It can be fun offering your chickens new, unusual treats from time to time and seeing their reactions. The only thing you should take care of is to check whether chosen food is harmless and non-toxic to poultry.
For instance, one of the intriguing things to check out is – Can chickens eat raisins? They are healthy, highly nutritious, and tasty for people, but it is pretty atypical feed for your feathered friends. What do you think?
Nutrition content of 3.50 ounces (100 g) of raisins
|Nutrients||Dark raisins||Golden raisins|
|Calories||299 Kcal||301 Kcal|
|Protein||3.30 g||3.30 g|
|Fats||0.25 g||0.20 g|
|Carbs||79.30 g||80 g|
|Fiber||4.50 g||3.30 g|
|Water||15.45 g||14.90 g|
Can Chickens Eat Raisins?
Raisins are golden-brown or dark-brown dried grapes commonly used in cake preparation. However, they are also delicious treats that can be consumed raw. Unlike soft, sweet, and fleshy golden raisins, the brown variety is harder and has a sweet-sour taste.
On the other hand, be careful with the offered amount to those liking raisins. They are harmless in moderation, but overfeeding may lead to overweight and diabetes. Besides, moldy fruit may contain mycotoxins that cause kidney failure in poultry.
Never add raisins to hens’ daily meals since regular consumption may negatively affect their digestive system because of high sugar levels. Besides, everyday use may reduce the number of laying eggs.
Finally, too many raisins in an everyday chicken diet often cause obesity and several health issues, including severe joint problems.
Can chicks eat raisins?
Raisins are not a good feeding option for chicks under six weeks of age because of their hardness. Besides, such young birds have a sensitive digestive system that can’t handle a high sugar percentage in food.
Ways to Feed Your Chickens with Raisins
Raisins are healthy but a bit controversial treat for chickens. While some farmers avoid offering them to poultry, others believe they are a healthy addition to a regular diet. If you plan to provide them to your flock, you can do it occasionally and in moderate amounts.
1. Softened raisins
Although dry raisins are hard to digest, chickens can swallow them. However, it is better to soak them in lukewarm water before offering them. Another option is to add a few raisins to the drinker as excellent entertainment for your flock.
2. Raisin cake with cranberry and peanut butter
Be creative and make a cake for your chickens. It is an elegant alternative way to feed them with raisins. Chop them into smaller pieces, mix them with other ingredients, and give each chicken a bit.
3. Raisins with nuts
The raisins and nuts combination is an excellent energy source for your fowl, but there are a few limitations you should be aware of. For instance, avoid salted nuts and choose smaller pieces to make consuming effortless.
Since walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans contain potentially toxic and carcinogenic tannins, you need to boil them before consumption. Nuts with the lowest level of this compound are almonds.
4. Raisin bran
Raisin bran is a healthy combination of raisins, wheat bran, whole grain wheat, brown sugar syrup, sugar, malt flavoring, and salt. Soak this mixture in water before feeding chickens and consider it a treat because of its high sugar content.
Raisins Nutritional Value
Raisins benefit chickens’ health in many ways, mainly because of their nutritional value.
Content of vitamins and minerals in 3.50 ounces (100 g) of raisins
|Nutrients||Dark raisins||Golden raisins|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin C||2.30 mg||3.20 mg|
|Vitamin K||3.5 µg||3.5 µg|
|Thiamin||0.106 mg||0.008 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.125 mg||0.191 mg|
|Niacin||0.766 mg||1.142 mg|
|Pyridoxine||0.174 mg||0.323 mg|
|Folates||5 µg||3 µg|
|Calcium||62 mg||64 mg|
|Phosphorus||98 mg||101 mg|
|Magnesium||36 mg||35 mg|
|Potassium||744 mg||746 mg|
|Sodium||26 mg||24 mg|
|Iron||1.79 mg||1 mg|
|Zinc||0.36 mg||0.37 mg|
Omega-6 fatty acids – Contrary to popular belief, some plants are also rich in these polyunsaturated fats. Chickens can get enough omega-6 fatty acids for proper growth and healthy feathers and skin by eating raisins from time to time.
Fiber – This essential nutrient improves chickens’ healthy digestion and reduces possible problems with constipation.
Sugar – Unfortunately, raisins are packed with this nutrient, so overfeeding may lead to obesity. A pack of 3.50 ounces (100 g) of raisins contains approximately 2.80 ounces (80 g) of carbs, including over 2.30 ounces (65 g) of sugar. If you offer this treat wisely, your chickens will get additional energy when needed.
Raisins contain all essential vitamins besides vitamin A.
Vitamin C – Golden raisins contain about 50% more vitamin C than a dark variety. Since it is beneficial in preventing infections and supporting chickens’ immune systems, any amount is welcome. Therefore, you can offer raisins to sick flock members to help them feel better.
Vitamin E – Both golden and dark raisins contain 0.12 mg of vitamin E, making them beneficial for chickens’ reproductive systems. They also improve egg formation and prevent shell-less egg production and egg binding.
Vitamin K – This vitamin is essential in blood clotting and preventing surface infections. Even though raisins contain only 3.5 µg of this vitamin and can’t make a significant difference, giving an extra amount never hurts.
Thiamin – Interestingly, only dark raisins contain this vitamin, approximately 0.106 mg. A golden variety has it in traces, only 0.008 mg. This vitamin is crucial for a healthy chicken appetite.
Riboflavin – The amount of this vitamin responsible for healthy egg production is similar in both raisin types.
Niacin – Golden raisins are packed with niacin and contain 1.142 mg or twice as much as the brown type. It is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and protects chickens’ skin along with Pantothenic acid.
Folates – Raisins contain 3 to 5 µg of this vitamin, depending on the type you provide to your chicken. Hens desperately need it to produce high-quality eggs and to boost fertility.
Potassium – Raisins are rich in potassium, making them essential for digestion and hydration. The best solution is adding them to a drinker to keep your chickens refreshed during hot summer days.
Calcium – An approximate amount of 62 to 64 mg of this mineral makes raisins a good option for laying hens. Increasing the intake of delicious calcium-rich treats is always a welcome option, although they get it through eggshells and oyster shells.
Magnesium – This mineral is vital for better calcium absorption and for building strong bones.
4. Trace elements
Iron – Since raisins contain 1 mg to almost 2 mg of this trace element found in red blood cells, you can offer them to prevent anemia in hens. Iron also improves bone health and makes muscles strong.
Selenium – This mineral boosts immunity, relieves stress, and improves musculature quality and softness. That makes it a crucial treat for meat chicken breeds.
Copper – This microelement is particularly important for robust chicken breeds. It supports gut health by providing a balanced diet. Additionally, copper has excellent antimicrobial properties and boosts immunity, keeping chickens strong and healthy.
Besides numerous nutritious advantages, there are a few significant problems with raisins. Let’s see.
Raisins have a high sugar level, so overeating causes obesity. It can reduce your poultry’s activities and leave you with fatty birds. Once you decide to consume chicken, you will be unpleasantly surprised by the meat quality reduction and increased fat.
The reason for the high sugar concentration in this treat is losing water from grapes during the process of dehydration. For instance, a cup of grapes contains 0.81 ounces (23 g) of sugar, but the amount in raisins can be over 4.25 ounces (120 g).
Such a high sugar content may disrupt chickens’ blood sugar levels and lead to severe health issues connected with their digestive tract. Besides, such a fowl is susceptible to a heart attack.
Improper Ca: P ratio
An ideal Ca: P ratio in chicken food should be 1: 1 and 2: 1, meaning that some excess calcium stays in fowl bodies after binding with phosphorus. Unfortunately, this ratio in raisins is the opposite of the desired, and feeding chickens with high amounts of this food may lead to Metabolic Bone Disease.
Inadequate stored food, including raisins, quickly becomes moldy. Consequently, your chickens may face an unhealthy meal infected by mycotoxins. Additionally, their meat can potentially harm you after consuming it. The only thing you can do when such a thing happens to raisins is to throw them out or mix them with the compost.
Raisins can be a yummy treat for your chickens when offered moderately. Despite excellent nutritious values, a high sugar level is not the best option for poultry. However, you can throw a handful or two now and then, making your chickens happy.