Figs are commonly planted for their sweet fruit and ornamental purposes. If you have a wide range where you feed your chicken and have a fig tree or two in your yard, you may wondering, can chickens eat figs? The answer is yes, chickens can in fact eat figs.
Are Figs Healthy For Chickens?
Figs are not just a delicious treat for your flock but it also provides a lot of nutrients as it’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It can also be seen as one of the favorite treats for chickens as they rarely stray away from eating it as you can see in the below video.
Read further down below for more information regarding feeding your chicken figs, nutrients, and health risks are listed down below.
Benefits of Figs
Figs contain a lot of benefits for your chicken. Now we know that figs are safe for consumption, it’s time to delve into the benefits of feeding figs to your chickens.
High Sugar Content
Along with fig’s sweetness, is its high sugar content. Calories is rich in figs which can produce energy for your flock. It’s estimated by FoodData Central that a 100g serving of fig can contain up to 74 kcal. Of course, high sugar content means that you should watch over the fruit intake of your flock as large consumption of sugar can cause health problems in the long run.
High Water Content
Figs contain a lot of water, making them great for consumption on hot summer days. Putting figs in the refrigerator and serving them cool but not frozen, is a great treat for your chickens to beat the heat.
Rich with Vitamins and Minerals
Figs are filled with a lot of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants This section will elaborate further on the amount and overall nutrition provided by the sweet and tasty fruit. Below are some of the vitamins and minerals that figs can provide for you.
Potassium can help your flock in a lot of ways such as maintaining fluid balance and providing an improvement with nerve signals.
Iron is great for your chicken’s blood vessels and nerves. It also helps the absorption of other nutrients, strengthening the immune system.
Vitamin B6 is important for the development of blood and nerves. As Vitamin B6 is mostly used in the central nervous system, it’s important to always provide it so that the overall function of the body is not compromised. Lacking Vitamin B6 in the diet can cause a slew of neurological problems.
Magnesium is great for the formation of bones and enzymatic processes. It’s very important for the absorption of carbohydrates and other nutrients.
Fiber is not just great for humans, it also helps chickens in a lot of ways. Fiber is a key nutrient for proper metabolism and absorption of nutrients. Ensuring your chickens’ proper nutrient absorption is one of the prime factors for a healthy flock.
If you are keeping hens for egg production, your chickens’ calcium intake is very important for you. Since natural sources of calcium for chickens are harder to attain, the additional calcium content of figs will provide your chickens with better egg production. Lack of calcium can lead to problems such as easy to crack and flimsy eggs. Long exposure to calcium deficiency can lead to reproductive problems and bone weakness.
Vitamin K is a vitamin that helps with the blood clotting process, regulating levels of calcium and bone formation. When your chickens lack this vitamin, they can develop an intestinal disease called coccidiosis. Although coccidiosis can be treated, it can still cause death to your flock.
If you want to know more about the nutritional value, you can refer to the table below.
|Vitamin K||4.7 µg|
How to Feed Chicken Figs?
Figs can be fed to your flock whether it’s dried or fresh. If you ever feed your chickens with dried figs, make sure it is free from additives and preservatives. It’s also best to only give it to your chickens only once in a while.
Fresh figs can also be eaten by chicken as it is. The seeds and skin are safe to consume. If you ever decided to feed your chickens with fresh figs, just toss it with your grains or put it in a bowl. Watch as they peck away the sweet fruit.
How Many Figs is Safe For Chickens?
Feeding your chickens one or two servings of medium-sized figs per week is the best serving portion you can provide for your chicken. Although figs are very high in nutrients, they also contain a quite large amount of natural sugar and calories. This substance is good for your chickens as they provide an energy source but going overboard can lead to health issues.
Can Chickens Eat The Seeds of a Fig?
Chickens, like humans, are safe to consume the seeds of the figs. Since the intestines of chickens are designed to digest grains, digesting the figs is no problem at all.
Are The Leaves of the Fig Tree Safe to Eat for Chickens?
The fruits of the fig tree, as stated above, are safe for chickens and also provide a large number of nutrients. The leaves, on the other hand, are poisonous to not just chickens but also to a large number of animals as well such as dogs and cats.
The leaves contain a substance called ficin which causes the poisonous effect. If you have a fig tree nearby, it’s safe to watch over the leaves as they can be accidentally pecked on by your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Dried Figs?
Dried Figs are very delicious and readily available especially in winters when fig trees stop producing fruits. Your chickens can safely eat dried figs although make sure that you feed them a small serving at a time.
During the drying process, the sugar in the fig fruit will start to concentrate itself. This is natural as the fruit dries, the moisture will be gone. The crystallization of the sugar will cause a large increase in calories, so it’s best to watch over how many dried figs you will feed to your flock.
If you ever plan to buy dried figs for your chickens, make sure that it doesn’t contain any additives and preservatives. Preservatives can increase the sugar content, potentially affecting the glycemic index, making it less healthy than all-natural options.
If you have a fig tree present in your yard, you can try and dry it out yourself. By drying out your own figs, you can make sure that you have an all-natural and healthier dried fig for your chooks.
Watch here to see chickens eat some dried figs.
5 More Fruits to Feed Your Chicken
Of course, this article is far from over. For more information, here are some fruits that are great for your chickens:
This sweet fruit is not just great for humans, but also for chickens. It’s rich in carbohydrates and vitamins that will strengthen the immune system or your flock. Note that make sure to remove the seed part as Apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide. It’s best to slice the fruit up and cut it into smaller pieces.
For more information, click here.
Mango is one of the most well-known favorite fruits of chicken. The sweet taste of the fruit is used as a reward by caretakers to train chickens to return to their cages. Note that feeding mangoes should be done in moderation as they are very high in sugar.
Strawberries and other variants such as blueberries and blackberries are other fruits that are sugary and sweet yet still nutritional for your flock. It’s rich in antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin B9, C, and A.
The seeds are very safe to eat and you can either slice it or just give it to the chicken as a whole. If you notice a discoloration to your chicken’s waste don’t panic as it’s natural and will not affect your birds in any harmful way. As mentioned, berries contain a high amount of sugar so make sure that it’s just a weekly treat and not a part of the daily diet.
Watermelon is great for your birds for its high water content and is filled with vitamins and minerals. Make sure to cut up the fruit into smaller slices for better consumption. It’s perfect for summer since chickens need a higher water intake during the hot and humid season to to ensure they’re not dehydrated. The seeds and rind are also safe as well.
For more information click here.
Tomatoes are a very healthy option for your chickens. However, if tomatoes are already present in your yard, make sure that your chickens don’t eat the leaves and stem part of the plant as they contain toxins that can poison your chickens. The seeds are also safe for chickens to consume.
In summary– Are Figs a Good Food for Chickens?
Figs are good food for chickens and safe to consume. In conclusion, you can feed the seeds as well the skin of the figs but the leaves are poisonous for consumption as they contain ficin, a chemical substance that can be harmful.
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 The Foundry.