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. Vitamin E will help the eggs form quickly and healthy. It also can prevent things like egg binding or shell-less eggs.
Chickens get hurt sometimes; that’s inevitable. But without the proper vitamins, your chickens could get infections or lose too much blood. But giving your chickens raisins also gives them vitamin K. K is essential in blood-clotting and fighting surface infections. While you won’t feed your chickens enough to make a difference here, it never hurts to give extra.
And finally, the last benefit of raisins is that they are high in selenium. This vitamin does more than meet the eye. It is known to calm stressed chickens, boost immunities, and improve meat quality. So if you raise broilers, giving them a few raisins will fatten them up and make their meat tender. And all of this without feeding fatty foods.
Is It OK For Chickens To Eat Grape Leaves?
If you grow your own grape vines, you might be looking for ways to use all of the plants. If chickens can eat grapes, can they also eat the leaves? We don’t see why not. These leaves have more vitamins and nutrients without all of the fruit sugar. So go ahead and make a grape leaf salad. Your chickens will love it.
Are Moldy Raisins OK?
While raisins are wonderful for chickens, you never want to feed them rotten food. Mold and fungus can harm your chicken flock as much as they can hurt you. Not to mention those toxic mycotoxins are released more when mold grows in the raisins. So it’s best to throw any moldy table scraps away or in the compost.
What Is Poisonous To Chickens?
As you can imagine, there is much conflicting information about what chickens can and cannot eat. And in most cases, there are loopholes to what is safe for chickens. Here is a shortlist of what chickens can’t eat.
- Moldy foods
- Processed junk food
- Castor beans
- Coffee grounds
- Uncooked rice
- Rhubarb leaves
- Apple seeds
- Green potatoes
- Unripe tomatoes
- Any other part of the nightshade family
- Uncooked dry or raw beans
- Avocado pits and skins
- Morning Glory
- Jimson Weed
This is an incomplete list of plants, and there is so much more that you could add. So before ever giving your chickens something to eat, double-check that it’s safe.
So Do You Have Raisins In The Cubbard?
So can chickens eat raisins? You bet they can! Most chickens will quickly recognize what they are and come running. You might even have a chicken stampede on your hands for a few raisins. Just remember, no matter how much they love it, only give it as a special treat. They might be healthy, but there aren’t the best treats out there.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!