Papayas, also known as papaw or pawpaw, are fruits usually found and grown in the tropics.
They’re plump and juicy, and the flesh is orange in color.
If you haven’t eaten one yet, the taste is similar to mango, banana, and peaches combined.
And if you happen to have one on hand and you’re raising a flock in your backyard, you might wonder, “Can chickens eat papaya?”
We’re about to answer just that!
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- are papayas safe for chickens to consume
- nutritional benefits of papayas
- how to feed chickens papayas
- things to consider when feeding chicken papayas
Let’s get to it!
Can Chickens Eat Papaya?
To cut a long story short, YES, chickens can eat papaya.
This tropical fruit is actually packed with vitamins and minerals that chickens need daily.
Not only that, but your flock could enjoy eating the soft and juicy flesh because of its sweet taste.
It also contains several health benefits not only for humans but for our feathered friends, too.
Nutritional Benefits of Papaya for Chickens
The table below shows some of the many nutrients found in a 100-gram Papaya fruit.
Nutrients Found in a 100-gram Papaya
source: USDA FoodData Central
As shown in the table above, papaya mostly consists of water which is good for chickens to keep them hydrated, especially when it’s hot.
And you might be surprised by this, but yes, this fruit also contains protein.
As we know, chickens, especially hens, need protein as it helps them with their growth and egg production, among others.
And the same goes for calcium, an important nutrient to make strong eggshells.
Another important nutrient for egg-laying is folate.
Folic acid helps in a chick’s growth, weight gain, and development, as well as improves oviduct development, hatchability, and breast fillet percentage of the mama hen.
Carbohydrates also function in poultry the same way it does in humans—as a quick source of fuel and energy for the body.
In fact, this should make up most of a poultry’s daily diet, and you’ll find that Papaya doesn’t lack it.
Fiber, on the other hand, can improve a chicken’s gut health while enhancing its immunity at the same time.
The papaya fruit also has Vitamins A, B6, and C—all equally important for a chicken’s overall health, immunity, and development.
But because of its sweet taste, papaya also obviously contains sugar.
Not that it’s a total no-no for our feathered friends. However, moderation is still important.
In fact, to give you a simple overview of a chicken’s nutritional needs, refer to the table below:
Nutritional Requirements of a Chicken
|From 0 weeks onwards
|12% to 18%
|0.60 to 3.40%
|1500 to 4000 IU
|0.25 to 0.55 mg
|2.5 to 4%
For the complete nutritional requirements of a chicken and the nutritional contents of papaya, visit the sources linked above.
Health Benefits of Papaya for Chickens
Not only can papaya supplement the vitamins and minerals the chickens need, but it also contains several health benefits that will keep your flock healthy and protected from different diseases.
According to Poultry DVM, the papaya fruit contains several unique protein-digesting proteolytic enzymes that are effective in boosting the immune system and act as protection against several diseases.
Some of the benefits of papaya fruits to chickens are:
How to Feed Papaya to Chickens
Feeding papayas to your chickens is as easy as it gets.
When I’m pressed for time, I just simply cut the fruit in half and place them on the ground where my chickens are free-ranging.
They’d happily attack it and peck at it as it is.
The downside to this, though, is not everyone gets to eat their treat.
I’ve had a couple of fights over just half of this fruit.
So if you’d like to take extra steps to ensure each bird gets their fair share, you can simply slice and cube the fruit up and divide it evenly among your chickens.
If it’s summer and there’s an abundance of fruit in the market, I also like making my own version of a fruit salad for my flock.
And here’s another idea: smoothies!
I love papaya smoothies myself, so whenever I have one, I make sure to make enough for everyone—including my feathered friends.
Trust me, your chickens will thank you for it, especially when it’s hot outside.
How Much Papaya to Feed Chickens?
There’s actually no set amount as to how much papaya you can feed on chicken.
But since it’s packed with nutrients your birds need, it’s safe to say that you can feed them this fruit at least 3 times a week.
However, this alone will not complete the daily nutritional needs of your chickens, so this should be combined with other feeds or pellets that are more nutritionally balanced.
If you’d rather cook for them yourself, check out this article we did for a guide on how to make homemade food for your bird.
What to Look Out for When Feeding Papaya to Chickens
Just like everything else, too much is not good.
There are still a couple of cautions you must be aware of when feeding papaya to your chickens.
Check out these common questions about feeding papayas to chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Papaya Seeds?
Technically speaking, papaya seeds are not toxic to chickens.
In fact, it’s a powerful antioxidant and rich in protein, too.
However, it’s how you serve them to chickens that could make it unsafe.
Letting your flock eat whole seeds as it is can cause them to choke and block their intestinal passageways.
This is why most chicken owners would advise you to remove the seeds when giving papaya treats to the birds.
But what you can do is grind them!
Although you can already buy papaya seed powder online, why bother when you have them readily available, just waiting for some grinding in the blender?
Can Chickens Eat Papaya Peel?
Yes, you can let your chickens eat the papaya peel.
In fact, the peels are rich in carbohydrates, protein, fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamins A and C.
So whether you peel the papaya or not, your chickens won’t mind either way.
Can Chickens Eat Papaya Leaves?
That’s another yes for you!
Chickens can very much eat the leaves of this fruit too. That is, if you don’t mind them attacking your plant if the papaya is planted in your garden.
Papaya leaves are proven to help chickens in their egg production.
According to a study, It’s also the leaf extract that acts as anticoccidiosis in chickens, protecting them from parasites and promoting their growth.
What could get better than that?
Ripe or Unripe Papaya—Which is Better for Chickens?
Did you know that unripe papayas can be cooked or made into a salad?
It’s quite delicious and safe for human consumption.
But not for chickens.
While it’s not exactly toxic, unripe papayas still contain a blood-thinning chemical called salicylates.
That’s definitely not good, especially if your chicken wounded itself.
So when feeding your chickens papaya, make sure that it’s ripe and orange.
The sweet, plump, and juicy flesh could easily be your flock’s favorite treat ever!
Chickens Can Eat Papayas!
This is good news for you papaya lovers because, yes, you can definitely share this tropical fruit with your chickens.
You can safely give it to them as a treat as much as you want, although experts advise to give them 3 times a week at most.
However, just like with other healthy foods, too much is still not good.
Plus, papaya alone will not be enough to complete the dietary needs of a chicken on a daily basis.
So make sure to give this in moderation and still with caution.
Have you tried feeding papaya to your chickens? How did they like it?
Let us know in the comments!
If you want to learn more about other fruits you can feed your flock, check out our recommended articles below!