Can chickens eat bananas? Your chickens can safely eat bananas and will love the tasty, sweet treat. Your chickens can also eat banana peels (with some preparation), but because bananas are very high in sugar, they should be fed carefully and in moderation. Treats are always fun for chickens, but their feed is the best thing for them. If your chickens are pastured on top of being fed a complete feed, they will have access to so much natural food too.
In This Article
- Feeding bananas safely to chickens.
- Feeding bananas to baby chicks.
- Nutritional value and health benefits of bananas for chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Bananas?
It is common to end up with a surplus of overripe bananas at home. I often face this situation myself. In such cases, you can either freeze the bananas for later use in smoothies or baking, or you can give them to your chickens as a treat. However, before you take any action, it is important to note that bananas contain high levels of sugar. Therefore, it is crucial to control the amount of banana you feed your flock to avoid any potential health problems.
Can Chicken Eat Banana Peels?
You may be surprised to learn that banana peels are completely edible. They're not commonly eaten because the peels aren't particularly pleasant-tasting. The tough fibrous texture also makes them very difficult to eat.
To feed banana peels to your flock, you should really chop them up into small pieces, or even better — boil them until soft. This is a great chance to also boil other types of kitchen scraps that cannot be fed raw to your chicken — like potato peels.
Cooking will break down the tough fiber and make it safe and easy to eat. Your chickens are also more likely to eat the peels this way as many simply won't touch peels, whether they're chopped up or not.
How Much Banana To Feed Chickens
It is recommended to be cautious when feeding sugary treats such as bananas to poultry, as advised by most poultry experts. However, there are no official guidelines or true recommendations available, so it is best to rely on common sense.
Throwing a banana to your flock to peck at is fine. Don't do it daily.
Feeding chickens scraps and treats can lead to an imbalance in their diet, which is not ideal. Chicken feed provides a complete and balanced diet for poultry, but supplementing with scraps, particularly green scraps such as vegetables and fruits, can result in a decrease in the protein content of their diet. Therefore, it's important to be mindful of the nutritional value of the food we give our chickens to ensure their health and well-being.
This lack of protein will show up in decreased egg production from your layers and slower growth in your broilers.
You may get other issues like soft egg shells too.
Whenever someone in my chicken group asks about their young, healthy hen suddenly stopping laying or slowing down (and it's not wintertime), the first thing I inquire about is how many vegetable scraps their flock receives.
- Negative consequences of reduced protein diets supplemented with synthetic amino acids for performance, intestinal barrier function, and caecal microbiota composition of broiler chickens.
- Effects of low dietary protein and different allocations of food during rearing and restricted feeding after peak rate of lay on egg production, fertility and hatchability in female broiler breeders.
How to Serve Bananas to Chickens
Bananas are soft and the overripe ones are especially mushy, messy, and sticky.
There is no avoiding this. I just throw the banana into their run or the yard and sit back and watch as they scramble to get to the pieces. Your chickens will consume some dirt as part of the process but this is no problem for animals that eat off the ground.
Feed the banana peels chopped up into small pieces if feeding it raw.
I prefer to boil the banana peel with other kitchen scraps (potato skins, kale, broccoli stems, cabbage cores, etc) to make them easier to digest and more palatable to the chickens. Boil for about 5 minutes and that's it.
How To Safely Feed Your Chickens Bananas
While chickens can eat bananas safely, there are some small but crucial considerations to keep in mind too.
Don't Feed Bananas To Baby Chicks
While a small slice of banana would pose no harm baby chicks are delicate and growing rapidly. Banana peels should also be avoided. Chicks need a well-balanced chicken feed high in protein and other essentials to grow properly and stay healthy. I avoid giving my baby chicks low-protein snacks or treats and stick to their fermented feed and a weekly ration of scrambled eggs.
Avoid Moldy Bananas
Do not feed your chickens moldy bananas or any moldy foods. Chances are your chickens will naturally avoid spoiled foods, but there is no reason to encourage it either. Overripe bananas that are turning black are fine, that is not mold.
Avoid Dried or Dehydrated Bananas
Stick to fresh bananas and fresh or boiled banana peels. If you love banana chips, dried banana, or make your own dehydrated banana fruit leathers at home — that is a concentrated form of sugar your chickens do not need.
To stress this point again — moderation is key when it comes to a sweet treat like bananas. There is no set amount of bananas that anyone will be able to tell you; use some common sense. If you notice that your laying hens are suddenly laying less, that's probably a clear sign you're feeding too many treats in general.
Health & Nutritional Benefits of Bananas for Chickens
Bananas, when given in moderation, make for a fun and nutritious snack for your chickens! Bananas are rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. They also have surprisingly high water content and can be quite beneficial for keeping your chickens hydrated, especially on hot summer days!
The following is provided for general information purposes only for anyone curious.
- Fiber | Bananas are high in fiber, which may benefit the gut microbiome of your flock by feeding beneficial bacteria and further reducing toxic ammonia emissions and build-up in your coop.
- Vitamin C | The inclusion of ascorbic acid and fiber in the diet will improve not only poultry performance but also poultry's skeletal structure.
- Beta-Carotene | Results from studies show that carotenoid supplementation improved feed intake, egg quality, and immunity of hens.
- Folate | Research on the effects of nutrients such as folic acid has been carried out to treat several problems in poultry.
- Potassium | Adequate potassium in a laying hen's diet assures good egg production, egg weight, and shell thickness.
Magnesium | Present in most plants like bananas. Excessive amounts can be detrimental.
Manganese | An important trace element for laying hen's nutrition, which is required in small amounts in the diet. Its deficiency results in lowered egg production.
Enjoying a banana snack yourself? Your chickens would love to join in! Sharing these fruity treats by hand can boost their friendliness and familiarity with you. Consistency in this practice builds trust gradually. It's a joy to watch their excitement during treat time—an oasis of calm amidst life's hustle, offering a relaxing break of about thirty minutes. Remember, moderation matters; excessive bananas might affect their health and egg production due to sugar and carbs. Nevertheless, bananas do pack some beneficial nutrients for your feathery pals.