If you are a chicken owner, you might already know this, but chickens are pretty flexible out of all house pets; even though they are birds and thus, more fragile than animals like cats or dogs, there is little in your kitchen that can harm them fatally. Another interesting thing about chickens is that over-feeding them their pellet is almost impossible; their strong stomachs can digest just about any quantity as long as they are getting all the nutrients they need. But what about blackberries? Let’s find out whether or not chickens can eat blackberries.
Can chickens eat blackberries? Yes, chickens can safely eat blackberries. These little berries are packed with goodness for your feathered pet and can make a great snack for them. Even the seeds of blackberry fruits are safe for your chicken. However, you should be careful about two things while feeding your chickens blackberries: avoiding calyx, and feeding in moderation.
Are you wondering how many blackberries should you be feeding your chickens? Or is it the health risk of eating too many of these fruits that have got your worried?
Whatever it is, you needn’t worry. In this article, you will get the answer to all your questions related to feeding chickens blackberries.
Are chickens fond of blackberries?
Chickens, in general, are suckers for everything sweet. When it comes to berries, you will usually find your feathered pet devouring every kind. Although blueberries are the favorites of most chickens, they’re fond of blackberries as well.
However, chickens are also reputed to be picky eaters. You can never be sure of what they like and what they don’t unless you serve it to them, and the same is true about blackberries. If you have more than one pet chicken, it is possible that some of them might be crazy about blackberries, while the others would rather strut around than eat them.
In any case, if your chickens tend to avoid blackberries, it is best not to force-feed them these. Remember, the whole point of a treat is to make them happy. There are a lot of other fruits out there that your chickens might like.
Blackberries for chickens: health benefits and risks
Now that we’ve established that there’s a strong chance that your chickens will like blackberries let’s discuss other reasons you should feed them these fruits.
Although blackberry is to be used merely as a treat for your chickens, it would be great if they added some nutritional value to your chicken’s diet as well, wouldn’t it?
Well, in order to find that out, we’ll first take a look at blackberry’s nutritional chart given below.
|Vitamin A||214 IU|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.275 mg|
|Vitamin C||21 mg|
|Vitamin E||1.17 mg|
|Vitamin K||19.8 mcg|
|Dietary fibers||5.3 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Health benefits of blackberries to chickens
If you want to know how blackberries can benefit your chicken’s health more elaborately, keep reading.
Blackberries contain vitamin A, which improves the eyesight of chickens, enriches their overall health, and boosts their egg production capabilities. If your chicken’s diet doesn’t include a sufficient amount of vitamin A, their egg production abilities could be hampered.
Blackberries are also rich in the B-vitamin series, all of which prevent your feathered pet from suffering from several diseases.
- Mouth cavity inflammation
- Mouth lesions
- Poor feathering
- Fatty liver and kidney syndrome
- Hatchability problems
Blackberries contain vitamin C in abundance, which is great news for your chickens. Vitamin C is an essential contributor to the proper formation of feathers, bones, connective tissues, and blood vessels in chickens. It also fastens the wound-healing process in them.
Vitamin K has two main functions in a chicken’s body: bone metabolism and blood clotting mechanism. A common sign of identifying vitamin K deficiency in chickens is to look for blood spots in their eggs.
Calcium plays an important role in keeping your chicken’s eggs healthy, while copper helps them with their digestive issues if any. Zinc keeps its bone and feathers healthy, while manganese improves cartilage formation in their body. Blackberries are fortunately rich in all these minerals.
Blackberries are loaded with fibers, which ideally make up 10% of your chicken’s daily diet. Fibers promote healthy gut bacteria in birds, enhance their bowel movements, and regulate their blood sugar levels.
Risks factors in feeding blueberries to chickens
As a responsible pet parent, it is essential to know about every aspect of your pet’s diet in-depth, especially about the health risks it might lead to if any.
For all the goodness blackberries contain, sugar is the single content of these fruits that are unhealthy for your feathered pet. As far as fruits go, the quantity of sugar in blackberries is not excessively high.
However, you must remember that blackberries are not the only sugar-rich food that chickens eat. Therefore, if you don’t monitor the quantity you’re feeding them, it might be too late by the time you realize it.
Sugar can make your chickens overweight, hamper their egg production, and adversely impact their blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is best to feed them these fruits in moderation.
The ideal number of blackberries you can feed your chicken in a day is 4 to 6 ounces. Also, instead of making blackberries a constant in their diet, you should try alternating it with other fruits as well.
Pointers to remember
- Moldy blackberries are rich in toxins and should never be fed to chickens.
- If you want to feed them blackberries, try to serve them these treats in the morning so that they can digest it easily throughout the day.
- Chickens who eat blackberries produce purplish manure.
- The number of blackberries fed to a chicken should be in accordance with their size.
Be careful of the calyx
The calyx is the leafy sepal present on top of the blackberry fruits. You must be wondering how calyx can prove to be lethal to your feathered pet. Don’t worry, we will tell you how.
The calyx of blackberries as well as other berries, is often contaminated with pesticides that can prove to be harmful to your chicken’s health. Pesticides are known to make chickens terribly sick.
One of the major symptoms of pesticide ingestion in chickens is diarrhea. If not treated immediately, pesticides can be life-threatening for your pet. Also, the eggs of the infected chickens are bad for your health as well.
To avoid any such incident, it is best to grow blackberries in your own backyard rather than buying them from the market.
Are blackberry seeds safe for chickens to eat?
If you look at a blackberry, you will notice that it looks more like a cluster of many small fruits rather than one whole fruit. These small fruit-like parts of blackberries are called drupelets. Each drupelet contains one seed.
Now, it would be quite a tiresome task for you to remove every single seed from each drupelet before feeding it to your pet. Luckily, you won’t have to do it.
Neither do blackberry seeds contain any toxin that is harmful to your chickens nor are they big enough to be a potential choking hazard for them. In fact, these seeds are rich in protein, dietary fibers, and omega-3, which boosts their egg production. Therefore, to answer your question, blackberry seeds are safe and healthy for chickens to eat.
Can baby chicks eat blackberries?
The diet of baby chicks is not all that different from that of an adult chicken. Thus, if blackberries are safe for their parents, they are safe for chicks as well.
All you need to be careful about is moderation. Since chicks are smaller in size, the number of blackberries you feed them should be measured accordingly. Also, do not try to feed them these treats unless they are at least three weeks old.
Are blackberry leaves safe for chickens?
The plant of blackberry contains no toxic element that can affect your pet’s health. Therefore, your chickens can eat them if they feel like it. However, chickens don’t generally eat the leaves of blackberry plants. If they try to, keep them in check, since too many leaves can taint the taste of the eggs they lay.
How to feed blackberries to chickens?
The first step to feeding your pet any fruit is to wash it thoroughly to rid it of any pesticides or chemicals it might contain. To give blackberries a thorough wash, soak them in a bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes and wash them with fresh water afterward.
As far as feeding is concerned, there is little you need to do by way of preparations. Blackberries are already small enough and don’t need to be peeled or chopped like the other fruits. Even their seeds are safe for your pet. Thus, go ahead and feed them blackberries as they are.
To sum it up, blackberries are completely safe and nutritious for your chickens when fed in moderation. They are small, juicy, easy to feed, and great for their health. Just stick to the recommended number of blackberries, and you’re good to go.