Can Chickens Eat Mulberries

Can Chickens Eat Mulberries? (Purple Poop Warning!)

If your chickens are free range you’ll be very aware that they eat anything they come across. The leaves and fruits of plants, bugs and insects, and most things in between.

Can chickens eat mulberries? Yes, chickens can eat mulberries. There are no health risks with eating this fruit, although they may act as a laxative in large amounts. Plus, they’ll turn their poop purple!

Are Mulberries Healthy for Chickens?

Mulberries, much like most fruits, are healthy for us and chickens.

They don’t exactly provide the ideal kind of nutrition for chickens, however. But the plus side is that they are not harmful to chooks.

Mulberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are pretty good for boosting the immune system and aiding digestion. With a small amount of calcium, they also play a small part in aiding egg production.

Overall, mulberries make for a fine addition to your flock’s diet. Fruits, vegetables, and other foods should only be fed in moderation though.

If you have mulberry trees growing in your yard you might have to restrict the amount of the berries they can get into their beaks.

Not only because most of their diet should come from their feed, but also because too many berries will give them the runs. Purple runs too!

Are the Leaves Safe for Chickens Too?

Are the Leaves Safe for Chickens Too

There is some debate over whether or not the leaves of a mulberry bush or tree are toxic.

They are used in a range of medicinal, industrial, and culinary applications. However, the leaves contain a white sap called latex which is mildly toxic to humans.

A lot of people do not experience any ill-effects. But some people do, such as an upset stomach and some skin irritations.

I can’t find any conclusive studies or evidence regarding the effects on chickens eating the leaves. But with chickens being so much smaller than us and much more likely to eat a large amount of the leaves, I think it’s safe to say that they could be toxic.

Generally speaking, chickens are pretty smart when it comes to avoiding foods that are bad for them. But it’s not something you can rely on, as almost all backyard chicken owners will attest to.

For this reason, I make sure my chickens can’t and don’t eat any of the leaves or other parts of the mulberry tree. Just to be safe.

What Foods Are Poisonous to Chickens?

Mulberries may be fine for chickens, but there are some foods that are poisonous, toxic, or harmful in some form that you should always avoid.

The most commonly found foods that can be dangerous are:

Raw Beans – These are the silent killers of the backyard. Beans contain harmful toxins when raw, only through cooking them for a certain duration at a high temperature neutralizes it.

Chocolate – The toxic compounds in chocolate are called methylxanthines. These stimulate the nervous and cardiovascular systems and cause chicks health issues.

Nightshade plants – Not all parts of nightshade plants are toxic. You have to be very careful with this group of plants though.

For example, when potatoes are green after they’ve been exposed to sunlight they contain a harmful toxin called solanine. Parts of eggplants, peppers, and so on are also harmful.

Coffee Grounds – Coffee contains methylxanthines like chocolate. Caffeine is also harmful to chickens, that means coffee, tea, and some other foods are on the banned list.

Foods that aren’t toxic, but should also be avoided:

Fatty foods, fast foods, and greasy foods – We all know these kinds of foods are not great for us. I’m not judging you, I’m just saying. They are even worse for chickens, so at least you can keep them to yourselves.

Onions, garlic, strong-tasting foods – While not harmful to chickens, feeding them really strong tasting foods can affect the taste of their eggs.

In Summary – Can Chickens Eat Mulberries?

You can add mulberries to the “safe to eat” list for your chickens for sure, yes.

If you have a mulberry tree and your chickens are free range, even better. This gives them something to scratch for as the fruits fall to the floor.

One thing to be aware of is that mulberry trees can grow pretty fast and yield a lot of fruit. It’s convenient having your chickens clean up all the scraps, but you should also keep an eye on them so they don’t eat too many.

Resources

What is mulberry leaf? – Healthline.com

8 Best benefits of mulberries – OrganicFacts.com

Image credits – Header image by Sarah Halliday on Unsplash; Inbody image by JoaoBOliver from Pixabay