I have kept chickens every chance I could throughout my life. Sometimes when in an apartment or when work kept me too busy, I had to refrain, but a happy flock of chickens is truly one of the perks of living, in my opinion.
I recommend anyone interested to give it a try, you will likely find them hardy and easy to care for, and full of personality. A common question I get is can my chicken eat figs when I have leftovers.
Chickens Can Eat Figs, In Fact, They Enjoy Them As a Seasonal Treat.
Figs are fine for chickens to eat, as long as they are not the only thing in your chicken’s diet. Even the insects attracted to the figs if they are on the ground add additional protein for chickens. Feel free to share your fig scraps with the flock or to allow them to forage under the fig tree.
I currently have a flock of 12 hens and a rooster that I keep penned up about half the time. This amount is easy for me to keep up with and provides enough fresh eggs for a family of five.
Behind their pen is a fig tree that drops a plethora of fruit once a year. I can’t seem to keep them picked. My chickens do not mind one bit that I cannot keep up with the harvest. The figs that fall into their pen disappear almost instantly, and the figs that fall behind it attract bugs, so when the flock gets to free range in the yard, they feast upon the spoils of the tree, and they offer free pest control.
The fig tree on my small farm has been a win/win, and I plan on planting more for me and my chickens. In my experience, a fig tree takes a few years to get established but then grows and produces fruit seemingly overnight.
What Makes Figs A Great Treat For Chickens?
Figs are a fruit that is full of valuable minerals, including magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and more. Most people enjoy the sweet flavor and savory flexibility of the fruit.
It not only is a good treat for your chickens, but it can make a great glaze to put on baked chicken and can add sweetness to a roast chicken and potato bake. This fruit is great both for and with chicken, to be frank! If you truly have too many figs for both you and your flock, you can try the simple method of canning them by using strawberry jello powder when you cook them down.
This makes a mock strawberry jam that few can tell is not the real thing because the texture and seeds in the figs are a perfect duplicate. Fig season around here means happy chickens, summer canning, and endless snacks for the whole family, right off the tree. Our dog even tried one once to see what the hype was about but quickly changed his mind.
Fig trees, once established, will reliability give fruit each year. If you have a small-scale farm, you will find that the plants that do not require replanting each year and serve as both human food and animal supplementation are practically priceless.
If you like easy practical farming, let your chickens out to free-range underneath your fig trees after you get your share of the fruit. For the most part, you will find that they clean the area of debris and pests and even drop little fertilizer bombs as they wander.
You may find, as I did, a few spunky chickens that will literally jump with their beaks up attempting to reach low lying fruit, but it has not been an issue with them taking too many so far. Chickens tend to have a short attention span, and once they have done a cursory scratching of an area, they are typically ready to move on to find the next treasure during the time that they are free from the confines of their back yard pen.
Figs Can attract Insects
Figs do attract a certain type of wasp that lay their eggs inside the fruit. When it comes to the birds, they have not been affected by this natural phenomenon in the least, and I have seen them pluck a wasp right off the ground and gobble it up, so I assume it is nothing but an extra treat if they do find a wasp egg or the female wasp.
I personally have never noticed a wasp in my figs. An article in Science Focus states that the fig wasp actually is part of the figs pollination process, and the wasp will either pollinate the fig or lay her eggs inside and die.
If a wasp does die in the fig, it is during the early process of growth before human consumption, and the fig actually has enzymes that digest the wasp, so you will never see a wasp part if you pick a ripe fig.
It has never been an issue on our farm, but I do find the information a fascinating look into the world of mutualism between flora and fauna.
It will always save you money when you find a natural resource to supplement scratch feed that your chickens actually enjoy consuming.
When you add the right “scraps” to your chicken’s feed, you may discover an increase in egg production and, in some cases, even affect the taste and color of the eggs! As will any new food, do keep an eye on your chicken’s reaction because there could be factors such as pesticides that affect your chickens as they try figs.
If you trust the resource or have the tree in your own yard, then it is likely fine. I have found no scientific or folk evidence to indicate you should avoid sharing figs with chickens, and my personal experience has been positive.
What should you never give your backyard flock? I have not tried to give my chickens avocado seeds and skins because they are reported to have a toxic element to birds.
They are also not exactly easy for the chickens to forage anyway, so this has never been a temptation. Green potatoes peels contain a toxin that should not be given to birds in general, but brown potatoes skins are a weekly treat for the birds around here.
Do not give your chickens bones or meat they will not be able to eat them fully, and the debris will attract rodents and other predators. You can give them the shells of their own eggs.
It is a great way to supplement their calcium. However, be sure to crush them, so the scrapes do not resemble an egg, or they may start to try to peck at their own eggs before you can collect them. I like to save a week’s worth of used shells then sprinkle them over other food items to be sure they see the specks.
I do not recommend throwing “all” kitchen scraps into your chicken enclosure because they will become overwhelmed and leave some to rot.
Did you know you can bury the scraps your chickens cannot eat right into your garden in a simple form of composting that is effective as long as you do not overwhelm any one area?
Try this with your avocado scrapes, green potatoes, and any food that went moldy if you do not want to commit to a full compost pile yet, or if your current compost pile is overwhelmed.
A healthy garden will turn it into new soil within just a few months, and you simply turn this fresh soil up to the top when you replant. The balancing act of not simply throwing your scraps into the trash to waste in a landfill is not too difficult when you have a backyard flock and a garden, but you do have to take some precautions, and you may find a few hit and miss situations. Be sure to research any new items you want to share with your animals, just in case.
If you enjoy using recipes with figs and want to share your scraps or if you have a tree that you want to let them enjoy, feel free. As long as figs or any other single fruit and vegetable is not their only source of food, they will simply enjoy the seasonal treat.
I know fig season is a favorite at my house for people and fine feathered friends alike. One day, midsummer, we will notice the first fruits emerge, and as we check for ripe pieces to try, the whole yard seems to wait in anticipation.
The season is short, and one day shortly after that first green fig ripens, we discover that there are none left to enjoy as we stroll the yard or to process and share.
Then we know summer’s tides are changing, and while it is still hot, the promise of fall is on the horizon. It happens every year, and it is one of the best parts of enjoying my small homestead and sharing the spoils of the land with the flock.
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