If you have a fig tree in your yard or enjoy eating figs yourself, you’re probably wondering if you can share them with your flock, right?
Can chickens eat figs? Yes, chickens can eat figs. While figs are one of the more sugary fruits, they are also rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
What's in Figs (Are They Healthy)?
Personally, I love figs. They have a unique taste and texture and aren’t for everyone, though.
From a nutritional standpoint, as you expect from most fruits they are packed with the good stuff.
Figs are high in natural sugars and fiber, they’re rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium which is great for laying chickens, and antioxidants to help support a strong immune system.
Can Chickens Eat Figs?
Yes, chickens can eat figs.
As long as you only give them figs as an occasional treat, your flock will enjoy all the health benefits without any downsides.
This isn’t the case for the leaves and other parts of the plant though. The leaves of a fig plant or tree contain a toxin called ficin. This compound is known to irritate us, and animals when it comes into contact with skin or is ingested.
How to Feed Figs to Your Chickens
The good thing about figs is that you can eat them either fresh or dried. You can also eat the skin and pits (seeds) without any issues too.
This means you can feed figs to your chickens however you want to. If you have dried figs, just add some to their feed or throw it in their run to give them something to scratch for.
With a fresh fig, just put it somewhere it’s not going to get too dirty and they’ll peck away at it until it’s gone I’m sure.
Can Chickens Eat Fig Tree Leaves?
No, the leaves of the fig tree contain a substance called ficin which is known to be toxic to animals (and can cause irritation for us).
I couldn’t find any studies into the effects on chickens, but dog owners are very familiar with “fig poisoning” from the leaves.
Therefore, I wouldn’t let your chickens near anything other than the fruit itself to be on the safe side.
Here's a cool slow-motion capture of chickens pecking away at some fig:
Some Foods That Are Toxic to Chickens
There are some common foods you probably have in and around your home that are potentially harmful to chickens.
This isn’t a complete list, so it’s always worth double-checking before giving you flock a food for the first time but avoid the following:
Raw Beans - Beans contain a compound called lectin. Lectins are in a lot of food we consume and not always toxic, but in raw uncooked beans, they are toxic to chickens.
Chocolate - There’s no chance of me sharing chocolate with my flock, I keep it for myself! Still, it’s important to know that there are compounds; theobromine and caffeine, that are toxic to chicks.
Coffee Grounds - They’re great for the garden but really bad for your flock, so make sure they don’t get their beaks into the grounds. It’s predominantly for the same reasons as to why they can’t eat chocolate. Here's more on why coffee grounds are bad for chickens.
Greasy/Junk Foods - Your chicks don’t need (or appreciate) fast-food burgers and all that other greasy stuff.
Avocado Skin and Seed - Avocados are delicious, and the fleshy part of this fruit is a nutrient-dense food. The skin and pit, on the other hand, contain a toxin called persin which is toxic to chooks.
Green Tomatoes and Potatoes - There’s a lot of confusion around whether or not potatoes are toxic to chickens. The facts are, that when a potato is green, this part of the vegetable does have the toxin solanine present.
The same applies to unripe green tomatoes, and the rest of the tomato plant that’s green such as the leaves, stalk, etc.
Related content - Can chickens eat potato skins?
Some Other Foods Chickens Love
Don’t worry, there are more than enough foods that are safe for your chickens if you want to treat them.
Just throw them any of the following and you’ll have a clucking happy flock!
Grains - Most grains are great for chickens. I like giving mine corn as it’s packed with good nutrition, and it also gives them something to scratch for. Or you can hang a cob and watch them play around pecking at it, this is always fun.
Pumpkin - It may be a seasonal treat, but I mention pumpkin because there have been studies that show the seeds can help control worms.
Related content - Want to worm your flock? Check out Valbazen for chickens.
Scrambled Eggs - Chickens love eggs, who would have thought it! Plus, they’re an excellent source of protein. If your flock is molting or laying regularly, some scrambled eggs will give them a much-appreciated boost of protein.
Herbs - I love feeding my girls herbs because they’re super easy to grow, and each herb has its own unique health and wellness benefits.
For example, try some lavender if you want to create a more relaxed coop environment or parsley as a laying stimulant.
Cereals - There are some cereals that my flock just can’t get enough of, Cheerios are their personal favorite.
The general rule of thumb when feeding your flock fruits, veggies, and other human foods is that it should not exceed 10% of their diet.
At least 90% of their diet should come from a formulated feed. That’s where they’ll get most of their nutritional needs met.
There you have it, next time you have some figs you should go out into the yard and share them with your chickens!
Just be careful to only feed them the fig fruit. Avoid letting them eat the leaves, branches, or any other part of the plant.
Do Pumpkin Seeds Control Worms? - Delaware State University
Health Benefits of Figs - BBC Good Food
FICIN - WebMD