Some people say that chickens will eat almost anything, and it's true. Even if they've never tasted what you're offering before, they'll cock their heads at it and give it a try anyway. But that doesn't mean that their stomachs can handle it.
Your chicken's main diet should consist of specially formulated poultry feed, but that isn't to say you can't give them some fresh, juicy fruits and veggies as a treat every now and then.
Pineapple is a favorite with many people, and it's natural to wonder if your chickens will love it as much as you do. But is it safe for them?
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple?
Yes, chickens can eat pineapple. As long as the leaves and fibrous outer skin are removed, pineapple can be a great treat with Vitamin C and many minerals. However, follow our vet-approved feeding guidelines as too much sugary pineapple may cause diarrhea, bezoars, weight gain, decrease in egg quality, and other health problems in chickens.
Chickens are natural scavengers, and most will happily experiment with new foods, but they can also be very picky. So don't be disappointed if yours give the pineapple a couple of pecks and walk away in search of something else.
Not all chickens like pineapple. Those that do seem to be very specific about the ripeness levels. They won't eat it if it's not yet ripe, and they won't touch an overripe pineapple either.
If your chickens like it, go ahead and let them have some, just don't overdo it. "Pineapple makes a nice healthy treat for your chickens", Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Leonie McKinlay confirms. Pineapple is okay as an occasional treat, but shouldn't be fed daily. Neither should it replace their main feed. And if your pets don't want any, don't worry. There are a lot of other fruits you can feed to your hens.
Health Benefits: Is Pineapple Good for Chickens?
Pineapple is one of the healthiest fruits around, so there's a lot your chickens can get out of it. Just remember not to overdo it, as too much of anything can easily cause trouble, no matter how good the food itself is.
Pineapple, fed in moderation, is a fruit that will provide several essential nutrients in one serving.
Vitamin C Bomb
Pineapples contain lots of vitamin C, a very important nutrient when it comes to keeping your flock of chickens in tip-top shape. Vitamin C is vital in helping your birds maintain a strong immune system. It also plays a role in collagen production.
Unlike some other animals, such as guinea pigs, chickens can synthesize their own vitamin C. However, during periods of heat (such as summer), their systems may not produce enough of it, so adding some to their diet can help.
Research has found that supplementing your flock's diet with vitamin C during prolonged hot periods can improve immunity, weight gain, appetite, and more.
Contains Useful Bromelain
Pineapple contains an enzyme known as bromelain. Bromelain helps chickens in their digestion, helping to break down other foods that the chicken has eaten.
If your chickens willingly eat pineapple, an occasional serving can boost their digestive systems, allowing them to absorb more out of whatever other foods they consume.
No Fat or Cholesterol
Another great reason to feed your chickens some pineapple is that it doesn't contain any fat or cholesterol. These are some of the biggest enemies your chickens face, and you need to carefully control how much your chickens get.
Excessive cholesterol and fat in your flock's diet will cause your chickens to gain weight. In the long term, this can cause some health problems, which is already a bad thing.
But a more immediate effect of your chickens being overweight is a decrease in egg production. Fat chickens will lay fewer eggs than a healthy chicken of average weight. And if the weight gain is big, they may even stop laying eggs altogether.
Can Help Prevent Worms
The jury is still out on natural home remedies for worms in chickens, but pineapple is thought to be one food that can help prevent worm infestation in your hens.
Chickens scavenge given half a chance, and it's hard to stop them picking up all sorts of nasty items as they go about scratching and pecking at things. Adding some pineapple to their diet may help keep worm problems at bay.
Rich in Manganese and Other Minerals
Pineapple, apart from containing a hefty dose of vitamin C and bromelain, both of which are good for chickens, also contains a lot of essential minerals. This fruit is richest in manganese but contains decent amounts of most other minerals as well.
Yes, your chicken needs to be getting the bulk of its nutrition from a specially formulated chicken feed.
But treats add some variety and can help supplement anything your flock may be lacking. Pineapple, fed in moderation, is a fruit that will provide several essential nutrients in one serving.
Health Risks: Is Pineapple Bad for Chickens?
Pineapple is a great fruit to add to your flock's diet, and we've looked at some of the biggest benefits it has. But before you rush off to the nearest fruit stall to stock up on some, there are a few things you need to know.
There are a few things you need to know.
Pineapple is Acidic
If your chickens decide they like pineapple, they'll gobble down quite a bit if you let them. But tasty as it is, this fruit is quite acidic. If your chickens eat too much, it may upset the balance of the native flora in their guts.
Too much pineapple can result in your chickens having diarrhea, which is never a good thing for birds. If at all this happens, you should remove all pineapple from their feeding troughs and heavily reduce the quantity you give them the next time around.
Too Much Can Cause Bezoars
Bezoars are also known as fiber balls. Your chicken may develop them if it eats too much fibrous stuff. Pineapple does have a good amount of fiber, and the peels especially are full of it.
If your chickens eat too much pineapple, the fiber may end up getting stuck in their crops, creating bezoars that make digesting food difficult. A chicken with a bezoar may start eating less, lose weight, and become weak.
Pineapple is High in Sugar
This fruit may not have any fat or cholesterol, but it does contain plenty of sugar. Small amounts of sugar are fine, and your chickens shouldn't have any problems digesting it.
But if they get too much, it can upset their digestive system, and you may end up with a flock suffering from diarrhea.
Also, if your chickens eat too much sugar on a regular basis, they will end up gaining too much weight. It will lead to a decrease in egg production and health problems.
Remove all peels and cut up into small chunks
The outer peel of pineapple is too tough and fibrous for chickens to digest. Make sure to cut any peels off and remove the sharp, tough leaves as well, as chickens won't even touch those.
Chickens don't have teeth, so the pineapple needs to be cut up into pieces small enough for them to pick up and swallow easily. Also, make sure the pineapple is ripe enough.
Feed just a little two-three times a week
Treats should make up no more than 10% of your flock's total food intake. And because pineapple is acidic and sugary, it's probably best to keep the amount down to about 5% of your birds' daily feed.
So if your birds consume 5 kg of feed daily, pineapple shouldn't make up more than about 250 grams. Your chickens shouldn't eat pineapple more than 2-3 times a week, so it's best to give different treats on other days.
This tropical fruit is packed full of vitamin C, but it doesn't stop at that. It also contains a good amount of vitamin B6 and many of the other vitamins in the B complex in smaller quantities.
Pineapple is also rich in manganese and copper. In fact, most of the trace minerals needed by your chicken are available in pineapple.
The fruit is also low in fat and cholesterol and contains useful dietary fiber. The only reason your chickens shouldn't get too much is the relatively high sugar content and acidity.
Pineapple can be a wonderful, nutritious treat for your chickens, provided you feed only ripe fruit, and in moderation. It's a vitamin C bomb and contains bromelain, a useful enzyme that can help your chickens digest the rest of their food better.
This fruit is also thought to help in preventing worms in chickens. It does contain plenty of sugar, though, and is also quite acidic. Feeding too much may give your chickens digestive issues and cause them to gain weight, which is not a good idea.
But as long as you keep it to a small serving a couple of times a week, your chickens can enjoy the numerous benefits of this tasty, healthy fruit.
Pineapple makes a nice healthy treat for your chickens and can be fed a few times a week without any ill effect.
While the bulk of your chicken's diet should be commercial poultry feed, most chickens love getting fruits and vegetables as treats, and this can be a great way to supplement vitamins and minerals.
You do want to avoid giving your chickens any foods that are highly salted, as well as chocolate, avocado, or foods containing caffeine, as these can all make your pet ill.
Letting your chickens have some free-range time on grass can be a great way to supplement them with greens, and it will also help keep your lawn short and cut down on mowing.
- Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM
Dr. Leonie McKinlay has always had a special fondness for animals and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Calgary and then her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Since graduation, Dr. McKinlay has been working at the same small animal practice, caring for dogs and cats.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your chicken's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.