Can our chickens eat dried cranberries the same way we enjoy them?
One of the best things about keeping chickens is their ability to turn food waste into healthy, golden yolks.
If you’ve been keeping chickens, you have a bucket or container for kitchen scraps to deliver as a treat.
Can dried cranberries be fed to your chickens too? The answer is yes, with one small caveat.
Cranberries are often considered a winter fruit, filling salad bowls and sides of turkey dinner.
Whether fresh, frozen, cooked, dried, or raw – your chickens will happily gulp them down!
So… Chickens Can Eat Dried Cranberries. But Why?
Whether you have a few left over from dinner or make a winter hen scratch, cranberries benefit your birds and reduce food waste.
Cranberries contain high nutrient and antioxidant levels.
They’re also a great source of Vitamin C, which a chicken cannot readily produce within its body.
They can reduce the risk of a UTI (Urinary tract infection), translating to less E.Coli bacteria in the chicken.
Not to mention, cranberries can boost immune systems, provide a valuable source of fiber and encourage winter pecking and scratching in the fresh air outside of the coop.
In the summer months, I often scatter kitchen scraps around the chicken yard, though they spend all day scratching and searching for tasty morsels.
When the ground is snow-covered or wet and muddy in the winter, I get a little creative with feeding to keep the chickens busy and outdoors.
Chickens digest food using grit, sand, small stones, and pebbles to grind the food in their gizzards.
I supply grit in winter, as the ground is typically covered in snow.
Fresh, clean water to aid digestion is paramount to keeping a chicken’s digestive system healthy.
A well-rounded layer pellet or feed should be your birds’ primary source of nutrition as it contains a balanced nutrient and protein profile.
However, the added source of food is a flock favorite!
Have you ever seen a chicken run off with a high-value snack with other hens in hot pursuit?
If feeding dried cranberries, this is the best boredom buster for chickens (and a joy to watch).
To feed safely, I remain outside with the flock as they pick and choose their favorite snack from the string and remove it once it is empty.
Adding many fruits and vegetables keeps the birds busy while boosting their immune systems. Dried cranberries slide easily onto the line.
This method of feeding dried cranberries to chickens is quick to make and takes the birds a while to get through!
As an added bonus, there’s nothing to remove when they are finished eating.
It’s the perfect way to pack a lot of needed vitamins and minerals into a fun, boredom buster for your chickens.
For a complete list and bonus ideas of what you could add to this hen hay-day snack, check out this comprehensive guide of things your chickens can (and can’t) eat.
This is the fastest option for feeding chickens extra greens, veggies, and, yes – dried cranberries!
My flock consistently devours any and every “chicken salad” I make!
I included spring mix salad greens, carrots, apples, dried cranberries, parsley, oregano, bread, cucumber, and oats (unsweetened) in this particular dish.
One Thing To Consider
Yes, chickens can be fed dried cranberries, but those made commercially can (and often do) contain preservatives and added sugars that are unsuitable for your birds.
Suppose you intend to feed a larger amount, not just a few. In that case, I suggest buying dried cranberries without any additives, buying them frozen and drying them yourself, or feeding them thawed.
Chickens Can Eat Dried Cranberries… Bon Appetit!
However you decide to feed dried cranberries to your chickens, know that you’ll provide enrichment, energy, and a healthy food source to your feathery friends.