Bananas are some of the most nutritious fruits that are consumed regularly by humans, as well as many other animals. However, there are different types of bananas and when a ripe banana starts going bad, it may not be the most delicious fruit to eat. You may have found an old banana laying around and wondered whether you should give it to your chickens because while you may know that chickens enjoy eating a range of fruits and vegetables, not all of them are good for them in excess amounts.
There are many fruits and vegetables that chickens do enjoy eating such as lettuce (other than iceberg salad) tomatoes, mushrooms, strawberries, apples, blueberries, grapes, and much more. However, it’s important to consider the importance of an overall chicken diet.
They primarily get all the nutritious values from feed consisting of cobb seeds, barley, and other foods rich in protein and fibers which are key nutrients chickens get to boost their moods, fulness, energy, egg production, and more important than anything – egg and poultry quality.
Many people are worried that bananas may spoil those nutritional values and cause the chickens to get sick. However, there is a lot about the chicken diet that you need to learn. Chickens enjoy eating treats in their diet, although it makes up only about 10% of their total diet. That being said, a banana now and then can also be included in their regular diet.
If you’d like to learn more about whether chickens can eat bananas and exactly how much of them, continue reading this article and inform yourself about the nutritional values that bananas hold for chickens and just how many bananas are too many for chickens. Finally, we’ll introduce a few ways for you to feed bananas to the chickens without posing any risks.
Can Chickens Eat Bananas?
Bananas are quite safe for chickens. Even though chickens are not considered to be picky eaters and will eat absolutely anything they consider edible at a given moment, there are two fruit treats that they enjoy eating – bananas and blueberries.
Bananas are a great source of a range of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and other important nutrients that chickens need on a daily and weekly basis. Although their diet consists majorly of proteins, grains, and fibers, there is a range of vegetables and fruits that they can eat as treats, and bananas are no exception.
When it comes to their healthy diet, 90% of the diet consists of grains, fiber, and other feeds, while 10% consists of vitamins and minerals that they gain through eating traits that consist of numerous fruit and vegetable combinations.
They enjoy eating bananas as they are rich in flavor and taste and also come with many fruit benefits. Even if your banana has gone bad slightly, it will still be a great source of nutrients for your chickens. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t feed your chickens with unripe bananas, as the fruit simply hasn’t matured enough to be eaten.
Bananas are also a large fruit, and given that little chickens have small beaks and throats, they can’t consume large quantities of it, as there’s a choking hazard. There are numerous ways to prepare bananas for little chicks, and below we’re going to discuss everything you need to know when feeding bananas to your chickens.
Editor’s notes: A lot of people wonder whether feeding bananas to the chicks is safe. It’s not! If you thought chickens have small beaks and throats, imagine how small are those baby chicks. They need other sources of food that will boost the rapid growth and development of feathers, muscles, and reproduction maturity. If there was a choking hazard risk in chickens, imagine how big it’d be with baby chicks.
Benefits of Feeding Bananas to Your Chickens
Since it’s safe to give bananas to your chickens, you must be wondering what benefits they come with. Continue reading below to see how many benefits there are in feeding bananas to your chickens.
Vitamins and Minerals
One of the key reasons why chickens eat bananas is the nutritional value that they bring on board. Bananas are very rich in a plethora of nutrients, starting from potassium and calcium to a range of vitamins such as vitamins B6 and B12. According to a report, one medium-sized banana contains 400mg of potassium.
Additionally, according to a study potassium supplementation can boost the production of chicken eggs, and in addition to that, it’ll contribute to healthier egg quality, which is super-important for commercial farms that produce chicken eggs for sale.
Bananas are also rich in magnesium, which is an essential mineral for both humans and chickens and it comes with numerous benefits for their health.
High Antioxidant Content
Bananas are also rich in antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties. They will rid your chickens of oxidative stress and allow them to live their happy lives in the coop among other flock members. Antioxidants are in charge of boosting the immune response of chickens so they’re less likely to get sick or infested by parasites. The aging process is also slowed down so they’ll be able to spend more time with their flock.
Bananas are rich in fibers that work as prebiotics in the organism of chickens. Prebiotics allow gut bacteria and flora to thrive and improve the overall process of digestion. This is one of the biggest benefits of eating bananas, both for humans and chickens. Healthy prebiotics also boosts healthy weight gain and help balance weight. According to a study, bananas’ antioxidant and prebiotic content help boost the presence of lactobacilli in the gut flora.
Bananas are rich in sugar, and when we say sugar, we mean natural sugar that our body needs to drive energy. You will notice that your chickens will be in a better mood and more active thanks to natural sugar consumption. Keep in mind that natural sugars are beneficial as long as they are consumed in moderation, but more about that later.
Potential Risks of Feeding Bananas to Your Chickens
Even though feeding bananas to your chickens comes with many amazing benefits, there are a few risks you should be aware of. We detailed them below.
High Sugar Concerns
We mentioned earlier that chickens benefit from the natural sugars of bananas. However, banana is also more packed with sugar compared to some other fruit treats that chickens take. That being said, given that there’s a risk that exists, you should avoid feeding them too many bananas.
It’s important to note that eating too many sugar-containing fruits, including bananas, can lead to gastrointestinal issues in chickens. In addition to that, the carbohydrates and sugar in bananas can result in fatty liver disease which is a serious condition for chickens. That’s why you should consider feeding sugar to your chickens in moderation.
It’s no secret that bananas are bigger than other fruits and even though they’re incredibly soft and easy to eat, chickens may end up nibbling a piece of banana that could be too big for their beaks, and their throats. Always cut bananas into small slices or dice to prevent unnecessary complications due to choking in chickens.
As mentioned earlier in the article, it’s important for farmers to feed 90% of chickens feed and 10% of treats. The treats should be varied, and not focused only on one fruit. If you’re giving bananas to chickens, don’t give them more than a few slices to eat.
Remember that overconsumption of bananas may not provide enough vitamin A for the chickens, which can lead to several health problems, including poorer egg production. Depending on the liver stores of the chickens, there may not be enough vitamin A nutrients in their diet that is too much reliant on bananas, according to this report.
How to Feed Bananas to Chickens?
If you want to start feeding your chickens with bananas, but you’re afraid you’d end up doing something wrong, continue reading this section and learn about more appropriate ways to feed bananas to your chickens.
Cut the Bananas
Considering that bananas are a big fruit, there are risks of choking hazards. A lot of farmers dread this, which is why many refrain from feeding their chickens with bananas. However, it’s important to note that different preparation techniques can minimize the choking risks.
There are many ways to prepare bananas for chickens. Some even give them banana peels soaked in water. Some farmers also prepare chickens to feed made out of bananas, which may not be recommendable in many cases but occasionally looks like a good practice.
The process is described in the video below. Make sure to check it out and see how you can also prepare bananas for your chickens.
Ripe Vs. Unripe Bananas
Chickens can eat both ripe and unripe bananas. While feeding them both is good, it’s worth noting that boiling unripe bananas can be much healthier for your chickens because of their lower sugar content. As bananas mature and become ripe and over-ripe, they’ll contain sugar as most of the starch and fiber inside of them will be converted into sugars, according to a scientific report.
Boil the Peels
Many people ask whether it’s safe to feed banana peels to chickens. According to the video above, and a lot of anecdotal evidence, peels are more than safe to eat. As long as they’re not over-ripe or spoiled (black) they’re safe to eat. Make sure to wash the peels thoroughly.
What’s even better than washing them is boiling banana peels in hot water, which will rid them of pesticides and other harmful chemicals that could harm your chickens. Interestingly, banana peels are rich in many nutrients that chickens need, especially antioxidants, according to a study.
Alternatives to Bananas for Chicken Treats
If you notice that your chickens often have liquid poop, start picking feathers, or become generally restless after eating bananas, maybe you should look into alternatives. There are many fruits and vegetables that chickens can eat for their treats.
Some of the fruits and vegetables that they can eat include:
- Lettuce (Except iceberg)
However, chickens can’t only rely on vitamins for their nutrition. They also have to rely on natural and store-bought proteins such as peas, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, mealworms, and much more.
Bananas are a great fruity treat to keep chickens well-fed and active. They’re rich in key nutrients to encourage a healthy lifestyle in the flock including vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Additionally, they have antioxidative properties and are a great source of fiber and natural sugars.
Unfortunately, due to their sugar content, it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid feeding them with bananas regularly. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables to consider as an alternative to bananas. Additionally, don’t forget to feed them with their regular chicken feed and introduce proteins to their varied diet.