Bananas have been touted as a superfood since the early 1900s. The American Medical Association even considers it one of the best treatments for celiac disease on top of its other health benefits. Today, because of the criminalization of sugars and carbs, many people seem to avoid this fruit altogether. Its glycemic index is actually low. As a matter of fact, the sugar content of bananas which also happens to be its carbohydrates is defined as resistant starch which permits a decreased amount of glucose to be released in the bloodstream. This means that when you eat one banana, it gets digested more slowly thus making you feel full, longer.
Now that we’ve established that bananas are good and healthy for humans, is this kitchen and household staple safe for animal consumption too? In this case, can chickens eat bananas?
You’d be pleased to know that you can feed your chickens this tasty, sweet treat! Yes, chickens eat bananas AND its banana peels! They’re not the most picky eaters around and although they have a few restrictions, chickens really like eating bananas!
Before you get excited, there are a few things to remember before you prepare these flavorful nibbles for them. Even though we’ve answered the common question, “can chickens eat bananas?” with a resounding, yes, there are necessary concessions you need to consider. But don’t worry, we will take you step by step through this full nutritional breakdown and more about the benefits of bananas for your poultry!
Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Banana
This fruit is good for you and your chickens! A banana is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals and is a good source of nutrients for your chickens. Bananas are known for being rich in potassium but what other health benefits are there in this loaded fruit? Below is a list of all the nutritional goodness your chicken can expect even when they eat it in small quantities!
Banana is almost synonymous with potassium. It is an essential mineral that is necessary for the maintenance of the body’s different systems. For chickens specifically, potassium helps in keeping their muscles healthy and strong, it also keeps their metabolism in check as well as the electrolytes balanced. If they are lacking in potassium, they fail to grow properly and become significantly smaller than usual.
Even if bananas are usually known for their potassium content, they are actually incredibly rich in Vitamin B6. This is important for the function of the nervous system as well as the proper breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in their food. Vitamin B6, also called, pyridoxine, also holds a vital role in cardiovascular and immune health. It is important in the production of happy hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Eating bananas won’t just keep your chickens healthy, it will also make your birds happy!
Magnesium is an essential mineral for strong bones, a healthy heart, and good nerve function. The different body systems rely on it in order to operate smoothly. Adding bananas to your chickens’ diet will not only result in overall well-being, but it will also aid in digestion and allow them to have better sleep, too! A deficiency in magnesium leads to many health problems. Therefore, instead of resorting to supplements, add small amounts of banana to their diet to make sure they are receiving their daily recommended allowance of this mineral.
Vitamin C is famous for its service to the immune system. It is a water-soluble vitamin which means the body does not store it for a long time. A daily diet that is rich in vitamin C will allow it to be in your chickens’ system regularly. It is needed for the production of collagen, a structure that is needed in all body systems. It can help fortify the body’s defenses which can make your poultry more resistant to different diseases.
In order to make sure your chickens have a balanced nutrition profile, they must be given fiber. It is a form of carbohydrate that helps in proper digestion and prevents different diseases like heart problems and stomach issues. In the case of bananas, its peel and the fruit itself contain large amounts of fiber. Have your chickens eat bananas as this nutrient-loaded fruit will only benefit them more, as long as it is given in proper amounts.
Vitamin B7 or biotin is important in digestive health because it breaks down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Studies show that birds and poultry with biotin deficiencies present with growth deficits and some are accompanied by bone and skin lesions. Bananas are a good source of biotin, aside from other food sources and vitamins you can give your chickens, adding it to their diet can significantly improve their physical wellbeing.
Blood is the lifeline of all living creatures and copper is vital in the formation of red blood cells. It works closely with and is needed in the proper absorption of iron. When your chickens eat proper food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients like copper, they are geared towards having a healthier lifespan which will also result in quality eggs and able-bodied chicks.
Although not a very famous micronutrient, manganese is important in bone health and metabolism. It works together with all the other essential vitamins and minerals to keep the body in top shape!
All things considered, instead of asking, “can chickens eat bananas?” maybe it’s high time to rephrase that into, “why don’t I let my chickens eat bananas?” The benefits more than outweigh the disadvantages!
How Much Banana Should You Feed Your Chickens
Chickens can eat mostly anything but they still have specific dietary needs. Their intestines have a hard time digesting food with high sugar content. They also demand a predominantly dry diet. That said, bananas remain to be an excellent food source for poultry as long as it is given in small amounts. Depending on the size, chickens can be given one-fifth of an average-sized one and around one-sixth of a longer or larger sized banana. You can give these as a nice treat so you don’t necessarily feed them a banana every day.
Again, the dietary restrictions of your birds should not keep you from letting them eat bananas. As long as you continue to feed your chickens this golden fruit with the correct portions, there will be nothing to worry about.
Should You Give Your Chicken Banana Peel
While our clucky friends also like banana peels, we’d caution against it unless you know where the bananas came from. Fruits that undergo mass production are typically treated with insecticide which is particularly concentrated onto the peel of bananas. In case you would like your chickens to benefit from the nutrients found in the banana peel too, here are some ways you can prepare it to make it nibble-friendly for poultry.
Before you start boiling the banana peels, you should wash it carefully and properly. This is the only way to make sure that whatever pesticides were used, will be removed. You wouldn’t want your dear chickens eating anything that is chemical-laden. After that first step, you can proceed to boil the peels of your bananas. This will turn the firm and rubbery texture into soft edible treats that their tiny beaks can easily bite into!
Cut it into small pieces
Make it easier for the birds to eat the peel by cutting them into small pieces, too. Aside from boiling them, allow them to enjoy the sweet snack even more by making them bite-sized.
Not all chickens are the same and some won’t eat the peels at all! If you want them to benefit from all the good benefits it has, doing these two simple steps will make their banana-peel-eating adventure easier and definitely more enjoyable. It is a treat after all!
How To Prepare Banana For Chickens
Some prefer hanging the whole banana for the flock to enjoy. One whole banana is enough for 5 or 6 chickens to devour. If you want to control portions, you can cut it into small pieces or mash them so they can bite into them easier. During the summer or dryer months, you may want to consider freezing your bananas before you serve them. This way, bananas become a refreshing snack for them too!
Alternatives To Banana For Chickens
Because bananas are considered treats for poultry, here are some possible alternatives that chickens enjoy eating. Check out this chicken-approved treats or favorites for our favorite birds!
- Berries – much like bananas, these fruits are also on the damp and sweet side. They are also considered as treats and must be given in moderation. Chickens love to eat strawberries, these are their favorite!
- Brocolli and cauliflower – oh chickens will not only eat these, they would gobble up these babies for sure! These are among their favorites as well and they are highly nutritious for chickens, too.
- Worms – chickens are birds and the saying goes, “the early bird catches the worm” holds true! They adore worms and they are a good source of protein for them as well.
- Eggs – yes, eggs. It is a misconception that chickens are herbivores, they are actually omnivores and eggs are among their favorite to eat. They are a great source of protein as well and you can give it to them raw or cooked. They like eating the shells also! Nothing goes to waste!
- Leafy greens – aside from the usual poultry pellets, chickens also love vegetables. This may be why there are thought to be herbivores. They consider leafy greens like lettuce as treats and you can give it plus points for being high in nutrients too!
If humans have their favorite treats after a long day, consider bananas the same for your chickens. The question, “can chickens eat bananas?” has been asked many times before. It may have stemmed from the fact that chickens like typically dry food but who says they can’t have something sweet every once in a while, too? As long as given in the right amounts, bananas are good sources of vitamins and minerals that will keep your birds happy and healthy.
Points to always remember are:
- One whole banana is usually enough for at most 6 chickens. Divide it if you must and cut them into small portions to make sure they don’t get more than they can handle.
- Bananas are great nutrient sources. Don’t stop yourself from giving them these treats.
- Always consider than banana peels are treated with chemicals like insecticides. If you want your chickens to eat not only bananas but their peels too, make sure you wash them properly, boil, and cut them so they won’t have a hard time eating.
As long as bananas are prepared correctly and given in moderation, there is absolutely no problem if feeding them to your chicken. Even in small amounts, they will still be able to benefit from the banana’s nutritional profile. Packed with vitamins and minerals, bananas can aid in making your chickens healthy and strong. Not only is it a superfood for humans, it is likewise nourishing for chickens also.
Bananas are one of the most readily available fruits. They are easy to come by in markets or stores. We usually have some at the house. Consider them an easy treat to prepare for your birds especially during hot days. If you serve them frozen, they can even help in hydrating the chickens. Before you go gaga over the goodness and benefits of bananas, also keep in mind the possible dangers if your chickens eat too much. Therefore, we like to say, “don’t go bananas” when you feed your birds, always take note of the correct portions even if you find them to be very a-peel-ing!