Part of keeping a flock of chickens typically involves offering treats and scraps. A number and range of grains, vegetables and fruits can be included; but what about kiwi? Is this something you can look to offer and are there any benefits in doing so for your flock? What about the seeds? I spent some time researching the suitability of this fruit in the diet of chickens. I will be sharing my findings with you here today.
So, can chickens eat kiwi? Chickens can eat kiwi fruit, including both the skin, flesh and the seeds, so long as they are ripe and not spoilt. Ripe kiwis are easy for chickens to digest and they generally enjoy eating them. Kiwis provide a number of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which all help to support and serve the health of your birds. However, as a fruit, kiwis should only be offered in moderation in the diet and never be used to replace their regular feed.
Kiwis are commonly found in supermarkets and grocery stores, they are relatively cheap, easy to store and easy to prepare.
Its great to learn that they are suitable in the diet of our chickens because, lets be honest, they can make our lives much easier!
Nevertheless, the basis of your chickens diet should always come from a nutritionally complete feed. Chickens do best when this serves as the primary food source; as it has been designed to meet all of the unique needs and requirements that they have.
Kiwi fruit, like many other treats, are to be fed in moderation. Its generally not a good idea to offer any particular treat too often. By routinely offering different fruits, vegetables as well as other grains, you can ensure your birds receive a better balance of nutrition and can enjoy their food with more variety.
Let us now take a closer look at the health benefits of kiwi fruit and why it can be included in the diet of your chickens. We will cover the vitamins and minerals they include, along with some effective and fun ways to serve them to your flock.
So, be sure to keep on reading to get all the information you need if you want to provide this wholesome treat to your birds!
Is Kiwi Fruit Healthy For Chickens?
Kiwi fruit is very healthy for chickens, when provided in appropriate amounts and in moderation.
While Kiwi fruits are quite low in calories and fat, they are relatively high in sugar when compared to other fruits. So, this will need to be considered – especially if other fruits are being offered.
Nevertheless, this should not be a reason to not offer them at all. Quite the contrary.
Let us now take a closer look at the specific vitamins and minerals found in Kiwi fruit, before we turn to the benefits of each one for your birds.
Kiwi Nutritional Information
|Of which sugars||6.2 g|
|Vitamin C||64 mg|
|Vitamin K||27.8 µg|
As you can see from the table referenced from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) above, just 1 kiwi fruit boasts several different nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Below, we will take a closer look at the main ones and why your chickens should be getting them in through their diet.
- Water; often overlooked, but very important for healthy egg production along with other bodily processes. This includes digestion, nutrient transportation in the blood and also to keep chickens cool (as they are unable to sweat). A kiwi is over 80% water in total volume.
- Carbohydrates – are the main and preferred energy source for chickens. Starches and sugars are the easiest to digest for these birds. Kiwis being high in the latter.
- Calcium – essential for proper bone formation, eggshell quality, blood-clot formation and muscle contraction.
- Phosphorus – important for bone development along with many other metabolic processes.
- Magnesium – plays a key role in metabolic and muscle contractions/functions.
- Potassium – key for muscle and nerve function along with metabolic health.
- Vitamin C – supports a healthy immune system, especially in stressed chickens.
- Vitamin K – plays an essential role in blood clot formation.
Kiwis therefore offer a great and practical way to supplement these key components in the diet.
How To Feed Kiwi To Chickens
Kiwi fruits are some of the most versatile to offer chickens; they are relatively small, compact and require minimal preparation.
In fact, all of the kiwi can be offered to chickens; so you can indeed offer them whole to your birds. By doing so, you’ll notice that they will enjoy pecking at them to get inside.
The green flesh is the most preferential part; it contains the highest amount of nutrients, is easy for your birds to consume, and contains most of the water.
The seeds can also be eaten, and chickens are able to safely digest them because they are so small. This is a relief as picking all of the seeds out of a kiwi would not only be time consuming, but a very difficult challenge too!
The skin (outer shell) will often be left by your chickens. It is mostly fiber. Some birds may eat some of the skin, others will tear right through it to reach the flesh inside.
If you do look to offer your chickens kiwi with skin on, then it is advised to wash them beforehand. Better yet would be to source out organic kiwis (if possible and you can afford to).
This is because the skin is the part most likely to have been sprayed with, and carrying, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals to prevent insects from eating them while they grow.
Thankfully, kiwis are some of the least likely food sources to be sprayed with pesticides (according to Down to Earth). Other studies have even reported that 65% of kiwis tested had no detectable pesticide residues.
Nonetheless, washing the kiwi (skin on) ahead of serving is always recommended.
Prepare The Kiwi
Before offering your birds kiwi, wash and scrub them with cold, clean water. Use a towel to gently dry them.
Be extra careful with overripe kiwis as they can smush during this process.
Cut In Half
Perhaps the easiest and best way to offer this fruit is cut it in half with a knife. Sometimes, you might even want to cut it into quarters.
From there, place the segments in with your birds and watch them gobble them up.
Cut Into Slices
Another option is to cut the kiwi into even slices. You can do this both skin on/off.
It is generally best to cut the kiwi lengthways.
You can either serve slices on their own, or even mix them in with other fruits, vegetables or scraps! This is a great way to provide variety and even get birds to eat foods they would otherwise leave!
Save For Later
If you decide to prepare the kiwi in advance, you will want to refrigerate them to keep them fresh before serving.
If you decide to do so, be sure to offer this fruit to your birds within the next few days to ensure they do not begin to rot and decompose. You want to minimize the risk of bacteria developing and forming.
Remove Uneaten Kiwi
Not all chickens will enjoy kiwi. Not all kiwi will always be eaten.
Either way, make sure you remove any uneaten kiwi (and other foods) within a few hours of them being left. This is to prevent rats and other rodents from being attracted to your birds. It also helps to limit the buildup of bacteria in the coop.
Other Great Treats For Chickens
Before offering your chickens any new foods, its important to research their safety and suitability for your birds. Not all foods are safe, and some in particular (like avocado and rhubarb) seem harmless but can be very toxic and dangerous.
So, to save you some additional research, let us quickly discuss some of the best, most recommended treats that chickens typically enjoy and provide some healthy diet variation.
- Berries – including strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Low in calories and sugar whilst being equally easy to eat.
- Oatmeal – ideal for winter months. Can also be served with bananas.
- Cottage Cheese – Great protein source, low in fat, and easy to consume.
- Pumpkin – hydrating for chickens and the seeds have the added benefit of naturally worming your flock.
- Mealworms – excellent source of protein, easy to offer and store. This is my go to brand that I get in bulk for a great price on Amazon.
- Yoghurt – high in protein and can help support a healthy digestive system when offered in small and appropriate serving amounts.
- Corn – can be fed from the cob or you can mix the kernels in with other foods. Hanging cobs has the added benefit of keeping your chickens entertained for hours.
- Watermelon – low calorie, easy to digest and hydrating.
Chickens can eat kiwi, and there are many benefits to offering this fruit to your birds. They are rich in a number of key nutrients, vitamins and minerals, while being easy to digest and hydrating.
Not only are kiwis versatile, but they are cheap, commonly sold, easy to store and do not take much if any preparation. This makes them ideal from a chicken keepers perspective too.
That being said, just like any fruit, kiwis should only be offered infrequently and in moderation. Fruits should only be making up around 5% of total energy intake – and should never be given at the expense of their nutritionally complete pelleted feed.
Kiwis are equally relatively high in sugar, so you will need to be careful with serving sizes. Perhaps the best thing to do is to offer them weekly, and routinely alternate fruits.
By doing so, you will keep your chickens diet interesting, nutritious and avoid any the negative effects that over reliance on any one food can bring.