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We LOVE blueberries here at MrAnimal Farm. Blueberry pie, blueberry muffins, blueberry scones, even just plain old fresh or frozen blueberries. So, we got to wondering if our animals would enjoy them as much as we do. But first we had to ask can chickens eat blueberries or not?
Are you as curious as we were? Scroll down a little and find out!
Can Chickens Eat Blueberries?
Yes, chickens can eat blueberries and they love them. Blueberries are considered a superfood for humans and can also be considered the same for chickens; in moderation, of course.
Are blueberries safe for chickens?
Blueberries are very safe for your chickens. While, they do contain a decent amount of sugar, if you follow the 90/10 rule, your chickens should suffer no ill effects. The 90/10 rule simply says that the primary, or 90%, dietary source for your chickens should be a quality chicken feed and whatever they can free range. The other 10% can be various other treats.
When feeding any treats, it’s good to make sure that you maintain regular health checks on your chickens to ensure they are staying in tip tip shape.
Just like when you feed other treats high in sugar like pears or nectarines, when you feed them blueberries, make sure that each chicken is only getting a couple with each feeding. Anywhere from 1 to 3 should be well within the safe zone and will not likely result in any health issues, like obesity, sugar addiction, or hypoglycemia.
Generally, treats and snacks should not be an everyday occurrence. We like to use our treats as a special event and stick to 3 or 4 times a week. You can also switch it up and give them blueberries one day, peanuts on another, and papaya or mango on the other days.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
What are the nutritional benefits of blueberries for chickens?
Blueberries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are what give blueberries their dark blue color. In addition to these powerful antioxidants, blueberries also contain a good amount of Vitamin C which can help bolster the immune system and keep your chickens hardier and less likely to become sick.
The table below from the USDA’s FoodData Center has a breakdown of the nutritional analysis based on a serving size of 1 cup (148g) of raw blueberries:
|Fiber, total dietary||3.55||g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||14.4||mg|
|Vitamin A, IU||79.9||IU|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.8||mg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||28.6||µg|
What do these nutrients do?
If the table above is confusing, no worries. Here are what some of those nutrients are and how they affect your chickens’ health.
- Antioxidants: (Anthocyanids, Beta Carotene, Lycopene) repair damage from free radicals, fight off/prevent future damage, protect from oxidative damage, anti-inflammatory, lower blood pressure, improve heart health in high enough doses, development and health of tissue, skin, and feathers
- Vitamin B6: healthy blood vessels, eye/vision health, nervous system , immune system
- Vitamin C: joint, cellular, and immune health; collagen synthesis
- Calcium: bones and egg shell strength
- Carbohydrates: give chickens energy
- Fiber: only small amounts or they can become constipated, get a blockage, etc; enery, growth, and digestive health, reduce cholesterol, controls blood sugar, digestive health
- Folate (B Vitamin): folate deficiency; helps blood formation; healthy feathers & size
- Vitamin K: blood clotting, bone metabolism
- Manganese: bone development, immune system, breaks down carbs, cholesterol, and amino acids; controls blood sugar
- Magnesium: bone development, cellular metabolism
- Potassium: temperature control; hydration & electrolyte regulation, metabolism; heart health/heart disease preventative
- Protein: muscle growth and development
How do you feed chickens blueberries?
Blueberries are really easy to feed to your chickens. Essentially, all you do is give them a good washing to remove any pesticide residue and then scatter them wherever your chickens like to eat. Make sure they are far enough apart that you can monitor how many each chicken is eating and to break up any scuffles that may come from a greedy hen.
We also like to freeze our blueberries and string them up with other frozen fruits like raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, and apples. Then, just hang the string somewhere near the coop and watch the chickens have fun with their new toy.
What fruit is bad for chickens?
Chickens can eat a whole lot of other fruits, vegetables, and berries other than blueberries. Here are some of their favorite snacks that are safe, in moderation.
Vegetables & Gourdes
- Mountain Ash Berries
- Rowan Berries
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.