Fresh or dried, cranberries are a delicious superfood. Whether you grow them yourself or pick them up from the store, your right to check they’re safe for your flock.
Can chickens eat cranberries? Yes, cranberries are fine to feed to your chickens. In my experience, they love them too. Dried, fresh, or cooked, they’ll be happy to take them off your hands!
Are Cranberries Healthy for Chickens?
Cranberries are one of the healthiest fruits we can eat, and this also applies to chickens.
They’re a great source of antioxidants, which will help your flock healthy. As well as containing a range of vitamins and minerals, and helping with specific health and wellness issues.
Cranberries are one of the best fruits you can share with your flock. It’s worth going out of your way to add some to their diet and see if they like them.
It’s also important to remember that fruits, vegetables, and other foods we eat are treats though. 90% of their diet should come from a commercial feed, as this is specially formulated to meet their dietary needs.
That other 10% gives us room to share all kinds of foods though. As long as you keep it to healthy foods, such as cranberries, you can help provide some awesome health-boosting nutrition.
Do Chickens Like Dried Cranberries?
They do! Dried, fresh, mixed in with other foods, it doesn’t make a lot of difference to chickens.
Just be aware that most commercially produced dried cranberries will have added sugar and other preservatives.
This isn’t ideal for chickens. If you can dry out some fresh cranberries yourself or pick up some that don’t have additives, that’s going to be much better for them.
Dried cranberries are basically cranberries that have been dried out and had their water content removed. Which makes perfect sense as they’re called “dried” cranberries.
Therefore they are also a little lower in nutritional content. So, fresh cranberries are better if you can get your hands on those instead. Not a huge difference though, both are great.
How to Feed Cranberries to Chickens
If you’re looking for fun and creative ways to feed cranberries - and other fruits - to your flock, try any of the following:
Fresh - Chop ‘em or slice ‘em and hand them over however you want. You can throw some into their feed, or scatter around their run if the floor is dry. Chickens love scratching around, as I’m sure you know.
Dried - It’s more convenient to pick up dried cranberries and they last a lot longer. There are pros and cons as I explained above, easy to feed them dried though.
Frozen fruit blocks - This is always a winner in the hot summer months. You can mash together some foods they like, such as oatmeal, cereals (my girls love Cheerios!), and all kinds of fruits to make a frozen food block.
Hanging - Hanging fruits has a couple of benefits. You can (try) and keep the fruit off the floor for them. While giving your chooks something to peck at and play with.
Some Other Fruits Chickens Love!
Looking for other fruits that chickens love, and most importantly are safe for them?
Here’s a list of the favorites in my backyard. All of these provide some excellent nutritional benefits and are a fun way to spoil your flock:
Grapes - They love all colors and types of grapes. You can find out more about how to feed chickens grapes here.
Bananas - Bananas are one of the best fruits to hang on a string and let your chooks peck away and have some fun with. You can read more about how I feed mine bananas here.
Pumpkin - There is some evidence to show that pumpkin seeds act as a natural dewormer. Chickens also love sticking their heads into a carved out pumpkin, so you know what to do next Halloween!
Melons - Melons are a great source of vitamins and minerals, while also providing plenty of water content. Plus, all you have to do is slice them in half and place them on the ground.
Oranges - There have been rumors circling for as long as I can remember that citrus is toxic or in some way harmful to chickens, but I can assure you in small amounts it’s perfectly fine.
Apples - Apples are fine. I recommend removing the core and pips though as they’re mildly toxic. I feed mine crab apples from the orchard near our home, they love them.
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Cranberries?
Yes, your chickens can eat cranberries. They are perfectly safe, and better than that they provide some great nutritional content.
I’ve given you a number of reasons why you should consider feeding cranberries to your flock, as well as plenty of ways to so so.
Just don’t be surprised if they go missing when left out. Most birds love cranberries and will be more than happy to see them in your yard!
What to know about cranberries - MedicalNewsToday.com