Chickens love fruit, and there is hardly any fruit more delicious and refreshing than pineapple.
But when you stop to think about it, would chickens really have access to pineapple in the wild?
It is enough to get you thinking, but all we need to know is whether or not chickens can eat pineapple.
Yes, chickens can eat pineapple, at least the flesh. The skin and spiny leaves of the pineapple are generally too tough for chickens and can cause digestive trouble. Pineapples are hydrating, and also contain many vitamins and minerals such as C, B6, and B1.
That’s good to know, and you’ll love how enthusiastic most chickens get about this sweet and alluring tropical fruit.
But, as always, moderation is of paramount importance, so keep reading to learn the ins and outs of giving pineapple to your flock.
Nutritional Profile of Pineapple
For most people, the only thing they need to know about pineapple is how delicious it is. That is reason enough to eat it! But even better news is how healthy pineapple is.
Pineapple contains an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals, including a ton of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, B5 folate, and even a little choline.
It also has a surprising amount of minerals for such a sweet and delicious fruit, mostly manganese but also a little bit of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and calcium to round things out.
As you might expect, pineapple contains quite a bit of carbohydrates mostly in the form of sugars but also a little bit of fiber and a lot of water, being 86% water by weight.
Health Benefits of Pineapple for Chickens
Most chickens think pineapple is tasty, that’s for sure, but it is also good for them.
Chickens don’t really need pineapple’s standout nutrient, vitamin C, since they can make it for themselves, but they will definitely benefit from the B series vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other health-promoting nutrients found in pineapple.
Pineapple can help improve digestion and gut health in chickens since it contains a good amount of fiber.
Manganese will also help support bone health and feather growth, while the potassium will help keep your chicken’s electrolytes in balance and their heart healthy.
Pineapple is a dependable source of quick energy for chickens and can help them lay more eggs.
It is also a good source of water, which combined with the potassium can be helpful for chickens in hot weather or when they are ill and not drinking enough water on their own.
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple Raw?
Yes, chickens may eat pineapple raw and this is the best way to serve it to them because it preserves the majority of the nutritional benefit.
Cooking breaks down or degrades vitamins and minerals alike, and although it will not turn the pineapple harmful your birds will not get as much out of it if you cook it.
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple Skin?
Chickens cannot really eat the skin of the pineapple, and most of them won’t even try. It is tough, coarse, and chewy all at the same time, things that chickens don’t like.
The largest and most capable birds might try to tear off a few pieces, but they are just as likely to give it a few pecks and then ignore it.
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple Crowns?
No, chickens cannot eat the crown of leaves on a pineapple and though they shouldn’t try you definitely shouldn’t let them even if they show interest in them.
These leaves are way too tough and fibrous, and also have small spurs on the end of every leaf that could cause chickens to choke or otherwise get stuck in their digestive tract.
You can cut off the crown of leaves entirely and discard them before giving pineapple to your chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple Cores?
Yes, chickens may eat the core of the pineapple since it is just a harder version of the flesh within, but again, most chickens will not because it is so tough.
If your chickens seem to be handling it okay or show particular interest in the core, by all means let them eat it.
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple Cooked?
Chickens can have cooked pineapple with no issues or reservations. As mentioned just a moment ago, cooking does reduce the nutritional profile of pineapple somewhat and also serves to concentrate sugars, making it even more delicious.
But, it follows that you should further reduce the portion of pineapple if you are cooking it so your birds don’t get too much sugar.
Never Feed Pineapple to Chickens that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
Speaking of cooking, you must never feed pineapple to your chickens that have been prepared with ingredients that might be harmful to them, or used as an ingredient in some other harmful food, such as a dessert.
Cakes, jams, pudding, preserves, and so forth are no good for chickens, and they all contain salt, sugar, butter, oils, or other things that are just flat-out bad for birds.
Resist the temptation to give them something truly decadent, and trust me when I tell you that they will enjoy the pineapple on its own plenty.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Pineapple
If you purchase pineapple from the store with the purpose of giving it to your chickens (and let’s be real most of us will be) you must take care of the pesticides on it.
Pretty much all store-bought produce is heavily treated with pesticides from inception to delivery, and these pesticide residues can harm your birds.
Now, the good news is that pineapple has a tough outer skin that is largely impermeable, so most of the residue, if present, should be concentrated on the skin which your birds won’t eat anyway.
Nonetheless, some might eat it and most will at least peck at it, potentially exposing them. Either wash the pineapple thoroughly or peel it and discard the skin entirely before serving it to them.
How Often Can Chickens Have Pineapple?
Pineapple is super delicious and also quite nutritious, but that doesn’t mean your birds can have it every day whenever they want it or whenever you feel like giving it to them.
Too much fruit is responsible for causing all sorts of problems in chickens, namely sour crops and digestive issues.
To prevent these bad occurrences, you’ll want to limit the amount of pineapple and all other produce and treats that your birds receive.
10% to 20% of a chicken’s diet should be made up of fresh produce, including pineapple, but the rest and the majority should be a nutritionally complete chicken feed.
Preparing Pineapple for Your Flock
As mentioned, pineapple has a tough skin and a crown of rough, fibrous leaves that are difficult for chickens to deal with. Your best bet is to cut off the crown entirely and discard it.
From there, either peel the pineapple before cutting it into chunks or split it into rings and let your chickens pick out the flesh.
Can Baby Chicks Have Pineapple, Too?
Baby chicks may have pineapple, but you need to wait for them to get a little older before serving it to them because their systems are so sensitive to sugar and novel foods.
Once they reach an age of about 6 weeks, you can let them try a few tiny bites of fresh pineapple, but be sure to keep an eye on them in case they get diarrhea.
Make Sure you Clean Up after serving Pineapple to your Flock
After your birds are finished with the pineapple, make sure you clean it up. The leftover skin, tidbits, and any other debris should be removed from the area before it begins to rot or before the smell begins to attract pests.
There’s a non-zero chance the chickens might come back around to nibble on pineapple that has gotten moldy or begun to spoil or ferment, and this can lead to serious health problems.
Also, keep in mind that pineapple is extremely fragrant and will rapidly attract pests, so you don’t want to leave it lying around.
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.