There is hardly anything better than a perfectly ripe piece of fruit, and among all the fruit in the world some of the most delicious are tropical fruits.
Pineapples, bananas, guavas, coconuts; whichever you prefer it can’t be argued that one of the most delicious is the mango.
Used in all sorts of dishes and central to various cuisines around the world, mangoes are a treat all right, but are they safe for our chickens to eat?
Yes, chickens can safely eat mangoes, but they should not eat the skins or the large seeds in the middle. Mangoes are extremely moist and sugary; both factors can cause them problems so feed them sparingly.
Chickens can eat many kinds of fruit, so don’t be too surprised that they can eat mangoes, too. In fact, it makes a certain amount of sense when you think about it…
Yhe modern domestic chicken’s ancestor is the red junglefowl that hails from the jungles of Southeast Asia, the same place that mangoes come from.
Anyway, you’ll want to know more before you give your chickens a bite of this sweet fruit, and I’ll tell you what you need to know below.
What Benefits Does Mango Have for Chickens?
Mangoes taste so good that people, and chickens, don’t need any other reason to eat them but as it turns out you got a lot of good reasons to feed them to your chickens.
The vitamins and minerals in mangoes play many roles in chicken biology, from enhancing immunity and resistance to diseases to promoting proper feathering in response to an injury or during the molt.
Mangoes can also help with overall nervous system health and vision, blood clotting, oxygenation of the blood, and enhancing overall metabolism and cellular function.
Mangoes are also great for properly balancing electrolytes and improving muscle function, while the phosphorus content plays an important part in skeletal growth and repair, along with the calcium which further benefits hens by helping them lay strong and healthy eggs.
That is an awful lot of good for a fruit that might as well be considered a delicacy it is so delicious.
Mango Nutritional Info
Despite being so sweet, mangoes manage to pack in a surprisingly diverse array of vitamins and minerals.
Looking at the vitamins, we see an excellent B-complex lineup complete with thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, lots of B6 and plenty of folate.
Mangoes also contain a lot of vitamin A and beta carotene, a little bit of vitamin E and vitamin K it is capped off with a great shot of vitamin C.
That’s good news for us, but sort of irrelevant for chickens since they can produce their own vitamin C internally. Nonetheless, a little extra helps!
When you look at the minerals, it is not quite as good as the vitamin content, but still a great supplement for chickens, with lots of copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium backed up by a little bit of iron, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
Considering the macronutrients, mangoes are mostly carbohydrates and specifically mostly sugars. That should be obvious, these things are super sweet!
While appealing to people and chickens alike, you’ll need to be cautious because chickens don’t need that much sugar in their diet. I’ll tell you more about that in just a bit.
Is Mango Safe for Chickens Fresh?
Yes, it is. Fresh mango is safe and simple for chickens to eat, and even the firmer varieties are easy for them to peck bites off of.
Also, fresh mango has a major advantage over cooked or dried forms since it contains the maximum level of nutrients.
Is Dried Mango Safe for Chickens
Yes, mostly, but dried mango has its sugars highly concentrated and that is bad news for chickens.
Fresh mango is already too sweet to be fed to them as anything but a treat, so I would recommend skipping on feeding them dried pieces.
Are Mango Seeds Safe for Chickens?
No. Mangos have single, giant seeds in the middle of the flesh, what some people call a pit. These big seeds are not good for chickens as they are just too hard.
Don’t waste time trying to get chickens to eat these. Throw them out if you cut them up beforehand, or remove and discard the seed when they reach it.
Be Careful: Mango Skins Might Contain Irritants
Mangoes and particularly mango skins have an odd tendency to trigger pronounced skin and mouth irritation in some people.
In fact, scientists have discovered that it is very much like dermatitis caused by a close encounter with poison ivy!
Though the compounds responsible for this are uncertain, and not all types of mangoes seem to cause it, it is worrisome enough that it should be kept in mind when feeding chickens mangoes.
To avoid any possible reactions peel the fruit before feeding it to your flock and discard the skin. Considering the skin is not very nutritious anyway, you don’t want any bad surprises after your birds have snacked on it.
Can You Cook Mango to Give it To Chickens?
Yes, though there is no real need to do so. Cooking mango reduces its nutritional value, as heat will degrade some of the vitamins and minerals.
Mango is also a very delicate fruit and already easy for chickens to eat so you don’t need to cook it.
But, whatever the case, if you have some plain cooked mango on hand it’s still safe to give to your chickens as a treat.
Is Mango Still Safe for Baby Chicks?
Nominally yes, but chicks just do not cope well with sugary or moist foods. Obviously, the sweet juiciness of mango is at odds with that.
Mango can easily lead to digestive issues in chicks, and if they get diarrhea it can easily become fatal. So, if the chicks are still quite young, I would recommend avoiding mango altogether.
Once they are older and have their full feathering then you can start introducing it in small amounts as a treat.
How Frequently Can Mango be Fed to Chickens?
Mango is nutritious and good for chickens but only in very limited amounts. It is perhaps charitably called a nutritional supplement to their usual diet, but I’d recommend not feeding mango more than once a week.
It is best used as an occasional healthy treat, but it should never replace mealworms, grains, veggies and other staples of a bird’s diet.
Also, you must diligently moderate the quantity! Mango is super sugary, as mentioned, and chickens don’t need that much sugar in their diet.
They can easily develop sour crop from excessive mango consumption, so don’t go overboard with your generosity here!
What’s the Best Way to Serve Mango to Your Flock?
Mango is easy to give to chickens. Simply peel and, if desired, chop it into smaller pieces. You can also simply remove the middle seed and give the flesh to your chickens more or less whole, being sure to discard the seed itself.
If you are feeling extra generous, you can even mash up a ripe mango, and mix it in with some feed or other wholesome foods as a special treat.
Try to Only Feed Mango to Chickens if it is Pesticide Free
Another thing to worry about with mangoes, like any fruit, is the presence of pesticides.
If you are going to give your chickens mangoes that you didn’t grow yourself, please do make sure it is an organic, pesticide-free variety.
Chemical residues can build up in the bodies of chickens and other animals over time, often leading to unforeseen and potentially devastating health issues.
Mango Is Safe, But Only Safe By Itself: No People Food!
I mentioned above that mango is used in all sorts of dishes from around the world, both sweet and savory.
And though mango is perfectly safe for chickens by itself, it is not safe when given with most “people food”.
Any mango prepared with butter, sugar, salt, oils and the like is not safe for chickens and will cause them distress. Some of these issues, like fatty liver syndrome and salt poisoning, can be fatal!
Caution: Mango Scraps Will Attract Pests Fast!
One last tip you’d be wise to heed: You already know that mangoes are sweet and have an almost indescribably enticing aroma.
Well, your chickens won’t be the only critters that can smell it! If you feed mango scraps to your chickens, be sure to clean up right after they’ve finished eating otherwise you might find yourself with a pest problem on your hands.
Insects, rodents, raccoons and more will all be drawn to that sweet smell, and they might cause trouble for your chickens in the bargain.
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.
Find out more about Tim and the rest of the crew here.