If you’re raising chickens, getting their diets right is a big part of the challenge of keeping these birds healthy and happy.
Chickens are great because they’ll eat most of the stuff you don’t want. You can leave them the leftover vegetable scraps from your cutting board after you make dinner, and they’ll make quick work of stuff that’s about to go bad that you don’t know what to do with.
Chickens eat almost anything, but can a chicken eat raspberries? Chickens can eat raspberries. While there are some foods that these living garbage disposals should stay away from, like avocados, raspberries are perfectly fine. They don’t have any toxins that are harmful to the birds, and your chickens will most likely treat them like a delicious snack.
Not too many people feed their chickens raspberries on purpose because they can be expensive to buy. However, a lot of folks grow their own raspberries, and their chickens roam the same pastures where the raspberry plants are. When they drop on the ground, you can count on your chickens walking over and pecking at them to get the sugar inside.
Here’s some helpful information on raspberries and other foods in the garden that may end up as part of your chickens’ diet.
Knowing what foods they can and can’t eat will save you from a lot of heartache raising chickens. It’s already hard enough. Putting the right foods in their diet will increase your chances of raising your chickens well.
Chickens Love Berries
It’s not just raspberries that chickens love. They’ll quickly gobble up any blackberries, blueberries, and other similar fruits that they come across. These berries are often high in vitamin C and antioxidants, so they can also be nutritious for your birds.
You won’t want them eating too much sugar because it could affect their weight and digestion, but for most people, letting their chickens have a few berries every day is of little concern.
Did you buy too many raspberries at the store and didn’t have time to toss them into a smoothie? The good news is that chickens will eat the raspberries that most humans pass up.
If you’ve got raspberries with a bit of white mold on them or that are smashed and looking a little past their best days, you can offer them up to your chickens for a nice little snack. It’s a fantastic way to avoid tossing food away that otherwise supplements their diet nicely.
Chickens Will Stay Away from Harmful Foods
Chickens are pretty good at staying away from the foods that are bad for them. However, you can do things like fence off any avocado trees or keep them away from the rhubarb to avoid any health issues. Even if a chicken gets hold of something they shouldn’t eat, they will rarely eat so much of it that it becomes fatal.
Still, knowing which foods are good for your chickens and what to avoid is a big part of raising healthy chickens. Of course, now that you know raspberries aren’t harmful to chickens, the main concern around raising chickens is keeping them away from your berry plants!
You don’t want your chickens snatching off all of the raspberries before you can get your fill, so you may have to fence them or do something else to protect your berry plants.
Raspberries Can Be Part of a Varied Chicken Diet
Raspberries probably can’t and shouldn’t make up the majority of any chicken’s diet. It would be way too much sugar, and they would be missing out on protein and other important nutrients.
People who own chickens, but are relatively new to the animals should always use a fortified chicken feed that they find online or at a store. This will ensure that your chickens are getting the vitamins and minerals that they need to grow strong and lay healthy eggs.
Anything else they eat can supplement their main source of food. This is especially important in the early stages of a chicken’s life when they are more fragile and susceptible to disease.
Just make sure that they always have access to dry, fresh feed. Anything else your chickens eat while out walking around will simply add to what they eat in their coop.
That said, here are some other wonderful foods that your chicken will love eating in your garden or your yard in addition to any raspberries that they come across.
- Insects – A lot of people love owning chickens because they are an excellent form of pest control. Chickens will be ruthless in how quickly and ferociously they go after insects they see in your grass.
Whether it’s a cricket, a tick, a roach, or a beetle, these birds will love to eat them and bugs are a terrific source of protein for them. Chickens will spend most of their day pecking through the grass looking for ants and other insects to eat.
- Seeds – Seeds and other grains around your yard are some other things your chickens are looking for. They love eating seeds, and they are a healthy snack for your birds.
- Cooked Meat – Chickens need a lot of protein, and they will eat any cooked meat that humans don’t want. Just make sure you chop the meat up into small pieces that they can eat easily. Eating large pieces of meat can be a choking hazard for chickens. They’ll be in such a rush to eat the meat before other birds can take their share that they’ll swallow the pieces whole.
- Vegetables – Chickens will eat almost any veggie you don’t want to eat. Have some corn that’s too dry? Toss it to the chickens. They’ll eat cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, and other vegetables that would otherwise go to waste.
- Fruits – We’ve already said that chickens love a sweet piece of fruit. Try cutting open a watermelon and tossing it to them. They’ll go wild for the sweet, watery fruit. They also enjoy eating bananas, apples, and peaches.
Some Foods to Avoid
We’ve given you some of the foods that your chickens will love, but what about things you should keep away from them? Unfortunately, a lot of chicken owners who don’t have a lot of experience make the mistake of thinking chickens can eat anything.
That’s almost true, but there are certainly some things they should never eat. If they eat too much, it could kill them or make them very sick. Here’s a shortlist of things you shouldn’t feed your chickens.
- Nightshade – Green leaves on tomato plants and eggplants contain solanine as an evolutionary insect repellent. It’s great for gardeners but bad for chickens. The toxin can be very harmful to chickens. Most of the time they won’t eat the leaves, but if you see your chickens pecking at your tomato plants, you will need to come up with some sort of solution.
- Junk Food – Don’t throw candy bars to your chickens and keep things like greasy french fries away from them. Likewise, avoid feeding your chickens any human foods with lots of chemicals in them. For example, you won’t want to feed your chickens that bag of Flaming Cheetos you don’t want anymore.
- Coffee & Chocolate – Coffee and chocolate are toxic for chickens. Avoid throwing any coffee grounds into the coop and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s cute to share a chocolate chip cookie with your flock. It could end up killing them.
- Avocados – Avocados and the avocado tree leaves can be toxic to chickens. Avoid feeding either to them as well.
Owning chickens can be a lot of fun. It’s always interesting to see what foods they’ll respond excitedly to.
As a chicken owner, it’s a great feeling to know your chickens are eating well. Give them all of the raspberries you want to give them without worrying about their health.
It’s a nice treat that gives them some vitamins and antioxidants that are great for them.