Can Chickens Eat Grapes & Are They Safe?

Chicken keepers are always looking for new foods to give their feathered friends, such as apples and tomatoes. What about grapes? You may have been tempted to toss your chickens a juicy grape but thought better of it. The good news is that grapes are safe for chickens to eat in moderation.

Here is all the information you need to know about giving grapes to chickens, as well as the benefits of grapes for your flock.

Can Chickens Eat Grapes?

chickens eating from hands
Photo credit: Depositphotos

The main question that brought you here is: Can chickens eat grapes? The answer is yes. Chickens tend to love the flavor of grapes, regardless of their color or type. This means that red grapes, green grapes, concord grapes, and all others can be on your flock’s menu.

However, you cannot overdo it with the grapes. There are reasons for this which will be explained a bit further in this article.

Right now, what you need to know is that chickens are highly adapted to eating fruits and vegetables like grapes. This is because chickens have been around for a long, long time. Possibly longer than human beings, as chickens are directly descended from dinosaurs. Because of this, chickens are omnivorous, meaning they aren’t very picky.

In short, giving your chicken a mixed diet that includes chicken feed and grit, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the occasional bug from free ranging is the healthiest way to raise chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Grape Leaves and Vines?

chicken flock eating grapes and leaves
Photo credit: Flickr

Do you have grapes growing in your backyard or farm? You may be concerned that the leaves and vines of the grape plants could harm your chickens. Don’t worry. Humans can consume grape leaves; so can chickens. That said, most chickens are less concerned with pecking at vines and leaves than they are with scratching at the ground.

So long as your plants have not been treated with herbicides and pesticides, you can let the flock roam around the grape plants to pick up any fallen fruit.

What About Grape Jams and Jellies?

No, you shouldn’t give your feathered friends preserves, jellies, or jams. Most of these foods are high in processed sugars and artificial ingredients. Even if these foods are organic and largely fruit-based, the amount of sugar makes jams and jellies unsafe for chickens. Too much sugar could cause obesity among the flock.

Whole grapes are a much safer choice.

Are Grapes Safe For Chickens?

one chicken eat dark grapes
Photo credit: Flickr

Yes, grapes are perfectly safe for chickens when given to them in moderation. Grapes are full of beneficial vitamins and minerals that your chickens need in their diet. For hens that are prolific egg producers, chicken feed may not be enough to keep their eggs healthy. Supplementing a chicken’s diet with grapes and other fresh fruits is a safe practice and also recommended.

Just remember that grapes are a supplement. Giving too many grapes to your chickens is unsafe.

Why Are Grapes Healthy For Chickens?

Wondering why grapes are a good snack for your flock? Here are a few reasons, including:

Fresh Fruits Are Absorbed Easily

Processed foods lack a significant amount of vitamins and minerals that both people and chickens need to live healthy lives. That is why fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended for supplementing a diet of high quality chicken feed. Fresh foods provide a host of important probiotics, fiber, and vitamins that keep a chicken’s digestive system moving. Plus, fruits and vegetables increase the quality of a chicken’s meat.

Grapes Add Variety to a Chicken’s Diet

The more variety you have in your diet, the better you feel. Chickens are the same way. While chicken feed is bolstered with essential vitamins and minerals, it’s not the same as the nutrients derived from whole fruit and vegetables. By giving your chickens a mixture of feed, fruits, and vegetables, you are ensuring a happy, healthy life.

Grapes Are a Good Source of Vitamins

white grapes on the vine
Photo credit: Depositphotos

There are some many great things about grapes that make them an ideal snack. One of the main reasons is vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that is required for strong bones and blood clotting. Grapes also have a lot of vitamin C to boost your flock’s immune system.

Also present in grapes are the following:

  • Potassium
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamine
  • Vitamin B6
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Resveratrol

Chickens Have Healthier Eggs

Do you find that the eggs you gather from your chickens could have a bit more flavor? Maybe the shell isn’t that strong? Then your hens need more nutrients. Grapes happen to have all the vitamins and nutrients required for bright orange egg yolks.

As a supplement to a balanced diet and chicken grit, tossing a few grapes to your chickens is a great way to get the high quality eggs you want without having to spend a fortune.

When Are Grapes Unsafe for Chickens?

There are some myths surrounding feeding grapes to chickens. The myths started because other animals, like dogs, should never be given grapes. However, as long as you don’t give your chickens grapes in excess, there is no reason to be concerned about the safety of your flock. Chickens, after all, have adapted to a diverse diet, and grapes are no stranger to them.

That said, there are some dangers to keep in mind:

  • Grapes have a lot of sugar content. Anything that is high in sugar should not be more than 5% of a chicken’s diet.
  • Chickens like grapes (and other treats) so much that they may refuse other foods when given these fruits. Therefore, grapes should not be a routine treat.
  • Grapes are a choking hazard. Chickens are curious but not the most intelligent of animals. They may try to consume a grape whole, which is dangerous.
  • Grapes may lead to indigestion and bloat. One too many grapes can fill a chicken’s stomach, leading to digestive problems.

How to Feed Grapes to Your Chickens

One of the things that you need to keep in mind is the size of a single grape compared to the average chicken. While your flock can definitely eat grape seeds and smaller grapes from the backyard, any large grapes from the store should be prepared before feeding.

Try to purchase organic grapes for your chickens. Be sure to rinse grapes under water to remove any debris and pesticides. Cutting up grapes before feeding is wise, since some chickens will get greedy and want to eat the grapes whole.

Combine the grapes with other nutritious food choices, including high quality oats, chicken feed, grit, mealworms, and other fruits and vegetables. A handful of chopped grapes is more than enough for a small flock.

As with all fresh fruits and vegetables, make sure you clean up any leftover grapes in the evening, as any scraps could attract predators to the coop.

How About Feeding Raisins to Your Chickens?

raisins and grapes
Photo credit: Depositphotos

Since raisins are made from grapes, they should be suitable for chickens, right? Not entirely. Dried fruits do not have the same amount of vitamins and minerals as fresh fruit. This is why the serving size of dried fruits is always smaller than fresh fruit. Plus, drying compounds the sugar content in fruits.

So while chickens will absolutely adore raisins, they are not the safest treat for your chickens. In fact, overeating raisins could lead your chickens down the road to obesity. You don’t want your chickens to be overweight, as this could lead to many health issues. For instance, overweight chickens usually cannot hold themselves up and become immobile.

Therefore, if you want to serve raisins to your chickens, make sure you are limiting the amount. One to two raisins per chicken per week is adequate. You can also chop up some raisins and other dried fruit and mix it into their feed. Tossing together raisins and fresh grapes is also fine but use a smaller portion of fruit.

Conclusion

Can chickens eat grapes? Of course! Grapes are a healthy treat for chickens that have a ton of benefits. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind before giving chickens raisins. Do not overfeed your chickens, and make sure their diet is already balanced. Grapes are a wonderful supplement to an already diverse diet. So go on, give your chickens a chopped up grape or two!

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