Can Chickens Eat Pineapple? Safe Food?

For chickens, a nutritionally balanced diet is very important for optimal health. That doesn’t mean they should be strictly fed chicken feed, though. You can make your chickens happier and healthier by treating them with delectable fruits, vegetables, and certain table scraps. Not only is the variety beneficial for clearing up nutritional gaps, it also keeps life interesting. Pineapple is one of those foods that adds zest to life, but can chickens eat pineapple?

Safe in moderation, there are some things you need to know about pineapple before you go giving it to your clucking friends on a regular basis. Let’s discuss.

Can Chickens Eat Pineapple?

two pineapples

Yes, chickens can eat pineapple. Some chickens will go crazy over this juicy fruit, while others won’t be interested. This is perfectly normal, as chickens all have individual likes and dislikes.

When you give your chickens pineapple, give them the softest portions. The more fibrous sections of pineapple can be too difficult for your chickens to consume and digest. Also, make sure you are only feeding fresh fruit to your chickens. Moldy fruit may expose your birds to mycotoxins that will cause illness.

What’s Good About Pineapple?

A superfood in its own right, pineapple is loaded with nutritional power. The full range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants makes this fruit a great addition for both humans and chickens. Here is a nutritional breakdown of 100 grams of pineapple:

  • Calories: 50
  • Water: 86 g
  • Protein: 0.54 g
  • Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.1 g
  • Sugar: 9.85 g
  • Vitamin C: 47.8 mg
  • Magnesium: 12 mg
  • Manganese: 0.927 mg
  • Iron: 0.29 mg
  • Potassium: 109 mg
  • Phosphorus: 8 mg

How do these vitamins and minerals boost your chicken’s health? Here’s the details:

Improved Bone Health

Pineapples have minerals that are known to improve bone health. Manganese, for one, can reduce the risk of bone-related diseases. Chickens are highly energetic birds and need a strong skeleton to support their antics. Manganese is also necessary for helping form egg shells, healing wounds, absorbing other nutrients, and forming healthy cartilage from a young age.

Strengthened Immune System

white cockerel with red chicks around him

One of the reasons you should give your chickens pineapple is the vitamin C jam packed into the fruit. While citrus fruits, which are also high in vitamin C are often discouraged because they can affect the bones, pineapple benefits both. This means that you can give your chickens pineapple in both the winter and summer to keep them sickness-free.

Vitamin C is also great for preventing joint and cellular damage caused by everyday life. Your chickens will feel a lot more energetic throughout the year when this fruit is added to their treats.

Enhanced Skin Health

Chickens are sometimes prone to skin conditions that lead them to having missing feathers and sores on their skin. To naturally do away with that, you can feed them pineapples. The vitamin K, manganese, and trace amounts of zinc in pineapple can help clear up any skin woes.

Better Eggs

Want tastier eggs and firmer shells? Adding pineapple to your chickens’ diet may help. Pineapples are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folate, and potassium. Vitamin C can enhance growth and healing while regulating the metabolism. For egg-laying hens, vitamin C is essential to laying healthier eggs. Vitamin C can also be used to treat stress caused by fluctuating temperatures.

Furthermore, a nutritionally balanced diet imparts more nutrition into the eggs. If you are selling those eggs or using them in your own cooking, you also benefit.

Helpful Bromelain

Bromelain is a naturally occurring enzyme in pineapple that has many purported effects. Small amounts of bromelain most notably makes digesting pineapple easier, which is why the enzyme is sometimes added to human health supplements. But bromelain has other benefits, including anti-clotting, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. This will help your chickens combat disease, parasites, and arthritis as they age.  

Are There Any Risks to Giving Chickens Pineapple?

pineapple background

Yes, pineapples are generally healthy for chickens. However, you should also be a little cautious. Pineapple, like most treats, should never be overfed. Pineapples are high in both sugar and acid, which can negatively impact your flock. Overweight chickens are neither happy nor healthy!

Plus, while pineapples do contain enzymes that improve digestion, it can be too much of a good thing. Some chickens will have trouble digesting even a small amount of pineapple, which is why you need to monitor their health until you know every member of the flock can safely consume pineapple. Regardless, overeating pineapple could lead to bezoars — a buildup of undigested food.

Bezoars can cause a variety of medical complications. Too much bromelain can also cause skin rashes and stomach issues when overeaten.

Can Chickens Eat The Outside of a Pineapple?

Pineapples are infamous for their spiny outsides and leaves. The crown — the spiky leaves at the top — are inedible. The rind is also too tough for chickens to digest.

Therefore, when preparing to give your chickens some pineapple, it is best to remove the yellow flesh from the outer shell and crown. You could potentially cut the fruit into rings or discs with some of the rind still attached. Your chickens may enjoy pecking at the hard shell, but they will most often leave it alone.

What About Cooked Pineapple? Is it Safe?

Yes, just like fresh, raw pineapple, cooked is fine. Cooking pineapple can make it more tender and juicier, but it really depends on how you cook the fruit. However you choose to cook the fruit, make sure it doesn’t overcook, as this will destroy a lot of the important nutrients. Without vitamins and minerals, there is no point in giving your chickens pineapple as a treat.

One of the benefits of cooking pineapple is making it more palatable for your pickier hens.

How to Feed Pineapple to Chickens

Now that you have learned about the benefits and risks of feeding pineapple to your chickens, you may want to know how to offer the fruit as a treat. As mentioned previously, the fresher the fruit, the better. The pineapple should be ripe, but not too ripe. Overripe pineapple can be just as detrimental to your chickens’ health as under-ripe pineapple.

Next, choose how you would like to serve pineapple to your flock. Here are some ideas:

Cut The Pineapple Into Chunks

The quickest, easiest way to give your chickens some pineapple is to remove the crown, the rind, and the core. Then cut the pineapple into small cubes. These should not be so big that your chickens potentially choke. Put those cubes in a pan and let your chickens give the pineapple a try.

Since pineapple is juicy, it’s not recommended that you mix in fresh fruit with anything that could get saturated and mushy, such as layering pellets or chicken feed. If you want to mix the fresh pineapple with other foods, use other safe fruits and vegetables.

pineapple chunks in bowl

Make Frozen Pineapple Pops

On hot summer days, your chickens are going to be happy to have something to cool them down. Pineapples are excellent fresh, but they can also be refreshing when frozen. Do this:

  1. Grab an ice cube tray.
  2. Chop up pineapple into small chunks or pulse the fruit in a food processor.
  3. Fill each cube mold about ¾ of the way with pineapple. Add in a little bit of water.
  4. Put the ice cube tray into the freezer and wait until everything is solid.
  5. Serve the cubes to your chickens on a sweltering day.

The ice will eventually melt, giving way to a tempting treat for your chickens to enjoy. Plus, they get some extra hydration, as well as some electrolytes. You can also customize these pineapple pops by adding a blend of juiced greens or other fruits.

Pineapple Garland

Want to entertain your chickens for hours? Try cutting your pineapple into rings and string it up. Here’s how:

  1. Remove the crown of the pineapple. Peel off the skin.
  2. Make a hole through the entire pineapple and remove the core.
  3. You can opt to cut the pineapple in half or in quarters, depending on the number of chickens in the flock. This can also be done with separate pieces, each hung individually.
  4. Pass a rope through the hole and tie the end a little further up, so the rope makes a triangle shape (depending on the thickness of the strung pineapple).
  5. Tie the other end of the rope to somewhere high enough that the fruit is suspended above the floor. Make sure the fruit has not been hung out of reach.
  6. Your chickens will peck at the fruit throughout the day.

Pineapple Salad

To make a tempting pineapple salad for your chickens, take your fresh fruit, dice into tiny chunks, and mix with safe fruits, vegetables, and salad greens. This includes lettuce, kale, broccoli, carrots, beets, cucumbers, apples (no seeds or core), tomato (ripe fruit only), blueberries, cranberries, watermelon, pumpkin, and squash. You could also add in a small amount of cooked rice or pasta.

Dehydrated Pineapple and Trail Mix

You could dry out slices of pineapple and mix it into a trail mix of sorts with other table scraps, nuts, seeds, and layering pellets. Dried pineapple will stay good for much longer, so you don’t have to worry about using the whole fresh fruit before it goes bad. Plus, dried fruits are slightly easier for your chickens to digest. Dried pineapple can be a little chewy, though, so make sure the chunks are small enough for your birds to eat.

Final Thoughts on Pineapple For Chickens

Can chickens eat pineapple? You bet. Pineapple is a safe, nutritious, and very tasty addition to the long list of treats for your flock. Just make sure that you feed your chickens pineapple in moderation. Also, you should monitor your chickens for any behavioral or physical changes, since pineapple can be acidic. That said, pineapple is deliciously edible, so let your chickens give it a try.

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