Can chickens eat grapes? Grapes are delicious and nutritious, and it is perfectly safe for chickens to eat the fruit, vines and leaves in moderation. Feeding grapes to chickens is not toxic or harmful but providing them whole can be a choking hazard. Grapes should never be part of a chicken’s staple diet, but they do make a tasty treat. Today we look at the best way to give grapes to your pet birds, how often to feed them and the ways you can safely prepare them.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes Regularly?
Grapes make a safe and tasty treat for chickens, providing a nutritious snack when fed in moderation, which means not every day and only in small portions due to the sugar content. They have a rich sweet juicy taste with a bit of tartness, which is why chickens love them! Any grape variety is perfectly safe for them to eat as well as the seeds, vines, and leaves.
Grapes are healthy, containing many vitamins and minerals but overfeeding these sugary fruits can cause digestive orders and health problems in chickens. When feeding grapes to your hens, remember the 90/10 rule whereby treats only make up ten per cent of their daily diet.
Are Grapes Good for Chickens?
Grapes can offer some vital health benefits to chickens. Perhaps the most notable is that it keeps chickens hydrated as grapes contain 90% water making this a highly beneficial fruit to consume during hot weather.
Grapes contain a decent amount of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium and are a great source of several antioxidants. Although chickens do not need vitamin C as they produce their own, giving them grapes with their high vitamin C content can boost their immune system in times of stress.
Vitamin K, a group of fat-soluble vitamins, plays a role in blood clotting and building bones, while vitamin B6 breaks down amino acids. The calcium and magnesium in grapes help with bone health, boost the overall quality of eggs from laying hens, and help ward off various diseases. And lastly, the antioxidants in grapes help repair damaged cells in the body and prevent future damage, helping maintain a healthy immune system in your hens.
Are Grapes Bad for Chickens?
Grapes make a healthy and nutritious treat for your chickens, but too much of a good thing can be harmful due to the high amount of sugar in this tasty fruit. The sweet taste of grapes keeps us coming back for more, and chickens are no different. But they cannot handle nearly as much sugar as humans as their digestive systems cannot process sugars in large amounts.
Too much sugar can cause digestive disorders in hens, including diarrhea, vomiting and sour crop where the crop lining is sore and inflamed. A trip to your veterinarian is required.
Overfeeding grapes can also cause weight gain and heart disease in chickens and turn them into fussy eaters; they will want grapes and nothing else, posing a health threat as they won’t get the nutrition they need.
How To Prepare Grapes for Chickens
You should always wash grapes before feeding them to your chickens as grapes can harbour up to fifty-six different pesticide residues on their skin which are incredibly toxic to chickens causing them to become very ill and even die.
As chickens do not have teeth, they cannot chew their food, so they risk choking on a whole grape. The best way around this is to cut the grape into smaller pieces. Scatter the pieces of grapes around to give your hens something to scratch for or simply add them to their feed. On a hot day, you can freeze some grapes giving your chickens something to peck on, which they will love, keeping them cool as well!
You can also hang a bunch of grapes to give your flock something to work for and keep them occupied.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes As Chicks?
If you have little chicks, they should be on a starter feed for the first six weeks but giving them a little crushed grape is certainly no harm, which they will enjoy. You can put some grapes in a bag, take a rolling pin, and roll it. Crushing the grapes makes it much easier for them to peck and swallow the fruit.
Do Chickens Eat Grape Peel?
It is safe for chickens to eat the grape peel, so you do not need to peel the grapes before feeding them to your chooks. As we have already mentioned, you must wash the grapes thoroughly beforehand to remove any pesticides or chemicals.
Should Chickens Eat Grape Seeds?
Grape seeds are not toxic to chickens. However, some experts believe they pose a choking threat, so it is probably best to feed your hens seedless grapes to be on the safe side.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes Leaves or Vines?
If you have grape vines growing where you keep your chickens, you may wonder if it is safe for them to eat the whole plant. So long as you haven’t sprayed the stems and leaves with pesticides or chemicals, it is perfectly safe for your chooks to eat. Besides, chickens would rather scratch and peck at the ground, searching for bugs, so they probably wouldn’t eat much of the stem and leaves anyway.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes When Dried As Raisins?
As a raisin is a dried grape, it is perfectly safe for chickens to eat but only in tiny quantities. The sugar content in raisins is far higher than that in grapes, and, like us, an imbalance in their diet can be particularly problematic, especially in their egg production. Store-bought raisins are a definite no-no as they have more sugar and preservatives than is good for your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes Safely?
Grapes are safe for chickens to eat but in moderation because of the sugar content. Most chickens love the delicious taste of this fruit, and it is safe for chickens to consume all parts of the plant. Just wash the grapes thoroughly and cut them into small pieces before feeding to prevent choking.
Learn More About Pet Chickens
- Bolla, G et al, Poultry keeping on a small scale, NSW Agriculture, 2003
- Abdulrashid, M et al, Ascorbic acid and heat stress in domestic chicken nutrition: A review, Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and the Social Sciences, 2010
- Grape Nutrition Information, Nutrition Data
- Frame, David D, Principles of Feeding Small Flocks of Chickens at Home, Utah State University, 2008