As someone who raises chickens, I’m asked questions by budding poultry farmers all the time.
One of the most unusual questions I got was if chickens can eat mulberries.
We don’t have a ton of these trees in Michigan, and I don’t know of any in my area. But I wanted to give a clear answer, so I researched and asked around with other chicken owners.
Chickens can eat mulberries with no issues as long as they’re not rotted or moldy. It’ll act as a laxative in large amounts and turn chicken poop purple! Still, the female trees drop fruit all summer long, making it a free and tasty fruit treat for your pets.
Read on for more diet and restriction issues with chickens and mulberry fruit.
Table of Contents
Are Mulberries Safe For Chickens?
There is no toxicity in mulberries. Chickens can eat a lot of it with no immediate danger if the fruit isn’t moldy or rotted.
The biggest two concerns with mulberries are the higher sugar content and the laxative nature of the fruit.
Higher sugar than feed makes it, so too much of this fruit will cause your chickens to become overweight.
They’d have to eat a lot of these for it to be a problem, but as a treat, it’s perfectly fine.
Remember, mulberries are a tasty and healthy supplement to normal feed and protein diets.
The berry is mostly water (about 88% water, to be more exact), and as such, it’ll pair with the fiber inside it to loosen up a chicken’s bowels.
A little bit of loose poop isn’t a major issue, but if it’s a consistent problem, then your hens could be in danger.
Too much diarrhea will lower the nutrients absorbed by food and dehydrate your chickens.
If you notice this as a persistent problem, remove fruits from their diets until it returns to normal.
Purple poop alert! Mulberries are well known to cause droppings to turn purple.
As weird as this is, it’s perfectly normal and not a cause for alarm.
Ripe mulberries aren’t good for chickens. Don’t pick the berries to feed your chickens.
Instead, wait until they fall and let the hens peck them up or gather them for your birds yourself.
Nutrition Information For Mulberries
Mulberries offer several great nutrients for chickens.
Take a look at this chart for a quick breakdown of 100g of mulberry:
|Fat||0.4 g||Good for gaining mass and raising body temp|
|Sodium||10 mg||Good for balancing electrolytes in small amounts|
|Potassium||194 mg||Great for immune system health and growth|
|Fiber||1.7 g||Good for digestive system and energy|
|Sugar||8 g||Tasty but bad in high amounts|
|Water||88 g||Great for hydration, but too much causes loose droppings|
|Protein||1.4 g||Good energy for growth and muscle development|
On top of these nutrients, mulberries also contain good levels of:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
Mulberries are rich in antioxidants for the overall health of your fowl.
Can Chickens Eat Mulberry Leaves?
Chickens shouldn’t eat mulberry leaves as they contain a white sap called latex which is toxic. If accidentally eaten in small amounts, it’ll cause stomach irritation. Chickens instinctively avoid this leaf.
Chickens are pretty smart when it comes to avoiding dangerous natural foods.
Even if they try to eat it, they’ll either spit it out or stop eating it before it becomes too dangerous.
On the other hand, when they come across plastic, they seem to always try to eat it and poop it out later.
To avoid any problems, put some fencing around the mulberry tree so the chickens don’t have access to the leaves at all.
How Do You Feed Mulberry Leaves To Chickens?
Even though many people ask this question, the answer is don’t feed mulberry leaves to your chickens. It’s toxic and irritating at best and deadly at the most.
Commonly Asked Questions
What Berries Can Chickens Eat?
All fruits and berries are safe for chickens as long as they don’t have large seeds or pits.
These often contain poisons such as cyanide and will kill your chickens in high amounts.
Common berries safe for chickens include:
What Foods Are Poisonous To Chickens?
There are always foods to avoid with any pet.
Chickens are largely smart enough to avoid eating these in the wild, but they may eat them accidentally if you feed them by hand or mix it in with their normal food.
Common foods poisonous for chickens include:
- Apple Seeds
- Citrus Fruits
- Mold or Rotted Food
- Added Salts and Sugars
Will Chickens Eat Plants That Are Poisonous?
Many ornamental plants and some others are toxic to plants; this includes mulberry leaves.
Chickens will refuse to eat these plants out of instinct and will only do so by mistake.
Don’t worry about planting such plants around your home, as your hens with mostly leave them alone.
If some birds don’t seem to leave them be, put up a light fence to deter them.