Grapes are a tasty and delicious snack for humans, but not safe for dogs and some other animals to eat. If you like to let your chickens eat pears and other tasty treats to spoil them, you may be left wondering: can chickens eat grapes?
We know you absolutely love your chickens and you want them to enjoy life and what they eat. So, before you go tossing them your extra grapes, let's be sure you know if they are safe and how to feed them to your flock. Keep reading for all the juicy details.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes?
Yes, chickens can eat grapes. They can eat all different varieties of grapes and the all parts of the grape plant as long as it is fed in moderation due to the high sugar content.
Not only can they eat them, but they will be super psyched if you bring them some to eat. And, as a bonus, feeding your chickens extras from your kitchen or garden can help decrease your chicken feed cost.
They are sweet, juicy and delicious and your chickens will love to gobble them right up. You do want to keep a few things in mind, however, when feeding them.
How Many Grapes Can They Eat?
As when feeding chickens kiwi or other fruits, the key is to feed your chickens grapes in moderation. This is simply due to the fact that grapes, like most other fruits have a high sugar content.
High sugar content and overfeeding in general can cause obesity and other issue for your flock. It has been shown that what and how you feed your chickens has an impact on their susceptibility to heat stress (just as one example of what overfeeding can do).
Heat stress can cause decreased egg laying, GI issues and lots of other health problems.
It is a good rule of thumb to only give treats as around 10% of their overall diet (which should consist of a high quality layer feed). This means, giving a few grapes per chicken per week is a good starting point.
Also, make sure to know how much feed per chicken is required so that you ensure they are getting adequate nutrition.
If you are regularly letting chickens eat blueberries, grapes and other treats, you might want to also make sure you are regularly following a chicken care checklist to ensure that you catch any potential health issues caused by too many treats.
How To Feed Your Chickens Grapes
In order to make sure that your chickens are able to enjoy their grape treat to the max, be sure to follow these guidelines when feeding them:
- Home Grown, Organic or Washed: try to avoid feeding your chickens any pesticides by only offering homegrown (without spraying them), organic store bought or well washed store bought grapes.
- Fresh & Not Moldy: chickens, just like people, shouldn't eat moldy, old or rotten food. So, make sure that you are offering fresh, ripe and clean grapes.
- Cut if possible: while chickens can (and will) peck the grapes apart eventually if you toss them out whole, it is better to cut them in halves or quarters (depending on their size). This helps your chickens eat them better and also avoids any potential overzealous eating accidents where the chickens get the whole grape in their mouth and choke.
- Offer separate from their feed: since grapes have a high water content, you don't want to toss them into a feeder or a bucket with their regular feed. This could cause the feed to get stuck in the feeder and/or to get moldy.
- Hand feed, string them up or toss them on the ground: when you offer them to your flock you can either hand feed them, toss them right on the ground (this is great to toss right into their chicken tractor or chicken run area). Alternatively, you can make a chicken toy by string the grapes up and hanging them in or outside the coop.
Benefits of Grapes for Chickens
There are actually a ton of benefits that your chickens can get from eating grapes as a treat. They are chock full of a variety of vitamins and minerals that can help keep them healthy and happy.
- Hydration: Grapes are actually full of water. So, much like when chickens eat watermelon, grapes are also a really hydrating food to offer them. This makes them a great summertime snack.
- Vitamin C: Grapes have a decent amount of vitamin C in them. Vitamin C is essential for chickens and has a whole slew of benefits from regulating stress to increasing hatch rate to strengthening egg shells. Another way to ramp up vitamin C in your chickens diet is feeding chickens oranges as a treat.
- Vitamin K: Grapes are also high in Vitamin K. This is an essential vitamin for blood clotting and bone density in chickens. Especially if you are raising meat birds, you want to be sure their bones are strong.
This, of course, is not an all-encompassing list of the health benefits of grapes. They are also a good source of antioxidants, copper and fiber just to name a few.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
Generally speaking, yes, grapes are safe and chickens can eat them. However, there are three ways in which they may be hazardous.
Much like when feeding chickens cherries, the size of a grape can be a hazard for chickens because they can easily choke on them. Much like with human children, grapes are the perfect size to get stuck in a chicken's throat.
Usually, chickens will just peck the grape until they have finished eating it. But if there are less grapes than chickens, they may become frantic and try to eat it before someone can take it.
The best way to prevent this is to cut your grapes into smaller pieces so they are easier to swallow for a chicken.
If you grow your own or buy organic/pesticide free grapes, you can ignore this. But for regular store bought grapes, you will want to make sure you wash the grapes thoroughly; just like if you were eating them yourself.
Chickens are really sensitive to any kind of pesticide and ingesting it may make their stomachs feel terrible. You may also want to remove any stems or leaves as those can hold onto pesticides.
The third way grapes can be hazardous is not actually in their natural form. Raisins are grapes that have been dried out. So, can chickens eat raisins or not?
Unlike whole grapes, which can be a big choking hazard, raisins should be no problem for your birds. The real issue is the sugar content.
Since raisins are dried, they have less water to balance out the sugar and are thus highly concentrated. Too much sugar is NOT good for your chickens.
Feeding Chickens Grapes FAQ
Technically, yes, baby chicks can eat grapes. However, they would have to be chopped into tiny pieces and only given a VERY small amount. It may be best to just avoid feeding them this treat until they get a little older.more easily digest.
Yes, chickens can eat grape stems. It will take them some time to make progress on them just like when they eat summer squash plants and other thicker foods. But, over time, they will peck them up.
Yep, chickens can eat grape seeds. And, it would be quite difficult to try to de-seed a grape anyway. The seeds of the grapes are actually a large contributor of the fiber and antioxidants in the grapes.
Yes, chickens can eat grape leaves. In fact, much like the seeds, the leaves are jam packed with a lot of vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin C which have significant health benefits for chickens.
Yep, chickens can eat grape peels. Depending on the variety of the grape, some of the peels can be rather thick and therefore more difficult for your chickens to peck through. But they are still safe and OK for them to eat.
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.