When you think of berries, what are some that come to mind? Blueberries and strawberries certainly. Blackberries and raspberries cannot be far behind and, maybe if you come from the American South, huckleberries will be on your mind.
If you’re feeling fairly exotic maybe gooseberries or elderberries. And, of course, don’t forget the kiwi.
Kiwi?! Yes, that’s right, the kiwi is a berry. An interesting fact to be sure, but what we need to know is if our chickens can eat them. Are kiwis safe for chickens?
Yes, kiwis are completely safe for chickens, and are surprisingly nutritious with a good assortment of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But, feed them sparingly because they are quite sugary and that can be bad for them.
Kiwis are one of those fruits that most people don’t quite know how to place at first. But even if you don’t know what it is, most people who try them will certainly love that delectable and almost indescribable flavor. Turns out our chickens are no different in this regard!
But you can’t let your flock have as many as they want, so keep reading and find out what you need to know if you want to give kiwis to your chickens.
What Benefits Does Kiwi Have for Chickens?
The vitamins and minerals in kiwis have many benefits for chickens, including:
- sustaining and stabilizing a healthy metabolic rate,
- improving organ function and liver function in particular,
- boosting the immune system,
- warding off free radicals that can cause disease,
- and even improving overall circulatory health.
But more than this, kiwis can help chickens’ bones and connective tissues repair and grow strong.
They can even improve the formation and growth of feathers, both when a chicken gets injured and when it’s molting throughout the year.
Pretty surprising when you consider that most of us considered kiwis something of a delicacy. That they are, but they are also quite healthy!
Kiwi Nutritional Info
Kiwis have a good nutritional profile, with a wide array of vitamins and minerals alike, and although they’re not as healthy overall as many other fruits, they are no slouch in the nutrition department.
Looking at the vitamin profile of kiwis we see that most of the B complex vitamins are present, with pantothenic acid and vitamin B6 along with folate being abundant and somewhat lesser amounts of niacin, riboflavin and thiamine.
Vitamin C is extraordinarily abundant in kiwi, which is something of a bummer because chickens that make their own vitamin C they’re a little bit of extra in their diet won’t hurt. Kiwis also have lots of vitamin K and a good amount of vitamin E.
The minerals in kiwi are similarly diverse with respectable amounts; they have dependable amounts of potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and copper with smaller amounts of calcium, iron, and zinc bringing up the rear. Kiwis also contain negligible amounts of sodium and selenium.
Is Kiwi Safe for Chickens when Fresh?
Yes, totally safe. Fresh kiwi is also ideal for chickens since it will contain the maximum amount of nutrients and is already soft and easy for chickens to eat.
Are Kiwi Skins Safe for Chickens?
Yes. Though people understandably turn their noses up at the furry, somewhat leathery skin of a kiwi, chickens have no such hang-ups and many will eat it.
If they do, don’t sweat it: it won’t hurt them and contains some nutrients.
Are Kiwi Seeds Safe for Chickens?
Yes. The tiny seeds of the kiwi are totally safe and highly likely to get eaten up along with the flesh of the fruit.
Can You Cook Kiwi to Give it To Chickens?
You can; cooked kiwi is also safe for chickens. However, cooking it does reduce the nutritional content significantly, and there’s no benefit for feeding since it’s already a tender fruit, easy for chickens to eat.
If you want your chickens to get all the nutrition kiwi has to offer stick with feeding them fresh fruit.
Is Kiwi Still Safe for Chicks?
Yes, but with some reservations. Kiwi is not inherently harmful to chicks, but since it is so high in sugar content, it’s best to wait until your chicks have matured a bit before introducing kiwis into their diet, perhaps around 6 weeks old or a tad older.
Excess sugar and moisture in food can cause some serious issues for chicks, things like sour crop, crop impaction, or diarrhea.
In any case, if you do feed it to young chickens make sure to limit the amount and frequency.
How Frequently Can Kiwi be Fed to Chickens?
Kiwi is healthy and certainly wholesome, but it is not supposed to be a constant part of a chicken’s diet.
As a treat or supplement, modest portions once or twice per week should suffice and still provide your beautiful birds with well-rounded nutrition.
Remember that the majority of a chicken’s diet should come from their feed, even if they do get to enjoy a lot of additional whole foods. Too much of anything, even the good stuff, can lead to problems.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Kiwi to Your Flock?
As mentioned, fresh is best. The only real question is how you will prepare it, if at all. Most chickens can easily peck apart a whole kiwi even with the skin on, so you don’t necessarily have to worry about cutting it up first.
On the other hand, some chickens may just prefer smaller pieces or slices and if that’s the case you can cut it up into bite-sized portions for easier consumption.
Try to Only Feed Kiwi to Chickens if it is Pesticide Free
If kiwi has one major drawback, it is that commercially sold fruits are known for absorbing high levels of pesticides and other chemicals used to protect them while they’re being grown.
These chemicals are in the flesh of the kiwi, to a degree, so even after washing and peeling residues will still make their way into the bodies of your birds and, over time, can cause health issues, some of them devastating.
So if you can get your hands on organic or pesticide-free kiwi, by all means offer it to your chickens but, otherwise, try to grow your own or buy them from a local farmer, if available, to help reduce this issue.
Kiwi Is Safe, But Only By Itself: No People Food!
Another thing to be wary of: kiwi is sweet and delicious enough on its own, but that has not stopped people from using it in all kinds of confections and other desserts.
While these desserts might taste truly sublime, the addition of ingredients like butter, dairy, and sugar can quickly spell disaster if fed to chickens.
So, if you want to offer kiwi to your flock, always make sure to stick with plain kiwi, no extra anything, and your chickens will be fine.
Don’t Leave Kiwi Scraps Around the Run or Coop
And one more piece of advice if you feed your flock kiwi. Make it a point to clean up all uneaten bits and leftover skins. The sweet aroma of kiwi is highly alluring to many mammals and insects, and is sure to attract unwanted company.
Some of these critters, like raccoons, possums, and mice, can hurt your chickens and chicks or steal eggs, or maybe just spread disease.
It’s for the best to make sure all scraps are picked up so that your flock stays safe and healthy.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.