Can Chickens Eat Grapes? Grape Safety & Nutrition

Can chickens eat grapes? Yes! Chickens can eat grapes safely, and they love them. If you have dogs, you might be wary of grapes as they can cause kidney failure in canines, but this is not true for your feathered friends. Whether red, green, or purple, these fruits pose no harm to our chickens, nor do the grape seeds.

If you have grape vines, the grape leaves are also edible for humans and chickens alike.

However, moderation is critical to sustaining a balanced diet when feeding an occasional healthy treat like grapes.

In This Article

  • Feeding grapes safely to backyard chickens.
  • Can baby chicks eat grapes?
  • Benefits of grapes.
  • Feeding raisins to chickens.
  • Risks of feeding grapes.
  • Foods to avoid.
a flock of orpington and bresse pullets rooosting on a fence post in a green landscape
My Bresse and Orpington pullets after their nightly feeding.

Can Chickens Eat Grapes?

Giving your flock grapes in addition to their regular feed is safe, but remember that moderation is key. Despite some myths and misconceptions, large grapes do not pose a choking hazard for your chickens. Due to how your chicken’s digestive system and gizzard functions, it is improbable for them to choke on grapes.

If you have ever witnessed your chickens eating small snakes, mice, and frogs, you are probably aware of this.

Part of enriching our chicken’s quality of life can be by providing them with a variety of different foods. We keep a kitchen scrap bin of the choicest morsels separate from the compost and feed that to our flocks of chickens, ducks, geese, and guineafowl.

Most fruits and vegetables are completely safe for chickens, with a few exceptions I’ll touch on.

How To Safely Feed Your Chickens Grapes

While chickens can eat grapes safely, there are some small but crucial considerations to keep in mind too.

Don’t Feed Grapes To Baby Chicks

Some grapes are fine, but baby chicks are delicate and growing rapidly. Grapes are also way too big for them, and they’ll waste energy tearing the grapes apart. The best way would be to cut them up into smaller pieces if at all. 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 Grapes

Do not feed your chickens moldy grapes or any moldy foods. Chances are your chickens will naturally avoid spoiled foods, but there is no reason to chance it either. Our flocks have access to our compost pile and have never had any issues, but I wouldn’t purposely introduce moldy foods either.

Avoid Raisins

Stick to fresh grapes. While raisins are not poisonous and tossing a handful to your chickens won’t pose any harm, raisins have high sugar content and it would be very easy for your chickens to overeat raisins if you decided to give them a huge bag for some reason. Since grapes are mostly water, this is less of an issue. But any treats with too much sugar are not recommended. Store-bought raisins frequently add extra sugar to their product for some reason.

Moderation

To stress this point again — moderation is key when it comes to a sweet treat like grapes. There is no set number of grapes 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 grapes and green scraps or treats in general.

Also — avoid grape juice or any juice. Your chickens’ diet doesn’t need that.

Risks of Feeding Grapes To Chickens

While grapes are safe and pose no toxicity risks to poultry, there are some disadvantages to feeding an excessive amount of them.

It’s the same disadvantage of feeding too many of any green scrap that is high on volume but low in protein and calories.

Your egg-laying chickens may suddenly slow down laying. Egg production being off is always a great indicator of something with feed (barring age and other health problems) and this pops up frequently in my chicken groups.

My first question is always — how many treats are you feeding? Green scraps?

Your meat chickens may grow slower.

Again, an imbalanced diet is the first culprit I look at.

This might happen because the chickens are receiving too many treats and not enough of the treats have sufficient protein. If you have excessive greens and fruits like grapes, consider composting them instead, or balance out the protein intake by adding something like meat scraps into your flock’s diet.

Feeding chickens meat scraps has long been known to increase egg-laying and the health of chickens. Old pioneer manuals recommend this practice to settlers as do government pamphlets.

An easy and inexpensive way to do this is to give your chickens the carcass leftovers from making soups and bone broths. They will pick the bones clean.

Sources

  1. Feeding recycled food waste improved feed efficiency in laying hens from 24 to 43 weeks of age.
  2. Feed Chickens, Not Landfills.
  3. Feeding Chickens For Egg Production In Small And Backyard Flocks.

Chicken owners should be on the lookout for any health issues because even a healthy snack that is a good source of vitamins can cause upset. It is a good idea to always be aware of any health problems that might appear when introducing a new food or different types of food.

Nutritional Value of Grapes For Chickens

Are there any health benefits of feeding grapes to chickens?

Grapes are high in water and sugar, especially commercial grape varieties you buy in conventional stores. The organic grape varieties or wild ones you may be cultivating are likely different.

Grapes have fiber, minerals, and essential vitamins which may benefit your chickens.

Fiber can play a crucial role in the health of your chickens’ gut microbiome as the fiber intake can help keep the good bacteria populations healthy and thriving. Fiber intake can also reduce ammonia emissions, meaning less toxic ammonia build-up in your chicken coops and runs.

It should be noted that studies do not indicate that excessive fiber is beneficial.

Regarding vitamins and minerals, grapes contain calcium, magnesium, Potassium, vitamin C, copper, vitamin k, and zinc in notable quantities that may benefit chickens while being low in proteins and fats. Grapes are also a nutrient-dense source of carbohydrates.

More Sources

  1. Effects of Dietary Fiber on Nutrients Utilization and Gut Health of Poultry: A Review of Challenges and Opportunities.
  2. Poultry response to high levels of dietary fiber sources varying in physical and chemical characteristics.
  3. The application of ascorbic acid as a therapeutic feed additive to boost immunity and antioxidant activity of poultry in heat stress environment.

Final Thoughts

If you are eating grapes, your chickens will enjoy sharing them with you as a tasty snack. If you want to make your chickens friendlier and tamer, feeding them treats from your hand is a great way to do so. You will earn their trust this way if done consistently.

Watching them get worked up over treats is great fun and a relaxing way to spend half an hour away from the hustle of life.

Grapes should only be fed in moderation to avoid health complications and poor egg laying. Grapes contain beneficial nutrients for chickens too.

a flock of chickens on green pasture.

The Ultimate Guide to Homestead & Backyard Chicken Keeping 

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