Yes, chickens can eat papaya. It’s one of the many fruits that’s great for them as it’s rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
As long as backyard chickens are getting most of their diet from a good commercial feed, there are loads of vegetables, fruits, and scraps that make for healthy additions.
Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your flock papaya.
Is Papaya Healthy for Chickens?
I’m a huge fan of papaya, it’s one of my favorite fruits. Did you know that they’re also called papaws or pawpaws?
They’re a great source of vitamins and minerals and contain some powerful antioxidants too. It’s not the kind of stuff that makes up the staple of a chicken’s diet, but it’s all good stuff.
So, yes, they’re healthy for chickens – and for us.
Can Chickens Eat Papaya Skin, Seeds, and Leaves?
It’s always a good idea to check if the other parts of fruits are safe for chickens as we often give them bits we don’t eat.
There are some surprises out there. For example, the flesh of an avocado is fine, but the stone and skin are very toxic. The same with rhubarb, the stalks are fine for chooks, but the leaves are actually toxic.
I’ve done some research into the skin, seeds, and leaves of the papaya plant. I found some mixed opinions, which seems to be normal when researching such things online.
Healthline says that the seeds are fine in small amounts. As is the skin and leaves, although those parts aren’t very desirable for us to eat.
My advice is to scoop out the seeds as it’s easy to do on papayas, and don’t give them any leaves.
They will eat their way through the skin, no need to peel it. I give my flock various fruits and vegetables in their skins, if they don’t want the skin they’ll just leave it after pecking out all the tasty stuff.
This way you’re erring on the side of caution and making sure they’re getting the important part of the fruit. Can’t go wrong.
How to Feed Papaya to Your Chickens
If you watch the video below, it couldn’t be easier. Just throw (by this I mean place) a papaya wherever they eat and they’ll make quick work of it.
There are a dozen or so chickens in this video and they have it finished off within 7 minutes. If that isn’t proof they love papayas, I don’t know what is.
Some Foods Chickens Should Not Eat
While we’re talking about treating backyard chickens, it makes sense to cover some of the foods you should never give them.
This isn’t a complete list, but it covers most of the common foods that you might have considered sharing:
Chocolate – As with most 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.
Coffee and Tea – Caffeine and some other compounds in these are bad for chickens. No morning brews for your flock! (or on a more serious note, no grounds and old tea bags used for composting).
Green potatoes and tomatoes – When these are green they possess a toxin that’s harmful to chooks. When ripe, however, they’re fine. Just be careful how and when you feed them these.
Salty/Greasy Foods – Chickens don’t need added salt and greasy foods. They can cause some digestive issues and generally don’t provide enough decent nutrition.
Some Foods That Are Great for Chickens
There are more than enough foods they can eat. And, if you’ve been offering your flock various foods I’m sure you’re aware just how quick chickens are to gobble up what’s offered to them.
Here are some of the healthiest foods to share with your flock:
Vegetables – Vegetables also contain loads of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other good nutrition. Try offering your flock some broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, okra, etc and they’ll thank you.
Grains – Chickens love scratching around for grains. Throw some rice, oats, wheat, etc into their run to give them something to find and enjoy eating.
The general rule of thumb when feeding chickens is to make sure at least 90% of their diet is coming from a commercial chicken feed.
The other 10% can be made up of “treat” foods like papaya and some of the other foods I covered above that are safe for them to eat.
Health benefits of papaya – MedicalNewsToday.com
Image credits – Papaya image by Debora Cardenas, chickens in-body image by Ariel Kwon on Unsplash