Chickens aren’t picky. They’d eat almost anything they could peck on the ground.
But if a fig accidentally lands where they forage, should you let them eat it?
We know that figs are sweet and are perfect to add to cakes, pies, salads, or be eaten as is.
I don’t know about you, but me? I love them!
The question, however, is can our chickens eat figs?
Is it safe for them to consume or not? Which part of the fig can chickens safely eat, then?
Let’s find out!
Can Chickens Eat Figs?
You don’t have to worry when your chickens accidentally get their hands (or beaks, rather!) on a fig because, yes, chickens can definitely eat them.
These exotic treats are packed with vitamins and minerals that a chicken would benefit from.
And because they’re sweet, you won’t even need to force-feed them to your flock—they sure would gobble these up all by themselves!
However, not all parts of the fig are safe for them to consume.
Certain bits and parts could be toxic or irritating for our chickens.
But we’ll get on to that in a bit!
In the meantime, let’s compare first the nutritional benefit of figs and how they do in supplying the nutritional needs of our feathered friends.
Nutritional Benefit of Figs
Let’s take a quick look at what 100 grams of figs would offer in terms of nutrients, as reported by the USDA FoodData Central.
Nutrients Found in a 100-gram Fig
|Vitamin B6||0.113 mg|
|Vitamin C||2 mg|
As you can see, figs have a high water content which helps keep your chickens hydrated, especially in hot weather.
It also contains a good amount of carbohydrates, which actually make up the biggest component of the poultry diet.
Figs also have a decent amount of fiber and calcium, both necessary for their digestive system and for egg production.
And yes, they contain protein, too, which is essential for the growth and development of our chickens.
However, look at how much sugar a 100-gram fig has.
While it’s still natural sugar (which is good), it’s worth noting that chickens don’t need too much sugar in their diet.
Sugar, when not given in moderation, can lead to several health issues, so make sure to monitor your flock’s intake.
But enough sugar, on the other hand, can help give them the calories and, therefore, the energy they need to burn throughout the day.
Nutritional Needs of Chickens
Now let’s take a look at how much of these nutrients chickens actually require to be healthy.
The table below only shows a fraction of what chickens need in their diet.
Nutritional Requirements of a Chicken
|Nutrient||From 0 weeks onwards|
|Protein||12% to 18%|
|Calcium||0.60 to 3.40%|
|Vitamin A||1500 to 4000 IU|
|Folic Acid||0.25 to 0.55 mg|
|Fiber||2.5 to 4%|
*For complete information about the nutrient requirements of poultry, read directly from the sources linked above!
Now, on to the more pressing concern—which parts of figs can a chicken safely eat, and which ones to avoid?
Let’s find out!
Can Chickens Eat Dried Figs?
Yes, you can feed your chickens dried figs, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
You should make sure that they don’t have any preservatives or additives at all!
One good thing about keeping dried figs in your pantry is they definitely last longer than fresh ones.
You can just bust one out from the jar and feed it to your chickens as treats.
However, take note that dried figs have more concentrated sugar and calories by weight, so just give it to your flock sparingly.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Figs?
Sure! If you happen to have left-over cooked figs from your lunch or afternoon tea, you can safely feed them to your chickens without guilt.
But it’s worth mentioning that cooking figs and all other fruits and vegetables actually reduces their nutritional value.
Can Chickens Eat Fig Skin and Seeds?
Yes, you can let them peck on the fig skin and seeds with no worry.
There’s not much information on whether these actually add up to the overall nutritional value of figs.
What we know, however, is there are a lot of fig seed byproduct in the market that says they’re packed with Vitamine E and antioxidants which helps keep our skin healthy.
Both skin and seeds don’t cause any harm, anyway, so you can still safely let your chickens feed on the whole fruit itself.
Can Chickens Eat Old Figs?
Well, that depends on what you mean by “old.”
You can feed an overripe fig to chickens, alright. That is if they’re going to come near it!
Based on experience, my chickens would turn their noses (or beaks!) away from overripe figs because these tend to have a sour taste.
But the bottom line is, yes, it’s still safe for our feathered friends to eat them.
However, if “old” means moldy or expired, then the answer is no.
Moldy food, even at whatever level of moldiness they seem to be, should not be fed to chickens.
But why, you ask? We eat moldy foods ourselves, anyway! Cheese anyone?
Eating moldy foods in chickens can lead to digestive issues, a weakened immune system, and decreased egg production, to name a few side effects.
You may also see them lose their appetite, become lethargic, and display unusual behavior, among other symptoms.
So, you know, just… don’t risk it.
Can Chickens Eat Fig Leaves?
Now, this is where we draw the line as to which parts of the figs are safe for chickens to consume.
Fig leaves are toxic to almost all animals that would happen upon it, and yes, that includes chickens.
These broad, 3 to 5-lobe leaves contain ficain, an enzyme that might cause irritation to their throats and crops, especially when ingested.
In fact, the bark of the fig tree itself contains this as well.
The chickens who accidentally ingest even just a small ficain might vomit or get diarrhea.
But enough amount of it can also lead to organ failure and, worst, death.
Sure, we humans can eat fig leaves with proper preparation.
But remember, animals are wired differently, so better to just leave the leaves be when it comes to feeding them.
Can Chickens Eat Fig Stem?
Stems are technically safe to eat, but they’re too fibrous, which makes chewing and digesting them hard work.
So if you won’t eat it, I’d say better not to give them to your chickens, too.
Can Chickens Eat Unripe Figs?
Green figs can also be eaten because they don’t contain any harmful chemicals that could hurt most farm animals.
However, they could still contain a small amount of ficain, which could be irritating to the throat and stomach, so you should still give this with caution.
How to Feed Chicken Figs?
Personally, I just cut the ripe figs in half and let my chickens peck on them on the ground.
But I warn you; this could be really messy, so make sure to clean up afterward to prevent flies and other insects from hanging out where your flock forages.
So if you want to avoid the mess, you can take extra steps, like placing it in a bowl or hanging the fig from somewhere where they can still reach it.
FAQs about Chickens and Figs
Can chickens eat Fig Newtons?
Fig Newtons are high in sugar, which is too much for a chicken and could be enough to send them to the grave.
Can chickens eat dates?
Sure, dates are actually safe and healthy for chickens.
However, because dates are sweet, they should only be given sparingly or as an occasional treat.
Are all figs edible?
No, not all figs are edible.
Some are only ornamental, like the mistletoe fig and creeping fig.
Yes, Chickens Can Eat Figs!
To wrap things up, yes, you can go ahead and give figs to your chickens—flesh, skin, seeds, and all.
But only give it as a treat and not as a part of their daily diet because its sugar content may be too much for what your flock actually needs to stay healthy.
Also, make sure they don’t eat fig leaves, as those contain harmful toxins that will surely cause trouble to your chicken’s health and development.
So, now that we’ve sorted that out, you should read more of our articles about what other fruits chickens can or cannot eat.
I’ve linked them below for easier navigation, so check them out!