I love treats, any time, any day. And with my pets, I also like giving them treats often and allowing them to enjoy diversity. So a while back, I thought, how about trying fruits on my chicken? And one of the fruits I thought of sharing was a kiwi. But the big question remained whether kiwi is healthy and safe for my chicken.
This article will explain why kiwi is an excellent fruit for chickens, how to give it to your chicken, and how often to do that. I will also share a few tips for chickens that reject it in the first instance.
Is Kiwi Good for Chicken?
Kiwi is healthy and safe for your chicken. The only thing you need to watch out for is ensuring that it is fully ripe and not spoilt. Chickens can take kiwi seeds, flesh, and also skin. When well ripened, chickens will enjoy eating them and digest them without any strain on their system.
A good amount of kiwi will provide essential nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which help boost the birds’ health. While kiwi is this beneficial, it shouldn’t be used to replace the regular feeding routine. Something else, if you are just introducing it, it helps to proceed with moderation. Besides, it is not a superfood to supply all the nutrients.
Understanding how nutritionally beneficial kiwis are, I wanted to know where I would find them. And the best place is groceries and supermarkets. Given that this was a treat, I wanted organic kiwis, not the ones sprayed with chemicals that could compromise my chicken’s health.
Why Kiwi is a Great Option for Chickens
Compared to other fruits, kiwi has high water and sugar content but low in fat and calories. Keeping this in mind while you feed your chicken is essential as it helps you determine the amount that would be safe.
It’s worth noting that kiwi has other nutrients. In a moderately sized fruit of about 69g, the following is the nutritional information according to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).
- Energy – 42 calories
- Water – 57 g
- Protein 0.78g
- Fiber -2.07g
- Carbohydrates 10.1g
- Sugars -6.2 g of the Carbs
- Folate – 17.2 µg
- Potassium – 215 mg
- Fat -0.35g
- Calcium -23.5 g
- Magnesium -11.7g
- Phosphorous – 23.5mg
- Chlorine – 5.38mg
- Vitamin K – 27.8 µg
- Vitamin C – 64mg
Nutritional Benefits of Kiwi to Chicken
Since kiwi is 80% water, it helps the chicken remain hydrated and carry out its bodily function well. For example, water improves processes such as nutrient transportation in the blood, aids in digestion, and helps the birds remain cool since they don’t sweat. Water is also an essential ingredient in egg formation.
The high amount of calories in kiwi have proved beneficial for my free-range chicken. They can walk and run all over after a good helping of kiwi. I want my chicken to continue having high energy levels.
Calcium and Phosphorous
Calcium is an essential mineral that helps in proper bone formation, improving eggshell quality, and muscles’ contraction. Phosphorous promotes bone formation and enhances the body’s metabolic processes.
Starches and sugars are preferred as the primary sources of energy for chickens. Besides that, they are the easiest for the birds to digest. The body can also store carbohydrates as fats and break down the fats to supply energy when the birds haven’t eaten. This natural form of carbohydrate is better for the chickens than the artificial one.
Magnesium plays a pivotal role in muscular functions and contractions and metabolic processes. It has anti-inflammatory properties that enhance immunity and keep diseases at bay.
Kiwi’s skin forms part of healthy fiber that enhances digestion and mineral absorption in chicken. Enough fiber will prevent constipation in chickens by improving water retention.
It plays a central role in enhancing blood clotting. This is important for free-range chickens as cuts and bruises are inevitable, even from other birds.
This mineral ensures proper nerve functioning and improved metabolic processes in the chicken.
Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant that eliminates free radicals that cause inflammation in chickens. Chickens are very susceptible to illnesses, and the thought of losing even one chicken is disturbing. But with continuous intake of kiwi, my chicken’s immune system will improve, even in stressed chickens.
These are bodybuilding components of the chicken’s diet. When supplied in adequate amounts, the chickens will form enough muscles and increase live weight consistently. So if I think about selling one or eating, it will have enough muscle.
Clearly, kiwi is a great way to supplement these necessary components of the diet. It’s an excellent fruit that has lots of benefits for your precious birds.
The Process of Feeding Kiwi to Chickens
While it’s clear that kiwi can be of great benefit, feeding your chickens the wrong way can affect the quality and amount of benefits they receive. For me, I want to have fun with my chicken and use all methods possible to extract all the nutrients.
That said, there are several approaches I take:
Feed them whole
I would love my chickens also to exercise, and I feed them with the whole kiwi. I find that they enjoy pecking from outside till they get to the inside.
The green and fleshy part is the most preferred part. They peck the skin with curiosity to see what’s inside, or so it seems to me. With enough flesh, my birds will get most of the nutrients as well as the water.
When they are done with the flesh, they will have access to the seeds. At first, I was worried that kiwi seeds would be unhealthy for my birds or impossible to digest. However, it came in as a relief to know that chickens can safely digest these small seeds. I can’t imagine how much time I would have to devote to remove all the seeds if they were unsuitable.
Sometimes, my chickens will also consume the outer fibrous skin. However, most times, they leave it as the skin is tough. But some tough chickens match up the challenge and try to get some, mostly when I leave the fruit in the backyard for long.
Since I care for my birds, I wash my kiwi thoroughly with running water to prevent diseases, in case they consume the skin as well. But this extreme washing happens when I don’t get organic ones, which are free from pesticides and herbicides. Funny enough, I find myself washing the fruit all the time, even the organic ones. I just don’t want to take chances.
Cut into Half/Quarter Portions
When I want my birds to have an easy day, I cut the kiwi into half or several pieces. I start by washing them well with warm water and drying with a towel. I love being gentle since some fruits are overripe and can smush during the process.
I then cut the fruit into half or quarters and let the birds enjoy. There are days I will peel off the skin, and other days I give with the skin. For the first time birds, I endeavor to cut into smaller pieces to introduce and encourage eating. It can be a great start, even for birds that wouldn’t take the fruit.
If you are doing for the first time and unsure if your chicken will love kiwi, just cut a few small pieces and observe. From here, you can determine if they can feed or not.
The Safety of My Birds When Feeding Them with Kiwi
There are times I am so busy, and I want to prepare the fruits in advance and cut into small sections for easier feeding. Once clean and dried, I cut into small pieces and keep in an airtight container and refrigerate.
I keep cut pieces for a few days to ensure the fruit is still fresh and turgid as I feed it. I understand keeping it for too long may introduce bacteria through the decomposing fruit. I would not feed my birds on fruits that can compromise their health.
As much as I can, I prefer slicing and feeding the kiwi to the chicken while fresh without refrigeration. They seem to enjoy it more that way.
What Do I Do with Uneaten Kiwi
It feels bad to see my chickens leave some kiwi uneaten. I allow a few hours in the hope that they will get hungry and eat them. However, if they don’t eat it, I collect and dispose of it carefully.
Such leftovers can attract rodents such as rats into my backyard, which is not a problem I want to introduce. This hardly happens as I can estimate what amount my birds will finish and leave no wastages.
Do All Chicken Enjoy Kiwi?
While kiwi is healthy and safe, some birds may not eat them. This refusal happens especially when you introduce these fruits to mature birds. Since I want all my chicken to eat kiwi, I endeavor to introduce it to the chicks in small amounts to see the reaction.
Also, I try to mix with other feeds to see if the chicken will eat alongside. This has worked magic. I have also noted, a careful and consistent introduction will help the birds adapt to eating this fruit.
Another helpful tactic I use for my chicken is to give them when they are hungry. They will eat to satisfy hunger without being picky. Even with all these tactics, some chickens will still not eat kiwi. In that case, I leave it and find other nutritious fruits and vegetables that will compensate for kiwi.
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