If you have been paying any attention to the health food sector lately, you’ve probably noticed a new craze: Jackfruit.
A large, tropical fruit with pebbly skin that is said to have a taste somewhere between pineapple and banana, but with a texture that is fibrous and almost meat-like.
It definitely sounds interesting, but if you are here there’s only one thing you want to know about jackfruit: can chickens eat it?
Yes, chickens may safely eat Jack fruit, including the seeds, though the tough skin will prove to be too much for them and nearly indigestible.
Jackfruit is definitely tasty, but it also has a good complement of vitamins and minerals which are good for chickens, including many B vitamins, folate, vitamin e, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Maybe you were planning on trying one of these interesting, exotic fruits for yourself and just wanted to know if you can share a little bit with your beloved birds. Or perhaps you are in an area where such fruits are common or can be grown easily.
Whatever the case, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding your chickens jackfruit.
Nutritional Profile of Jackfruit
Jackfruits are prized for their taste, texture, and versatility in all kinds of dishes throughout various cultures.
They certainly taste good, but happily, they have a fairly well-rounded nutritional profile, although there are somewhat lacking compared to other tropical fruits.
Jackfruits have a little bit of vitamin A and beta carotene, a fairly good selection of B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, and especially B6 along with folate.
Vitamin C is abundant in jackfruit, and they even have a little bit of vitamin e in the bargain.
Considering the minerals, the good news continues with calcium, iron, manganese, and zinc being present though not in particularly high concentrations, while magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium are more abundant.
Health Benefits of Jackfruit for Chickens
While the nutritional profile of jackfruit is good, it’s not outstanding in any one area. However, there are some potential health benefits that make it worth considering as an occasional treat for your chickens.
The B vitamins, manganese, and zinc found in jackfruit all play a role in supporting the immune system, so feeding your chickens jackfruit could help to protect them from getting sick.
Jackfruit also contains antioxidants that can help to protect cells from damage.
Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth, while iron is essential for healthy red blood cells.
Jackfruit also contains magnesium, which is needed for energy production, and potassium, which helps to maintain a proper electrolyte balance in the body.
Fiber is important for digestive health, and jackfruit contains a good amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
This can help to keep things moving along smoothly in the chicken gut and may also help to reduce cholesterol levels.
However, like most tropical fruits jackfruit is quite sweet, so it should only be fed to chickens in moderation.
Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and other health problems, so be sure to only offer jackfruit as an occasional treat.
Can Chickens Eat Jackfruit Raw?
Yes, chickens can eat jackfruit raw though their tough outer skin will prove all but impenetrable. But so long as the fruit is ripe and they can get at the softer, inner flesh, they won’t have any trouble.
Can Chickens Eat Jackfruit Seeds?
Yes, chickens can eat jackfruit seeds, which are actually quite nutritious. They contain protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium of their own.
That said, the hard outer hull of the seeds can be difficult for chickens to digest, so they should only be eaten in moderation.
You can either give your chickens whole seeds to peck at or crack them open first to make them easier to eat.
Can Chickens Eat Jackfruit Cooked?
Yes, and there are many interesting ways to prepare jackfruit to make it more appealing to your chickens.
Keep in mind that cooking will reduce the nutritional content of the jackfruit somewhat, but it will also make it easier to eat.
Never Feed Jackfruit to Chickens that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
On the subject of cooking, make it a point to never serve your chicken jackfruit that has been prepared with any harmful ingredients. This means no added sugar, salt, fat, onions, garlic, or other unhealthy additions.
This is especially tempting since there are so many delicious recipes out there for jackfruit that you might make for yourself, but resist the urge to share!
At best, highly caloric additions to jackfruit like butter and sugar will make your chickens gain weight or lead to serious digestive trouble and diarrhea.
At worst, serving your chickens such things might lead to sour crops, salt poisoning, fatty liver syndrome, or other life-threatening conditions.
I know you don’t want that for your birds, so only serve them jackfruit that has been prepared in a “clean” manner suitable for them.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Jackfruit
You should also avoid serving your chickens any jackfruit that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. This is especially common on grocery-bought, whole jackfruit if you can find them.
These chemical residues can be toxic to your chickens and may cause a host of problems, including organ damage.
If you must buy whole jackfruit from a grocery, try to find organic varieties that haven’t been treated with any harmful chemicals.
How Often Can Chickens Have Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is wholesome and reasonably healthy for chickens, but far from nutritionally complete for them and so it falls squarely into the “treat” category.
Your chickens can have some occasionally but should be mostly eating a diet of good quality chicken feed for around 90% of their caloric intake.
A few pieces of jackfruit here or there as an occasional treat won’t do your chickens any harm, but too much of a good thing is still too much.
Preparing Jackfruit for Your Flock
The best way to feed chickens jackfruit is to first remove the skin and then cut the flesh into small pieces, or else split it into sections for them to nibble on.
You can either offer it fresh or dried, depending on what you have available. If you do opt for dried jackfruit, make sure to avoid any with added sugars.
Alternatively, you can cook jackfruit prior to serving it to your flock. One simple way to cook jackfruit is to steam it.
- This can be done by cutting the fruit into pieces and placing them in a steamer basket over boiling water.
- Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes or until the jackfruit is soft. Another option is to bake it.
- Cut the fruit into pieces and place on a baking sheet to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes.
Remember: no added salt, sugar, or seasoning if you are cooking it!
Can Baby Chicks Have Jackfruit, Too?
Yes, but very sparingly and only once they are a bit older, around 6 weeks of age. Baby chicks are vulnerable to sour crop, crop impaction, and other digestive issues, so the super sweet, fibrous jackfruit is not a great choice for a treat.
Make Sure to Clean Up After Giving Jack Fruit to Your Flock
Once your chickens have had their fill of jackfruit, make sure you clean up. Leftover flesh will quickly mold and rot, potentially making your chickens sick if they eat it.
The sugary aroma of jackfruit will also attract pests. Insects, rodents, and larger predators alike will be drawn to the smell of jackfruit, and you don’t want any of them around to maybe harm your birds.
To avoid this, make sure to remove all jackfruit bits and pieces from the coop and yard area after feeding time.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.