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Can Chickens Eat Pineapples? What About Leftover Pineapple Skins?

Pineapples are a popular fruit among humans, but can chickens eat pineapples? It’s a question many chicken owners find themselves asking, often while holding a leftover can or bowl of fruit!

We researched from several academic archives and scholarly journals to see whether chickens can eat pineapples. Or not! This article contains our findings – plus a few pineapples for chicken tidbits that you might enjoy.

Sound fun?

Then let’s continue!

Can Chickens Eat Pineapple?

two farmyard chickens enjoying the nice weather
When researching whether chickens can eat pineapple, we only found one reliable study that provided clues regarding pineapple and chicken diets. The study got published on the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s astrophysics data system. The chicken pineapple study examined the effect of ragi tape-fermented pineapple waste meal on broiler chickens. The study concluded that chickens eating 20% fermented pineapple meal had a lower abdominal fat percentage than chickens eating lesser amounts. However, the study only tested 250 broiler chickens over 42 days. So, the tests are far from conclusive! The results are fascinating, nevertheless, and seem to indicate that chickens can safely eat pineapples.

Yes. Pineapples are a yummy snack for your chickens! Many chicken owners love feeding pineapple to their birds. And some tout their potential benefits. But can chickens eat pineapple as part of their daily diet? And should you feed pineapple to your flock? We’ll dig deeper into these questions in a moment.

But first – let’s talk about if your chickens will even eat pineapple in the first place!

Do Chickens Like Pineapple?

free range chicken foraging on the pineapple farm
Check out this free-ranging chicken foraging around a pineapple farm. We think it’s looking for some yummy tropical fruit or a tiny pineapple chunk for an afternoon snack! Unfortunately, the chicken’s search will come up empty-handed as there isn’t any fruit left to forage. It reminds us of another fascinating pineapple chicken tidbit we found on the CTAHR Extension website. They published a report called Raising Poultry In Paradise. Inside the document, they cite two all-Hawaiin emergency chicken ration recipes. One of the recipes contains 15% fine pineapple bran. It was one of the few reliable chicken ration recipes we could find containing pineapple, so we decided to record it here.

Some chickens love pineapples! If your chickens enjoy food scraps and leftover fruit, they might love pineapple. Pineapples are a popular chicken snack on some homesteads because of their high sugar and water content. Pineapples are full of vitamins and minerals that help chickens stay energized – and frozen pineapple makes a yummy and fun treat for your flock.

But not every chicken enjoys pineapple. Like people, individual chickens have foods they like and dislike. Many chicken owners will tell you of this or that hen who prefers some snacks over others. 

You can serve cooked or raw pineapple to your chickens, though you may find they quickly gobble it down no matter how you deliver it to them!

Which Part of the Pineapple Can Chickens Eat?

free range chickens exploring and foraging on a rural poultry farm
Can chickens eat pineapples? We researched to find out if it’s safe! From what we gather – we can’t find any viable reason that chickens can’t eat pineapple. We even read a report by the Pineapple Research Station indicating that pineapple waste gets dried and repurposed into bran for chickens, pigs, and cattle. The hungry chickens don’t seem to mind! But, as we tell our friends, always use your chicken’s feed as their prime nutrient source! If you give your chickens pineapple, only do so sparingly. (Otherwise, your birds might fill up on snacks, and they won’t get their essential nutrients.)

They want the juicy fruit the most! Chickens can eat any part of the pineapple fruit. But they are likely to leave the skin and most of the leaves. (Or the pineapple crown.) The juicy, flesh part of the fruit is the most appealing to your chickens – just like humans.

While the fruit’s core is leatherier than the flesh, chickens with strong beaks will have little problem devouring it. (Though, if your chickens aren’t overly hungry, they may quickly lose interest in all but the ripest and tastiest portions. And yes. Chickens have taste buds – and can taste their food!)

Read More!

Which Part of the Pineapple Can Chickens Not Eat?

Chickens won’t go after the pineapple fruit’s skin. Pineapple skins are too hard and not tasty enough to make an appealing meal. Since the skin is way too tough to digest, your chickens would likely feel uncomfortable if they did eat pineapple skins.

Chickens will consume the pineapple flesh (fruit) while leaving the skin and the crown. (The pineapple crown is the top leafy part of the fruit.) You may see them curiously or stubbornly peck at these parts of the fruit for a bit, but they’re likely to get bored.

Pineapple crowns are thorny and practically impossible for chickens to tear apart. Nevertheless, your tougher roosters or hens can break down even this material. Don’t fret if they do – it’s unlikely to bother them unless it’s in large quantities. 

(Do you have a compost pile? Every chicken owner should! If so, you can toss unused parts of the pineapple fruit in the compost for some additional compost fiber and nutrients!)

Can Pineapple Be Bad for Chickens?

freshly chopped pineapples resting on a wooden plate
We searched several academic archives to investigate if chickens can eat pineapple. During our research, we unearthed a fascinating report by the US Peace Corps. The report, entitled Practical Poultry Management, got published (way back) in April of 1981. While the document doesn’t reveal if pineapples are safe for healthy chickens to eat, it noted that dried pineapple was a suitable litter material for chicken nesting boxes. We figured chicken ranchers with lots of excess pineapples might benefit from that insight. The report also lists other safe litter options that farmers may have in excesses, such as chopped rice straw, chopped wheat straw, shredded corn stalk, rice hulls, and chopped oat straw. (We realize the report is tremendously old! However, we thought it was fascinating and worth sharing.)

Pineapple is typically harmless for chickens, but that doesn’t mean you should always feed it to your flock. 

Theoretically, if your chickens ate a ton of pineapple skins, they may experience intestinal discomfort.

Underripe pineapple has more acid and an inferior flavor. So it may give your chickens indigestion or a tummy ache. (Our chickens are much less likely to eat underripe fruit. But that’s a different story!)

Chickens eat many fruits and vegetables, and most chickens tolerate pineapple without problems. Some chickens may have digestion problems or other health issues after eating pineapples. They may not digest pineapples or other foods as well as others.

(We’ve seen some chickens get loose stool after eating a lot of fruit. So don’t overdo it – or introduce too much fruit into their diet at one time!)

If you notice any weird symptoms after feeding pineapple to your chickens, stop giving them more. But if your chickens seem to fare fine with pineapple after the first feeding, you can feel safe continuing with it as a regular treat.

Here’s the bottom line. Any treat can be a poor choice for chickens if it replaces their primary chicken feed. Your hard-working birds need a nutritionally balanced diet. And loads of protein! Chickens won’t get their daily nutritional requirements from eating pineapples, apples, bananas, or other snacks.

Are Pineapples Healthy For Chickens?

Feeding pineapple to your chickens may have potential benefits, as indicated in at least one scientific study we found. Pineapples are also full of vital nutrients and make a healthy addition to most chicken diets.

pineapple nutrient data calories fat and sugar content
We’ve been reading about the health benefits of pineapple from WebMD to learn about the nutrient profile. One cup of pineapple contains approximately 82 calories, .89 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.3 grams of fiber. Pineapples also have calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins K, E, B6, and A.

What’s In Pineapple? Health and Nutritional Benefits

So what is in pineapple? And why are they potentially healthy for chickens? We could only find a few reliable sources citing the potential benefits of pineapple for your flock. They are as follows.

Lower Body Fat Percentage for Broiler Chickens

There’s reason to believe that pineapple meal might help broiler chickens lose belly fat! Here’s what we mean.

We only found one reliable study involving chickens and pineapples. The study involved feeding a group of 250 broiler chickens pineapple waste for 42 days. (The chickens ate varying degrees of fermented pineapple waste – from small to higher amounts.)

One compelling insight from the study is that chickens eating the most pineapple waste meal had a decreased abdominal fat percentage. The study was on a small scale. So the results aren’t Earth-shattering. Nevertheless, we found the research study within one of our favorite scientific hubs, the Astrophysics Data System (operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory). We thought the study offered fascinating insights that warrant further investigation.

The study indicates that pineapple waste is a potentially helpful food for chickens.

Helping Your Birds Stay Cool During Summer

We love tossing frozen treats to our chickens during the hot summer months! It helps keep our chickens cool and also helps them stay nourished and hydrated.

Pineapples aren’t their favorite frozen treats during summer. They prefer frozen watermelon much more!

But we always try to alternate our flock’s snack routines to keep our chickens entertained, healthy, and happy.

How to Feed Pineapple to Chickens

What could be simpler than feeding fruit to chickens? While feeding pineapple to your chickens may seem simple, there are still critical precautions to keep in mind.

Chickens can safely consume pineapple in moderation. But too much can indeed cause potential health issues in your flock.

Precautions to Take

Besides ensuring you feed your chickens quality, ripe pineapple, you should only offer snacks in moderation. Too much pineapple or fruit might cause upset stomachs in your chickens. Pineapples are highly acidic, so too much might cause indigestion and loose stool.

The Risks of Overfeeding Pineapple to Your Chickens 

One real risk of feeding too much pineapple to your chickens is intestinal discomfort or loose stools. Intestinal problems might sound mild, but they can cause severe health problems. And nobody wants to deal with messy chicken droppings!

Monitor your chickens whenever you feed them pineapple and be sure it is only one part of a varied diet.

What Is the Danger of Feeding Chickens Unripe Pineapple?

Under-ripe or overripe pineapple can be detrimental for your chickens, especially in large amounts. Our primary concern about pineapples for chickens is because of their high acidity. The high acid content might cause intestinal discomfort. 

delicious looking baked pineapple cake on timber picnic table
After researching whether chickens should eat pineapples, we got hungry! So now we’re sharing the best pineapple angel cake recipe we could find. It’s perfect for any homesteader who works hard around the chicken coop, henhouse, or homestead. And it’s excellent if you have plenty of leftover pineapples. No worries. The recipe is easy. And there’s no food processor nor pineapple rinds required! Still, we don’t advise letting your chickens spoil their appetites on the cake. There’s way too much sugar content! (Let them stick to their chicken feed. And a few additional pineapple chunks or other tasty treats now and then!)

Ideas for Feeding Pineapple

There are lots of fun and entertaining ways to feed pineapple to your chickens! They are great as an occasional treat and may become your chicken’s favorite treat.

Pineapple On a String

chicken fruit snacks on a string
Here’s a fun-looking way to serve fresh pineapple to your flock. Try pineapple on a string! We got the idea from The Cape Coop Farm’s blog. Their article shows how to make a festive garland for your chickens. They used fresh grapes and cranberries. But we think pineapple chunks would also work! Either way – this yummy-looking garland looks fun for the flock. And it’s perfect for around the holiday season. Or for any time!

We love this pineapple on a string! It is a fun and simple way to keep your chickens entertained. Add some pineapple slices or rings on a piece of twine and let them go to town.

Fruit Feeders

These steel fruit feeders make it easy to hang pineapple or other fruit from your chicken coop.

Pineapple Salad 

If you want to throw some pineapple with a variety of other fruit, your chickens will enjoy a varied, nutritious buffet.

Dried Pineapple 

Dried pineapple is an excellent addition to your chicken’s diet in moderation. Dried pineapples are sure to be ripe and not too acidic, making them safe.

However, beware! Most mass-market dried pineapple is full of extra sugar and preservatives. You should still monitor your flock when feeding them dried fruit, especially any you haven’t made yourself.

fresh tiny pineapple tropical fruit growing on the plant
Usually, we try to keep junk food and sweet treats to a minimum for our chickens. But it’s okay for your flock to have an occasional treat. Maybe more so in the winter! It reminds us of an excellent report about winterizing your chickens and keeping them healthy (and laying) during the cold weather. Their article reminded us that supplementing your flock’s daily diet with kitchen scraps and grains is a great way to sustain your birds over the cold winter weather. (We found the article on The Iowa State Small Farm Sustainability Extension, one of our favorite poultry-raising references for rural homesteaders!)

How to Choose the Best Pineapple to Feed Your Chickens

There are a few key indicators you can pay attention to so you can know the best pineapple to feed your chickens. Don’t feed your chickens any fruit, including pineapple, if it looks or smells off. 

Make sure there’s no mold on the food you feed to your chickens. Chickens may gleefully eat rotten food. But it can pose potential health hazards. Just like for humans. Remember the following points when considering whether to feed leftover pineapple to your chickens.

Color

Pineapples should generally be bright golden-yellow, free of soft spots and bruises. Sometimes, pineapple will remain green even while becoming ripe. Leaves should be green and fresh, not drying out and losing color. 

Dried or discolored top leaves, soft spots, and excessive bruising are signs the fruit is going bad. Avoid feeding pineapple to your chickens if it has turned brown, too. 

Smell

If you notice any smell of fermentation or rot, steer clear of feeding that pineapple to your chickens. While some fermented foods are safe for chickens, giving them spoiled or moldy food is generally unwise. It can cause discomfort and even intestinal illness.

Texture

Pineapple should be firm and crisp, not mushy, moldy, or overly wet. If the fruit has just begun to mold, you can slice off the moldy part and immediately feed the rest to your birds. But if the fruit is covered, it’s best to compost it.

Weight

Pineapple should be firm and heavy, solid, and not overly mushed. If the fruit seems like a mush or paste, compost it rather than feed it to your chickens.

Conclusion

We always say that you should feed your chicken a diet with plenty of nutritionally balanced poultry feed.

That way, your hens and roosters get a healthy diet!

However, we also think giving your birds occasional chicken treats like pineapples, apples, or mealworms is perfectly healthy.

Your birds love eating fresh fruit! And fun treats can also help keep them nourished, motivated, and energized over the frigid winter months!

We hope our pineapple and chicken guide gave you some ideas for feeding your flock.

Let us know if you have more questions about chicken treats or healthy chicken snacks.

We have tons of experience raising healthy chickens. And we love sharing with you!

(We also promise to keep our eyes open for any more news or studies involving chicken diets and pineapple. Watch this space!)

Thanks again for reading.

And have a great day!

Author

  • Elle

    Jack of all trades, master of some. Wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.

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