can chickens eat blackberries

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? 10 Amazing Reasons to Give Blackberries for Chickens

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? Is It Okay to Feed These Berries?

can chickens eat blackberries

Having blackberries in your backyard and wondering if you can feed them to your chickens is a natural question to ask. Is it wise to supply them, and are they secure?

I needed answers to these questions, so I went looking. I’d like to tell you about what I discovered today so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to feed these berries to your flock.

In that case, can chickens eat blackberries? Chickens can safely enjoy a tasty treat of blackberries because they are a natural and nutritious food source for chickens.

Blackberries have many health benefits, but they shouldn’t be served every day or made a staple food. Similarly, not all hens will eat blackberries if given the chance.

Each breed of chicken has its own distinct preferences, and those preferences can vary depending on what they eat.

Having chickens as pets can be a fun and rewarding hobby. They are easily satisfied with food, other birds, and a clean, dry home for them to live in.

Observing these birds as they go about their day and interact with one another is a delight. As a result of your diligent husbandry, you now have access to some scrumptious, farm-fresh eggs.

In order to show your chickens how much you appreciate them, you may be curious as to what kinds of treats are appropriate for them to enjoy.

Blackberries are abundant from May to September, though their availability may vary by region.

What Are Blackberries?

can chickens eat blackberries

Blackberries are the edible fruit of numerous species in the genus Rubus, Rosaceae family, as well as hybrids between these species within the subgenus Rubus and between the subgenera Rubus and Idaeobatus.

Blackberry species have often been lumped together and referred to as species aggregates due to the difficulty in determining their true taxonomic status due to hybridization and apomixis.

While R. fruticosus is now considered a synonym of R. plicatus, the entire subgenus Rubus was formerly known as the Rubus fruticosus aggregate.

The Himalayan blackberry, or Rubus armeniacus, is an invasive species that has become a serious problem in many areas of the Pacific Northwest, both in Canada and the United States.

Blackberries differ from their related raspberries in that their receptacles (stems) do not always “pick with” (remain attached to) the fruit when it is harvested.

The torus remains attached to the blackberry when it is picked. A raspberry’s torus stays on the plant after it’s been picked, leaving the fruit hollow inside.

Although in the United States the word “bramble” refers to all members of the genus “Rubus,” in some circles the term is traditionally used to refer only to the blackberry or its products.

Caneberry, rather than the more common bramble, is used in some parts of the western United States to refer to a cluster of blackberries and raspberries.

The plant is also known as briar or brier, though this term is also used to describe other thorny thickets (like Smilax).

The fruit, which is typically black in color, is not a true berry according to botanical standards.

It is a drupelet-containing aggregate fruit in the botanical sense. Inhabiting the continents of Europe, northwest Africa, western and central Asia, and the temperate regions of North and South America, this genus of over 375 species is both numerous and well-known.

Botanical Characteristics of Blackberries

can chickens eat blackberries

Blackberries are a type of perennial plant that produces new growth from its perennial root system every two years.

The primocane, a new stem, grows rapidly in its first year, reaching a full height of 3 to 6 meters (9.8 to 19.7 feet) (rarely reaching 9 meters (30 feet)), arching or trailing along the ground and bearing large palmately compound leaves with 5 to 7 leaflets but no flowers.

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The cane stops growing in height during its second year, transforming into a floricane instead, while the lateral buds burst and produce new shoots from which flowers will eventually emerge (which have smaller leaves with three or five leaflets).

Short, curved, and very sharp, the prickles that cover young and young-ish shoots are often mistaken for thorns. The prickles on this plant are so sharp that they can easily rip through denim.

There are now thornless varieties available. Primocane-fruiting blackberries were developed at the University of Arkansas, and they grow and flower on first-year growth just like primocane-fruiting (also called fall-bearing or everbearing) red raspberries.

Without any sort of care or attention, mature plants will grow into a tangled mess of dense arching stems, with the branches rooting at the node tips in many species.

Blackberry shrubs are able to thrive in a variety of habitats, including woods, scrub, hillsides, and hedgerows, and they spread rapidly, even in areas with poor soil.

Late spring and early summer see the development of the flowers, which are carried on brief racemes at the very tips of the flowering laterals.

There are five white or pale pink petals on each of the 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) wide blooms.

Only when an ovule has been fertilized by a pollen grain can a drupelet form around it. Inadequate visits from pollinators are probably to blame for immature ovules.

The number of bees visiting a flower and, by extension, the quality of the fruit it produces can be drastically reduced by even subtle changes in the environment, such as a rainy day or a day too hot for bees to work after early morning.

Inadequate drupelet development may also be an indication that the plant’s root reserves are depleted or that it has been infected with a virus like the raspberry bushy dwarf virus.

History of Blackberries: Can Chickens Eat Blackberries

can chickens eat blackberries

The Haraldskaer Woman, a Danish woman who died in a bog and was preserved by nature and discovered to have eaten blackberries, provides one of the earliest examples of blackberry consumption.

Blackberries were among the foods analyzed from her stomach contents. In 1696, the London Pharmacopoeia detailed the use of blackberries in alcoholic beverages like wines and cordials. Blackberries have been used for centuries in baked goods, jams, and jellies.

Traditional medicine based on blackberry plants was practiced by ancient Greeks, other Europeans, and Native Americans.

If you suffer from stomach ulcers, try brewing some blackberry leaves, stems, and bark as described in a document from 1771.

Dyeing fabrics and hair, blackberries have been used for their fruit, leaves, and stems. The stems have also been used by Native Americans to make rope.

As a result, the shrubs have been cultivated for use as fences around houses, fields, and animals. The thick, sharp prickles that grow on wild plants can be a deterrent to predators.

Can chickens eat blackberries? Is it safe for them?

can chickens eat blackberries

Blackberries are a fruit that chickens will eat if they are offered them or if they can find them on their own. Blackberries, being both soft and easily mushed up and swallowed, are both sweet and easy to consume.

Blackberries are perfectly safe for your chickens to eat, and if you look around any online forums about this topic, you’ll see that chickens are crazy about all kinds of berries and will do anything to get their beaks on them.

Chickens will go to great lengths to find blackberries, despite the difficulty of doing so.

Watching one of these birds leap up to grab a berry out of the air is pretty hilarious.

You should seriously think about fencing in any bush you intend to pick from. Since your birds will inevitably eat it all, this is the only way to prevent that.

Blackberries can be given to chickens on their own or blended into their regular feed if you can’t find any. They won’t be around for very long, though.

Chickens that have access to the outdoors will forage for whatever they can find to eat, including berries. Birds eat not only grass, but also grubs (like worms, slugs, and even ticks!)

Please be aware that not all chickens like or eat berries. Some of your chickens may not like them, while others in the flock may devour them. Any given chicken may reject the food that was intended for it in favor of something else based solely on its preferences.

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The situation is fine, but you should clean out the coop of any leftover berries or food just to be safe. Rodents like mice and rats won’t be enticed to the coop if this is in place.

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? Is It Safe? (Pros and Cons to Your Chickens Health)

blackberries for chicken

Fruits like blackberries are generally safe for chickens to eat, but they shouldn’t be their sole source of nutrition.

Chickens are notoriously difficult to feed new foods to once they’ve developed a taste for something.

It is for this reason that hen keepers must exercise caution.

For optimal health and well-being, your chickens’ diet needs to include a balance of vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Doing so will increase the average lifespan of your flock and guarantee a steady supply of nutritious eggs.

For starters, let’s talk about all the ways in which blackberries are good for you.

Let’s take a look at the nutritional profile of 100g of blackberries, which provides many health benefits for your birds:

can chickens eat blackberry nutritional value

You can see that blackberries have a lot of health benefits. Vitamins C and K are the most important vitamins for your birds’ health, and minerals like manganese are also great for their well-being.

Bones, feathers, blood vessels, and connective tissue all rely on collagen, which is produced with the help of vitamin C. Healing wounds, neutralizing free radicals, absorbing iron, and regenerating skin and feathers are all possible benefits of vitamin C.

Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting and also plays a role in bone metabolism.

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? 10 Amazing Reasons to Give Blackberries for Chickens

Bone health and immune function both benefit greatly from adequate manganese intake. It aids in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids, and cholesterol, and it contributes to normal blood sugar levels.

And even when eaten in large quantities, blackberries are low in calories. They are high in fiber and low in fat, two things we try to avoid in our flock’s diet.

In addition to lowering cholesterol and encouraging regular bowel movements, fiber also supports good gut bacteria and keeps blood sugar levels stable.

You can feed your chickens blackberries with confidence knowing that they provide numerous health benefits.

However, it would be irresponsible of me not to warn you about the dangers of giving your birds blackberries.

First, as was already mentioned, blackberries for chickens shouldn’t make up the bulk of your birds’ feed or even a significant portion of it. They are a good source of nutrients, but you still need to supplement their diet.

Therefore, they will likely be deficient in other nutrients if they eat too many blackberries at the expense of other foods. Down the road, we’ll see some problems because of this.

Chickens need a wide variety of foods, so it’s important to provide them with new treats every day.

Sugar is present in blackberries, and too much of it can make your chickens fat and reduce their egg production.

Keep in mind that blackberries are probably not the only source of sugar in the feed and that sugar can add up quickly if we’re not careful.

Chickens need a well-balanced diet, and good commercial chicken feed can supply all the nutrients they need at every stage of their lives.

 

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? To what extent do chickens enjoy blackberries?

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? 10 Amazing Reasons to Give Blackberries for Chickens

Chickens can consume vast quantities of blackberries, far beyond what humans would consider a safe daily intake. They will eat your bushes to the ground if they can get at them.

However, it is unclear how many blackberries they should eat. There’s not much you can do to stop them once they start devouring the fruit for its sugar and juice.

They can eat as many blackberries as they like so long as a high-quality feed makes up the bulk of their diet and they are also eating a wide variety of other foods.

Each chicken should be given between 4 and 6 ounces of feed per day.

Over time, you’ll learn to fine-tune the required feeding quantity. It’s time to add more food when you see that it’s being eaten up rapidly.

Different Fruits That Can Be Fed To Chickens

Chickens can eat most varieties of fruit without risk. However, you should take care of the seeds and peel of certain fruits.

Birds may have trouble digesting the seeds and may be poisoned by cyanide or pesticides.

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Chickens can safely eat the following fruits:

 

Apples (raw and applesauce, avoid the seeds) (raw and applesauce, avoid the seeds)

Bananas

Berries (all berries)

Grapes (seedless only)

Melon

Pears

Pomegranates

Raisins

Watermelon (ideally served cold on a warm day) (ideally served cold on a warm day)

When combined with blackberries, these fruits make wonderful treats. For the second time in as many paragraphs, the rule that your chickens should eat mostly commercial feed is universal.

The avocado and all citrus fruits are among those best avoided. Do not ever give your birds anything that contains these, as they can cause serious harm.

Conclusion on Can Chickens Eat Blackberries?

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? 10 Amazing Reasons to Give Blackberries for Chickens

Knowing that blackberries are safe for chickens to eat is reassuring, as chickens may be eating blackberries without your knowledge during the growing season (May through September).

Daily chicken feeding can be a daunting task if you don’t know what foods are safe. Fortunately, we can now say with certainty that blackberries are a healthy and viable feeding option. They can be crossed off your list.

Blackberries, which are high in nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese, are undeniably good for you.

All stages of these birds’ lives benefit from these nutrients.

You, as a conscientious chicken keeper, should be aware that blackberries have a high potential for addiction.

Your chickens may stop eating essential foods like bugs and worms if they develop a taste for something else. This may cause them to be deficient in other nutrients.

Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? 10 Amazing Reasons to Give Blackberries for Chickens

Blackberries do contain sugar, and feeding your birds an abundance of them along with other fruits could lead to obesity and related health problems. A drop in egg production is also possible.

While it’s great to provide your birds with a variety of fruits, you should be mindful of how much and how often you feed them. Avocado and citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit) are dangerous, so you should stay away from them.

Also, apple and pear seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide and should be handled with care. Chickens should not be exposed to cyanide.

The best course of action is to provide your chickens with a diet rich in a variety of foods, including blackberries, but remember that they still need a balanced diet.

Related Questions

Can chickens eat berries?

Berries are a great fruit option because chickens can eat them. As a group, berries have fewer calories and less sugar than other common fruits. They’re also totally risk-free and simple to consume.

The berries on bushes are highly sought after by free-range chickens, and many reports from chicken keepers describe their birds picking clean the bushes.

You should feed your chickens a wide range of berries so that they get a complete nutritional profile.

You need to be careful that your chickens don’t develop a preference, at the expense of their staple dietary feed, for berries, which should never become a staple or form the bulk of the diet.

References:

  1. Harding, Deborah. “The History of the Blackberry Fruit”gardenguides.com. Garden Guides, Leaf Group Ltd. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  2. Himalayan blackberry: identification and control”. King County, Washington: Noxious Weed Control Program. 16 February 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  3.  Fernandez, Gina; Ballington, James. “Growing blackberries in North Carolina”. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, North Carolina University Press. p. 2. Archived from the original on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  4. Folta, Kevin M.; Kole, Chittaranjan (2011). Genetics, Genomics and Breeding of Berries. CRC Press. pp. 69–71. ISBN 978-1578087075.
  5. Ensminger, Audrey H. (1994). Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia: A-H. p. 215. ISBN 9780849389818. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  6.  Shrock, Denny (2004). Home Gardener’s Problem Solver: Symptoms and Solutions for More Than 1,500 Garden Pests and Plant Ailments. Meredith Books. p. 352. ISBN 978-0897215046. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  7.  Palmatier, Robert Allen (30 August 2000). Food: A Dictionary of Literal and Nonliteral Terms. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood. p. 26ISBN 9780313314360. Retrieved 17 March 2018.

 

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