Most owners of chickens already know that their beloved birds can eat fruit, but you must be diligent when it comes to serving it to them.
Certain fruits have parts that are poisonous, and others just have too much sugar for chickens.
What about raisins? Can your chickens eat raisins?
Yes, chickens may eat raisins safely, though they should only be given as a treat as part of a balanced diet. Raisins contain vitamins like C, E, and K and minerals such as copper, iron, and magnesium. However, they are mostly sugar, and can be difficult for them to digest.
Generally, there is nothing wrong with giving your chickens a few raisins as an occasional, sweet treat, but it is easy to overdo it and if given regularly can cause weight gain and other problems.
Don’t worry, we will tell you everything you need to know about feeding your flock raisins in the rest of this article.
Nutritional Profile of Raisins
Raisins are mostly sugar, and are comprised of 65% sugar by weight on average. They also contain a little bit of fiber and protein.
Concerning essential vitamins and minerals, raisins contain a good selection of B complex vitamins along with a little bit of choline, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
|Total lipid (fat)||0.25 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||79.32 g|
|– Fiber, total dietary||4.5 g|
|– Sugars, total including NLEA||65.18 g|
|Calcium, Ca||62 mg|
|Iron, Fe||1.79 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||36 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||98 mg|
|Potassium, K||744 mg|
|Sodium, Na||26 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.36 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.272 mg|
|Selenium, Se||0.6 µg|
|Vitamin C||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.174 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin K||3.5 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.094 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.024 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.053 g|
Minerals are somewhat better in this regard, and they contain copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium in abundance, along with much smaller amounts of selenium, zinc, and calcium.
Being dried, raisins contain very little moisture, and are only 15% of water by weight.
Health Benefits of Raisins for Chickens
Raisins are reasonably healthy for chickens so long as you limit the portions.
All of the B vitamins play various roles throughout the body, but particularly help to regulate energy by adjusting metabolism.
The minerals and raisins also work together to increase bone and connective tissue health, increase the thickness of eggshells in laying hens, improved digestion, and lower the risk of heart disease.
However, unlike whole fruits, raisins don’t have much water and won’t do very much to help your birds stay hydrated on warm days because they are already dried out.
Make sure you give them plenty of fresh water if you are serving them raisins as a snack.
Can Chickens Eat Raisins Raw?
Yes, your chickens can eat raw raisins with no problem, although picky birds might enjoy them softened in warm water for about 10 minutes first.
Keep in mind that, depending on the size of the bird, larger raisins might pose a choking hazard since chickens do not chew food in their mouths.
Can Chickens Eat Golden Raisins?
Yes, golden raisins are no problem for chickens, and are just a different color of grape.
Can Chickens Eat Currants?
Yes. Just like golden raisins above, currants are just extra dark raisins at the end of the day; a specific cultivar of grape that is dried like any other raisin.
Can Chickens Eat Raisins Cooked?
Yes, chickens may eat and in fact might enjoy cooked raisins.
The softer texture and dilution of the sugars present in raisins might make them a little more palatable to some birds.
Never Feed Raisins to Chickens that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
But since we are talking about cooking, you must never feed raisins that have been prepared with any harmful ingredients, or themselves been used as an ingredient in a harmful food, to your chickens.
Things like jams, cakes, preserves, and other desserts are packed full of sugar, salt, butter, oils, and other things that chickens simply should not have, ever.
These foods can at best lead to significant weight gain, diarrhea, and other maladies but in certain cases or when given repeatedly might result in serious health issues, including fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome, salt poisoning, or potentially lethal spikes in blood pressure.
How Often Can Chickens Have Raisins?
Raisins are delicious and reasonably healthy, but they are calorie-dense, and those calories come predominantly from sugar.
That means it is easy for your chickens to start gaining weight and quickly if they are allowed to overindulge in raisins, despite how wholesome they are.
Therefore, you only want to give your chickens raisins once or maybe twice a week, and that is only if they are a part of a balanced diet consisting mostly of their usual chicken feed.
Most experts recommend that chickens live with 90% of their calories coming from a nutritionally balanced chicken feed, with the remaining 10% being made up of a variety of wholesome foods as supplements or treats.
Raisins fit into this 10%, but they should not be the entire 10%! Think of raisins like a dessert, if a healthy one.
Preparing Raisins for Your Flock
It is easy to give raisins to your chickens. You can scatter them around, mix in a couple with their usual feed, or whatever is convenient for you.
If you are cooking raisins, you might mix in the remoistened fruits with a little bit of feed, grains or seeds to give your chickens an interesting dish to try.
Can Baby Chicks Have Raisins, Too?
You can feed raisins to baby chicks, but you’ll want to be cautious, if you do it at all.
Baby chicks have extremely delicate digestive systems, and can struggle to consume and digest foods that adult chickens don’t have any problems with.
In particular, they are also quite sensitive to nutritional imbalance, particularly salt, and sugar.
Raisins, as you’d imagine, present a major challenge when it comes to the sugar, and there are also difficult for chicks to tear up and swallow.
Adult chickens gulp them down whole, but if a chick does the same thing they might block their crop or suffer other life-threatening ailments.
If you do decide to give raisins to your chicks, wait until they are at least 6 weeks old and keep an eye on them the entire time.
It might be best to give them raisins that you mash or split open so they can pick at the tender insides a little easier.
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.