- Figs can be a healthy treat for chickens in moderation, providing vitamins (A and E), minerals, antioxidants, fiber, omega fatty acids, and natural sugars.
- Different varieties of figs, including common, Smyrna, and San Pedro figs, are safe for chickens to eat.
- Feeding figs to chickens should be done in moderation, with guidelines provided for both fresh and dried figs.
Figs are a sweet, tasty fruit that can be a nutritious addition to your chickens’ diet. In moderation, figs provide important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support chicken health and egg production. This article explores the benefits of feeding figs to chickens, which types of figs are safe, and how much to offer your flock.
Are Figs Good for Chickens?
Yes, figs can be a healthy treat for chickens in moderation. Here are some of the key benefits of feeding figs to chickens:
- High in Vitamins A and E: Figs contain high levels of vitamin A for immune health, and vitamin E for feather and skin quality. The antioxidant activity of figs can also support overall chicken health.
- Excellent Source of Minerals: Figs provide a wide array of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. These support bone strength, egg shell quality, metabolism, and more.
- High in Fiber: The fiber content in figs supports healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Fiber also helps chickens feel full.
- Contains Omega Fatty Acids: Figs contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and support skin and feather condition.
- Natural Sugars: Figs contain fructose, glucose, and sucrose. In moderation, these natural sugars provide quick energy.
Benefits of Figs for Chickens
In addition to vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, and natural sugars, figs offer chickens the following wellness advantages:
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Compounds in figs like anthocyanins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to maintain overall health.
- Supports Egg Production: The nutrients in figs, especially protein, support egg development and high production.
- Boosts Immunity: Vitamins A, E, and antioxidants create a synergistic effect to support immune function in chickens.
- Aids Digestion: The fiber and enzymes in figs promote good digestion and nutrient absorption from other foods.
- Provides Energy: The natural sugars, carbohydrates, fiber, protein and nutrients in figs provide sustainable energy for active chickens.
What Type of Figs Can Chickens Eat?
Chickens can eat most varieties of figs, including:
- Common figs: The most widely available fresh fig varieties, like Black Mission, Brown Turkey, and Celeste.
- Smyrna figs: Large, hardy varieties that are less common since they require pollination.
- San Pedro figs: Sweet, lush figs that grow well in hot, dry climates.
Avoid feeding chickens figs treated with pesticides or chemicals. Rinse fresh figs well before feeding. Chickens can eat both ripe and unripe common fig varieties.
Can Chickens Eat Cooked Figs?
Yes, chickens can safely eat cooked figs. Lightly cooking figs softens them, making it easier for chickens to digest.
Try steaming, baking, or sautéing fresh figs lightly to retain nutrients. Avoid adding sugars, spices, or other ingredients meant for human consumption. Cook just until heated through but not mushy.
Cooked figs don’t last as long. Provide chickens with any leftovers within 2 days.
Can Chickens Eat Dried Figs?
Dried figs are another excellent way to provide your flock with the benefits of figs. Look for unsulfured, organic dried figs with no added sugars or preservatives.
Rehydrate dried figs in water for a few hours before feeding to make them easier to digest. Chop larger pieces to prevent choking hazards.
Dried figs last longer than fresh. Store any excess dried figs in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.
Can Chickens Eat Green Figs?
Green figs are unripe figs that some trees produce in early summer before the main fig crop. Chickens can safely eat these green figs.
While not as sweet, green figs offer the same nutritional benefits as ripe figs. They have a bit more calcium since it gets depleted as the fig ripens.
Pick any overripe or damaged green figs daily and provide your chickens with a healthy, nutritious snack. Just rinse thoroughly first.
Can Chickens Eat Old Figs?
Avoid feeding chickens figs that are overripe, fermented, moldy, or dried out. Eating spoiled figs could make your chickens sick.
Stick to fresh ripe figs whenever possible. Refrigerate ripe figs for just 1-2 days maximum to prevent spoilage.
Compost excess figs that start to degrade rather than risking illness by feeding them to chickens.
Can Chickens Eat Unripe Figs?
Similar to green figs, chickens can eat fresh figs that aren’t completely ripe yet. Unripe figs are harder with less sugar content.
While not quite as nutritious, unripe figs are still a healthy, safe choice for chickens. They provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber chickens need.
Just rinse unripe figs well before feeding. Monitor to ensure the texture doesn’t pose a choking risk.
Can Chickens Eat Fig Newtons?
Avoid feeding chickens Fig Newtons or other fig cookies and bars made for human consumption. These contain added sugars and preservatives that can be harmful.
If you want to share the fig filling only, scrape it out and mix with plain yogurt or oats to reduce the sugar content. Feed just a tablespoon or so at a time.
The safest option is sticking with fresh, whole figs or dried figs with no additives. Fig Newton filling provides negligible benefits.
Which Parts of Figs Can Chickens Eat?
Chickens can eat all parts of a ripe, fresh fig safely:
- Flesh: This sweet, soft part provides the bulk of a fig’s nutrients. Offer flesh chopped or mashed.
- Seeds: Fig seeds provide fiber. Grind them in a coffee grinder if your chickens have trouble digesting them.
- Skin: Chicken’s can eat fig skins which add fiber. Peel if the skin seems thick or tough.
- Stem: The short stems of ripe figs are edible. Cut off any tough bits.
Avoid the leaves and sap of fig trees, as these contain high latex levels that can irritate chickens’ skin and be toxic if consumed.
Can Chickens Eat Whole Figs?
It’s best to chop or mash figs before feeding them to chickens, especially smaller breeds. Some fig varieties have tougher skins that are hard to digest whole.
Cut large figs into quarters or eighths. Lightly cook or soak dried figs to soften them first as well.
Monitor your chickens as they eat chopped figs. Remove any large pieces they seem to be struggling with.
Can Chickens Eat Fig Tree Leaves?
Fig tree leaves contain toxic compounds called ficin and ficusin that can cause issues if chickens consume them. Avoid letting chickens forage directly off unprotected fig trees.
Dried fig tree leaves may be mildly toxic as well. Stick to the fruit only, not the leaves or sap.
Can Chickens Eat Fig Seeds?
Fig seeds provide fiber, so chickens can safely eat them. Their small size poses little risk of choking or digestion issues.
If your particular chickens seem sensitive to seeds, try grinding figs in a coffee or spice grinder to break down the seeds first.
Soaking figs before feeding can also soften the seeds for easier digestion.
How to Prepare Figs for Your Chickens
Here are some tips for preparing fresh or dried figs to feed your flock:
- Rinse well under cool running water to remove dirt and residue.
- Trim away any damaged or bruised parts of fresh figs.
- Chop or slice fresh figs into bite-sized pieces.
- Mash overly ripe figs into a puree for easier eating.
- Soak dried figs in water for a few hours before feeding.
- Lightly steam or bake fresh figs to soften them if needed.
- Refrigerate prepared figs for up to 2 days before serving.
- Mix with plain yogurt or oats if thinning for easier consumption.
- Grind figs including seeds in a coffee grinder if your chickens have trouble digesting them.
How Much Figs Can You Feed Chickens?
In moderation, figs make a beneficial supplement to a balanced chicken diet. Here are some feeding guidelines:
- Up to 2-3 fresh figs per chicken 2-3 times per week is a good amount. Adjust based on their interest and appetite.
- Offer dried figs more sparingly at 1 fig per large chicken 2 times a week at most.
- Chop figs into pieces or puree to prevent choking.
- Remove any uneaten figs within a few hours to prevent spoilage or pests.
- If feeding other fruits and vegetables, reduce amounts to avoid excess sugars.
Can You Feed Figs to Chickens Every Day?
It’s best not to feed figs to chickens daily but rather 2-3 times per week at most. Figs are high in natural sugars that can be difficult for chickens to process daily.
Offer figs just occasionally as a tasty, nutritious supplement to their main diet. Monitor to ensure they don’t develop loose droppings from too much fruit sugar.
For daily treats, offer healthy options like mealworms, chopped greens, oats, seeds, or shredded carrots instead. Save figs for a few times a week.
Can chickens eat fig tree leaves?
Yes, chickens can eat fig tree leaves. Fig leaves contain nutrients like calcium, protein, and fiber that are beneficial for chickens. Chickens enjoy munching on fresh fig leaves. However, fig leaves contain a milky sap that can be an irritant, so chickens should only eat small amounts of fig leaves at a time.
Can chickens eat figs skin?
Yes, chickens can safely eat the skin of figs. The skin of figs contains fiber and small amounts of nutrients that chickens can benefit from. The skin also contains antioxidants. Just be sure to chop or tear the fig skins into small pieces so they are easier for the chickens to eat and digest. Avoid giving chickens large amounts of fig skins at one time.
Can chickens eat figs seeds?
Yes, chickens can eat fig seeds. Fig seeds provide extra fiber, protein, and omega fatty acids for chickens. The seeds pass through the chicken’s digestive system intact, so they will not cause any issues or blockages. It’s fine for chickens to ingest fig seeds when eating whole figs. Just avoid giving chickens an excessive amount of fig seeds at one time.