You are probably interested in a chicken diet if you have just started keeping chickens. Obviously, most poulterers give chicken feed to their chickens, but their diet can be versatile. Therefore, the common question is, “Can chickens eat blueberries”?
The answer is yes! Chickens are not very picky when it comes to their food choices, although there is a list of different foods that cause them health issues or even kill them.
Now that we know that blueberries are not one of those let’s check the general information about blueberries and many other interesting diet-related information!
General Information About Blueberries
Blueberries are perennial flowering plants belonging to the heath family or Ericaceae. They come from the Vaccinium genus, like cranberries, bilberries, and huckleberries.
There are two types of blueberries, lowbush and highbush; interestingly, they are native to North America. Blueberries are commonly found in nature (wild blueberries) and are cultivated, usually highbush blueberries.
Did you know that blueberries are the second most popular berries in the US? Yes, and why wouldn’t they be? We love to eat them, and they are one of the healthiest berries out there, with numerous benefits.
Most people know that blueberries are one of the fruits with the highest level of antioxidants. They are a very common addition to any fruit salad but are mostly used to make smoothies, oatmeal, fruit bowls, cakes, pies, and many other dishes.
Ultimately, you can enjoy them on their own! So, if they are good for us, they will definitely be a great addition to the chicken diet!
Which Part of Blueberries Can Chicken Eat?
A very common question that pops up with any type of vegetable or fruit is whether chickens can eat the plant or the leaves and whether it is toxic.
The good news is that chickens can eat the entire plant, although it is unlikely that they will want to munch it. Blueberries are basically little bushes or shrubs, meaning they are small woody plants.
Just like people or other animals, chickens also have their taste preferences when it comes to food, which can also depend on their personality. Yes, chickens can also have personalities and preferences for certain food.
Therefore, do not be surprised if your chickens refuse to eat the woody part of the plant or something else in fact. When it comes to blueberry leaves, they are also safe for chickens to consume.
Blueberry leaves, just like the fruit, are high in antioxidants and help build the immune system. If you have read somewhere that chickens should not eat leaves, that can also be true.
The reason is that blueberries are often treated with pesticides that are harmful to chickens. Therefore, avoid giving leaves you think may have been sprayed with pesticides or other sprays.
Blueberry leaves from organic cultivation are more than safe for chickens to consume. Considering that buying blueberry leaves is not quite an option, you can cultivate the plant near the chicken coop or in their run space so that they can munch on it.
On the other hand, if you have time and care about your chicken diet, you can dry the leaves, blend them into a powder, and add them to their chicken feed.
What Are The Blueberry Health Benefits?
As mentioned, blueberries are known for their numerous benefits and should be incorporated into your or your chicken diet. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants or naturally occurring plant compounds, such as ellagic acid and anthocyanidins.
These compounds are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, helping the body fight off various diseases and inflammations.
Furthermore, anthocyanidins, according to various studies, can prevent heart disease by supporting the cardiovascular system. In addition, blueberries are low in sugar and contain a good amount of fiber, which is known to improve insulin sensitivity.
Did you know that blueberries may improve eye health? Yes! The list of their health benefits goes on and on, and they are also known to improve blood and oxygen flow to the eyes.
Ultimately, blueberries are a great ally when it comes to fighting urinary tract infections or intestinal issues and easing chicken’s metabolism.
Blueberry Nutritional Profile
The total calorie amount found in 100 grams of blueberries is approximately around 57 calories. The water content, around 85%, is very high, accounting for blueberries’ hydrating properties.
Like most fruits, they contain 0.7 grams of proteins and 14.5 grams of carbohydrates. As noted, they are low in sugar, only 10 grams for human consumption. They are packed with fiber with 2.4 grams. Finally, blueberries are low in fats and contain 0.3 grams.
Blueberries contain a bunch of other important nutrients and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, manganese, calcium, potassium, and iron. These minerals are essential to both human and chicken health and diet.
As you know, blueberries are often referred to as a “superfood.” They were not given this nickname without a good reason. These “superfoods” are also packed with vitamin K and vitamin C and are often recommended to consume while having a cold.
What Foods Should I Avoid Giving to Chickens?
As a responsible poulterer who cares for his flock, you ought to know what to avoid giving your chickens because certain items can cause them intestinal problems or even kill them.
At the top of the list are foods high in salt and fats. Generally, salty or greasy food is not a good choice for chickens, and too much salt or sodium chloride can even be deadly.
There are numerous reported instances in which chickens were killed by eating very salty and fatty meat or salty and fatty food scrapes. Considering that many people give chicken food scraps, think about the type of food you give them.
Furthermore, food with high sugar levels can also be deadly to chickens. Some people even ask if they can give sweets to chickens or blueberry muffins. These are not good food choices for them and will probably harm their health.
Here is a list of all foods that chicken should not eat, so if you want to learn more, click here!
What Is The Best Diet for Chickens?
The most wholesome chicken diet should consist of 90% chicken feed and 10% healthy treats or snacks. When we say treats, we mean treats for chickens, not for us, such as chocolate, so skip on Oreos and cookies.
Chickens love various fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, mango, pears, lettuce, carrots, kale, celery, broccoli, cabbage, melon, plums, cauliflower, cucumbers, strawberries, and even pumpkin. Giving them chopped pieces of pumpkin or pumpkin seed is also a great addition to their diet.
Some people give their chickens pasta and popcorn. In general, this is not problematic; it is just that these foods do not have great nutritional value.
When it comes to nuts, those are also a great treat for your backyard chickens because they contain fiber, vitamins, proteins, fats, and minerals.
Therefore, you can give them some almonds or peanuts, but make sure that they are not overly processed and covered in oils or salt. Chickens can also eat cooked beans and cooked rice, and never let them eat these foods uncooked.
However, moderation is very important when it comes to any food! Too much of anything will be harmful!
1. What Happens if Chickens Eat Too Many Blueberries?
Interestingly, leaves are less potent when it comes to nutrients compared to fruit. This means your chickens can eat as many leaves as they want without suffering consequences. However, that is not the case with the fruit.
In general, most fruits contain low amounts of sugar, also known as glucose which, in moderation, is good for human organisms. Blueberries do not contain much sugar when it comes to human consumption.
However, chickens are different, and for their tiny bodies, blueberries have high sugar content; therefore, you need to monitor how many blueberries you give them.
If you notice that chicken droppings are more liquid or runny than usual, that is your clue that you have been over-feeding your chickens with either blueberries or fruits in general.
In addition, they can also become lethargic or uninterested in egg laying or simply behave differently. However, other more serious reasons can also be the cause of the consequences as mentioned above.
Important note: Blueberries contain salicylates, like many other fruits such as avocados, raspberries, and peaches. Some people can be allergic to this natural chemical, which can cause swelling and skin rash.
2. Can Chicken Eat Citrus Fruits?
Chicken can eat most citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, which are known for having various benefits. However, the reality is that chickens rarely choose to eat these fruits, so do not be surprised if your chicken passes on a piece of orange or lemon.
Some websites even suggest that giving citrus fruits is bad for chickens, but the biggest reason is that chickens do not like the taste of these fruits, probably due to their heavily acidic taste.
To summarize, chickens can eat blueberries, which contain many valuable nutrients and, therefore, should be a part of their everyday eating regime.
In this article, we have covered some general facts about blueberries, their nutritional profile, health benefits, food that you should avoid giving to chickens, and what is the best diet for chickens. Did you start keeping chickens? If so, please share your experience with us and their diet.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!