Can Chickens Eat Kiwi? Benefits & Risks
Some dietary constraints accompany poultry farming. Most farmers are knowledgeable of the fact that chickens are omnivorous and make their diet diverse. A regular question I get is, can you give your chickens fruits? Simply put, Yes. This article looks at kiwis and the implications of adding kiwis to your chickens’ diet.
Are Kiwis Safe for Chickens?
Like many other fruits, kiwis are safe to feed to chickens. There are no adverse reactions to chickens eating kiwi fruits. Chickens are not allergic to kiwi fruits, nor is the fruit poisonous to domesticated birds. You are free to feed your chicken kiwis. They will enjoy the experience.
Benefits of Chickens Eating Kiwi
So, what benefits will your chickens get from ingesting kiwis? There are many dietary benefits that chickens get from eating kiwi fruits. Kiwis are excellent sources of Vitamin C and fibre and act as good antioxidants.
As natural metabolic processes occur in the bodies of animals, they release unstable chemicals called free radicals that can harm the body if left to accumulate. Antioxidants help to eradicate these chemicals from the body and regulate the metabolic process, keeping your chickens healthy and helping them maintain a healthy growth rate.
Kiwis also provide chickens with carbohydrates and proteins—this aids in developing eggs and meat. Kiwis are a source of other vitamins like Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. These vitamins help regulate various bodily functions and ensure that your chickens have an excellent quality of life.
Kiwis are also a good source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. These are all essential minerals for egg-laying chickens as they aid in egg production.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwi Skin and Seeds?
So, what parts of the kiwi can you feed to your chickens? All parts. There is no part of the kiwi fruit you cannot give your chickens. The skin and the seeds are safe for chickens to consume. Some farmers choose to peel the kiwis before they feed them to the chickens.
Though this may seem like a good practice, it denies the chicken from gaining access to essential fibres contained in the kiwi’s skin. The seeds are also excellent as a source of roughage. Feeding chickens the whole kiwi fruit ensures they reap its full benefits.
The skin of the kiwi fruit is tough near the top and the core. Chickens will generally ear around this part. It is beneficial to leave this skin on the kiwi as the pecking practice will help strengthen their beaks.
How to Feed Kiwi to Chickens?
There are several ways to provide kiwis to your chicken. The simplest is to feed them the kiwi fruit as a whole. You can skin the kiwis before feeding them to your chicken or chop the kiwi into bite-size chunks and mix them into the commercial feed.
You should remember that kiwis have a high sugar content and thus should be fed to chicken in moderation to keep them from developing diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
Feed Your Chickens a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is a good way to ensure your chickens get everything they need, allowing them to thrive and produce better quality eggs and meat. You can include several foods in your chickens’ diet to ensure they get the essential nutrition. Let us take a look at some of them.
- Grains are the primary source of nutrition for chickens. You can feed your chicken grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, and many other kinds of cereal.
- Vegetables are an essential part of the diet as they provide vitamins and fibre to the chickens. Most vegetables are safe to feed your chicken, but you can always consult your local vet if unsure. Chickens enjoy vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
- Fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and also aid in digestion. You can feed our chickens fruits like kiwis, bananas, figs, apples, pears and guavas.
Even though the list of foods that make up a healthy diet for chickens is long, several things should never be in their diet as they will cause adverse effects. These include candy and chocolate, green tomatoes, green potatoes, mouldy foods, tea, coffee, salty foods and raw beans.
- Tea and coffee grounds have compounds that are harmful to chickens and thus should never be included in their feeds as they will cause sickness and, in extreme cases, death.
- Excess salt, just like sugar, is harmful to chickens. It is thus advisable to consider the sort of table scraps that you feed your chickens to avoid causing negative health effects.
- Raw beans are harmful to chickens and cause blockage to the digestive tract. It is best to keep your chickens away from raw beans.
- Green tomatoes and potatoes, a member of the nightshade family, produce solanine, which is toxic to chickens and most poultry.
- You can feed stale food to your chickens but do so with caution as once food develops mould, it becomes unhealthy. Most of all, do not attempt to feed your chickens candy or chocolate. Though these are sweet and good to eat for humans, they tend to be toxic to chickens and cause death with repeated ingestion.
If you are unsure what to feed your chickens to maintain a healthy diet, it is advisable to go with commercial feeds with the three essential food groups. A good diet should have proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. You can add fat and roughage to the diet by feeding your chickens some fruits and vegetables.
The fact that chickens are omnivorous makes them easy to feed. As a result, you can easily balance their diet by applying the same principles you apply to your diet. You must properly feed your chickens to realise the best returns from them in terms of meat and eggs.
Adding some kiwi to their diet will ensure that they mature well, reproduce adequately and live a better quality of life. I hope that you understand the dietary requirements of your chickens better and can apply the information in this piece to get better returns from your flock.