Watching chickens eat is fun and feeding chickens can be very enjoyable and interesting. For me, raising happy chooks is a hobby. So, can chickens eat blackberries?
There is a wide range of foods that chickens can eat. My flock of yellow chickens will eat up almost anything they find edible. Sometimes, I am forced to herd them after I saw one of the roosters eat a small snake.
I was left asking myself whether snakes are good for chickens to eat. Maybe to them snakes are nutritious as blackberries are!
So, can chickens eat blackberries?
Yes! Chickens can eat blackberries as treats but not their major diet. This delicious fruit contains a host of vitamins and minerals that are vital for their bodies.
Blackberries are soft and sweet when ripe and chickens will eat them smiling. Toss this tasty treat several days a week either twice or thrice.
If they happen not to eat them all remove the left overs because they will turn bad or attract vermin. It is good if you serve this fruit in chicken feeders and not scatter on beddings. This will prevent these birds from eating chicken poop and other dirt.
How much blackberries should chickens eat?
Blackberries are treats and they should not stop you from feeding other feeds you give to your chickens. Feed the berries in moderation only to supplement their feeds.
You can choose to mix these berries together with chicken feeds or toss them directly. It is important you note that these berries contain high amounts of sugars.
These sugars can make chickens refuse to eat other foods after developing a taste for sweet foods. On the other hand, excess sugars can make the chickens get overweight.
Over weight chickens are prone to respiratory issues, heart problems and may develop joint and back complications.
What are the health benefits?
As I earlier said, blackberries contain a host of vitamins and minerals that are good for the health of your chickens.
Whenever they are in abundance, I chop tiny pieces for my baby chickens. I make sure I mix them with their chick mash and they eat them well.
The table below will help break down the mineral and vitamin composition in these tasty treats for your flock.
What other berries are good for chickens?
All berries are good treats for chickens. May they be blue berries, cherries, raspberries and even blackberries.
When feeding berries to chickens, ensure you wash them thoroughly because some are laden with dangerous pesticides. These kinds of berries can be harmful to the health of you birds.
Grapes too are good food for chickens. Although they are good, seeded grapes are not very healthy because the seeds contain cyanide that may put the health of your chickens at risk.
Other seeds that are not healthy for chickens are: Avocado seed and plum pits. Do not let your chooks eat these seeds.
What types of treats are good?
There are a variety of treats that can be given to chickens. These are fed to the birds to supplement on their diets and not as the main diet. They include:
It is very important you remember that some of these treats contain high amounts of sugars that are not very good for your feathered friends.
Others like peanuts and cheese have too much fat. This is not good too for chickens. This tells you that feeding in moderation is the key.
What of the baby chicks?
The diet of chicks is a bit different than that of adult chickens. These tiny chooks require a diet rich in proteins of about 22% to 24%.
Their bodies have a lot to put up. They have developing tissues, organs, bones and even feathers. Remember they hatch with downy feathers that need to be replaced with juvenile plumage for them to be able to regulate their body temperatures.
Chick require vitamins and minerals at the right proportions too. The only thing that should be in small quantities is the amount of calcium.
Calcium should be given to pullets and laying hens. It helps in the formation of strong egg shells and healthy bones.
Do not forget to include grit and plenty of clean drinking water. Put the water in chicken waterers that are shallow and safe for the chicks to prevent them from drowning.
Grit will help in the digestion of food in the gizzard. As we know, chickens have no teeth and unlike us that chew food, most of their foods are swallowed whole.
It feels awesome to know that blackberries can be fed to chickens. Maybe you have plenty of them that are going into waste? Let you chooks have a taste on them.
If your chickens do not eat them, no reason to worry. It happens with individual chickens especially if the kind of food you are giving to them is new.
With time they will get used to them. Try massing them and mixing with other treats and this way they will find themselves eating them.
Have you ever fed blackberries to your chickens? Share your views on the comment section. So, can chickens eat blackberries? Yes! They can.
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