Giving chickens treats is a favorite pastime of many chicken lovers. It’s easy to toss your flock some leftovers and assume they’ll be able to eat them without issue. But the truth is, not all treats are created equal.
Lucky for you, if you’re a grape lover, grapes are a safe choice as a chicken treat, and your chickens will love you for it!
Grapes are juicy and sweet, even when they start to shrivel up…raisins, anyone?
But be warned, your chickens will fight over these tasty little morsels if you haven’t provided enough for everyone.
So, yes, overall and in moderation, grapes are safe for chickens. Read on to learn a bit more about chickens and their relationship with grapes.
But Should Chickens Eat Grapes?
Well, in theory, sure…no issues. But everyone knows that too much of a good thing can turn out pretty bad.
Chickens who swallow grapes whole may choke (remember your chickens are toothless). So an over-eager chicken may panic and swallow too soon and choke.
So, introduce grapes slowly and your chooks should be able to handle them in moderation.
As you may have noticed, I am urging you to give grapes to your chickens in moderation. It should never be considered a complete diet for your birds. While grapes aren’t bad for your chickens, they aren’t going to provide everything they need in a healthy balanced diet.
Consider A Chicken’s Natural Diet
When in doubt, take time to consider what chickens eat in nature, and how much of it they might consume if they just happened across something delicious. For example, chickens would probably happily pluck away at fresh grapes if they came across them in the wild. But you aren’t going to find a bush of raisins nearby, so it’s safe to assume that chickens wouldn’t ever have access to them in nature.
Additionally, chickens may come across a grapevine. eat until they are content, and then move on to something else (or until the grapes are gone or out of reach). Chickens won’t gorge indefinitely on grapes in the wild—they’d keep their diet balanced and peck away bugs and other greens in the process.
The point is, a chicken wouldn’t overeat grapes (or raisins for that matter) in the wild. They’d balance their diet accordingly. So, do your best to mimic this behavior and help confined chickens get the balanced nutrition they need.
Can I Give My Chickens the Stems of Grapes?
Yes! Your chickens will peck away at every part of the grape, including the vine! Again, as long as your chickens don’t choke, or overdo it, they should be fine with the whole she-bang…yes even seeds within the grapes.
The only thing unsafe about grapes might be the chemicals that may have been sprayed on them when they were growing on the vine, or afterward. So, wash grapes before you give them to your chickens, just as you would for yourself.
What About Raisins?
Raisins are grapes, right? Yes, but never forget that raisins are smaller, and therefore the sugar content is more concentrated. Additionally, store-bought raisins may have unpleasant additive.
Your chickens love raisins just as much as they like grapes, but just like anything else…they are only safe in moderation.
Here’s the thing…overeating raisins will cause your chickens to gain weight, pretty quickly. And that’s just not healthy, especially if you’re raising birds that naturally grow rapidly, like broilers.
Extra weight on a chicken can cause joint problems, inability to carry their own weight, and other health issues. So sugary foods, like raisins, should be avoided or served in moderation.
So, now you know…chickens like grapes, and they can consume them, along with raisins, as long as you don’t allow them to overindulge.
It can be tempting to plump up your chicken with extra raisins, but it’s probably not the healthiest way of helping your chicken grow. Be smart, think about chickens in their natural environment… in and try your best to mimic a balanced diet for your feathered friends.
Lastly, if your chickens stick up their beak at something you’ve offered them, let them take a hard pass on it because chickens are very good at knowing what they should and should not eat (most of the time).