With the food that you offer them, chickens are not picky animals. If you give your backyard chickens a few additional treats of fruit and vegetables here, you can find they grow weary of eating the same old stuff.
It can be rewarding for you and your chickens to discover new goodies, and it is always alluring to travel further afield in search of exciting food to feed your flock. So, the question being raised is, do chickens like bananas, and more so, do chickens like banana peels? Bananas are abundant in potassium and are delicious. Eating a banana and tossing the skin to your flock is easy, but is this the ideal way to feed them?
In our guide, you can learn more about if broiler chickens can eat the skins and how they can make up part of their healthy diet. By the end, you’ll know how to prepare the skins from unripe bananas to the possibility that you can feed chickens a slice of banana bread. (Read Can Chickens Eat Green Onions)
Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?
Without the peels, bananas wouldn’t exist, and you can find that the peel is also edible and eaten in countries other than the United States. Besides magnesium and potassium, they contain significant amounts of vitamins B6 and B12, protein, fiber, and other nutrients, including polyphenols and carotenoids.
However, to add these to your chickens’ diet, you need to ensure they are not covered in chemicals like pesticides, which is the sole downside of chickens eating them. Organic bananas are a better choice, yet chewing the skin is still a question.
Chickens lack teeth, so they can’t chew the peels like humans or other animals. So, to feed your chickens bananas, you need to know how to prepare them.
How To Prepare Banana Peels?
Boiling the peels until they get soft is one of the best methods. You could think the peels are just scraps, although the skins are far healthier than the fruit inside.
After boiling them till soft, sprinkle some brown sugar on them if you want to test them. However, you shouldn’t feed your chickens any additional sugars, so leave this out when cooking for your flock.
Cook them until they are soft. Slice them into little pieces to make them easier for your chickens to consume when you toss them into your chicken pen. One thing that can help is if you can find anyone selling overripe bananas, these will be naturally sweet and easier for hens to eat. (Read Can Chickens Eat Shrimp)
Can Baby Chicks Eat Bananas?
Rather than tossing banana peels from over-ripened bananas in the trash after you have baked your banana bread, you can use these to bolster your chickens’ diet and beef up their nervous system.
Here you can find a breakdown of banana nutrition when you feed bananas to your chickens.
- Vitamin B6: There are many benefits of vitamin B6 for the neurological system. It is used to produce the happy hormones norepinephrine and serotonin.
- Vitamin B12: B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, will give your chickens a healthy boost. B vitamins support nerve function, liver function, metabolism, skin health, energy production, and eye health.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential dietary supplement. Your chickens will benefit from improved sleep, enhanced vitality, and a healthy heart, among other positive effects.
- Potassium: They will also supply your chickens with the necessary potassium. Your poultry will benefit from this in terms of tension, muscle strength, metabolism, and electrolytic activity.
Other dietary details of the over-ripe fruit are:
- 89 calories per banana,
- 0.3 grams of fat comprising saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega-3, and omega-6 fats,
- 1.1 grams of protein
- A healthy dose of Vitamin C
- 1 whole banana is 75% water and 22.8 grams of carbs comprising sugar and fiber.
While you want to give healthy foods to your laying hens and other chickens, bananas make a great addition to the list. You can come across overripe bananas at grocery stores and fruit stands, so all you need to do is ask and get a knockdown price.
If there are too many, you can chuck them in the freezer after preparing them, as frozen bananas can make a great treat in hot weather. (Read Can Chickens Eat Wild Bird Seed)
Remember that you can’t use the same method for other fruits and veggies. If you have green potatoes, these can be toxic to humans and animals; likewise, over-ripened ones don’t mean moldy food, as this can also be harmful to chickens.
Unrest And Feather-Picking
When their diet is deficient in nutrients, your chickens may occasionally display indications of nervousness. For example, there might be a few more feathers than usual on the coop’s floor.
Consider reevaluating the number of bananas and other treats you have given your chickens. Until your chickens settle down, you might have to cut away fruits to reduce their sugar intake.
Reduced Egg Laying
Your chickens may not get enough protein if they lay significantly fewer eggs than usual, even though the season has not changed. Unfortunately, bananas are low in protein and high in sugar (carbohydrates). Your chickens can no longer lay eggs if you give them considerably more sugar than protein.
Downsides of Chickens Eating Banana Peels
Feeding your birds bananas is fun, but it’s not the best method. Because bananas contain a lot of sugar, feeding them to hens can be dangerous. You will find too much sugar cannot be absorbed by chickens. Bananas also lack some of the dietary requirements of dry food.
Chickens cannot process wet foods, yet they would still receive the excess sugar influences if you feed bananas to them while obtaining the health benefits these fruits offer.
Are Bananas Safe To Feed Your Chickens?
Feeding your flock too many bananas can harm their health. Bananas are a rare treat, yet the high sugar levels are bad for birds. The other major downside of banana peels is that they may contain insecticides, harming chickens.
Occasionally giving your flock bananas is excellent, yet feeding your chickens overripe bananas shouldn’t make up a large part of their diet.
How To Prepare Banana Peels To Feed Your Chickens?
An overripe banana peel for chickens requires a little preparation, as chickens won’t consume an entire peel because it’s hard. However, to make them tastier, boil banana peels.
You can also cut them into smaller pieces, making them easier to deal with. Boiling banana skins softens all the hard parts that could be hard for even baby chickens to digest. (Read Is Dill Weed The Same As Dill)
How To Tell Chickens Have Eaten Too Much?
Unlike what you may read or see online, bananas cannot be overdosed. However, some contend that feeding a flock an excessive amount of bananas can lead to a potassium overdose and death.
But since your chickens would need to consume over 20 bananas each for this to occur, it is practically impossible. However, providing too many bananas and peels may cause other problems. It might, for starters, give your hens terrible diarrhea.
You could notice that your chickens gain a little weight and will stop egg production if they gain too much weight. As a result, it’s advisable to reserve banana peels for special occasions.
Poor Quality Eggs
Egg production declines when your birds’ nutrition is not balanced. However, if your chickens lay a few eggs in the nesting box, the shells might be too fragile to handle, or the eggs might have double yolks.
How Often Should Chickens Eat Banana?
Although healthy for chickens, banana peels should be a huge part of your chicken’s diet. A healthy diet shouldn’t contain over 5% sugary items, not even naturally nutritious ones like bananas.
This shows that a few slices of chicken, twice or thrice per week, is sufficient for them. Your flock should also consume protein-rich chicken feed and access to fresh water, besides the 5% of ripe banana peel in their diet.
Avoid ripe bananas for your chickens; underripe bananas have too much fiber for them to consume. They’ll ultimately pass the banana without getting much out of it. However, ripe bananas can contain too much sugar, and if they eat lots of sugar, their body will find it difficult to digest other foods.
Alternative Ways To Feed Your Flock Banana Peels
Before feeding bananas to your feathered friends, you’ll find you don’t need to use too much effort.
Chickens can easily peel a ripe banana on their own, and they can easily peel the fruit inside. By peeling and slicing the fruit, you can help them get to the source of Vitamin B6 and other health benefits that makes bananas good for chickens.
You could also boil an unpeeled banana, so your chickens eat most of it together. The additional fiber is one reason to give peels to laying hens, as you want them to remain consistent without laying abnormal eggs. (Read Can Cows Eat Grapes)
Considering that, here are some creative methods to convince your chickens to eat bananas as their healthy treat and to get their Vitamin C.
- Slice the banana into rounds, peel and all, and sprinkle with some oats or laying feed. The grains or cereal will stick with no additional additives because of the banana’s natural stickiness. As a result, they can get their Vitamin B6, C, and other nutrients without realizing it.
- Chickens eat bananas in most ways, and making a frozen banana smoothie is a great way to feed baby chicks something they won’t struggle with.
- All fruits such as mango, blueberries, grapes, cucumber, and more can all be added, and for fiber, you can toss in some flax seeds. Make in advance and freeze in ice cube trays, then feed your chickens when it’s hot.
- Use string to suspend bananas from the ceiling. Then, just wrap a string around the banana’s stem and hang it in front of your chickens. They will simultaneously be fed, entertained, and exercised.
- Throw banana peel bits into the poultry feed as an additional supplement.
- Make oil-free banana chips; just avoid store-bought ones. Chickens eat bananas once you crumble the chips into an organic trail mix.
Like all things, chickens and bananas are a thing; just remember to feed in moderation.