Approved by Dr. Paola Cuevas

One of the greatest experiences as a chicken handler is watching your flock run to you for treats. These birds love food and will turn into tiny roadrunners the second that they see you holding something. Since chickens are willing to eat just about anything, this sometimes means they’ll eat things that aren’t good for them. Therefore, you must know what they should and shouldn’t eat.

Raisins seem like easy and healthy treats, but there’s a bit of debate on whether they’re good for chickens. Chickens can indeed eat raisins but they’re not 100% safe. Let’s examine why some people feed raisins to their chickens and why others say that they’re unsafe.

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Do Chickens Like Raisins?

If chickens don’t like raisins, there’s no reason to feed raisins to them in the first place. For the most part, chickens do love to eat raisins. But not all chickens are alike, so it is possible for one chicken to love them and another to hate them.

Tossing a handful of raisins to your chickens and watching their reaction is the only real way to know whether they like them.

raisins on a plate
Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

Are Raisins Healthy for Chickens?

Determining whether raisins are healthy for chickens requires delving into their nutritional content.

Here are a few of the components of raisins:
  • Sugar — Raisins are full of sugar, and chickens don’t require much sugar in their diet. It doesn’t mean they can’t eat it, though, and sugar can be helpful in giving your flock extra energy.
  • Fiber — Fiber is an essential component of a healthy chicken diet. It’s also beneficial if you have chickens experiencing constipation.
  • Calcium — Raisins aren’t known for having high calcium content, but they do have a bit. High calcium intake plays a critical role in egg production if you want to keep your hens producing.

Given these qualities, it’s fair to say that chickens can benefit from eating raisins — in moderation. Their high sugar content suggests that raisins should be fed only as treats, not as staple ingredients in their diet.

Why Do Some Handlers Avoid Raisins?

Although it is safe to feed raisins to chickens in moderation, some handlers still refuse to do so. The way that chickens eat makes it hard to determine when they are getting too much.

Standard feeding practice is that approximately 10% of a chicken’s diet can be composed of treats. However, in practical application, it’s challenging to determine how much each chicken is getting and how much 10% is for each chicken.

Whether this applies to you will depend on the size of your flock. If you only have a handful of laying hens, you may be able to dole out food in quantifiable amounts and avoid overfeeding treats. If you have a large coop, though, this is harder to do.

raisins in a glass bowl
Image Credit By: valkovav, Pixabay

Are Grapes Safe for Chickens?

Grapes are 100% safe for chickens to eat, and they have significantly less sugar than raisins. In fact, they are one of the few fruits that are entirely edible for chickens. That said, while grapes are healthier, they are still treats. They don’t contain all the vitamins and nutrients that your chickens need and should not be their staple diet.

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Chickens can safely eat raisins, and they can be fed in moderation as treats. Since they are high in sugar, though, they shouldn’t be fed too often or in quantities exceeding 10% of your chicken’s diet. It’s fun and exciting to introduce your flock to new treats, but it comes with the responsibility of ensuring that you are maintaining happy healthy chickens.