When you are a crazy chicken lady (or gent), weird questions come up in your mind. Can baby chicks eat bananas? I wanted to know and you probably do too. Let’s learn about this.
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Can Baby Chicks Eat Bananas?
Yes! But there is a but. Bananas are wonderful and have a lot of health benefits but they are also full of sugar. It’s true that it’s a natural sugar, but the sugar content is still very, very high.
Like humans and many pets, sugary foods – including fresh fruit – should be eaten in moderation along side a well balanced diet. Chicks are no different. No more than about 10% of their diet should be sugary treats and snacks. You should only feed bananas in moderation.
Remember to provide a full diet of a high protein chick starter as your number one priority so your chicks can develop and grow properly.
Banana Nutrition Facts
According to a trustworthy source (click here to read) one serving, or one medium ripe banana, provides about 110 calories, 0 gram fat, 1 gram protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams sugar (naturally occurring), 3 grams fiber, and 450 mg potassium. Obviously, bananas are high in carbs and have large amounts of sugar as well.
While the nutrients can be broken down, it’s important to know that as the banana ripens those values change. Several elements change but one notable change is that the starch of an unripe banana converts to sugar in a ripe banana. The values will be constantly changing as the banana ripens. Clearly (by taste) you can see that over-ripened bananas have a high sugar content.
On the flip side, bananas have some important vitamins and minerals. The most notable are Potassium, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Vitamin C.
These vitamins and minerals will support things like a healthy heart, better eye health, increased muscle strength, and nerve function. In fact, these will give your chicks a healthy boost and help with metabolic processes (the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that change food into energy).
Can Chicks Eat Banana Peels?
Chicks can eat bananas, but what about the peel? The answer to this is also yes. It has all the same cautions as the banana itself…plus…
Banana peels have an addition caution – pesticides. If your bananas are not organic, the peels could have dangerous pesiticides lurking about. You’ll need to consider that before tossing the peels to your feather friends.
The peel has much of the same nutrition as the banana itself including protein, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, and more!
Should Chicks Eat Ripe or Unripe Bananas?
Ethier is fine. But as you can see from the above section, the nutritional value changes as the banana ripens.
There is a mixed bag of opinions on the web about whether chicks should eat ripe or unripe bananas. In my opioion, either is fine. I’ve never had a problem either way. Keep in mind, that I do not feed my flock huge amounts of fresh fruit treats though.
If I feel compelled to give extra treats (which I often do), I choose high protein, health boosting, treats like these. When I feed healthy, low sugar treats (shhh, my chickens don’t know they are healthy) I can rest at ease.
How To Feed Chickens Bananas
- Only feed as a treat (small amounts)
- Feed fresh, raw bananas (not things like banana chips that might be hard for digestion)
- Cut into small pieces for chicks so they don’t choke
- Avoid feeding peels if the bananas are not organic
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.