Chickens are an integral part of any farm. But for them to produce eggs, meat, fertilizer, and other poultry products, they need to be healthy. And any chicken owner knows that the health of their chickens starts with a proper diet.
While many chickens rely solely on their feed and foraged insects for nutrition, some owners love giving them fowl friends sweet treats to reward them for their hard work. These include vitamin-dense and fiber-rich fruits, like pineapples.
But is it safe for chickens to eat pineapple? How much of it are they allowed to consume?
Today, we’ll explore the ins and outs of feeding your chickens pineapple, its benefits for their health, and what risks you need to consider. We’ll also give you some tips on how to feed it to them.
Pineapples are Chock-Full of Vitamins and Nutrients
Aside from their delectable flavor, pineapples are a popular fruit among humans and animals alike because of their nutritional benefits.
People love adding pineapples to their salads, juices, and everyday dishes because of their ability to improve digestion issues and reduce inflammation in the body. All these benefits are thanks to the nutrient-rich makeup of pineapples.
Pineapples are abundant in essential vitamins and minerals that keep the body strong. These include vitamins B and C, potassium, calcium, manganese, bromelain, and more. These bolster the body’s immune system, many of them acting as antioxidants to protect us from cellular damage.
They’re also high in fiber, which works wonders for digestion. Fiber helps regulate irregular bowel movements, which can help you feel lighter and less lethargic.
But are these nutritional benefits from pineapple also helpful to chickens?
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple?
Chickens raised on farms typically eat the feed their owners give them. These grains are rich in vitamins and minerals to supplement their growth. Free-range chickens also sometimes forage for their own food, like insects and bugs.
But chickens also enjoy eating fruits. After all, they are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plant-based foods. One of the fruits that can be beneficial to the health of chickens is pineapple.
Pineapples are very safe for chickens to eat. They’re not at all toxic, as long as you don’t feed your chickens too much of it. On the contrary, they provide chickens with numerous vitamins and health benefits—most of which are the same ones humans enjoy from pineapples.
Pineapples are an excellent sweet treat to give your chickens as a reward for their hard work on the farm. Because it’s high in sugar, it’s incredibly tasty for chickens. You’ll see how much fun they have pecking at these pineapples when you leave chunks of it in their feeding tray in the coop.
Just make sure that the pineapples you feed your chickens are ripe. Chickens are very intelligent creatures, and they’re picky about the fruit they eat. If the pineapple you serve them is underripe or underripe, it will be too sour and acidic for them. They’ll know this right away and refuse to eat it.
The Benefits of Feeding Chickens Pineapple
Aside from tasting sweet and delicious, there are lots of health benefits your chickens can get from eating pineapple. Here are just several of them:
It Boosts Their Immune System
Pineapples are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system of chickens. With a strong immune system, your chicken flock can fight off illnesses that can hinder their production of meat and eggs. Healthy, strong chickens mean a fully functioning poultry farm for you.
Chickens can produce their own supply of vitamin C in their bodies, but it’s still a great idea to supplement this with the occasional pineapple as a treat.
It Improves Their Overall Digestion
As mentioned, pineapples are high in fiber, which improves the flow of the digestive tract. This is great for regulating your chickens’ bowel movements and keeping them from feeling bloated.
Pineapple also contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins in the body and improve metabolism. This is excellent for chicken flocks who often have issues with indigestion from overeating.
It Promotes Healthier Reproduction and Egg-Laying
Pineapples are rich in calcium and manganese, both of which are excellent for strengthening bones and increasing energy levels. But for chickens, they have a secondary benefit—healthy egg-laying.
Manganese is fantastic for maintaining female chickens’ reproductive health. And when a hen has strong bones and good overall health, she can produce eggs with solid, sturdy shells. This is crucial if you want to produce high-quality eggs for the farm, whether fertilized or unfertilized.
Which Part of the Pineapple Can Chickens Eat?
While pineapples are a good source of vitamins and fiber for chickens, they can’t just eat any random scrap of it you throw at them.
Chickens can only eat the pineapple’s juicy flesh, which is the part that humans eat as well. If you serve them a pineapple that is not properly sliced, they might peck at the core and skin. But they’ll soon realize that the flesh is tastier, and so they’ll end up ignoring those parts of the fruit.
So, before feeding your chickens pineapple, remove the tough, hard pineapple skin first. This part of the fruit is difficult to digest. Plus, there’s a chance that the chickens will end up poking and hurting themselves when trying to nibble on the spikes of the pineapple skin.
Remove the crown of the fruit as well, also known as the leaves at the very top of the pineapple. Not only are these leaves inedible, but they’re also hard and difficult to peck at and eat.
Like the skin and crown of the pineapple, toss out the core of the fruit after cutting up the flesh. Though the pineapple core is rich in fiber, it’s too difficult for chickens to digest.
If your chickens force themselves to eat the core, they could end up blocking their entire digestive tract because of the high fiber content.
The Risks of Feeding Chickens Pineapple
Sure, pineapple is an excellent addition to your chickens’ regular diet. However, too much of anything is too much. Pineapples should comprise only a small amount of any flock’s diet.
As we’ve tackled before, pineapples can be highly acidic. Eating too much pineapple can irritate a chicken’s stomach lining or digestive tract, causing problems like diarrhea and gastric acidity due to the enzyme imbalance in their system.
Give your chicken small amounts of pineapple only. Feed your chickens their dose of yummy pineapple in moderation. They should be an occasional treat just once or twice a week, not a regular part of their daily meals.
If you want to balance out your chicken’s usual fare with fruit, look for ones that aren’t as acidic as pineapple, like watermelon and cantaloupe.
You should also keep an eye out for severe allergic reactions to pineapple. Aside from frequent diarrhea, other signs of a chicken’s allergy to pineapple include difficulty breathing and a reduced appetite.
If you notice anything wrong with your chickens after feeding them pineapple, refrain from giving them any more until they feel better. Consult a veterinarian or poultry specialist to see if it’s a good idea to add it back to their diet once their health has improved.
How to Feed Pineapples to Your Chickens
You can be as creative as you want with how to present pineapple to your hungry chickens. Here are five ways to feed them delicious pineapple as a treat:
1. Serve Freshly Chopped, Bite-Sized Chunks
The best way to get your chickens to try pineapple is by serving it fresh and ripe. Take the flesh of the pineapple and cut it up into small, thin slices that your chickens can easily fit into their beaks and eat. Then, put the cut-up chunks in a bowl or on their feeding tray for them to see.
2. Frozen Slices on Hot Days
On hot summer days, you might want to consider giving your chickens a cold, sweet treat. Try helping your chickens cool down by giving them frozen pineapple chunks from the chiller or freezer.
You can also try this trick to cool down your chickens with ice. Get an ice cube tray and fill it half of the way up with water. Then, drop a chunk of pineapple in each cube. Let it freeze overnight, and then serve it to your chickens the next day.
Not only do they get extra hydration from the ice, but they’ll find a sweet surprise in the center.
3. Dry the Pineapple for Lower Acidity
If you want to feed your chickens pineapple but are worried about the fruit’s high levels of acidity, another option is to dry out the pineapple. Note, however, that it’s harder to feed chickens dried pineapple since that zesty, refreshing taste won’t be as present.
Drying your pineapple slices has its benefits, though. The drying process preserves the pineapple, making it last longer than fresh pineapples. It makes the fruit easier to store, especially since you won’t have to worry as much about it rotting.
4. Mash It Together with Oatmeal
Chickens love all grains, including oats. Oatmeal is a very nutritious snack for them because it’s rich in protein, antioxidants, iron, choline, calcium, and more. One creative way to serve pineapple to your chickens is to incorporate it into cooked oatmeal.
Just put your cooked oatmeal and freshly chopped pineapple chunks in a blender and puree them until you have a paste with a smoothie-like consistency. Put this blend in multiple containers and place it on their feeding tray for them to enjoy.
5. Let Them Try a Fruit Smoothie
Speaking of smoothies, you can also feed your chickens some yummy pineapples in conjunction with other fruits that are good for them by making them a quick smoothie.
In a blender, combine pineapple chunks with other fruits. Berries like strawberries and blueberries are excellent for chickens because they’re high in antioxidants. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps improve muscle and nerve function in chickens. Consider adding these fruits to your smoothie.
Puree the fruits together until they turn into a smoothie. Pour it into multiple bowls and serve it to your chickens on their tray.
- Can Chickens Eat Carrots?
- Can Chickens Eat Rice?
- Can Chickens Eat Oranges & Orange Peels?
- Can Chickens Eat Mango?
- Can Chickens Eat Watermelon?
- Can Chickens Eat Apples
Pineapples are a terrific treat to give your chickens a couple of times a week. Not only will your chickens love its sweet flavor, but it can also improve many aspects of the flock’s health—from their digestion to building up their immune system.
That said, there are several risks to feeding your chickens pineapple, too. These include digestion issues like diarrhea and high acidity. Make sure you are only giving your chicken pineapples as occasional treats, not a regular side dish to their everyday meals.
Always consult with your trusted poultry specialist before adding new foods to your chickens’ diet. If you’re interested in feeding your flock some pineapples, do so in moderation and follow the tips above for creative ways to give them this sweet treat.