Bananas are sweet fruits (don’t say berry), and humans have enjoyed eating them as far back as we’ve had them. However, can chickens eat bananas too?
Chickens aren’t picky eaters, and they’ll eat almost everything you give them. This habit compounds the concerns of chicken parents as they have to worry if their chicken can eat it and if their chicken should eat it.
In this article, I will analyze the nutritional benefits of bananas. I will also explain the risks associated with feeding bananas to your chickens to help you make healthy choices for your chicken.
Can Chickens Eat Bananas At All?
Heads up: your chicken can’t tell if a food is sweet. Chickens have salty, bitter, and sour taste receptors, but they lack the taste receptors that detect sugary foods.
So, unlike you, your chicken genuinely loves bananas because it is healthy and not because it tastes like sugar.
Chickens can eat bananas, and they should certainly contribute to the fruity diet of a chicken.
While bananas are safe for chickens when consumed in moderation, excessive consumption can be unhealthy. Bananas also lack the nutrients that chickens require in a staple, making bananas incapable of replacing your chicken’s staple.
Hens can also eat the banana peel, although it mightn’t be a great idea. While the peel also contains nutrients that chickens could use, it is more exposed, posing a greater risk to your birds.
Are Bananas Good For Chickens?
Introducing a new food into your pet’s diet requires much more thought than “can they eat it?”
Sometimes, your pet will be willing to eat something detrimental to its health. Remember, chickens can’t read the nutritional labels.
Another thing you should consider before feeding your chickens with bananas is if they’re healthy for your chickens.
In this section, I’ll go over some of the nutritional contents of bananas before analyzing why they’re healthy for your birds.
A moderately ripe to overripe banana contains about 75% of water. While this sounds like a lot, it is nothing compared to the moisture content of fruits like apples or watermelons.
A banana supplies around 89 calories, which is small, given that a chicken requires 300 calories per day. Also, a chicken can’t finish one banana at once, or can it?
Bananas also contain unsaturated fats in small amounts. However, the dominant nutrient in a banana is carbohydrates. A banana can contain up to 24 grams of carbohydrates, depending on the size.
Your chicken can also get some proteins from a banana, and the banana peel is rich in fiber. And yes, your chicken can eat the banana peel that you always discard.
These nutrients don’t exist for reading’s sake. They help your chicken grow healthier in the following ways.
- The vitamins in bananas play various essential roles in your chicken’s health. Pyridoxine (aka vitamin B6) helps in nervous system coordination. In simple terms, they help your chicken become more healthily active.
Vitamin B12 also boosts a chicken’s metabolism, improves eyesight, boosts energy, improves liver health, and supports skin health.
- While traditional chicken feed contains enough magnesium to keep a chicken healthy, supplementing the nutrient isn’t bad.
Magnesium works with calcium and phosphorus to support bone development and cellular metabolism.
- If you frequently get extreme temperatures, you might need to supplement your chicken feed with extra potassium.
Banana is an excellent supplier of potassium; apart from helping chickens regulate their temperature, potassium can also help improve metabolic activities in chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?
If you’ve always peeled bananas before serving them to your chickens, you’ve been doing it wrong, or have you?
Always peel bananas before serving them to chickens, but not necessarily to discard them. Chickens eat banana peels just as well as the banana itself, and it’s even more nutritious than the actual banana inside.
However, most fruits always receive pesticide treatment for preservation. In the case of bananas, the peel takes all the pesticides. This contamination can make the banana peels toxic for chickens’ consumption.
If you can get organic bananas to feed your chickens, you shouldn’t waste the peels.
How to Prepare Banana Peels for Chickens
Unlike the banana itself, the banana peel isn’t ready for your chicken’s consumption right away. As the peel covers the banana, it is potentially dirtier and needs some preprocessing before consumption.
Also, the banana peels are usually tougher to eat and digest than the actual banana. Chickens’ digestive systems aren’t suited to digest such complex food, but you can make it better.
Here are the steps required to prepare bananas for chickens, to retain the nutritional value while making it easier to eat for the chickens to eat.
- Get bananas, preferably organic. Peel off the skin and wash it thoroughly to ensure that any dirt or contamination washes away from the banana peel.
- Cook the banana peels in water. Boil the peels until it is soft enough for the chickens to ingest without much effort.
- When the peels are soft enough, cool them down and chop them into small pieces. Cutting the peels makes it easier for the chickens to eat.
If you want to try out the peels, you can. People from other parts of the world do eat banana peels. However, you might want to add some sugar to peels to make them palatable.
If you’re serving the peels to your chickens, you don’t need to add any sugar. Chickens don’t have sweet taste receptors, so they don’t even know if it’s sugary in the first place.
Also, chickens have a good deal of carbohydrates in their seed-heavy diet. Carbohydrates become sugar after digestion; there is no point in adding more sugar to their diet for any reason.
Risks of Feeding Bananas to Chickens
Bananas are not a risky food for chickens. If you feed your chickens with bananas in proportion, you’ll always have a good story to tell.
However, if you allow your chickens to pick up inorganic and contaminated bananas from the neighborhood, it could make them sick.
Also, ripe bananas contain high amounts of sugar, and it only increases as the bananas ripen. If your chickens already consume a modest amount of sugar, you might want to feed them unripe mangoes to regulate their blood sugar levels.
Also, bananas should be few and far between in a chicken’s diet. They’re unarguable nutritious, but the chicken digestive system isn’t for such wet foods; no wonder they eat seeds mostly.
Bananas are not an everyday food for chickens, but they’re not harmful to occasional treats. While bananas contain nutrients that help your chicken’s growth and metabolism, the high moisture content makes it unsuitable as a staple.
And when we talk bananas, we’re talking about the whole banana, including the peel. Cooked banana peels are even more nutritious than the actual banana itself for both chickens and humans.
So, can chickens eat bananas?
Of course, they can, including the peels, and if possible, the seeds!