Can chickens eat strawberries? Chickens seem to be among the luckiest animals on the planet so far. Why am I saying this? It is because they can eat a variety of foods.
From grains to vegetables and meat to fruits, chickens rarely lack something to eat. Speaking of fruits, these birds love strawberries. And that is precisely what we are going to discuss in detail.
Being omnivorous, your chickens will consume nearly all kinds of fruits, including strawberries. This treat is not only delicious, but it’s laden with essential nutrients that can benefit your chickens.
Chickens love eating vegetables and fruits. In addition to that, they enjoy kitchen scraps and table leftovers.
Variation in their diet means a lot to them. With different foods, chickens can develop both physically and mentally.
Different diets can also affect your chicken’s mood. When full, they will not experience any form of stress.
At the same time, they will overcome any stress-related conditions. That explains why cases such as feather picking are fewer than when they are hungry.
Again, your chicken’s diet is all about balance. For the chickens, high quantities of sugar and salt are not recommended.
Too many of these elements can affect their health negatively. This is because the digestive system is weak and cannot handle sugary or salty foods.
As a matter of fact, their digestive system cannot metabolize sugary treats in large quantities. This also applies to large amounts of fruits such as strawberries and others.
Also, overfeeding your chickens with certain treats can become an unbreakable habit. When this becomes habitual, it can result in unhealthy chickens. That is the reason you need to apply the balance in their diet.
Just like other treats, you also need to limit the consumption of strawberries to 10 percent, which means that 90 percent should be the main chicken diet and the rest strawberries.
Anything beyond this percentage is detrimental to your bird’s well-being. Too many strawberries can negatively affect their productivity and the quality of eggs.
What is Strawberry Fruit?
Away from the number of treats your chickens should have, we come to what really is a strawberry fruit. Brace yourself for a surprise.
Strawberries are not berries, as you may have thought. This information should leave you in a state of confusion. But you are not alone.
A strawberry is the thicker part of the stem that holds the flowers and organs. This part is the receptacle. So, which is the fruit?
The real fruit of the strawberry is the tiny dark dots, also known as achenes. They appear all over the red fleshy body of the strawberry, and each of these dots is an ovary.
As usual, ovaries protect seeds, which is the work of achenes on a strawberry. The calyx is the greener top part of the strawberry. Their primary function is to protect the receptacle and blossoming bud.
Strawberries belong to the rose family type of plants. This information is essential for several reasons. Key among them is that these plants produce a substance known as hydrogen cyanide.
From its name alone, you can tell that the content is poisonous. So, it can kill you or even your birds. But only if you ingest it in large doses.
In strawberries, hydrogen cyanide is expelled via the leaves to deter pests. As the plant matures, this substance fades, leaving the leaves, stems, and fruit safe for consumption.
No wonder the leaves of this plant are used as tea in different parts of the world.
Why Should You Feed Your Chickens Strawberries?
Strawberries are tasty, accessible, and nutritious. Besides, they are readily available and easy to eat. Therefore, you should habitually supply your birds with this treat.
If you do so, they will like it and want some more. But don’t give them too much unless you want to spoil them.
More often than not, strawberries are labeled as a superfood for quite several reasons. They contain the most essential nutrients and are incredibly good for your flock of chickens.
Here are some of the proven health benefits of feeding your chickens strawberries to eat:
Strawberries consist of carbohydrates at 7.7 percent and water at 91 percent. They also contain protein (0.7 percent) and fat (0.3 percent) in small amounts.
The nutrients in 100-gram ( 3.5 ounces) of raw strawberries are as shown below:
- Calories: 32
- Water: 91 percent
- Protein: 0.7 grams
- Carbs: 7.7 grams
- Sugar:4.9 grams
- Fiber 2: grams
- Fat: 0.3 grams
Fresh strawberries have high quantities of water. As such, their total carbohydrate content is extremely low. These carbs are fewer than 8 grams per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).
Based on these figures, you will find out that the net digestible carbohydrate content is less than 6 grams.
Most of these carbs in berries are found in simple sugars. These sugars include fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Additionally, they contain a substantial amount of fiber.
Strawberries have a relatively low glycemic index score. This IG index is 40. This should tell you that strawberries are safe for your birds to eat.
But make sure that you feed them strawberries occasionally and in small quantities.
Strawberries are rich in fiber as well. Fiber accounts for a whopping 26 percent of the carbohydrate content found in this treat.
A single serving of this treat ( 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) can provide your chickens with 2 grams of fiber. Keep in mind that this fiber is both insoluble and soluble.
The dietary fibers in strawberries play a crucial role in your chicken’s digestive system. They feed beneficial bacteria in the gut, thus improving their digestive health.
On top of that, they help in weight loss, not to mention their ability to prevent many diseases.
Vitamins and Minerals
bs and fiber, strawberries contain minerals and vitamins. These two elements are the building blocks your feathered friends need to grow healthier and stronger.
Examples of vitamins and proteins found in strawberries include the following:
- Vitamin C: Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C. This type of vitamin acts as a powerful antioxidant not only in human bodies but also in chickens. As an antioxidant, vitamin C promotes the immune system of your chickens to keep them healthy throughout.
- Vitamin B9 (Folate): Another type of vitamin in strawberries is the B9 or folate. This nutrient plays a significant role in healthy tissue growth. At the same time, it helps the cell function to promote growth in chickens.
- Manganese: This nutrient is mainly found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Manganese in strawberries is essential in several processes within the body. It is primarily considered one of the trace elements in this treat.
- Potassium: One of the minerals in strawberries, potassium, is involved in several essential body functions. The most important of these functions is the regulation of blood pressure.
Strawberries also contain copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B6, E, and K.
Beneficial plant compounds
This is the main anthocyanin compound in strawberries. It is responsible for the red color on this fruit.
It comes in high doses in strawberries and is a polyphenol antioxidant. Ellagic acid is also beneficial to the health of your chickens.
Similar to ellagic acid, this compound is converted to ellagic acid inside your chicken’s gut. It is linked to several health benefits, such as fighting bacteria in the chicken’s digestive system.
These compounds are part of the antioxidants found in strawberry seeds and flesh. They have many beneficial health effects on your birds.
Feeding your chickens a substantial amount of strawberries can positively impact their health.
To be precise, this treat helps reduce many causes of chronic diseases. Also, it can improve heart health and lower blood sugar.
Here are the health benefits of giving your chickens strawberries:
Heart disease can be detrimental to your chickens unless you take drastic measures in time. In this case, you may consider incorporating a few strawberries into their diet to help them achieve good health.
Of many compounds in this fruit, anthocyanins stand out from the rest in improving heart health. Numerous studies have linked this compound to lowering the risk of heart-related deaths.
Studies show that strawberries can improve HDL or good cholesterol, blood platelet functions, and blood pressure.
Other functions of this fruit include:
- Improving blood antioxidant status
- Reducing inflammation
- Decreasing oxidative stress
- Improving vascular function
- Improving the blood lipid profile
- Reduction of the harmful oxidation of bad cholesterol
Blood Sugar Regulation
When your chickens digest carbohydrates, their bodies break them down into simple sugars. These sugars are released into their bloodstream.
Then their bodies start secreting insulin. Insulin production triggers the body to take up the sugar from the bloodstream. This sugar is used as fuel in the body or stored for future use.
Still, on the blood sugar regulation, strawberries have been found to slow down the digestion of glucose. This action reduces the spikes in glucose and insulin.
In general, this treat helps prevent metabolic syndrome and obesity in chickens. Therefore, this treat ensures that your flock stays free of heart disease and cases of becoming overweight.
Are there Threats Related to Feeding Your Chickens Strawberries?
There are no reported deaths in chickens due to consuming strawberry fruits, leaves, and stalks. But eating the strawberry calyxes is more likely to cause digestive problems such as diarrhea.
In particular, diarrhea is a serious health issue in farm animals and chickens. Often it leads to death if no action is taken at the right time.
Besides the natural risk of eating strawberry leaves and calyxes, consider insecticides and pesticides other threats.
These chemicals are usually used to control destructive insects; their residue remains on leaves, stems, and fruits.
When your chickens eat strawberries, the affected parts of this plant, they can develop serious health problems due to chemical poisoning.
If your source of strawberries is from organically grown trees, then you should have nothing to worry about.
The only thing you should look out for is the quantity you are feeding your flock. Moderation is the only way to keep your crowd healthy, happy, and productive.
When feeding your chickens, don’t exceed the 10 percent limit for strawberries or any other treat.
In 2015, strawberries were four among the most pest-contaminated fruits/food items. One strawberry can have as many as 13 different pesticides at one time.
Among these are chloropicrin, methyl bromide, and Telone (1,3-D). These chemicals are linked to various health and developmental issues.
Ensure you clean the strawberries well before allowing your chickens to eat them.
Related Questions – Can Chickens Eat Strawberries?
What is the importance of feeding your chickens strawberries in moderation?
Like other fruits, you need to know that strawberries have a high sugar concentration.
So, when you allow them to eat more of this treat, they will experience some metabolic problems.
Their digestive system cannot metabolize sugar, which may lead to obesity and heart problems. With that in mind, consider strawberries as an occasional treat.
When is the right time to give your chickens strawberries to eat?
Any time of the day is recommended as long as you feed them occasionally.
But it is wise to feed them this treat on hot summer days to help them cool down their bodies. Strawberries contain a lot of water, which will hydrate your birds on a hot day.
Chickens are lovely, adorable, and fantastic farm animals that are easy to care for. They will consume almost anything you feed them and will not take away most of your attention.
Chickens can eat strawberries, just like other treats. But you need to be careful with the amount you are giving them. Otherwise, strawberries are just right for your flock and will keep them healthy for a long time.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!