Can Chickens Eat Grapes?

Grapes are often called nature’s candy because they are delightfully sweet, plump balls of juiciness that come in various colors. Since it is common knowledge that grapes are unsafe for dogs and cats, poultry owners may be concerned that the same holds true for chickens.

Chickens can eat grapes, and grapes are a good source of Vitamin C. Since grapes are a high-sugar fruit, they should only be given sparingly, a few times a week. All parts of unsprayed grapes, including the seeds, leaves, and stems, are safe for poultry. Chickens should never be fed moldy grapes.

There is no doubt that chickens enjoy the delicious taste and firm texture of grapes as much as humans. Since they are high in sugar and a potential choking hazard, it can be confusing to know how to feed grapes to your chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Grapes?

Chickens love grapes, and offering them a few while you are enjoying a bunch is perfectly fine. Although grapes are toxic to dogs and cats, grapes are perfectly safe for humans and chickens. They are a refreshing, welcome treat that offers several health benefits when consumed in moderation.

The only time that it is not advisable to give your chickens fresh grapes is if they have been sprayed with pesticides. If you are not growing your own grapes, always choose organically grown fruit or wash them carefully before giving them to your birds.

Dried or processed grape products like raisins or preserves are not recommended as chicken treats. They are even higher in sugar than fresh grapes and may contain preservatives, so they are not a healthy option.

Grapes are a high-sugar fruit, and some varieties are sweeter than others. If you are selecting specifically to use as chicken treats, always choose less sweet varieties. Some types, like delectable cotton candy grapes, contain about 2g more sugar per 100g than table grapes.

It is important to note that chickens do not have the same taste receptors as humans. So, while we appreciate the sweetness of grapes, chickens can’t taste ‘sweet,’ so they will welcome sour grapes just as happily as the sweeter varieties.

Since grapes are a carbo-loaded snack that contains more than 80% water, they are an excellent juicy option to offer to the flock during hot weather. Chilling the fruit will provide a refreshing treat that can help to keep them cool.

Eating chickens on poultry yard

Are Grapes Good For Chickens?

When it comes to giving chickens grapes, the answer to whether it is good for them is both a yes and a no. Although fruits like grapes and other vegetables contain plenty of beneficial vitamins and minerals, they must only be provided as an extra alongside the staple diet of balanced poultry food. Fruit should not exceed 10% of a chicken’s overall diet.

When given in moderation, grapes are an excellent source of nutrients for chickens. In addition to a good amount of Vitamin C, which is beneficial in helping chickens fight off respiratory infections, the small fruits are also high in carbohydrates and potassium.

In addition to the nutrients already mentioned, grapes also include small amounts of:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Vitamins A, B, and K

Even the tiny, hard seeds inside grapes are healthy. Although they taste slightly bitter to humans, they are packed with antioxidants and even contain protein.

While all this may sound too good to be true, there is a downside. Grapes are also rich in sugar and fiber and contain 82% water. Overindulging in too many bunches of delicious fruit all at once is highly likely to result in the flock developing gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea.

How Many Grapes Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens don’t often refuse food, and if provided with a large number of grapes, they will, in all likelihood, gobble them all up! Since a chicken’s diet should contain plenty of variety, each bird should only get a few grapes each time they are served.

The great thing about grapes is that they are easy to distribute evenly to the entire flock. Even the lowest-ranking birds that wait shyly around the perimeter can grab a piece of a grape and dart back to safety to enjoy their prize.

If you have a record harvest of grapes and want to keep them for your flock, they freeze perfectly. It helps to flash freeze them spread out on a baking tray before transferring them into tightly sealed plastic bags. That makes it easy to remove a few at a time. Remember to thaw them before feeding them to your chickens, or they could choke.

How To Give Grapes To Chickens?

How grapes are offered to the flock should depend on the size of the grapes and the birds. Although most chickens can make short work of whole grapes, cutting them is safer, especially if offered loose from the ground.

Always cut grapes in half or quarters if the flock contains young birds, as they could be a choking risk. While some poultry owners always cut grapes before offering them to any chickens, others hang them up in bunches and make it a game, and let the birds peck at the fruit as it swings overhead.

Whether you cut grapes into pieces or offer them as they are, never mix them into the chicken food. Grapes are a treat in addition to the staple feed, but the high water content in the fruit can quickly make dry chicken food moldy.

Can Chickens Eat Moldy Grapes?

Chickens should never be given any moldy food, as it could contain mycotoxins that are harmful to poultry. That is also why it is essential to remove uneaten or decaying fruit and vegetables from the coop every day, as mold can make chickens sick.

If you have a forgotten punnet of grapes in the fridge and they are past their best-by date but not moldy or rotten, they are still okay for the chickens. However, if they have any signs of decay, they must go directly to the compost pile.

Can Chickens Choke On Grapes?

Chickens can swallow remarkably large pieces of food. Anyone who has seen a chicken foraging out in the garden has probably, at some time or another, seen a bird dashing across the yard excitedly carrying small frogs or even mice.

Although most adult chickens won’t choke on grapes, they don’t have teeth to chew, so it is possible. Cut large grapes into pieces, especially if feeding from the ground, where they are easy to pick up and swallow without breaking bits off.

Any coop with younger birds or chicks should only receive grapes in small pieces, as the risk of choking on whole grapes is much higher. If chickens can’t pull smaller pieces off or are chased by other birds trying to steal their prize, they may swallow them whole and choke.

Even though chickens can’t chew, like all their food, grapes get mashed further down in their digestive tract in an organ called the gizzard. That’s why providing chickens with a free choice feeder containing grit is essential.

Can Chickens Eat Grape Seeds?

Chickens can eat grape seeds, and in fact, they are an excellent source of antioxidants. The only time grape seeds may be a concern is if there are chicks in the flock, as they may be a choking risk.

Grape seeds are not toxic; although they are hard, they are no harder than many seeds contained in chicken food. The powerful chicken gizzard will make quick work of extracting goodness from grape seeds, so there is no need to remove them if you only have adult birds in a flock.

Can Chickens Eat Grape Vines?

Grapevine stems, and leaves are entirely safe for chickens and humans to eat. In some parts of the world, grapevine leaves are a common ingredient in many popular dishes.

In addition to many of the same nutrients in the fruit, grapevine leaves also contain beta-carotene. Giving your chickens grape vine leaves may be even more beneficial than feeding them the fruit as they don’t have a high sugar content, and the beta-carotene helps to give egg yolk a richer orange color.

Like grapes, always ensure that grape vine leaves have not been sprayed with pesticides before giving them to your chickens. Grapes are near the top of the list among the most heavily sprayed fruits, so if you aren’t sure of the source of the fruit, always wash everything, including leaves, before offering them to your flock.

Can Chickens Eat Raisins?

Chickens can eat raisins, but they probably shouldn’t. Even though raisins are dried grapes, they contain an amped-up amount of sugar.

Fresh grapes contain around 17g of sugar per 100g; the same weight in raisins contains a whopping 62.2g of sugar! Although many chickens enjoy a few raisins as a treat, they must only be given in tiny amounts and only if the birds receive plenty of daily exercise. There is a high risk of obesity if such sugar-laden snacks are provided regularly.

Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Grapes?

In addition to receiving a balanced poultry feed, chickens benefit from the addition of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Including grapes as part of their diet adds valuable nutrients and provides variety to the menu.

It is healthy for chickens to enjoy grapes, but only in small amounts in addition to their chicken food, a few times a week. Too many will undoubtedly result in an upset digestive tract, which will be not only uncomfortable for the birds but also highly unpleasant for the human that cleans their coop.

Do Chickens Like Grapes?

Chickens don’t like grapes – they love them! No matter which variety of grapes you have available, your chickens will appreciate them, and it’s not only the fruit that they will enjoy.

Grape leaves are also packed with nutrients that are highly beneficial to chickens. The leaves are healthier for chickens than fruit, as they don’t contain as much sugar but deliver many of the same health benefits.

Since grapes are high in sugar, this fresh fruit should only be given to chickens in moderation. Grape leaves can be offered more liberally as they are less likely to cause gastrointestinal problems. Fruit should only be provided in small amounts along with an assortment of vegetables and in addition to a staple, balanced poultry feed.

Conclusion

Grapes are high-sugar fruit and should only be given to chickens in small amounts. If you have an abundance of grapes to share with your chickens, freeze them so the summer bounty will last the entire year. Chickens love grapes and will eagerly consume as many as they can get their beaks on. Most poultry owners cut grapes into pieces before feeding them to their chickens to prevent the birds from choking.

References

https://petkeen.com/can-chickens-eat-grapes/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5951165/

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