You may have a banana that is looking bruised or moldy, or just a spare one that you would like to share with your chickens. The question is, can chickens eat bananas?
The short answer is, yes.
However, because bananas are very high in sugar, you need to be careful.
Curious to learn more about how to safely feed bananas to your flock?
Continue reading on to learn the facts, preparation, and what to expect when you add bananas to your chickens’ diet.
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Can Chickens Eat Bananas?
In short, yes.
When served to chickens correctly, bananas act as a great source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6. These are all essential vitamins and minerals that your chickens need to remain healthy.
You should make sure to only feed your chickens bananas in moderation.
This is because bananas have a high sugar content, and it can cause health problems in chickens if they overload on sugar.
Bananas also tend to be very sticky and mushy.
Most chickens do not like to be sticky. Bananas are harder than most fruits for chickens to eat because they will mush all over their beaks and toes. It is not uncommon for chickens to be seen wiping their beaks on the ground after eating banana in an attempt to get rid of any sticky residue.
Make sure you read How To Serve Bananas To Chickens later on in the article to avoid this problem.
Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?
Whether chickens can safely eat banana peel is hotly debated.
We need to remember that chickens are omnivores.
This means that they have the ability to eat greens, fruits, and many meats. Because they are omnivores, the majority of foods in those categories are safe for chickens to eat.
So yes, chickens can eat bananas peels.
However, there is a catch.
Commercial farmers often spray bananas down with pesticides.
These pesticides and other chemicals can cause harm to chickens if they eat them. This is why bananas, and the peels, should be washed properly before feeding them to your flock.
Will Chickens Eat Bananas and Banana Peel?
So now we know that it is safe to feed your chickens a banana, but do chickens like bananas?
Like usual, the answer is yes.
In general chickens like bananas and will rush to gobble them up along with any other treats you offer them.
Chickens are natural foragers.
This makes them extra curious to try out new foods and investigate their surroundings constantly for new things to taste. Bananas are no exception to this rule. Naturally, your chickens will be more drawn to the banana than the peel. This is because the banana fruit is much easier for them to eat.
Banana peels are a bit more challenging. They do not come apart easily, so many chickens will give up on trying to eat a peel unless it is properly prepared (we will share how to prepare a peel properly later in the article).
This, of course, will depend on each individual chicken in your flock. Some of your chickens will tend to enjoy bananas much more than others. These individual tastes are what makes each bird so interesting to watch.
Are Bananas Good for Chickens?
Bananas are very good for chickens.
Many people grow up knowing bananas are one of the easiest and best sources of potassium for humans, but what does that mean for chickens? Like humans, chickens also need potassium for their bodies to function, fight off disease, and keep them happy. Potassium is also an important mineral in the egg laying process. It helps to make sure chickens are laying hard shelled, healthy eggs on a regular basis.
Bananas are able to provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals to chickens.
For example, bananas are a fantastic source of antioxidants. For chickens, antioxidants help protect them from a variety of diseases.
Vitamin B12 is another one of the many nutrients chickens can obtain from bananas. Vitamin B12 plays a huge part in helping a chicken function, particularly within the nervous system. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause many distressing symptoms in birds such as fatty heart, liver, or kidneys as well as nervous system disorders.
How To Feed Bananas To Chickens
Now that you know about bananas and their properties as a chicken super food, you are likely wondering how to safely feed bananas to your own chickens.
There are different ways to prepare a banana based on the part of the banana being fed. We will go over how to prepare each one to keep your chickens safe while trying this new food.
The fresh fruit of a banana is the most common piece to feed to chickens. These are the bananas that you have just bought from the market, fresh and ready to eat.
There are several ways to feed your chickens fresh banana.
One way is to simply hang the banana in your chickens’ run. This is a good way to keep them entertained for a while. Unripe bananas are best, as they are less mushy and easier for chickens to eat.
My favorite way to feed banana to my chickens is to remove the peel and cut up the banana into small pieces. As someone with a small flock, cutting up banana into smaller pieces makes sure none of my chickens are overeating as they hunt for small individual pieces. It also helps make sure my girls at the bottom of the pecking order still get some.
When you think of a moldy banana, your mind might jump straight to compost!
If you have a moldy banana and it is not completely covered, then you can take the time to slice off the mold and feed your chickens the unaffected parts of the banana.
However, there are many types of dangerous mold that can be harmful to chickens, so I tend to avoid feeding moldy bananas to my flock.
Frozen bananas are a great way to cool your hens down in the heat.
Before you freeze your bananas you should peel them.
Mushy bananas are hard for chickens to eat, so peeling them before freezing them makes sure chickens actually get to the banana before it completely thaws into a mushy mess on your lawn.
Just like fresh bananas, my favorite way to feed frozen bananas is to slice them. I do this before freezing, and simply scatter the pieces into their run.
Banana peels are not commonly eaten here in the US, but they are often eaten in other parts of the world. This is because the peel often has more nutrients than the fruit.
The correct way to prepare banana peel is to remove the peel from the fruit. You will also want to make sure any small stickers are removed. After this, you should boil the peel. This removes any nasty chemicals that could harm your chickens. It also softens up the tough skin to make it easier for them to eat.
Once boiled, all that is left to do is slice the peel into small pieces, which you can then throw out to your chickens for them to enjoy.
Tips on Feeding Chickens Bananas
There are plenty of ways to serve up bananas to make your flock happy.
When feeding your chickens banana, you must keep in mind how many chickens you have in your flock and judge how much banana to give accordingly.
This comes out to 1 banana per 4 chickens once a week.
Each week, these very sugary treats should only make up 5% of a chicken’s diet.
If you have a large flock and are unable to figure out exactly 5%, do not worry. Bananas are ultimately safe for chickens to eat. In fact it would take one chicken eating over 20 bananas in a single sitting to kill her. So if you overfeed a little by accident, do not panic. Your chickens are likely to be just fine.
I prefer cutting bananas into small slices because it makes it easier for me to see how much banana each of my chickens are eating. It also makes it much easier to portion this 5% per week.
It is best to only feed your chickens bananas once a week. I do not give my chickens bananas often and try to rotate other fruits in as well to keep things interesting, but a good rule of thumb is to feed once a week at most.
Can Bananas Be Bad for Chickens?
Like any food for both humans and chickens, overfeeding is never a good thing.
High sugar fruits (like bananas) can cause problems for your flock if they are fed too often. The overwhelming amount of sugars entering their body can cause weight gain, which is the first sign something may be wrong.
After weight gain, far more serious problems can occur.
This includes heart disease and fatty liver disease. These can both be fatal to chickens, so it is important to be aware of what you are feeding your flock. Spending time with your chickens each day can help. You can keep an eye on them so you can be aware of behavioral and physical changes.
Another issue that can occur is abnormal eggs.
Smaller or oddly large eggs can be a problem, so too can soft shelled eggs.
Moist foods like bananas can also cause sour crop.
Bananas make a wonderful super food, but only when given in healthy amounts. The smaller the flock, the less banana they should be given. As someone with a small flock, my girls only get half a banana. I save the rest by freezing it so it does not go to waste and can be given to them on a hot day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do bananas give chickens diarrhea?
Bananas can give chickens diarrhea when they have been overfed.
They do not cause diarrhea when fed in the correct amount, which is 5% of your chickens’ weekly diet.
Are bananas toxic to chickens?
Not at all.
Bananas make a fantastic super food for chickens. While they should be fed in moderation due to their high sugar content, they contain many important nutrients that chickens can benefit from. A healthy dose of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 can all be obtained from a single banana.
What happens if you overfeed your chickens with too many bananas?
Giving your chickens too many bananas will likely just cause some diarrhea within your flock.
Over the long term though it can cause issues like sour crop, heart disease, and fatty liver disease.
When asking about what to feed your chickens, the consensus is generally any kitchen scraps you may come upon.
Bananas are an incredible source of potassium along with a plethora of other vitamins. Just remember the following key things:
- Bananas are a fantastic super food for chickens with high quantities of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 contained inside.
- The correct portion size of a banana for chickens is 5% of their weekly diet.
- Bananas should only be fed to your flock once per week.
- They can be fed to chickens in a variety of ways. This includes stringing them up whole for enrichment, slicing and freezing them, or even boiling the peel for them to eat.
- It is very important to not overfeed bananas to your chickens as they can cause sour crop, heart disease, fatty liver disease, diarrhea, and abnormal eggs when fed in excess.
Do your chickens eat bananas? Let us know in the comments section below…