Chickens are known to be omnivores, and one of the best things about them is how they can eat a wide variety of foods.
That said, they aren’t garbage disposals – and there are some things you’ll need to keep in mind if you want to keep your chickens happy and healthy.
So can chickens eat blackberries?
If you grow blackberries or have wild plants on your property, that might be a question you have found yourself asking.
And the answer? YES, they can!
As a chicken owner, it’s important to know the food that is good for them and what should not be on their diet.
In this blog post, we will focus on blackberries and whether chickens can eat them or not.
Do Chickens Like to Eat Blackberries?
Blackberries are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and they’re also packed with antioxidants.
For chickens, this means that blackberries can help boost their immune system and overall health.
Blackberries are also low in calories, which makes them a great snack for chickens who might be prone to obesity or weight gain.
The high fiber content found in blackberries can help promote healthy digestion in chickens.
When it comes to whether chickens like to eat blackberries or not, the answer is yes!
Chickens enjoy a variety of fruits, including blackberries.
However, it’s important to note that chickens should only be given blackberries in moderation, as too many can cause digestive issues like diarrhea.
It’s recommended to provide blackberries as a treat rather than a staple food item.
What Are the Benefits of Feeding Blackberries to Chickens?
While many people think that chickens only enjoy grains and seeds, the truth is that they can enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well.
Blackberries are just one example!
Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider feeding blackberries to chickens.
Blackberries are a great source of hydration for chickens.
As we all know, chickens need a constant supply of water to stay healthy and hydrated.
However, in hot weather, their water can quickly heat up and become unpalatable.
Feeding your chickens blackberries can help ensure they get enough water in their diet, even on those hot summer days.
Blackberries are high in fiber, which helps to keep your chickens’ digestive systems healthy.
Providing your chickens with enough fiber in their diet can help prevent digestive issues, such as sour crops or impacted crops, which can be painful and dangerous for your chickens.
Blackberries contain a variety of antioxidants, which help to protect cells from damage.
For chickens, this can mean healthier immune systems and a decreased risk of health issues such as respiratory infections or egg-bound hens.
Vitamins and Minerals
Blackberries are rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese.
All of these nutrients help to keep your chickens healthy and strong.
For example, Vitamin K is essential for a healthy blood clotting process, while Manganese is important for healthy bone development.
The Seeds Can Help the Gizzard
Chickens need grit in their diet to help grind up and digest their food properly.
Blackberry seeds can act as natural grit, helping to keep your chickens’ gizzard healthy.
Providing your chickens with blackberries can be a great way to supplement their diet with natural grit.
What is the Best Way to Feed Blackberries to Chickens?
The best way to feed blackberries to chickens is by washing, cutting, and crushing them before serving.
Chickens may peck on whole blackberries, but they might miss out on the nutrients that are present in the skin and seeds.
So, it’s recommended to crush the blackberries first and offer them in a container or bowl that’s shallow enough for chickens to reach.
Be sure to remove any moldy or spoiled blackberries to avoid infections.
What to Keep in Mind When Feeding Chickens Blackberries
There’s no denying that chickens absolutely love blackberries – they’ll gobble them up faster than you can blink!
Still, as with any type of food, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when feeding your feathered friends this delicious fruit.
Be Careful if You Let Them Eat Right From the Plant
Be careful if you let them eat right from the plant.
It may seem like a good idea to let your chickens peck blackberries right off the bush, but this can actually lead to bumblefoot.
Blackberry bushes have thorns that can easily get stuck in your chickens’ feet, causing painful sores that can lead to infection.
If you do decide to allow your chickens to free-range around blackberry bushes, be sure to keep a close eye on them and watch for any signs of injury.
Fence Off Bushes if You Want to Save Some Berries For Yourself
If you’re hoping to harvest some blackberries for yourself, it’s best to fence off the bushes to keep your chickens from getting to them.
Chickens are notorious for pecking holes in berries and ruining entire crops, so it’s important to take steps to protect your fruit if you want to be able to enjoy it yourself.
Don’t Feed Them Moldy Blackberries
While blackberries are generally safe and healthy for chickens to eat, it’s important to avoid feeding them any that may be moldy or rotten.
These can cause digestive issues and make your chickens sick, so always inspect your berries before giving them to your feathered friends.
If you do come across any moldy berries, dispose of them immediately.
Leaves Are Fine, But Make Sure They Aren’t Sprayed
It’s safe to say that most chickens love blackberries, but they also enjoy nibbling on the leaves.
Blackberry leaves are perfectly fine for chickens to eat, but make sure that the leaves are not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides that could harm your chickens.
Watch for Diarrhea
Watch for signs of diarrhea – in some cases, feeding too many blackberries or other fruits can cause diarrhea in chickens.
If you notice that your chickens have loose, watery stools, it’s a good idea to cut back on the number of blackberries you’re giving them and monitor their behavior closely.
If the symptoms persist, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
Don’t Feed Them to Baby Chicks
While blackberries are a great occasional treat for adult chickens, they are unsuitable for baby chicks.
The berries are too big, and feeding them to chicks can throw off the nutritional balance they need.
Introduce blackberries to your chickens’ diet only once they have reached maturity.
Moderation is Key – Only Feed as Occasional Treats
Feeding blackberries to your chickens is safe as long as it’s done in moderation.
Blackberries should be introduced as occasional treats, rather than being a staple part of their diet.
Too many blackberries can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues.
Consider feeding them a small portion once or twice a week.
Don’t Mix it Directly Into the Feed
Resist the urge to mix blackberries directly into your chickens’ feed.
Blackberries will turn the feed into a soggy mess that chickens won’t enjoy eating.
Instead, feed blackberries separately as a treat.
Can I Give My Chickens Blackberry Jelly or Jam?
Blackberry jelly or jam is made from ripe blackberries that are cooked down with sugar.
While it is delicious for human consumption, it’s not clear whether chickens can safely eat it or not.
The sugar content in jelly or jam can be harmful to chickens, as it can cause them to become overweight or lead to other health complications.
Moreover, most commercially available jellies or jams contain preservatives and additives that are not good for chickens either.
On the other hand, if you make jelly or jam at home, you can control what goes into it.
If you use organic and fresh blackberries and reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar added, then it’s possible for your chickens to enjoy it in moderation.
You can also freeze it to reduce the sugar content and make it last longer.
Another thing to bear in mind is the fact that chickens are mainly grain eaters and should not consume too many fruits or vegetables as it can alter their digestive system.
As treats, they can have a handful of berries or small pieces of bread, crackers, or grains.
Just don’t overdo it!
Can Chickens Eat Other Berries and Fruits?
While most of your chickens’ diet should consist of high-quality layer feed and fresh water, you may wonder if you can give your feathered friends a special treat of berries or fruits.
After all, many of us enjoy snacking on fruit during the day – so why can’t we share with our chickens?
If you’re looking for a good alternative to blackberries, blueberries should be at the top of the list.
They are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
They’re also small and easy for chickens to peck at, making them a great snack option.
You can offer fresh or frozen blueberries to your chickens, and they’ll enjoy picking them right off the bush or out of a dish.
Just remember to keep the servings small, limiting them to a few berries at a time.
Like blueberries, strawberries are another great source of vitamins and antioxidants.
They’re also sweet and juicy, which chickens love.
However, their seeds can be a bit tricky for chickens to digest, so you may want to chop them into smaller pieces before serving.
Again, small servings of fresh strawberries are best for chickens.
Apples are safe for chickens to eat, but you’ll want to remove the seeds and core first.
You can slice the apples into small pieces or grate them for your chickens to nibble on.
Apples are a good source of fiber, but they’re also high in sugar, so it’s best to feed them in moderation.
Watermelon is a great summer treat for chickens.
It’s full of water and easy for them to eat when cut into small cubes.
Like apples, it’s high in sugar, so you’ll want to feed it sparingly.
And finally, grapes.
Grapes are a fun snack for chickens as they can be pecked and chased around.
However, like with other fruits, you’ll want to limit the serving size and chop the grapes into small pieces to prevent choking hazards.
Be sure to remove any grapes that may have gone bad before feeding them to your chickens.
What Fruits Should Chickens Not Eat?
Avocado is a delicious fruit to humans, but it’s highly toxic to chickens.
The toxic component of avocado is called persin and can cause labored breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, and heart failure in chickens who consume it.
Do not use avocado pulp, skin, or seeds as a treat for your chickens.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes should also not be fed to chickens.
Citrus fruits are high in acid, which can upset a chicken’s digestive tract and cause a decrease in egg-laying.
Even small amounts of citrus fruits can disrupt a chicken’s gut flora.
It’s recommended to stay away from feeding your chickens any type of citrus fruit.
Tomatoes should also be avoided, as they contain a compound called solanine.
Solanine is a toxic chemical found in the green parts of tomatoes and other nightshades that can cause digestive issues and paralysis in chickens.
While ripe red tomatoes are safe to feed to chickens, it’s best to avoid the unripe, green parts.
Finally, cherries are another fruit you should not give to your chickens.
Cherries contain cyanide, a toxic component that can cause serious harm or death in chickens if consumed in large quantities.
Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? Final Thoughts
Chickens can eat blackberries, but in moderation.
Blackberries offer many health benefits to your chickens, including building strong bones and improving their immune system.
However, like all treats, too many blackberries can do more harm than good to your chickens, leading to health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
So, the key is to give them blackberries in moderation, ensuring the seeds are removed and ideally mashed or blended to make these delectable snacks easier for them to eat.
By following these tips, you can offer your chickens a healthy and tasty snack that they are sure to love!