Yes! Chickens love bananas. You should only feed them small amounts as treats, however, as bananas have a high sugars content. They do provide a good range of minerals and vitamins too though.
How Should I Feed My Chickens Bananas?
I always peel bananas before giving them to my chickens. You don’t have to, as I will explain in more detail later, but I know it makes it easier for them to eat them.
You can chop up the banana as you would most fruits and throw it into their pen. Or, something I’ve done on occasion is to hang the banana up and let them peck away at it.
It’s fun seeing a small group of chickens pecking away at a banana and provides them with a little entertainment, too. It also helps keep it clean and makes removing any leftovers (like there will be any) easier for you.
I’ve spoken with a few backyard chicken owners who regularly throw banana scraps to their chicks. It’s universally agreed that chickens love bananas and will eat them up in a hurry for sure.
Are Bananas Good for Chickens?
Depending on where you look and who you listen to, you’ll hear that no more than 10-15% of a chicken’s diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, and other leftovers.
Table scraps actually help to provide some really important vitamins and minerals and help round out their overall nutritional intake. It’s typically the lack of protein in fruits and vegetables that let them down.
The good news is that bananas are rich in vitamins B and C, and also a good source of fiber and potassium.
The bad news is that they are also high in sugar and one of the most calorie-dense fruits.
While on topic, if you’re wondering what the most sugary fruits are. According to HuffPost it’s figs, then grapes. With bananas coming in 6th on their list of the most sugary fruits.
What’s Better – Underripe or Overripe Bananas?
If you’re anything like me, you like a banana to be just right. Not green and unripe, and definitely not black and overripe. It’s normal for people to share bananas with chooks that are either too ripe or not ripe enough as these are the ones they don’t want.
Nothing wrong with that. Some table scraps and over/under-ripe foods are awesome for chickens and it’s the perfect way to reduce waste, do our bit for the environment, and so on.
But, as you probably know, there is a big difference in taste and appearance between an underripe and overripe banana.
As bananas ripen and turn yellow, the level of antioxidants increases (source). As they ripen further and start to turn black, this is a sign that the starch is breaking down into sugar.
Regardless of the color, bananas are rich in potassium, vitamins B and C, and fiber. That’s the good stuff. As long as you’re feeding them bits in moderation, there isn’t a huge difference.
Can Chickens Eat Bananas Peels?
I wouldn’t advise feeding the peel or skin of banana to your chickens. We don’t eat it, do we? As a general rule, I wouldn’t feed anything to my chicks that I wouldn’t eat myself. That’s a good way to err on the side of caution.
It shouldn’t do them any harm though, and I doubt they’ll actually eat it. If you do include the peel, remember to give it a wash before handing it over.
Supermarket suppliers use preservatives and pesticides to help their fruits last longer. Something we don’t think about with bananas as we don’t eat the skins.
Can Baby Chickens Eat Bananas?
You can give baby chicks a little bit of banana too, yes.
From about a week old, chicks can start pecking away at little bits of fruit and veg. They love bananas because they typically like the taste, and it’s a nice soft fruit for them to digest.
I wouldn’t let them loose on the skins. It’s too tough for them
Do Birds Eat Bananas and Banana Peels
Birds also eat bananas, yes.
If you share the space around your home with birds such as sparrows, pigeons, tits, and such, don’t be surprised if there’s some competition for the scraps you’re sharing.
Next time you have a banana that’s a little too soft or too hard, why not share it with your chickens to see how much they enjoy it.
As I pointed out, as long as you’re giving them small pieces as a treat here and there, there’s no harm done.
If it’s a mushy, soft one, don’t be surprised if you see them wiping their beaks on the floor after. This is how chicks clean their beaks, it’s not a sign that they’re trying to get the taste off.