That is the question we will be looking at today.
Bananas are common for us. We often have a hand of bananas at home, and sometimes we even run to the nearest convenience store just for them. However, what’s common for us is not always that common for our critters.
Your chicken might have never tasted the fruit, and now you’re wondering if you can let them have some. From what we have learned, not everything organic is safe for our chickens.
More often than not, our little critters will take a bite at anything we throw at them. In this case, it becomes our job to watch their diet to ensure they grow to be happy and healthy chickens! However, this is not an invitation to refuse them all kinds of treats. We believe your little critters still need and deserve some variety. We only need to be cautious and do a little research before introducing them to new food.
Now, let’s go and put the banana under the microscope!
This article will cover
- Can Chickens Eat Bananas?
- Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?
- Can Chicken Eat Banana Leaves?
- Ripe vs Unripe Bananas
- Can Chickens Eat Banana Chips?
- Can Chicks Eat Bananas?
- Are Bananas Good for Chickens?
- Tips on Feeding Banana to Your Chickens
Can Chickens Eat Bananas?
Some say bananas are bad for chickens. However, that is not true! You can let the little critters have the fruit. Bananas don’t have any component that you could label as toxic or poisonous for chicken, so it’s safe for consumption.
The fruit itself is safe for your chickens. However, as the potato has taught us, not every part of a product is always safe for the little critters. Now, let us examine the other parts of the banana.
Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?
Yes, chickens can eat banana peels. However, there are more precautions to be taken compared to simply giving them the fruit.
You need to thoroughly wash the peel before you give it to your chickens. The peel itself is not harmful, but the skin might have a layer of dangerous chemicals for the critters. While you could avoid this if the bananas are homegrown, most store-bought bananas would most likely have a layer of pesticide or something similar.
Furthermore, most of the time, the skin is tough. Your chickens might hurt themselves if you simply give them an unopened banana or if you toss them the skin. You could wait until the peel ripens and softens before feeding it to them. On the other hand, you could boil it before giving it to them. Chopping the skin will also make it more appealing and easier for them to eat.
Generally, chickens eat anything you give them, but their taste still varies. It seems not all chickens like banana peels. Give them a few skins before listing it as a treat. It would be a shame to go through all that trouble if your chickens would turn away from it after a few pecks.
Can Chickens Eat Banana Leaves?
Yes, the banana leaf is also safe for consumption. However, like the peels, it might not suit their taste buds. You can let your chickens have some to see if they’d like it.
Additionally, you might be surprised, but chickens can also eat banana stems and trunks! Just take a look at these guys feasting on some stems:
Between chickens and banana trees, it seems that chickens could do more damage to the banana trees. If you have banana trees near your run, make sure your chickens won’t reach them.
Ripe vs Unripe Bananas
While you might say no to an overripe banana, your chickens might prefer them compared to the unripe ones. However, unripe bananas might be healthier for them. The riper a banana gets, the more it gets softer and sweeter, which are both bad for your chickens. Too much sugar will affect their production, and too much soft food would lead to crop problems.
Try to give them unripe bananas if you can. However, in moderation, ripe or unripe bananas would make a great treat.
Can Chickens Eat Banana Chips?
Unfortunately, you can’t feed your chickens banana chips. It has been processed and undoubtedly contains large amounts of sugar. For this reason, we suggest against making it a treat for the critters. On that note, avoid giving them any other sugar-loaded banana treats, such as banana bread.
Can Chicks Eat Bananas?
We have established that the adults can eat the fruit. On the other hand, you could also let the baby chicks have a taste of the plantain. However, keep in mind that the little ones should be fed starter feed until the sixth week.
It would be a good idea to chop up your bananas when giving them to your chicks. Additionally, you can mash them up to ensure it would not be a choking hazard for the little ones.
Bananas may actually be good for the little ones, as you will see later. However, it should not replace their starter feed and should be given only in moderation.
Are Bananas Good for Chickens?
Now that we know chickens can eat a banana and all its other parts. Let’s find out if it’s good for them.
The banana has a couple of good components, such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin C. Let’s take a look at these nutrients:
- Potassium is important in several systems and functions in our chickens. For example, it is involved in the chickens’ food consumption. Insufficient amounts of potassium could reduce food intake.
- On the other hand, as research has shown, magnesium is involved with issues, such as body weight and bone development. If you want to read more about this research, then you can click here.
- Vitamin B6 is involved in the nervous system. Insufficient amounts of this vitamin might cause nervous behavior in little chicks.
- Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolic functions of your chickens. Insufficient amounts may lessen food intake.
- Lastly, vitamin C is good for growth and development. However, as we already know, chickens can produce this vitamin on their own under normal conditions. If you want to learn more about the different vitamins and their effects on your little ones, then you can go to the MSD veterinary manual.
1 Cup Sliced Banana Nutrition
All the listed nutrients are beneficial and important for the development of your chickens. However, it is good to note that, in excess, these nutrients could also be unhealthy and harmful. Furthermore, the banana also has a lot of sugar which is unhealthy in large amounts.
Bananas can be healthy in moderation, especially compared to sugar-loaded processed food. Compared to other processed foods, the banana is undoubtedly a healthier treat. Nevertheless, it should only be a treat, and it is not advisable to be an alternative to your chickens’ well-balanced feed.
3 Tips on Feeding Banana to Your Chickens
You can simply toss your chickens a banana. If you worry about their beaks, you can also peel them before giving them to your chickens. However, did you know that there are several fun ways you can serve bananas to your chickens?
Chickens love pecking at dangling food, so you can hang the banana and watch them happily peck at it. This method also helps in keeping the fruit and the run clean. If you place the banana on the ground, dirt would most probably stick to it.
Furthermore, your chickens could step on the leftovers and spread banana mush everywhere they go! Simply placing the banana on the ground is not advisable if you have feathered-leg chickens, as it would easily stick to their leg feathers. That would literally be a sticky situation.
To avoid having a mess on the run, you can also opt for placing it on their feeder. You could either put the whole banana on the feeder or even chop it up. However, you might want to clean the feeder afterward if you have a few chickens who don’t fancy the fruit that much. They might turn away from the feed if they taste the remains.
Chickens can get heat-stressed. During these times, chickens don’t produce enough vitamin C. Since banana also contains a good amount of vitamin, it would be a good idea to freeze a couple of bananas and give them to your chickens during the hot seasons to help avoid this.
Can chickens eat bananas? The answer is yes! Unlike other fresh produce, they could eat every part of the banana – even the stem and trunk. Every part of the banana doesn’t have any compound that you could consider toxic.
With that said, it is important to remember that bananas don’t have all the nutrition that chickens need. Furthermore, it could also cause your chickens some health problems if given too much. For this reason, you can give your chickens bananas, but in moderation.
Watching what our little critters eat is necessary for keeping them happy and healthy. It is not always easy, but all the extra effort would undoubtedly pay off in the end.
If you have any other concerns about what your chickens could or could not eat, then you can check out our chicken feeding tips.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.