Fowl enjoy eating various food, but can chickens eat kiwi? Including this exotic fruit in their diet may sound weird. However, it is actually a highly beneficial treat for fowl, thanks to its excellent nutrition content.
Besides delicious flesh, your chickens will happily nibble seeds and rough brown skin. They like that tarty sweet taste, and you can offer them kiwi as long as you don’t overdo it. Be aware that excess consumption may disturb fowl’s nutritional balance.
Nutrition content of 3.50 ounces (100 g) of kiwifruit
What is Kiwi?
Kiwi (kiwifruit) is Chinese gooseberry from the Actinidia genus. You can find that the first information about this fruit was dated in the 12th century, while cultivation of huakiwi spread to New Zealand in the early 20th century.
British and American servicemen enjoyed eating kiwi while stationed on the island during WWII. Exporting to Great Britain started quickly after the war, while the first fruit came to the US in the 1960s.
The most common cultivar is an oval, 2 to 3 inches (5 – 7.6 cm) long Actinidia deliciosa Hayward with a diameter of 1.75 to 2.25 inches (4.4 – 5.7 cm). It has delicious golden or light green flesh and thin, fibrous, and fuzzy light brown skin.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwi?
Kiwi is beneficial for chickens since they can consume all parts without restrictions. The flesh of ripe fruit is soft, delicious, and packed with water, making it an excellent option for hydrating birds during the summer. Besides, it is an excellent source of Vitamin C, responsible for good immunity and successfully fighting infections.
Theoretically, chickens can eat kiwi skin, but digesting it can be challenging. Therefore, you will often find rejected top parts since they can be too hard for their beaks. The rule of thumb is that fowl consume kiwi flesh first and only then start nibbling less tasty skin.
Kiwi skin is highly nutritious and contains folates, vitamins C and E, and fiber. Unfortunately, it also has needle-looked raphides. These calcium oxalate crystals cause unpleasant tissue irritation while swallowing.
Tiny black kiwi seeds are harmless to chickens, and there is no fear of choking after swallowing them. They typically go through the digestive tract without digesting, making other food passage effortless.
Chickens like soft and delicious golden kiwis with hairless, silky, and yellowish-brown colored skin. Their flesh is yellow with fewer seeds than more common green kiwis.
Since this variation also contains a higher vitamin C concentration, it is a highly beneficial addition to the fowl diet. On the other hand, high sugar levels restrict its use to only two times during the week.
Kiwi berries are an interesting kiwifruit variation without a fuzzy skin surface. This bite-sized fruit is sweeter than standard kiwi and resembles grape grains. Since its skin is smooth, chickens like it more than the rough, fuzzy kiwi you are get used to finding in supermarkets.
Can chicks eat kiwi?
Chicks can safely eat kiwi in moderate amounts, but you should avoid offering them rough skin. Chop flesh in small pieces to make swallowing more effortless, and never serve overripe, moldy, and decaying fruit to prevent health issues.
Ways to Feed Your Chickens With Kiwi
Like you, chickens can only eat fresh, ripe, unspoiled kiwis. Cut off rotten parts and serve the fruit chopped with seeds and skin. Removing the skin is necessary when feeding chicks to protect their sensitive stomachs.
If you have insufficiently ripe kiwi, let it sit for a few days before adding it to the flock’s diet. Otherwise, you may cause trouble with digestion. If you plan to serve all parts, washing the fruit before serving is required, particularly when it is chemically treated.
It is enough to wash kiwis with cold water, serve them as a treat, or mix them with other fruit or regular chicken feed. Tossing whole fruit can be tricky since chickens may avoid pecking it because of the rough, fuzzy skin.
A better option is to offer them cut in half, quarters, or slices, with or without skin. If your flock is young, spending time chopping kiwi into pieces can be the right thing to do.
As mentioned, you should consider kiwi a treat, not a regular feed. Therefore, the proper measure is to provide one kiwi fruit per 5 to 7 chickens one to two times weekly.
Use all cut fruit immediately whenever possible or put leftovers in the fridge. Offer them within the next few days, but throw away rot and spoiled pieces before serving.
Remove uneaten leftovers within a few hours to prevent attracting rodents into the chicken run. Besides, it is a way to prevent chickens from eating dirty, potentially rotten fruit that quickly spoils during hot days.
Kiwi Benefits and Nutritional Value
Kiwis are unusual fruit in appearance that offer numerous health benefits. Besides, they don’t have harmful ingredients, making them beneficial for your fowl.
Boost immunity – Thanks to a high content of vitamins C and E, kiwis are an excellent solution for chickens with weak immunity and convalescents. This fruit has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and eliminates free radicals from cells.
Improve digestion – Kiwi seeds and fiber from the skin improve digestion and prevent constipation. Be aware that kiwi is rich in the enzyme actinidin, which encourages a smooth digestive process.
Provide hydration – Since kiwi contains a high percentage of water, it makes swallowing food easier. Approximately 80% of this fruit is water, so you can use it to prevent dehydration, particularly during the summer.
Builds the body – Kiwi is an excellent source of protein, making it beneficial for egg production, muscle development, and bone health.
Content of vitamins and minerals in 3.50 ounces (100 g) of kiwifruit
|Vitamin A||4 µg|
|Vitamin E||1.3 mg|
|Vitamin C||74.7 mg|
|Vitamin K||40.3 µg|
|Lutein and zeaxanthin||122 µg|
Kiwi is also an excellent source of minerals, including:
Calcium – Kiwi contains 35 mg of this mineral critical for egg production and bone development in chicks. A standard chicken diet usually lacks calcium, so you should compensate for it through oyster shells. Including kiwi on the menu at least twice a week helps increase this mineral intake.
Magnesium – Even though the chickens’ diet provides this mineral in sufficient quantity, you can also add it by including kiwi in your flock’s meal.
Iron – Kiwifruit contains 0.24 mg of iron per 3.50 ounces (100 g). So, you should add this fruit to the regular diet of enclosed chickens suffering from anemia. Even though kiwi doesn’t contain as much iron as supplements, including it in feeding may fulfill chickens’ needs for this mineral to a certain extent.
Potassium – This mineral is vital for muscle and nerve function improvement. Kiwi contains 198 mg of potassium per 3.50 ounces (100 g), exceeding the laying hens’ daily needs of 150 g. However, things are more complex in reality.
Such an amount of kiwi will harm their digestive tract, plus you should never offer it daily. In other words, this fruit is not a primary potassium source but has a significant role in increasing its amount.
Risks of Feeding Chickens with Kiwi
Adding kiwi to the chickens’ diet contributes to its variety. However, the secret of this fruit’s benefits is in moderate consumption. Otherwise, it can cause a few severe health issues.
High sugar content – Several kiwi pieces enhance chickens’ meals, but high sugar levels can be harmful when offering them regularly. Too much of this tasty fruit leads to increased blood sugar levels in the blood, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Imbalanced nutrition – Although kiwi is a highly nutritious and healthy fruit, it doesn’t contain all the necessary nutrients. Since your flock requires a well-balanced diet, kiwi can be only a treat offered occasionally.
|Kiwi type||pH range|
|Green kiwi||3.10 to 3.40|
|Golden kiwi||3.60 to 3.70|
|Red kiwi||3.10 to 3.90|
|Kiwi berries||3.10 to 3.90|
Eating disorder – You can expect chickens to eat treats first, so offering them too much kiwi may cause decreased consumption of regular food. Besides, be aware of high levels of ascorbic acid. Even though it benefits digestion, ingesting high amounts may cause abdominal discomfort.
You can offer all kiwi parts to your flock separately or mixed with other food. Take care to avoid rotten fruit, while all parts of healthy kiwi are beneficial for chickens. Even though parts of their skin are rough and hard to consume, your birds can likely cope with it and enjoy nibbling them.