Bananas for Chickens: Yay or Nay?
You might be looking at your fruit bowl and notice that one of the bananas has just ripened beyond the point you prefer to eat it. Rather than mashing it up to make banana bread, could you feed it to your chickens?
Can Chickens Eat Bananas?
Chickens can definitely eat bananas, and what’s more, you’ll probably find that they love them. Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. However, bananas are also high in sugar, so you should always feed them in moderation.
The high level of potassium found in bananas is particularly important for egg-laying hens because it helps to harden the shells. In addition, the vitamin B found in bananas is good for your hen’s nervous system and will help to keep them healthy.
However, you’ll find that because bananas can be quite mushy, your chickens will often wipe their beaks on the ground after eating them in order to get rid of the sticky residue.
Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?
Essentially, chickens can eat banana peels especially if you’ve grown the bananas yourself and haven’t used any pesticides on them. However, commercially grown bananas will often have been treated with some sort of pesticide or other chemicals, and these could leave a residue on the skins.
Therefore, it’s really important that you wash the banana skins really well before feeding them to your chickens. You could also consider boiling the peels before cutting them up into pieces. Not only will this remove any chemical residues, but it will also make them easier for your chickens to eat.
Can Chickens Eat Banana Plants?
Bananas leaves are edible by both humans and chickens, so your hens can definitely feast on these in moderation. However, if you grow your own bananas and you let your chickens forage around them, you might find that the hens may cause damage to your plants.
There was a study done in Brazil that researched the effect of feeding banana leaves to cage-free laying hens. This study concluded that feeding banana leaves to the hens increased the pigmentation in the yolks and reduced the presence of endoparasites.
Can Chickens Eat Plantains?
It is perfectly fine to feed plantains to your chickens. These banana-like fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and carbohydrates for your chickens. However, like all treats, they should only be fed in moderation.
It’s even possible for your hens to eat both ripe and unripe plantains. However, the ripe plantains will be sweeter, so your chickens may prefer them more. It’s common to peel the plantains first and cut them up before feeding them to your chickens.
Alternatively, you can mash the fruit to make it even easier for your hens to eat.
Like bananas, plantains are a good source of potassium as well as vitamins A and C. Additionally, they’re high in fiber which is great for your hen’s digestive system. You can even feed plantain leaves to your chickens if you are growing your own plants.