I’ve said this before but it’s something that bears repeating homesteaders really appreciate their animals. Whether it’s their dogs and cats, or livestock animals, they understand and appreciate the value of having healthy stock.
This is especially true when it comes to chickens and other birds which have a much more…stringent diet.
The health of one’s chickens will determine the quality of the meat and/or eggs and so they have to be very carefully fed and cared for. This caution extends, of course, to the treats that you give them.
When it comes to treating your birds (because everyone likes a treat every now and then) you need to know which treats are safe for them and which ones aren’t. With that in mind, one of the more common snacks to give are grapes but are they healthy? Can chickens eat them?
Yes, chickens can eat grapes – in moderation. Their small size is easily eaten, and the texture and flavor make it a favorite snack. It’s also highly nutritious – high in vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, and fiber.
Adding grapes to your birds’ diet will add a nice bit of variety – which will be greatly appreciated.
There are several health benefits that chickens get from grapes. For one thing, fresh foods are digested easier, and grapes are high in vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, E, and K – as well as many others.
They provide a good source of energy and there are some indications of cancer prevention.
The vitamins and minerals found in grapes also help to promote healthy weight gain and bone development, and control diabetes in your birds. They also ensure a healthy gut and strong immune system.
You’ll be glad to know that these vitamins and minerals also contribute to making the eggs your hens lay much healthier.
As far as health risks go, the biggest one is overeating – though this is mostly attributed to owners to feed their birds too many grapes.
Grapes are a sweet treat and overfeeding them to your birds will turn them into fussy eaters; they’ll want grapes and little else. This poses quite a health risk; they don’t get all the nutrition they need to stay healthy.
They are high in sugar and, much like us, chickens can only eat so much sugar before it starts to negatively impact them.
Overeating grapes can cause bloating and/or digestive issues, there’s also the chance your birds will try to eat them whole which poses a choking hazard.
Choking hazards like this can be mitigated easily enough; just cut the grapes in half or into quarters and feed the smaller pieces to your birds.
Store-Bought or Off the Vine?
So, which is better? Wild grapes straight from the vine or store-bought grapes? If you’ve got grapevines on your homestead, the birds may occasionally browse at the fruit for a bit before going back to their search for tasty bugs.
Store-bought grapes, however, should be rinsed off before they’re given to your birds. This is to make sure that there aren’t traces of pesticides/chemicals which might cause problems for your flock.
Feeding your Chickens
If you’re looking to feed grapes to your chickens, there are a few ways to do so safely.
Ideally, you can reduce the chances of choking, you can feed your birds seedless, organic grapes and/or cut them into smaller pieces to be spread evenly to allow each bird an equal share. You can also freeze the grapes and give them to your birds on a hot day.
Hanging bundles of grapes in the coop provides a workout for your flock and an amusing show to watch as they jump to grab a grape or two and/or chase each other around to try and score an easy treat.
So, before I leave you all, let’s do a quick recap:
- Yes, chickens can eat grapes; they are in fact highly nutritious – when fed in moderation.
- Grapes are a good source of energy and are high in iron, potassium and fiber as well as vitamins A, C, E, and K. These vitamins promote healthy weight gain and bone development and keep your chickens’ guts clean and their immune systems strong. They also improve the quality of your hens’ eggs.
- There are risks of choking and overeating. Overeating leads to bloating and digestive problems. Choking hazards can be mitigated by cutting the grapes into smaller pieces and/or by giving them seedless grapes.
I think that covers everything, feeding your chickens grapes is something they will certainly appreciate but it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t part of their natural diet.
As with anything that isn’t naturally a part of an animal’s diet; it should be consumed in moderation.
To quote an aunt of mine: “everything in moderation” and, before you ask, no, we don’t exactly follow that rule in our house.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the article and found it informative. Thanks, as always, for reading and I’ll see you in the next one! Take care!
Greg spent most of his childhood in camping grounds and on hiking trails. While he lives in suburbs nowadays, Greg was raised on a small farm with chickens. He’s a decent shot with a bow, and a knife enthusiast.