Yes, chickens can eat dragon fruits also called a strawberry pear or a pitaya. Personally, I love this tropical tasting fruit, so I always have it in the summer. The skin is a little tough, just give them the flesh part.
Is Dragon Fruit Healthy for Chickens?
They are, yes. But, first of all, we can’t talk about dragon fruits without talking about how unique they look!
That was what first drew me to them in the supermarket. I just had to know what it tasted like. I actually asked someone working there, and they said they’d never tried one.
So, I bought a couple.
If you’ve not seen one – they have pink skins with kind of green scales. Inside, it has a soft white flesh with loads of small black seeds.
They’re not the most nutrient-dense fruits, but do contain a wide range of minerals, vitamins, and other good nutrients – as you’d expect from a fruit.
Like most fruits, it’s not hitting the key nutrients chickens need. That’s what their formulated chicken feed is for. But they are perfectly safe to eat and do help deliver some immune-boosting good stuff.
How to Feed Dragon Fruit to Your Flock
Like other soft fruits; bananas, melon, figs, etc. You need to make sure all the dragon fruit flesh is getting to your flock without getting dirty or being wasted.
The best ways to do this are:
- Cutting up the fruit and laying it down in its skin. This is probably the most common way to give chickens fruits as it allows them to peck it all out.
- Hanging the fruit and letting them peck at it. This is a common way to give chooks bananas and can be done with dragon fruits.
- Putting slices of the fruit into their feeders or anywhere they can easily get it.
If they love it, which I’m sure they will, it’s not that hard. If you raise chickens you’ll be all too aware of how quickly they gobble up food in front of them!
Some Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
It’s important you’re aware of what foods are potentially dangerous and harmful for chickens.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but here are some of the more common foods owners are tempted to try giving to their flock:
Green tomatoes and potatoes – Unripe tomatoes and potatoes that have turned green due to too much exposure to the sun contain a toxin called solanine. This toxin is harmful to chickens – and to use for that matter.
Coffee and Tea – Caffeine and some other compounds in these drinks are bad for chickens. No morning cuppa for your chicks! (or on a more serious note, don’t put old tea bags or coffee grounds on a compost heap they can access).
Chocolate – As with a lot of small and household pets, there are compounds in chocolate that are toxic to chickens.
Raw Beans – Unless beans are properly cooked they’re actually very toxic to chickens, even fatal.
Greasy/Salty Foods – It’s tempting to give your leftover junk food to your chickens, but don’t. It’s harder for them to process greasy foods, and they don’t need added salt in their diets.
Sugary Treats – Chickens don’t have the taste buds or the digestive system to deal with sugary treats like candy and soda as we do. They enjoy a beer though!
Examples of Foods You Can Give Chickens
Now you know the main foods to avoid, you’ll notice there’s a long list of foods they can eat.
It’s fun, and a great bonding experience trying out different foods with backyard chickens. Here are some of the best foods that are safe for chickens:
Grains – Chickens love grains. They provide a good range of nutrition and help encourage natural foraging behavior. Try giving them some quinoa, wheat, oats, corn, cornmeal, etc.
Vegetables – Vegetables also contain loads of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other good nutrition. Try offering your flock some broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, etc and they’ll thank you.
Fruits – Okra is one of the rarer fruits I’d say most owners have given their flock. Most give them bananas, figs, apples, orange, berries, and melons.
In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruits are unique and interesting fruits, that’s for sure. They’re perfectly fine for chickens if you have some spare, and they provide a decent range of nutrients too.
As long as you’re feeding your flock a quality commercial feed, it’s fun to experiment with other fruits, vegetables, and leftovers.
I covered some of the best – and the worst above – as long as you know a food isn’t toxic in any way, I always recommend people try some out with their flock.
What is dragon fruit & its health benefits? – Healthline.com
Image credits – Header image by Zosia Korcz, dragon fruit image by Helen Thomas on Unsplash, other chicken image by Capri23auto on Pixabay.