Chickens are one creature that love to eat a varied diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits. Knowing what your feathered friends can have also means that you can introduce to them a variety of flavors they may not know about. For example, have you thought about giving your chickens something exotic, like kiwi? Can chickens eat kiwi, with its sweet yet tart flavor and tough skin? Or should you skip it?
Turns out, your chickens will enjoy the taste of kiwi, and they will receive numerous benefits from a single serving of the fruit.
What is Kiwi?
No, we are not suggesting that you feed your chickens actual kiwis — those little birds from New Zealand. It’s the fruit! Kiwi, also known as the Chinese gooseberry, is technically a berry that is oval in shape and kind of looks like a chicken’s egg. On the outside, they are covered with a fuzzy brown skin. Inside, the flesh is a stunning green (or yellow) and is flecked with black seeds.
Interestingly, kiwifruit and kiwiberries are not related. Kiwiberries are completely different and look more like grapes.
So, when discussing whether chickens can eat kiwi, it is solely about the larger, fuzzier kiwi.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwifruit?
As mentioned earlier, the answer is yes. Chickens can and will eat kiwi when it is available. Green or yellow, kiwis are soft, delicately sweet, and full of nourishing flesh that will keep your chickens hydrated throughout the day. Like bananas and melon, your chickens will hastily eat up whatever slices of kiwi you leave out for them.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwifruit Skins?
Although the tough, leathery outside of the kiwi is not very appealing to humans, chickens do love to peck at it. The skin is just as safe for chickens to eat as the flesh and seeds. The skin is particularly rich in folate and vitamins.
There is one thing to keep in mind, though. The skins are tough because they protect the softer flesh beneath. Because of the fibrous exterior, chickens may have a difficult time digesting kiwi skins. They may peck a little at the skin, but it will be mainly to access the softer, more juicier part of the fruit.
Do not be surprised if your chickens leave most of the kiwi skins behind. They would much rather have something more delicious to munch on.
Is Kiwi Healthy For Chickens?
The kiwi is a bit unusual in appearance, but that does not mean it is not healthy. For chickens, the nutrients and antioxidants found in kiwifruit are just as essential to them as it would be for a person. However, one thing to keep in mind is the high sugar content in these little fuzzy fruits.
So long as you give your chickens kiwi in moderation, they will be fine.
With that in mind, here is a nutritional breakdown of what kiwifruits offer:
|Vitamin C||64 mg|
|Vitamin K||27.8 µg|
As seen in the table, a single kiwi is chock full of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. It is no wonder why researchers around the world have turned their attention towards this humble little fruit to review the possibilities. Aside from what is listed in the table, kiwis contain valuable antioxidants that fight diseases and inflammation.
Benefits of Kiwi for Chicken
Let’s go dive a bit deeper into value of these nutrients, vitamins and minerals for your feathery friends:
The kiwi is made up of about 80% water, meaning that it is an incredibly hydrating fruit. Combined with the presence of some electrolytes, kiwis can keep your chickens hydrated even during the hottest summer days. Water is essential to chickens, because it helps them digest their food and stay cool. Egg-laying hens also need water to form eggs.
For most living beings — chickens included — the energy derived from carbohydrates is essential. Your chickens need digestible carbohydrates to ensure that they have energy to support them throughout the day.
Calcium and Phosphorus
Both calcium and phosphorus are needed for bone formation and health. These minerals enhance metabolism and aid your hens in laying quality eggs.
Are your chickens constipated? Give them a little bit of fiber.
In chickens, magnesium plays a necessary role in facilitating muscle contractions and metabolism. Magnesium is also needed for immune system health and keeps inflammation at bay.
Your chickens need potassium for nerve functioning and metabolism.
Although chickens are highly resilient and resourceful, they are also susceptible to a broad range of devastating diseases. One of the best ways to keep your chickens free from illness is to ensure that their immune system is working properly. Kiwis are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that gets work done.
Free-ranging chickens tend to find themselves nicked and scratched constantly while moving across the yard. They are going to need vitamin K, which is necessary for efficient blood clotting.
How to Feed Kiwi To Your Flock
Kiwis are versatile and do not require a lot of work to feed to your chickens. You can give kiwifruit to your chickens whole, if you wish, but that may result in a lot of wasted fruit.
Thus, here are some tips to help your chickens enjoy their treat more thoroughly:
- Wash the fruit’s skin to remove any herbicides and pesticides.
- Slice the kiwi into small discs. You can keep the skin on to ensure the fruit doesn’t fall apart.
- You can also slice the kiwi in half lengthwise then dice up the fruit.
- You can freeze kiwi to make it a cool and nourishing treat in the summertime.
- Blend kiwi in with other fruits and serve alongside your flock’s regular feed. Avoid mixing watery fruits like kiwi in with anything that could become mushy and unpalatable.
What To Do With Uneaten Kiwi
After giving slices of kiwi to your chickens, it is best to keep an eye on their fruit supply and see if it is eaten in a few hours. Sometimes, your chickens will stop eating once they have had their fill. That said, if the fruit goes uneaten for a couple of hours — particularly during the summertime — make sure you pick it back up before it spoils.
Leftover treats will undoubtedly attract insects, rodents, and predators into your yard. You do not want such problems roaming around, possibly upsetting your chickens.
To ensure that your chickens do not waste a lot of kiwi, only provide them with a couple of slices at first to gauge their reaction. Once you know how much they like the fruit, you can give a little more.
Final Thoughts on Kiwis for Chickens
Can chickens eat kiwi? You now know that the answer is yes, they can. The skin, fruit, and seeds are all safe for chickens. Plus, kiwis are highly beneficial to your chickens. As such, be sure to offer kiwifruits as part of a colorful diet. Just don’t go overboard with all the tasty snacks, as kiwis and other fruits are high in sugar and could cause health problems when eaten in excess.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.