Few things are more delicious than feasting on ripe raspberries. This prolific summer fruit is packed with goodness. Raspberry bushes frequently produce more than enough to share, and since they have a very short shelf life, it is natural to wonder if your chickens can enjoy a share of the juicy red bounty.
Chickens can eat raspberries in moderation. The popular summer berry is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants. All parts of the raspberry plant are safe for chickens to consume. Poultry can destroy raspberry crops, so the plants may need to be fenced off.
Chickens love raspberries so much that keeping them away from the bushes long enough to harvest any ripe berries can be difficult! Find out why chickens are so obsessed with raspberries, how many are too many, and what you can do to save a few for yourself.
Can Chickens Eat Raspberries?
Although some fruits and vegetables, like avocado, should never be on a chicken’s menu, raspberries are perfectly safe and an ideal snack for poultry. That is not to say that you should offload large amounts into your coop all at once, as too much of these juicy berries can result in a rather messy situation.
Chickens love fruit, and raspberries tick all the boxes for our feathered friends. They are tasty, low in fat, and loaded with health benefits.
Although the basis of a chicken’s diet should be a balanced staple feed, fruit and vegetables provide additional nutrients and add interest to the birds’ diet. Raspberries are an excellent choice as they include valuable antioxidants that help stave off disease and beneficial vitamins and trace elements.
The only downside to providing your flock with a raspberry feast is that the tasty berries contain a lot of water and fiber. That means if your birds get their beaks on too many at a time, it may result in diarrhea which is not pleasant for the chickens or the person who cleans the coop.
Raspberries are an excellent plant choice to include in your garden, as they bear abundantly every summer, and every part of the plant is safe for chickens to eat. Even if they peck the green leaves or stems, there is no need for concern, and the hardy berry bushes bounce back year after year to consistently produce a bountiful harvest.
Nutritional Benefits For Chickens To Eat Raspberries
A handful of juicy raspberries per chicken is all you need to supply your birds with a stack of nutritional benefits. If you are providing your birds with purchased berries, be sure to wash them thoroughly in cold water to ensure they are not coated in harmful chemicals.
Raspberries are tiny miracle fruits for humans and chickens. They contain less than 1% fat and are so low in sugar that they are a top choice for anyone following a reduced-sugar diet.
Some of the nutritional benefits of raspberries for your chickens include:
|Amount in 1 Cup
|Benefits to chickens
|Protein is responsible for growth, muscle, and tissue repair and is an essential building block for the good health of chickens.
|Carbohydrates provide the daily energy requirements to keep your flock active. Chickens consume a lot of carbohydrates each day as their staple feed often consists of carbohydrate-rich grain mixes.
|54% of RDI
|This vitamin gives the immune system a boost. In the same way, as humans benefit from a Vitamin C boost during flu season, it also helps poultry cope better with heat stress and aids in fighting off respiratory issues.
|Calcium is an essential nutrient for laying hens. Although the amount of calcium in raspberries is small, it is always valuable as it helps hens produce strong-shelled eggs.
|Anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and can speed up healing. In animal studies, eating raspberries has been shown to reduce symptoms of arthritis which may be helpful in older birds.
|The bulk of a raspberry fruit is water. Offering chilled raspberries during hot weather is a great way to cool your flock and ensure they don’t dehydrate.
Along with all the benefits, one element stands out and is the reason that chickens should not be given too many raspberries all at once. These tiny berries contain a staggering 8 grams of fiber per cup. When fed in large quantities, raspberry overload could quickly result in chicken diarrhea.
Can Chickens Eat Raspberry Plants?
Chickens love everything about raspberries. In fact, they love them so much that they may not even wait until the plants produce fruit before snacking on the shrubby bushes.
If you have free-range chickens and plan to plant raspberries, putting a fence around your precious bushes is advisable to keep your birds off-limits. Chickens are highly likely to try to peck on the shrubs before they have time to become sturdy and produce any fruit.
Can Chickens Eat Raspberry Leaves?
Raspberry leaves do not contain any toxins harmful to birds, so it is perfectly safe for your flock to take a few pecks while exploring outside. Even though the leaves have small thorns called prickles, these are not dangerous to chickens, and they hardly seem to notice them.
Chickens often decimate the leaves of plants they enjoy before they have time to fruit. Therefore, enclosing your raspberry plants until you are ready to let your chickens enjoy them is advisable.
Can Chickens Eat Raspberry Seeds?
Raspberry seeds are so small that most people don’t realize that each tiny section of the berry contains a single seed. Each raspberry contains multiple tiny seeds. Therefore, removing the seeds before feeding them to your flock would be impossible.
Chickens can safely enjoy the raspberry seeds while they are eating the berries. It is unavoidable for humans and poultry to swallow the seeds, and it is nature’s way to cleverly encourage seed distribution by birds ingesting the delicious red fruit and dropping seeds in other locations.
How Many Raspberries Should My Chickens Eat?
Although raspberries are a chicken favorite and packed with nutritional benefits, they should only be offered in moderation. Because of the fruit’s high fiber and water content, gorging on the delicious berries can quickly lead to gastrointestinal issues.
Raspberries can be offered as an occasional treat a few times a week. They are safe and wholesome for chickens of all ages; even chicks can enjoy a few beak-fulls of the delicious summery taste.
When handing out raspberries, try to spread them around so that even the birds that are low in the pecking order are able to snatch a few. You can offer a small handful of berries per bird. Remember not to give too many at once; you can save extra berries for another day.
How Do You Freeze Fresh Raspberries?
If you have too many raspberries and too few chickens to enjoy them all at once, try freezing them. Keeping a frozen supply of these fresh berries means you will never run out of tasty snacks that your birds will appreciate all year round.
Follow these steps to keep your raspberries separated and easy to pour, even when they are frozen:
- Start with firm, ripe raspberries.
- Pack the berries out on a tray and freeze them.
- Once they are frozen, pack them into containers or tightly sealed bags and put them back into the freezer.
If you have had a bumper crop of raspberries and don’t have space in your freezer, they can also freeze-dried. Soak freeze-dried berries in some water to reconstitute them before offering them as a treat to your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Frozen Raspberries?
Chickens go absolutely ga-ga over berries of all types, and raspberries are one of their favorites. Serving frozen raspberries on hot days or even freezing a few into ice cubes is a great way to keep your flock cool and entertained.
Since raspberries are so small, they defrost quickly. They are perfectly safe to offer to your flock frozen, although you may prefer to wait until they have defrosted before scattering them about. No matter how you serve them, they will always receive an enthusiastic response from your flock.
Do Raspberries Make Chicken Poop Red?
It can be alarming to notice that your chicken’s poop has become reddish brown or appears to be flecked with blood. However, if your flock has recently indulged in ripe raspberries or some other red fruit, you can sigh with relief and know everything will return to normal in a day or two.
Some foods, like beets, blueberries, purple cabbage, red peppers, raspberries, or even tomatoes, contain pigments that are not absorbed by the chicken’s digestive system and are passed on out in its feces. The color of foods that chickens eat can therefore change the color of their poop.
Juicy fruits like raspberries should clear out of a chicken’s system fairly quickly. Any redness in your bird’s poop a few days after consuming colored food should be investigated. One of the chief causes of blood occurring in chicken poop is Coccidiosis, which is a serious condition.
How Can I Keep My Chickens Away From My Raspberry Plants?
Keeping your raspberry plants safe from your foraging chickens long enough to enjoy a harvest can be challenging. Once your flock discovers the presence of the tasty shrub, the plant may not even get a chance to bear fruit because of the enthusiastic pruning.
The best way to protect your raspberry plants from your chickens is to put a temporary fence around them. Usually, a few long stakes surrounded by chicken wire is enough to hold them back. There are times when you may not mind your chickens giving the plant an informal pruning, so give yourself the option of being able to open it once the plants are established.
If you only have one or two raspberry plants, you can use a tomato cage to protect them. Place the cage over the plants and surround it with chicken wire to keep your berry-loving birds out.
Chickens love raspberries but should only be offered as a treat, not as a staple food. Although they have many health benefits for poultry, too many raspberries at a time can result in diarrhea. All parts of the raspberry plant are safe for chickens to eat, and often the biggest challenge is to keep the chickens from eating the shrubs before they have time to produce a crop.