Chickens, if left to their own devices, will readily consume anything edible that is available to them in their environment. Upon spending an afternoon observing my own backyard flock, I began to question whether or not chickens can eat pineapple. That very evening, I began to search for the answer to my question, and what I discovered came as quite a surprise.
So can chickens eat pineapple? Yes, chickens can eat pineapple. Chickens have a well-known reputation for opportunistically raiding household gardens, seeking out the wide array of fruits and vegetables that these makeshift chicken buffets offer. A chicken’s love for fresh produce is all-encompassing, and pineapples are no exception. Many owners of backyard flocks report feeding their chickens leftover pineapple chunks and scraps to no ill effect.
As I conducted my research, I found that although chickens can indeed eat pineapple, there are specific advantages and disadvantages to pineapple consumption within the dietary structure of a chicken.
If you are like me, you care about the health and well being of your backyard flock. If this is the case, what follows will serve as a comprehensive guide for those considering supplementing their chickens’ diet with pineapple.
Can Chickens Eat Pineapple
There is little that man has found that a chicken will not eat, or attempt to eat. Chickens are natural omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and greens with little discretion. This dietary feature serves chickens well, as this facilitates survival under a wide array of conditions, even those that are less than favorable.
Chickens are scavengers at heart. However, this does not mean that chickens do not prefer one food source to another. Fruit and vegetable scraps have served as a special treat of sorts for chicken flocks ever since their time as common family farm inhabitants.
It was standard practice for a number of years to feed chickens the leftover produce from farm gardens that could not be sold at the market. Although pineapple was not a standard variety of produce on most farms, it is no different in its consumability than any other fruit.
Today, the owners of many backyard flocks feed their chickens a gamut of produce, closely mirroring that consumed by humans, with little ill effect when fed in moderation.
Actually, pineapple can be a healthy treat for your chickens. Much as with humans, fruit of many varieties has nutritional benefits far exceeding that of other supplemental options. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing and care should be taken to avoid any detrimental effects that can stem from the overconsumption of pineapple by your chickens.
Pros and Cons of Feeding Chickens Pineapple
Thus far, we have established that chicken can, and do, eat pineapple. However, like any food consumed by your feathered friends, the consumption of pineapple by chickens come with distinctive advantages and disadvantages. It is of value to be aware of such pros and cons, as it aids you in making an informed choice when it comes to making dietary decisions regarding your flock.
Advantages of pineapple consumption by chicken
- No cholesterol
- Minimal saturated fats
- Quality source of bromelain (an enzyme that aids in digestion)
- Has shown promise as a natural de-wormer
- Excellent source of vitamin C (effectively strengthens poultry immune systems)
Disadvantages of pineapple consumption by chicken
- Not a favored food source (as reported by many chicken owners)
- Can cause bezoars (fibrous build-up in crop)
- Can cause watery stool
- Overconsumption can cause a deficiency in other nutrients
Avoiding Excess Is Key
By all observed accounts, pineapple is a perfectly safe food source for your chickens. Research seems to point toward multiple health benefits that are rendered from the consumption of pineapple by chickens.
Although the potential for the occurrence of the above-mentioned disadvantages does exist, the vast majority of such occurrences seem to be directly related to the consumption of pineapple in excessive quantities.
This brings to mind the quandary as to how much pineapple is considered excessive? While no concrete number exists, it is safe to say that pineapple is best reserved as a special treat for your flock. Serving sizes should be restricted to only what can be consumed in a single setting.
When pineapple is provided in large quantities on a free-choice basis, chickens that are fond of such a food source are given the chance to gorge themselves unabated. This can lead to chickens filling their crops to capacity solely with pineapple, excluding other food sources that play a key role in sustaining a well-rounded and nutritious diet.
This scenario is especially problematic when observed in flocks of laying chickens. Laying chickens are especially prone to ill effects rendered by the absence of a well-rounded diet. The proper ratios of protein and other nutrients are essential for maximum egg production that pineapple alone cannot provide.
While pineapple is an excellent treat for chickens, much the same as a piece of cake is for humans, it is considered a best practice to stick with a basic pre-mixed feed ration as the bulk of your flock’s diet.
Typical layer pellets or meat chicken rations can be purchased at local feed mills and farm supply stores, or alternatively online here.