If there’s one thing evident about chickens, it’s their love for fruits. These treats are never overrated for our chicken friends. The refreshing color of the many available fruits is perfect eye candies for birds who value visuals like chickens. In the variety of fruit choices out there, can chickens eat papaya?
The Amazing World Of Papayas
Papaya, scientifically termed as Carica Papaya, is one of the fruits in the family of Caricaceae. Many people may know papaya as it is found in many parts of the world, especially the tropical regions of the world where they are usually cultivated.
Papayas can range from mild sweetness to very sweet if you get the sweeter types. Papayas have a musky tang that can vary from place to place.
Papayas are pretty easy to spot. They have unique and remarkable physical characteristics starting from their tree to the fruit. Although papaya plants are pretty small compared to the big trees out there, they are indeed considered trees. Papaya trees are not the typical tree you expect. They are not quite as woody as the others.
People who follow a specific diet love papayas and put them in various salads. Papayas are perfect for breakfast and are often opted for by people who do so. Like any other fruit, papayas are also filled with many nutrients mixed and made into many things, including the following.
Papayas also contain a lot of good stuff for the human body. These friendly fruits help in preventing medical issues and minimizing risks.
- Preventing Asthma – Asthma development risk is lower for people who consume a lot of good food and intake high levels of nutrients like beta carotene, abundant in papayas.
- Diabetes – Papaya also contains a high level of fiber. This helps in the lowering of blood glucose levels. Thus, it allows people with diabetes to lower or improve their blood sugar levels.
- Skin – Papayas are also famously used for the skin. Papayas have the proper nutrients that help in improving your skin. With this, papayas also help in enhancing wound healing.
These are just some of the benefits of eating papayas, and there is still more to uncover and know.
Papayas For Chickens: Good or Bad?
While papayas are very much appreciated in the human food menu for the good things they offer, what about chickens? Humans and chickens are for sure built differently. If so, what are the excellent things papaya has to provide for your flock? Do chickens even like papayas?
The answer is yes! Chickens love fruits, and papayas are not an exception! The soft, sweet, creamy taste plus the rich and buttery texture of papayas is perfect for your chicken’s liking.
Not only do your chickens love it, but it’s also a recommended food for your chickens to eat. Apart from having a lot to offer to your chickens, papayas are relatively cheap and available in almost every market. In short, it’s not that hard to find and not hard to supply.
Papayas and Their Nutritional Contributions For Your Chickens
Papayas are filled with good things for your chicken. Yes, aside from their good taste, they offer more than that. Here are some of the good stuff papayas have for your chickens.
- Folate – Folate is good and is crucial for your chicken’s red blood cell formation, including the flock’s healthy cell formation, growth, and function. This nutrient is needed, especially during pregnancy times. Folate is also very much needed by your chickens during times of stress and illness.
- Protein – Yes, fruits have proteins too, and papaya is one of them. Protein is quite essential, especially for egg-laying chickens. It helps in keeping the egg cycle going. Not only this, but protein is also a contributor to the growth of your chickens as well as immunity.
- Potassium – Potassium helps in the frequency and consistency of egg production for your egg-laying flocks. Potassium deficiency often results in reduced egg production. Thus, feeding chickens extra potassium that the feed may lack can help them stay healthy and lay eggs properly.
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A is needed for your chicken’s average growth. It also helps in maintaining and keeping the epithelial cells (including the skin and the digestive, reproductive, and respiratory tract linings) in good condition.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps keep the chicken’s immune system strong, especially during environmental changes like hotter temperatures, one of the leading chicken stressors. This good nutrient also helps your chickens gain healthy weight.
- Fiber – Fiber plays a pretty important role in the lines of stimulating the gastrointestinal tract and digesting nutrients. It plays a significant role in absorption in the small intestines that significantly affects how the nutrients are absorbed and metabolized.
- Calcium – Calcium is the bone helper that helps chickens grow more properly and stronger. It also helps during the younger days for chickens, especially in eggshell production.
- Iron – Iron plays an essential role in oxygen transportation. This nutrient helps chickens get oxygen in all parts of their body. Lack of iron may result in a disease called anemia which is deadly for your chickens.
Preparing Papaya To Your Chickens
Feeding chickens’ fruits can be quite challenging as there are many fruits out there, and they are diverse. It could be much different trying to feed papayas than when you are trying to feed bananas to them. Here are some ways you can provide your chickens with papayas.
One of the many practices around flock owners is just placing a whole and ripe papaya on the space where you want your chickens to eat their treat. Once they sense and know that papaya has been placed, they will for sure go to bazonkers and attack it.
While it can be effortless and convenient for you to put the fruit on the ground, it can be quite a messy scene, and chickens can fight over space as the whole fruit does not allow much room to share. Placing whole papayas on the ground puts an extra burden on your chickens, such as spitting or ignoring seeds.
It’s also almost inevitable that they will eat parts of the papaya skin. Do not worry, papaya skin is okay for chickens to consume. However, seeds have been reported not to be suitable for your chickens as they can impede digestion and cause intestinal blockage.
Sliced papaya also works wonders! This helps in the easier digestion for your chickens and also helps with the distribution of the fruit. This way, you can divide into multiple lumps, so your chickens are not fighting over one whole piece but with different parts at once.
Speaking of sliced papayas, you can also go on and mix some other fruits in them, like your own designed salad. It can be filled with fruits and vegetables that are good for your chickens.
Papaya smoothie would also be nice, especially during the hotter days. Chickens are easily thirsty, and having healthy and delicious smoothies will surely make their day. This can help in reducing their stress levels during hot days. A papaya smoothie is something that will quench their thirst and cool their body.
Preparing food is always a challenge and an opportunity for creativity. Make sure to use ingredients that are safe for chickens, of course.
How Much Is “Too Much” Papaya?
In feeding your chickens, it’s important to note that there’s always a limitation for how much they can eat a particular food. The needed nutrients for their everyday life and survival are often already supplied by their feeds.
While papaya has a lot of good things to offer your chickens, it is not fit to have as a daily meal. Your chickens need a set of nutrients that are often provided by their feeds. If there should be extras, they should be considered treats, and the amount should be managed.
While feeding your chickens treats, watching them avoid fighting each other and overeating papayas is always helpful. This is why slicing papayas is more recommended because first, you can remove the seeds and minimize the papaya skin that goes in their plates. Second, it will be much easier for you to monitor how much they are consuming.
The recommended serving of papayas for your chickens is once to thrice a week as treats. While it’s also okay to give them fruits every day, it’s important to note the amount of fruit you are serving. Chickens love fruits and will probably just eat until the fruits are gone, so supervision is needed. An important note to remember is that any food fed to your chickens should have a limitation, even fruits!
Chickens are known to love fruits. It’s their undeniable truth, and so this widely expands their food menu. Can chickens eat papaya? The answer is a clear yes. In fact, papayas have a lot to offer, as discussed above. Not only that, but papayas also open the door to more possibilities to create treats for your chickens.
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.