I believe that one of the many joys of being a chicken handler is bringing a new treat and watching the flock run up to you. It is amusing to see the little guys go crazy about food. They see you holding something and your little chickens turn into little road runners!
However, it is not always easy finding a new treat to introduce to them. Chickens are not picky eaters. Quite the opposite. But like many other animals, chickens cannot consume everything that we can.
Some of our favorite treats could be bad for chickens. Just take chocolates, for example. Sometimes, it still saddens me that chickens cannot ever taste chocolates.
So, going back. Today, we will be putting raisins under the microscope to see if it is safe for our chickens, so do not finish that bag of raisins just yet!
Can Chickens Eat Raisins?
First thing, first. Let us answer this question before digging deeper.
Yes, chickens can eat raisins.
Like with other food and treats, there is somewhat a debate in the chicken community with raisins. Some people would tell you that raisins are safe for your chooks. On the other hand, you might have some handlers telling you it is toxic.
There is some truth on both sides. As we have said, your chickens can eat raisins. However, it is not 100% safe for them.
Let us take a look at the nutritional value of the raisin. You would see that it does not have anything that could be poisonous to your chickens. You might also note that it sports a variety of elements and nutrients. On the other hand, you can also see that it has a lot of sugar.
Click here to have a more detailed look at the components of the raisin.
It could be healthy, but it is not the healthiest choice.
100 Raisins Nutrition
Do Chickens Like Raisins?
One of the most vital questions when it comes to treats is if chickens like them in the first place.
According to several chicken handlers, raisins are a hit for the chooks! But not all chickens are alike. One chicken might go crazy for raisins, and another chicken might hate it.
There is a way to see if your chickens like raisins. Throw them a few pieces and see their reaction. If they demolish the handful of raisins you give them, then you have your answer.
Are Raisins Good for Chickens?
We now know that the little ones could eat raisins. Furthermore, we also know they like it. Now, let us take a look at some of its components.
Sugar – As we have already said, one of the most abundant components of raisins is sugar. We often say that chickens do not need much sugar. That does not mean they could not have it. In the right amount, sugar could be helpful. It could give your chickens some extra energy when needed.
Fiber – Raisins also contain some fiber. This carbohydrate is essential in a healthy diet. It could also help with some digestion problems. If your chickens are experiencing constipation, then some raisins might be helpful.
Calcium – Not known for its calcium content, but raisins do have the mineral. Calcium can help with a lot of things, such as bone development. Are you a big fan of the eggs of your chicken? You probably know how vital calcium is in the egg production process.
There are many other elements that raisins have, such as a wide array of vitamins. There is no doubt that it does hold some nutrition in it.
Unfortunately, we cannot separate the good stuff from the bad stuff. Giving your chickens some raisins would put the healthy things in their system. However, it would also allow unhealthy things to enter.
Overall, raisins could be good for chickens, but only in moderation. With that said, raisins could not be part of the staple diet of your chickens. It should only be an occasional treat.
Can Chickens Eat Grapes?
Even though chickens can eat raisins in moderation, some handlers are still against giving them to their chooks. Their reasoning? It is hard to know just how much is too much.
Generally, the rule is that you can only allow about 10% of the overall diet of your chickens to be composed of treats. While we have a definitive number, sometimes it is hard to measure just how much that is for each chicken.
If you would like an alternative to raisins, then you might want to opt for grapes! We have recently talked about grapes. If you want an in-depth look at the fruit, then you can check that out.
However, to summarize, grapes are safe for your chickens. It might just be the best alternative as it has most of the nutrients a raisin has just with less sugar.
Grapes are one of the few fruits that render each part edible to chickens. Flesh, skin, leaf, stalk, seed? You name it.
However, even if the grape might be the healthier alternative, it still does not have everything the chooks need. It still cannot be a staple in the diet of your chickens. It would still make for a great treat.
Treats with Low Sugar Levels
You do not have to look any further if you are looking for low-sugar treats. You can add these treats to your long list of food that you give to your chooks.
Grapefruit – First, we have the grapefruit. We are not sure if your chickens would like grapefruits, but it is a nutrient-loaded fruit. It does not contain that much sugar. You can give your chickens a few pieces to see if they would like this fruit.
Lemon – Here, we have the lemon. Again, this is a citrus fruit. We are not sure if your chickens would like it. Generally, chickens do not like citrus fruits. However, many chickens do love them. Let them have a taste. If they demolish it within a few seconds, then you have your answer.
Kiwi – I personally like kiwis. It is nice to know I can share it with the chooks. It is another healthy fruit that has many different minerals and elements. It also does not contain that much sugar.
Chickens can have sugar. It is just that they do not need much of it. In high quantities, it would be unhealthy for them.
Most of these treats are fruits. If you want to see other fruits that you could feed to your chickens, then you can go to our chicken feeding tips. Also, you can check this list out.
Things to Remember When Giving Treats to Your Chickens
We cannot list down all the things that chickens cannot eat. But here are a few things you could keep in mind when introducing new food to the chooks.
As I like to say, if it has mold, then away it goes. Mold is harmful to your chickens. It could cause many serious problems.
Many fruits and vegetables render their leaves edible for chickens. However, there is also a lot of leaves that are bad for the little critters.
Are there are any leaves that your chickens could reach? Do you want to introduce some new leafy treats to them? It is best to do some research first.
If the fruit or vegetable leaf is from the store, it could have a chemical covering it. With the texture of most leaves, you would need to wash them thoroughly to ensure they would be safe for the little guys.
Do you want to introduce a treat from the nightshade family? We strongly advise that you do some research before doing so!
Many of the members of the nightshade are edible. However, there should be some caution taken for some parts.
In addition to all of these cautions, you should also note the size and texture of the new treat. If it is too hard, then you might want to soften it and chop it up into smaller pieces. This process is to avoid making it a choking hazard.
Can chickens eat raisins?
Yes, and it might just be one of the favorite treats of your chickens. However, it is not one of the healthiest choices on the list.
Like any other treat, giving raisins is advisable only in moderation. It should only be allowed occasionally. With the right amount, it could be beneficial. However, giving too many raisins to your chooks could be harmful.
Introducing new treats to our chickens is not only fun for them but us as well. However, it is also a task that holds a lot of weight.
It is essential to assess the things we give to our chickens. It could be the difference between having a happy and healthy chicken on our hands or a sad and sick chook on our run.
We are here to help you in your chicken-raising journey. If you want to know more about the treats you could give to your chickens, then you can go to our chicken feeding tips section.
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.