Owning chickens come with a lot of questions surrounding what they can and can’t eat. If you’re curious as to whether or not chickens can eat bananas, we will address it in this article.
Yes and no. The banana itself is perfectly safe to eat, but the peels might have chemicals that can hurt your chicken. Also, the high sugars in the bananas are hard for the chicken to digest, so it should be a rare treat.
With a complicated answer like this, we need to dive into more details. The fruit part of the banana is perfectly safe for your chickens to eat. Even better, you don’t have to cut it into small pieces or prepare it at all. Since the fruit is naturally so soft, it’s easy for the chicken to peck it apart.
The peel, however, takes a bit more care. We’ll review how to prepare and feed your chicken peels and what caveats exist. With that quick answer, let’s take a closer look at how bananas and chickens go together.
Feeding a Chicken Banana Peels
The banana peel is a strange concept when it comes to chicken consumption. The peel has a ton of nutrients that chickens need, but it’s still unsafe for them to eat it. Why?
This is due to the chemicals used on the banana as it grows. Pesticides and other harmful chemicals wind up, making the peel toxic to chickens.
Additionally, peels are hard for chickens to eat. They are really hard, large, and hard to break apart. The chicken can try to use its beak, but they generally cannot pick the peels apart.
However, chicken owners suggest that there is a way to prepare a banana peel to allow chickens to enjoy it. If you boil your banana peel then mash it, they should be safe to eat it. It’s always best to use organic bananas whenever you want to feed the peel to your birds.
Are Bananas Healthy for Chickens
Most people know that bananas are healthy for humans, but what about chickens? The fruit has a ton of helpful ingredients like magnesium, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, and proteins. These are all healthy and great for chickens.
The problem is that bananas, like a lot of fruit, have a lot of natural sugars. Sugars are tough for chickens to digest in bulk. The suggestion is always to feed chickens a few bananas here and there, used only as a treat.
The sad truth is if chickens eat too many bananas, their organs can start to shut down, and they can actually die. That’s why it’s always best to give bananas as a rare treat and to only feed them in moderation.
This is the same answer for any sugary treat that you might be inclined to feed your chickens. Even if the food isn’t toxic or dangerous to the chicken, it can be dangerous in large quantities. The chicken’s biology is made for it to be a forager and to eat greens, grains, and berries. It’s hard for their body to deal with foods they aren’t familiar with – like bananas.
What About Overly Ripe Bananas?
When bananas get too ripe for you to enjoy, you’re in luck. Your chickens will happily peck away at these bananas, and they’ll enjoy every second of it! That being said, you need to make sure that the banana isn’t moldy when you give it to your chickens.
This is good news for people who are looking to limit their waste. If you don’t want to throw away a banana that’s too ripe, you can give some to your chickens. Just be mindful of what you do with the peel.
You might also be in luck if you live near a farmer’s market or fruit stand. As their fruit gets old, they will have to pay someone to take away the fruit and dispose of it. If you create a good relationship with them, you might be able to routinely pick up overripe bananas from them.
That’s good news, but can you use these overripe bananas to completely supplement your chicken feed? That could be a lot of money that you save every week. Let’s take a closer look and get an answer.
How Much Banana Can a Chicken Eat?
An average chicken will eat around a cup of feed a day. That being said, the number of treats they have should never make up more than 5% of their total diet.
Chicken feed is made specifically for what chickens need. The nutrition is optimized, as well as the size, consistency, and texture. By giving a chicken too many treats each day, they can wind up suffering serious issues.
If you want to break it down, it works out to about two tablespoons of treats every week.
By feeding your chicken too many treats, you might wind up destroying their organs. When chickens gain too much weight, they’ll wind up putting the extra fat in their liver, which is never good. There are a number of dangers associated with overfeeding chickens to the level of obesity.
Are Bananas Toxic to Chickens?
No, bananas themselves are not toxic to chickens. If you purchase organic bananas, every part of them can be enjoyed by the chicken.
The toxicity comes into play when you look at the pesticides used in growing bananas. If you opt for non-organic fruits, there are a number of chemicals that get sprayed on the fruits to help them grow. These chemicals seep into the banana’s peel and wind up going into your chicken’s body.
If you use organic fruit, they don’t contain these chemicals.
You should avoid feeding banana peels to chickens if the fruit is not organic. Otherwise, you can prepare the peel as it was described earlier.
Chickens Eating Toxic Banana Peels
Since some banana peels are treated with chemicals like pesticides, there is a danger to chickens eating this. They can wind up getting sick, but that’s not the end of it.
If your chicken consumes these harmful chemicals, it can also be transferred to their eggs. There have been reports of humans getting sick after eating the eggs from a hen that ate toxic banana peels.
There is another problem with chickens eating bananas. Besides the high sugar content, bananas are also wet food. The chicken’s body was created to eat dry food. In fact, in a lot of cases, chickens can’t even process wet foods.
That means that your chickens might not even be able to absorb the helpful nutrients from eating a banana. It might not be worth it in the long run, but that’s up to the owner.
Giving a Chicken a Whole Banana
There is a little prep work that goes into feeding your chickens bananas. You have to remove the peel from each banana. Even if you buy natural bananas and intend to feed them the peel, you can’t give them a whole banana.
The peel is too hard for a chicken to peck easily. They need the peel to be removed so they can get to the soft fruit and peck it.
The peel can be removed and fed in addition to the fruit. If you buy organic bananas and don’t want to boil or mash them up, you can leave the peels next to the bananas and see how your chickens react.
If you have picky eaters, they might not want to go for the peel. Alternatively, if the peel is too hard for them to eat, they might leave it alone. Don’t give up hope! You can try to boil and mash the peels and see how the chickens react afterward.
This won’t be a supplement to their daily feed, but it might be a nice treat for them from time to time. Additionally, it helps you save a little bit when it comes to waste. If you’re not going to eat the bananas anyway, or they’ve become too ripe, then go ahead and feed them to your chickens. They will love the treat!
Does Washing a Banana Peel Work?
The good news is that washing a banana peel actually works! With a good rinse, you can get rid of the harmful chemicals on the peel before serving it to your chickens.
This means that it’s possible to buy non-organic bananas and simply give it a thorough rinse. You want to make sure you give it a good rinse; otherwise, you and your chicken can get sick (if you eat their eggs). It’s not worth the risk since the solution is so easy.
You’ll have to peel the bananas anyway, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to perform this step. Regardless, it can help your chickens digest this treat, and it will keep them happy and healthy.
You always want to make sure you’re feeding your chickens treats in a correct manner.
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