Blueberries are one of the most popular and delicious fruits. They are mainly of two kinds- Highbush and Lowbush. Native to North America, Blueberries are mostly produced in the USA and Canada. They are consumed all around the world and are used to make several edible products like juices, jelly, chocolates, and even cakes.
They are extremely nutritious, low in calories, and incredibly delicious. Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods. But is it fine for our chickens to cross the road to eat them? Can chickens eat Blueberries? If yes, how much is enough? What is the right way to feed them blueberries? Let’s find out
So, can chickens be fed blueberries? Yes, it is completely safe to offer blueberries to your chickens. Blueberry is a nutrient-dense, delicious, and one of the healthiest fruits in the world and like most other berries, chickens love it. It is a perfect treat for your chickens.
But keep in mind a few points before offering these treats. Make sure to cut the berries in half to prevent choking, wash them properly, and never offer rotten berries to your chickens.
Blueberries should not become the primary feed of your chickens. It should be offered in a limited number. Otherwise, it will end up doing more harm than good. That said, blueberries are an extremely healthy treat for chickens.
Benefits of feeding blueberries to chickens?
There are countless reasons why Blueberries are one of the best fruits. It is a superfood. Chickens won’t just enjoy blueberries, but it’ll also improve their health in more than one way. Let’s have a look at the health benefits of Blueberries.
1. Blueberries are very helpful in improving blood sugar levels. They help the cells to fight against high blood sugar.
2. They are extremely rich in nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Manganese. Also, in terms of calorie count, blueberries are lower than most other fruits and berries, making it even healthier.
3. Blueberries are very healthy for the heart as they help in reducing cholesterol levels. Regular intake will help reduce bad cholesterol in most adult animals, including chicken.
4. Taking about heart, blueberries help in proper and efficient circulation of blood by controlling blood pressure.
5. Blueberries, particularly lowbush, contain antioxidants. They have a really high antioxidant level, which improves the immune system and helps avoid oxidative stress. Antioxidants are really important to protect from free radicals. Most citrus fruits contain Vitamin C, which is an effective antioxidant. Since it’s prohibited for chickens to eat citrus fruits, blueberries are a wonderful alternative.
Things to consider before feeding your chickens blueberries
Although blueberries are very healthy and nutritious, one ought to be careful about a few things before offering them to chickens
Too much of anything is bad. If you feed your chickens blueberries only, instead of their regular feed, the chickens will end up lacking way too many nutrients. Instead of controlling blood sugar, this may end up increasing it to a dangerous level. 2 or 3 berries at a time are more than enough for each chicken.
Any treat should be only 10% or less than the total food the chicken is consuming. Thus, provide them their regular feed first and only after that offer them berries.
To prevent choking, cut the blueberries in half before offering them to your chicken. Those cut in half will be easier to swallow.
Try not to provide your chickens berries daily. Blueberries, even in limited quantity, will not be very good for the chickens if fed daily. Give it to them 3 or 4 times per week. Offer some other treats from time to time to change their taste.
One should keep in mind that blueberries may contain traces of pesticides and some chemicals. If you are buying blueberries from the market, thoroughly wash them before offering to your chickens. If you grow them in your backyard, the risk is significantly less but washing is still recommended.
The feeding habits and requirements may differ from bird to bird or from region to region. Your chickens’ breed can also affect their feeding habits. That being said, it is always good to take the advice of an experience poultry owner or veterinarian before feeding anything to your chickens.
Are blueberries toxic to chickens?
Blueberries aren’t exactly toxic or poisonous, but they are the part of the rose family in the floral kingdom and their seeds contain traces of hydrogen cyanide. But its quantity is extremely low to do any harm, be it chickens or humans.
This is, however, one of the reasons why one shouldn’t feed too many blueberries to chickens in one go. 2 or 3 berries a few times per week will keep your chicken in perfect health and prevent them from any harm.
How to balance the diet?
To ensure a regular supply of eggs and in time, quality meat, chickens must be fed a proper and balanced diet. The question is- What is an ideal diet? How to balance the regular feed and treats?
Feeding chickens is pretty easy. First of all, buy the best quality of poultry feed from the market that comes in pellets or mashed form. They should contain a mixture of grains and should be rich in vitamins and calcium. That should be their main food and treats like blueberries should be 10% or less of that.
Keep feeding chickens small quantities of food on a regular interval. This will keep their digestive system healthy. Always keep a container of water around them and regularly clean their barns.
What other treats can you offer to chickens?
Chickens are omnivorous and can be offered a wide variety of things to eat. If you can’t feed blueberries,
don’t worry. There are plenty of other options available. Some of them are:
- Vegetable peels (except raw and green peels)
- Yogurt. This is another very healthy treat.
- All kinds of fruits except citrus. Bananas, Grapes, and Strawberries are favorite of chickens.
- Properly cooked rice or bread. Note that they are not much nutritious.
- Worms. Chickens love them.
- This may come as a surprise but you can also offer eggs. They like scrambled eggs.
- Cottage cheese
- Not too fatty meat scraps
- Sunflower Seeds
Apart from that, people also feed things like pasta and popcorns to their chicken. Although harmless, they have no nutritional values. So, it’s better to feed treats that are good for your chickens. Keep a tab on what your chickens like and then, feed them accordingly. Their taste may differ from bird to bird.
What not to feed your chickens?
Here is a list of food items that you should NEVER offer your chicken:
- Rotten fruits or vegetables. You do not want pathogens entering your chickens’ bodies.
- Onion and Garlic
- Raw/Uncooked Rice or Beans
- Citrus fruits like orange, lemons, etc.
- Heavily processed food
Always consult a vet or an expert before feeding any new item to your chicken. Otherwise, just keep this simple rule in mind: If it’s unfit for humans to consume, it is unfit for your chicken too.
Contrary to their comical portrayal in cartoons and pop culture, chickens are very intelligent birds. They won’t overeat or eat anything that they don’t like. They love Blueberries. So, if you want your chickens to remain healthy and ensure good egg production, keep them happy by treating them with blueberries. There aren’t many food items that are so healthy and at the same time, mouth-watering. Blueberries are indeed, best treat for chickens, and your chickens deserve them.