The pomegranate, officially called Punica Granatum, is an exotic fruit that grows on a pomegranate tree, is harvested in late summer, and is beloved for its sweet and sour taste. (1)
While it’s safe for humans to eat this delicious red fruit, can chickens eat pomegranates, too?
Yes, chickens can eat pomegranates, including seeds and rinds, and they benefit from the nutrients they provide, especially because they are a rich source of fiber.
In this article, I’ll share more details about this nutritious fruit and recommendations for giving your flock pomegranate and other healthy snacks in moderate amounts.
- Pomegranates have numerous health benefits for chickens and are a great source of vitamins and fiber.
- Chickens can eat both pomegranate seeds and rinds.
- Pomegranates should be included amongst other fruits and vegetables as 10% of a chicken’s diet.
Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Pomegranate?
Yes, it is healthy for chickens to eat pomegranates. Pomegranates are known as a superfood due to their high nutrition content.
This sweet fruit is high in antioxidants and a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and iron. It also has lots of fiber.
Below are some of the health benefits of pomegranates for chickens. (2)
1. Improve the Digestive System
Due to their high fiber content, pomegranates can improve the digestive system of chickens. This fruit prevents constipation and other digestive issues.
Consuming lots of fiber also helps food move along the digestive tract smoothly.
2. Help Prevent Illness
With plentiful vitamin C, pomegranate will help prevent your chickens from becoming sick.
Pomegranate is especially useful during the cold and rainy seasons when chickens tend to fall ill often.
If the chickens are sick, feeding them pomegranates as a nutritious snack will help them recover more quickly due to the vitamin C they contain.
3. Protect The Body From Free Radicals
Pomegranate is high in antioxidants, which means it helps protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when the body breaks down food.
Excessive free radicals can shorten a chicken’s lifespan or make it more susceptible to life-threatening diseases.
Including pomegranates in your chickens’ diet as a healthy treat can reduce these risks.
Can You Give Chickens Pomegranate Juice?
You can give your chickens pomegranate juice in moderation. Like the fruit, pomegranate juice is packed with essential nutrients, which your chickens can benefit from. (3)
This juice is expensive to feed your chickens, so most people will give them some from leftovers.
How To Feed Pomegranates To Chickens
All parts of the pomegranate fruit are safe for chickens to eat. You can try feeding the rind, but you’ll have to cut it up into tiny, bite-size pieces.
Each chicken is different; some prefer just the seeds, while others will also eat the rind. Therefore, it’s best to try to feed them and see which they like or not.
Below are the different methods of feeding pomegranates to chickens.
Feeding Them Pomegranate Seeds
Chickens enjoy seeds, including the edible seeds of the pomegranate fruit. You can simply toss the pomegranate seeds on the ground and the chickens will eat them.
Another option would be to put the seeds into a feeding bowl.
Remember that not all fruit seeds are edible. For example, apple seeds can be toxic when too many are consumed.
Mix It With Their Feed
Give your chickens a boost of vitamins by mixing pomegranate seeds with their commercial chicken feed.
After removing the seeds from the pomegranate fruit, place them into the food container with the feed and mix well.
You can also try cutting up the rind and adding that to their feed, too. Just be sure that the rind pieces are as small as the pieces of feed your chickens are accustomed to.
Feeding The Whole Fruit
The simplest way to feed pomegranates to your flock is to give them the whole fruit. Cut the pomegranate in half and place both pieces on the ground.
The chickens will peck at the seeds and eat them. Some of your chickens will peck at and eat the rind too. Some may avoid the rind because of its bitter taste.
The following video shows a backyard chicken keeper providing cut-up whole pomegranates to her chickens.
How Many Pomegranates Can You Feed Chickens?
Like other fruits, pomegranates should be fed to backyard chickens in moderation. Therefore, pomegranates should be fed once or twice per week.
While the fruit doesn’t have any toxins or substances that can harm the chickens, pomegranate doesn’t have enough nutrition to meet a chicken’s daily nutrition needs.
Pomegranates and other fruits should be given to them as healthy treats. Treats should make up 10% of their diet.
The rest should come from quality commercial chicken feed. These feeds have been formulated with the correct amount of nutrition to meet a chicken’s diet requirement.
That way, the chickens will get other types of nutrition that the pomegranate fruit doesn’t have.
Other Fruits That Chickens Can Eat
Besides pomegranates, there are other nutritious fruits that you can feed your chickens.
If you feed them fruits daily, it’s recommended to rotate different fruits so the chickens will benefit from all the fruits.
Blueberries are thought to be one of the fruits highest in antioxidants.
Fortunately, blueberries are safe for chickens and tend to be one of their favorite treats. You can feed your flock fresh or frozen blueberries.
Frozen blueberries are a delightful treat for the hot months of summer.
Cranberries are high in antioxidants and a good source of fiber. You can either feed the chickens dried cranberries or fresh cranberries as a fun snack.
There are no known toxins so it’s safe for chickens to eat them.
Mango is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The high sugar content in mangoes can be harmful to chickens, so feed it to them in moderate amounts.
Consuming too much sugar, even natural sugars, can cause health issues in chickens including obesity and hyperglycemia.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can chickens eat grapefruit?
Chickens can have citrus fruits like grapefruit in very small amounts. Too much citrus impacts calcium absorption, and calcium deficiency can lead to problems.
Most chickens avoid eating citrus fruits.
2. What are other special considerations when feeding fruit to chickens?
There are a few things to remember when providing treats for chickens. For example, chickens can eat ripe tomatoes but not the tomato plant or leaves.
Chickens shouldn’t eat banana peels due to pesticides. Always research before feeding new fruits.
3. What should flock owners avoid feeding their chickens?
Chickens should not eat uncooked beans, uncooked rice, green potatoes or green potato skins, fatty foods, coffee grounds, apple seeds, avocado pits, corn husks, etc.
As a flock owner and lover of exotic fruit, you may have asked yourself, “Can chickens eat pomegranates?” Fortunately, the answer is yes!
Pomegranates make a delicious and refreshing treat for chickens in the late months of summer, when they are ripe and readily available.
Pomegranates also are healthy snacks because of their amazing health benefits.
To keep your chickens healthy and happy, the rule of thumb is that 10% of their diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, including pomegranates.
1. Missouri Botanical Garden. Punica granatum – Plant Finder [Internet]. www.missouribotanicalgarden.org. Available from: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=286059
2. Klasing K. Feeding and Management Practices in Poultry – Poultry [Internet]. Merck Veterinary Manual. 2022. Available from: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/nutrition-and-management-poultry/feeding-and-management-practices-in-poultry
3. Gultepe, E., Iqbal, A. & C., İbrahim, C., Uyarlar, C., & Özçinar, Ü. & Bayram, I. (2021). Effects of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) juice as a short-term water supplement during the peak production cycle in laying hens. Ankara Üniversitesi Veteriner Fakültesi Dergisi. 10.33988/auvfd.795175. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/352482912_Effects_of_pomegranate_Punica_granatum_L_juice_as_a_short-term_water_supplement_during_the_peak_production_cycle_in_laying_hens
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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