Yes, chickens can eat papayas! They can eat ripe papayas skin, flesh and seeds. They are incredibly nutritious and a sweet treat chickens love to eat.
Before you go chucking papaya out to your flock, keep reading to find out the best way to feed it, the benefits and any watchouts.
Is Papaya Safe for Chickens?
It is definitely safe for chickens to eat papaya. As we mentioned, they are packed full of good nutrients that will strengthen and improve just about every facet of your flock's physical wellbeing.
Can Chickens Eat Papaya Seeds?
Yes, chickens can eat papaya seeds, technically. The seeds of a papaya are not toxic, however, they are hard and can be difficult to eat and digest. Because of this they can be a choking hazard and possibly lead to an internal blockage.
Due to the choking hazard, it may be best to remove papaya seeds before feeding them to your chickens.
The seeds are easy to remove, though. Just slice the papaya in half and use a spoon to scoop the seeds out. Easy peasy!
Can Chickens Eat Papaya Leaves?
Yes, papaya leaves are safe to eat for chickens. Unlike when chickens eat tomatoes and cannot have the leaves
Can Chickens Eat Unripe Papayas?
Finally, only feed ripe papayas to your chickens (and to yourself, honestly). Papayas, when unripe, contain papain which is harsh and can cause harm to the esophagus.
But don't worry too much, just as chickens can eat asparagus despite the potential oxalic acid toxin, as long as you feed papaya in a safe manner, it's totally safe.
How To Feed Chickens Papayas
No matter what method you use, always start out by washing them. This will remove any unwanted pesticide residue that may still be present.
- Cut the papaya in half.
- Scoop out the seeds with a spoon (or leave them if you want)
- Slice it into slivers or small cubes. (optional - helps to prevent fighting since it's spread out more).
- Toss it out to the chickens.
On really hot days, we love to freeze our fruit for healthy snacks. Freezing papaya works well for a cool treat during the summer months. Chickens can eat blueberries, chickens eat blackberries, chickens eat grapes, and chickens eat cherries as well - try out a whole frozen fruit medley.
Bonus points if your run a needle and fishing line through them to make a hanging chicken toy. It's a good snack and the chickens will not get bored chasing the swinging fruit.
Finally, you can dehydrate papaya and give that to your chickens. Removing the moisture will make the sugar content a little more potent and can be risky, though. However, if you want to peel them first, feed the fruit to your chickens and then dry the skins for a snack later on.
The skins typically have all of the same nutrients but without the excess sugar. To dry them yourself you can put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in the oven on the lowest temperature, usually around 140º to 150º, and let them bake for about 12 hours; checking every couple of hours on their progress.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
Benefits of Papayas
Yes, papayas are very healthy for chickens to eat! We've said it a few times already but now let's talk a little bit about WHY they are so healthy. Aside from being nutrient dense, papayas have been known to have additional health benefits.
Papaya as a Dewormer
If you have ever raised any livestock you know parasites can quickly become a big problem. This issue is only made worse by the overuse of many over the counter dewormers leading to stronger and more resistant breeds of worms.
Papaya as an Antibacterial
There are some other studies that have made a connection between papayas and wounds healing more quickly and effectively. Papayas contain many antibacterial properties and thus can help increase your chickens' ability to heal itself when injured.
Papayas as a Treatment for Coccidia
Papaya as an Antifungal and Antiviral
As if the above benefits were not enough, papayas have also been used as an antifungal and, because they are packed with so much immune boosting Vitamin C, they act as an antiviral, as well.
Nutrients in Papaya
- Vitamin A: provides support during times of stress, immune support and helps with eyes and skin.
- Antioxidants: helps protect from oxidative damage, repair damage from free radicals, and fight off/prevent future damage. chickens can eat watermelon and chickens can eat raisins.
- Vitamin C: assists with overall egg laying, cellular and immune support. Chickens can eat oranges and chickens can eat lemons for more vitamin C.
- Fiber: supports overall digestive health, growth and nutrient availability. For even more fiber, chickens can eat kiwi.
The table below, courtesy of the USDA FoodData Center, has a breakdown of the nutritional analysis based on a serving size of 1 cup of 1" papaya pieces (145g).
|Carbohydrate, by difference
|Fiber, total dietary
|Sugars, total including NLEA
|Vitamin A, RAE
|Vitamin A, IU
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
Feeding Chickens Papaya FAQs
As with anything good, feeding papayas to your chickens can be overdone. We stick with the 10% rule when feeding our chickens treats. That basically means that no more than 10% of their diet should come from anything other than a quality chicken feed and whatever they can catch while free ranging.
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.