Most chickens love eating fruit, and some owners are surprised to learn just what kinds of exotic fruit that chickens can eat.
One popular tropical item that has been more and more common these past few years is the kiwi fruit. Can your chickens have kiwi?
Yes, chickens can have every part of a kiwi fruit, from the skin and flesh to the seeds and core. These juicy berries will give your chickens a quick burst of energy and plenty of vitamins and minerals, too.
So long as they are fed to your flock as part of a balanced diet they can be a healthy treat for chickens.
Kiwis are definitely delicious, and it turns out that most chickens think so too.
These sweet, tropical fruits might be just the thing to break your chickens out of a rut when it comes to their usual offerings, but there are a few things you should know before you hand them over.
Keep reading to find out what they are.
Nutritional Profile of Kiwi
Kiwi is sweet and delicious, but what you might not know is that it is also very healthy, packing in plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Aside from a good bit of fructose for energy and a nice dose of fiber, green kiwis contain a ton of vitamin C, plenty of vitamin K, vitamin E, and most of the B-series vitamins (except B12).
Kiwis contain only trace amounts of vitamin A but make up for it with a little bit of choline.
There’s more good news when it comes to minerals, too, including a good shot of potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium along with a big dose of copper and a little bit of calcium and iron to round it out.
Considering how good kiwis taste, you can hardly do better than them when it comes to nutrition.
Health Benefits of Kiwi for Chickens
Kiwis are super delicious, and your birds will love them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy, too.
Kiwis are surprisingly nutrient-dense, especially for a tropical, exotic fruit, and your birds will definitely benefit.
Vitamin K, for example, is great for feather growth and repair, while vitamin C helps support the immune system.
B vitamins are important for metabolism, and the choline in kiwi is essential for proper liver function.
Potassium is vital for proper organ function, and phosphorus is essential for bone health.
Manganese helps support proper metabolic function, while the copper in kiwis is essential for chickens’ development and the formation of red blood cells.
And, as always, these sweet fruits are great for a boost of energy and helping your chickens stay properly hydrated on hot days- they are mostly water, after all!
So not only are kiwis a tasty treat, but they’re also good for your beloved birds in all the right ways.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwi Raw?
Yes, chickens can eat kiwis raw and this is indeed the best way to serve them to your flock.
Letting them eat raw kiwis means that the entirety of the nutrients contained within will be preserved and your chickens will be able to make use of them.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwi Skins?
Chickens can eat kiwi skins with no problem, though you’ll find few that actually want to eat them.
If they don’t want to, there’s no need to force them, but if your chickens want to eat the kiwi whole, skin and all, they’ll get an extra shot of fiber and vitamins for doing so.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwi Seeds?
Yes, kiwi seeds may be safely eaten by chickens. They don’t contain anything harmful like the seeds of apples, pears, and peaches.
Kiwi seeds are so small they shouldn’t cause any impediment when chickens swallow them.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwi Cores?
Chickens may also eat the core of the kiwi fruit, though, once again, some chickens seem not to like them very much.
Depending upon the cultivar, the core of the kiwi might be soft or it might be hard, and the softer it is the more likely your chickens are to eat it.
Some chickens might eat the kiwi fruit whole, skin and all, if it has a soft core and that is just fine.
Can Chickens Eat Kiwi Cooked?
Kiwis are not typically cooked unless it is part of a dessert or other sweet treat, but if you cook your kiwi fruits for whatever reason your chickens can still have them.
You should know that the cooking process will significantly reduce the vitamins and minerals present in the fruit, however, so feeding them to your chickens raw is still preferable.
Never Feed Kiwi to Chickens that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
Speaking of cooking, you must never give kiwis prepared with harmful ingredients or used as an ingredient in a harmful food to your chickens.
Things like sugar, syrups, oils, and so forth are bad for chickens and they should never eat them.
At best, your chickens will have an upset digestive system and gain weight, while at worst it could lead to significant health issues.
Save the desserts and other delicacies for people and just give your chickens plain, untouched kiwis.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Kiwi
Another thing to consider when giving your chickens kiwis is the presence of pesticides that likely remain on their skins.
If you purchase your kiwis from the grocery store, and most people do, you’ll have to contend with the fact that they have been heavily treated with pesticides while they were being grown and harvested.
Many of these pesticides are bad for people but can be seriously harmful to your birds, and show a propensity to build up in tissues over time leading to major health problems.
Make it a point to thoroughly wash any store-bought kiwis prior to giving them to your birds, and if you have any doubt just peel them and throw out the skins.
If you are able, you can purchase organic kiwis but these are often difficult to find.
How Often Can Chickens Have Kiwi?
Kiwis are definitely good for chickens but it is possible to overfeed them. The reason kiwis taste so good is that they are high in sugar, and even though it is natural sugar it can still cause problems for your chickens, namely weight gain.
Accordingly, you should only feed kiwis to your chickens occasionally, a couple of times per week at most.
Kiwis and other fresh, wholesome produce and supplemental foods should only make up anywhere from 10% to 20% of a chicken’s total calorie intake. The rest should be the usual chicken feed that they get every day.
Preparing Kiwi for Your Flock
Preparing kiwis for your chickens is a cinch. Depending on the bird, you might be able to give them whole kiwis or, at worst, split the berries in two.
For smaller birds or fussy eaters, you could quarter the kiwi or even slice it up into pieces.
Again, chickens should not have any difficulty puncturing the soft skin of the kiwi with their beaks, but most don’t seem to like the skin too much, so if you want to make things easy on them just slice the kiwis in half before serving.
Can Baby Chicks Have Kiwi, Too?
Yes, baby chicks may have kiwis but you’ll want to let them get a little older before introducing this tropical treat to them.
Chicks have especially delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements, and the sweet, moist kiwis can cause problems, usually in the form of crop impaction.
To avoid this, wait until your chicks are at least 6 weeks old, maybe a little bit older, before serving them small pieces of kiwi that they can peck at.
Make Sure You Clean Up After Giving Your Chickens Kiwi
When you give your flock kiwis or any other fresh produce, it is imperative that you clean up all the scraps and leftover pieces after they have had their fill.
Fresh produce rots quickly, particularly in a hot environment, and the sugary, sticky mess it makes will rapidly attract pests.
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.