I love raiding my fridge for treats and little food things to feed my chickens. 

But when I do so, I always make sure that the food or fruit is safe for my feathery friends. 

When my son wanted to try Dragon Fruit and didn’t like it, I thought about giving it to our hens, but I needed to know: Can chickens eat dragon fruit? 

Chickens are perfectly fine eating Dragon Fruit from pulp to peel. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and provides excellent vitamins and minerals. Don’t feed the hens too much Dragon Fruit, or they’ll get diarrhea from the high water content. 

To learn more about the role this unique fruit serves in your chicken’s diet, read on! 

can chickens eat dragon fruit

Can Chickens Eat Dragon Fruit Safely?

Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that grows on a cactus-like vine. 

It has an exotic appearance, hence the name, ‘Dragon Fruit”. 

This fruit has a white or deep red inner pulp with tiny, black seeds. 

The outer peel can be red or pink. 

However, there is a lesser-known yellow variety. 

Dragon Fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, and is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, and fiber.

Dragon fruit is non-toxic and, therefore, from pulp to peel, is edible for chickens. 

Since the fruit is very nutritious, it offers health benefits for your birds.

Nutrition Facts For Dragon Fruit

To maintain a bird’s health, they need a balance of nutritional minerals. 

Protein is one of the most important because it’s a major factor in the chicken’s ability to produce healthy eggs, and it also builds flesh and bones. 

The following are essential nutrients for maintaining healthy bones and strong eggshells:

  • Calcium
  • Cobalt
  • Iron
  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus,
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Sulfur
  • zinc

Oils, fats, and fiber support a healthy digestion system and provide needed energy.

The peel of the fruit comprises 69.4% of soluble and insoluble fiber. 

The pulp is packed with a variety of micro-nutrients, vitamins, and enriching plant compounds.

Here’s a full chart of what 100g of Dragon Fruit Pulp Contains: 

Carbohydrates12.14 grams
Calcium7 grams
Fat1.07 grams
Saturated fat0
Trans fat0
Fiber2.1 grams
Iron0.29 gm
Phosphorus22 mg
Protein0.71 grams
Vitamin B10.04 mg
Vitamin B20.05 mg
vitamin B30.16 mg
Vitamin C20.5
Water87 grams

Benefits Of Dragon Fruit For Chickens

Poultry, compared to other livestock, is highly efficient at converting feed. 

They require 38 vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal health. 

Dragon fruit may not meet the full list of a chicken’s RDI. 

However, they can add necessary nutrients to a bird’s diet.

  • Poultry deprived of its daily requirement of protein may exhibit slower growth. While dragon fruit may comprise a small percentage of a bird’s daily requirement of protein, the fruit contains protein and, thereby, supports poultry’s health.
  • Experts recommend that a chicken’s caloric intake range between 260 in the summer and 340 in the winter since a bird’s nutritional needs fluctuate in changing seasons. Dragon fruit can comprise up to 16% of a hen’s RDI requirement.
  • Water deprivation directly leads to poultry mortality. A clean and uncontaminated source of water needs to be always available. Dragon fruit can keep your hens hydrated through its high level of water content.
  • Poultry may suffer from calcium deficiency if the eggs have thin shells. A balance of calcium and phosphorus is an essential requirement for a growing chicken. Their requirement is high and varies according to egg production, breed, and age. Since dragon fruit offers both necessary minerals, it helps to meet these daily requirements.
  • While most poultry owners provide a well-balanced feed mixture for their livestock, nutritional deficiency may occur. A supplement of micro-nutrients added to the feed mix can reduce symptoms of deficiencies. Dragon fruits contain several micro-nutrients such as ThiamineRiboflavinNiacinAscorbic AcidPhosphorus. and Zinc. These are necessary vitamins that support and strengthen a bird’s immune system.

How To Serve Chickens Dragon Fruit

Many people make the mistake of throwing the peels away. 

Chickens are not picky eaters; they will attempt to eat whatever is put before them. 

However, the peel of the dragon fruit may pose a challenge since they are tough.

  • Chicken farmers suggest cutting them into small pieces so they are easier to digest.
  • Pesticides on the skin of live fruit and vegetables can contaminate the feed.
  • Organic fruit is always the best option. Dragon fruit is easy to grow, so this is an option if purchasing organic fruit is a challenge.
  • Feeding poultry dragon fruit is as easy as chopping it up and placing it in their feeder.
  • Also, you can hang the fruit on a branch and allow the hens to peck the fruit.

Fun fact: Did you know free-range chickens always know where their home is due to magnetoreception? Learn more in our article on free-range chickens and keeping them home.

Other Good Fruits For Chickens

As we have discussed, dragon fruit makes an excellent addition to poultry feed. 

Since chickens are omnivores, they can eat a wide array of foods. 

There is a wide variety of raw fruits along with their peels that offer nutritional benefits to poultry, such as bananas, apples, berries. 

Caution needs to be used in adding to a bird’s feed requirement. 

Feeding large quantities of fruits may upset the nutritional balance and cause mortality.

  • Bananas are a rich source of nutrients and minerals, and chickens love to eat them. The banana’s flesh, along with the peel, may be safely consumed. They are high in Vitamin A, B6, and C. Bananas contain magnesium, iron, niacin, along with other micro-nutrients, such as potassium.
  • Apples are also a highly nutritious choice to supplement your bird’s feed. However, apple seeds are not safe for poultry consumption. Make sure to chop up the apples and remove any seeds before adding them to their feed.
  • Berries can improve a bird’s overall health. Berries of all sorts are a favorite of chickens. They are rich in Antioxidants, Vitamin K, and C and can be eaten by birds along with their seeds.

Chickens are foragers and will be exposed to a wide range of nutrient plant life. 

It is important to address any change in a bird’s behavior because it may be a sign of nutritional deficiency. 

A veterinarian can diagnose a bird’s health and make needed suggestions. 

While supplementing poultry feed is a wholesome way to boost their nutrients, it is important they do not overindulge.

Related Reading: Can chickens eat steel-cut oats?