It may sound a little crazy, but chickens absolutely LOVE grapes!
Sure, chickens will eat pretty much anything and everything you give them (including chunks of birthday cake). But the becomes a little more challenging when you want to find a sweet little treat that they’ll enjoy that also improves their health and wellness – but that’s exactly what grapes can do.
Of course, you’ll need to know exactly what kinds of grapes to feed your chickens and you’ll need to know how many grapes you can feed them until it starts to become and over indulgence. But that’s exactly why we have put together this quick guide.
Below you’ll find details that cover much everything you need to know about feeding your chickens grapes.
You’ll better understand the nutritional benefits of these little treats, you have a good idea of how to best prepare grapes snacks for your beaked little birds, and you also know when to reel in these grapes snacks don’t start to get sick something that in moderation can really help them out.
Let’s get right into it!
Can Chickens Safely Eat Grapes?
As you have probably guessed by now, chickens can absolutely eat grapes safely – though there are a handful of things you need to think about before you start to throw bushels and bushels of grapes into the chicken coop.
For starters, it’s important to understand that chickens really are a bit of a natural food disposal.
They will eat pretty much anything and everything you put in front of them, pecking away until they find a way to get into their digestive system – regardless of whether or not it is good for them.
In the wild chickens will peck at the ground pretty much nonstop, always on the hunt for something else to eat. They work plenty of oddball things into their digestive system because of that (and have developed a bit of an iron constitution over time because of it) but totally new foods – like grapes – that they wouldn’t have necessarily encountered “in the wild” can still throw their health for a loop.
It is also important to remember that chickens do not have any teeth.
Their beaks are designed to smash and break up the foods that they are eating, and large chunks of grapes (or whole grapes) can pose a choking risk for chickens that will eat before they think about what they’re doing 9 times out of 10.
Combine all of this with the havoc that a lot of excess sugar can wreak on the digestive system of your chickens (and grapes are loaded with natural sugars) and you have the potential for things to go sideways in a hurry.
This is why feeding grapes in moderation is such a big piece of the puzzle. Will cover that more in depth in just a little bit.
Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Grapes
Aside from being a nice little treat and a changeup from their regular daily diet, fresh grapes are going to give your chicken a couple of pretty unique nutritional benefits that can support their health as well.
For starters, chickens are absolutely loaded with important vitamins and minerals – iron, potassium, and fiber – that chickens need to live happy and healthy lives. All of these vitamins and minerals are present and every day “chicken feed”, but sometimes chickens aren’t getting quite as much of these essential nutritional building blocks as they should be.
A handful of grapes every now and again can “top up” their dietary reserves.
On top of that, grapes are absolutely loaded with omega six fatty acids. These fatty acids are a little bit more challenging to combine in your standard chicken feed, but will help to support overall immune health, digestive efficiency, and even support better blood sugar levels throughout your chickens.
Best of all, just a few grapes given to your birds every now and again will help to replenish these critical fatty acid stores – and you’ll find that they appear a lot healthier almost immediately after they have ingested them.
Grapes also represent a fantastic source of highly bioavailable vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin K. Just like humans, chickens need these vitamins for optimum function of all their bodily systems. And just like humans, chickens get the overwhelming majority of these vitamins from their daily diet (particularly vitamin D).
You can’t go wrong by adding a little bit of grapes into the mix.
How Many Grapes Should You Feed To Your Chickens?
There are a couple of important considerations you’ll need to focus on when feeding your chicken grapes, but the most important one is making sure that you aren’t ever over feeding them these sweet treats.
A couple of grapes every now and again will be a welcome addition to their daily diet. But adding a lot of grapes on a regular basis will skew their diet, dramatically reduce the amount of protein that they are consuming, and can really compromise their overall health and wellness in a hurry.
You see, chickens eat a daily diet that is typically very high in protein. If they start to fill up on grapes and stop hunting for more protein their diet shifts to a carbohydrate rich diet – and that’s just not something that they can stand for too long while remaining healthy.
Balance is the name of the game when you are giving your chickens a little treat. It’s a good idea to practice moderation and only give a couple of grapes to each chicken a couple of times each week and certainly not every single day.
How You Should Prepare Grapes For Your Chickens
Preparing grapes to feed your chickens is a pretty simple and straightforward process.
All you’ll really need to do is give your grapes a good washing, making sure that they are free of dirt, debris, and any pesticides that they may have picked up during the harvesting and shipping process.
After the grapes are cleaned you’ll want to make sure that they are all pretty much the same size (trending towards a smaller size, too) – carefully removing any of the grapes that are potential choking hazards from the bushel for sure.
From there, you’ll want to consider snapping a handful of grapes off of the main stem to feed each individual chicken. This is especially important if you have a couple of “greedy eaters” that may cause a bit of trouble if you through the entire bushel into your chicken feed area.
You don’t have to worry about pulling grapes from the stems themselves, though.
Chickens will (by and large) avoid those stems entirely and focus only on the grapes themselves. But even if they do end up pecking some of those stems that’s okay, too. The stems aren’t toxic and they won’t consume enough of them to get into any digestive trouble.
As a general rule, you’ll just want to think about how your chickens eat their daily feed to get a feel for whether or not you need to take a couple of extra precautions to first ensure that all of your chickens are getting this sweet treat and then to make sure that they are eating it safely.
Maybe supervise your chickens the first few times you give them grapes to see how they respond and you’ll have a better idea of how to adjust things (as necessary) going forward.
Alternatives To Grapes For Chickens
One of the best alternatives to grapes for your chickens are raisins (dried up and concentrated grapes), but you have to be even more diligent when you’re tossing these to your chickens.
Raisins are going to have a much higher concentration of sugar compared to grapes that are still mostly water. That means you’ll want to feed them even less often than you would traditional grapes, but they’ll probably be even easier to share with your chickens because of their shriveled sizes.
Consider adding a few raisins to the top of their traditional chicken scratch as opposed to something that you have them peck right out of your hands in large quantities and you’ll be good to go!
At the end of the day, people have been giving their chickens grapes and raisins ever since they have been keeping these birds without much headache or hassle.
You may find that your chickens can eat a few more grapes than you expected or a few less, but as a general rule these delicious little fruit treats aren’t going to make any trouble for them, your flock, or their long-term health.
As always, monitor their behavior (and their stool) after you have introduced something new to their daily food source to make sure that things are going smoothly. If things start to change dial back the amount of grapes that you are giving them and then slowly reintroduce smaller quantities to see if that makes a difference after everything resets back to normal.
Just don’t be surprised if your chickens really love these sweet (and safe) treats!