Can Chickens Eat Prunes? Benefits and Risks

Can Chickens Eat Prunes

The quick answer for your question “Can Chickens Eat Prunes?” is Yes, Chickens can have prunes, which are dried plums, and get nutritional benefits from them.

Prunes are dried plums that have been anecdotally touted to provide health benefits for humans, but can our backyard chickens also gain advantages from these shriveled fruits? Yes, when fed judiciously, prunes can in fact be a nutritious supplement for chicken diets by providing key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. 

Remember, moderation is vital, as overindulgence in prunes poses risks of diarrhea, nutritional imbalances, and other issues. By understanding proper quantities, preparation methods, and health impacts, chicken owners can safely integrate prunes as an occasional treat into their flock’s feeding regimen.

While plums in their original juicy form may appear too messy for chickens, prunes offer a more condensed, palatable way to provide chickens the nutritive elements of plums.

As dehydrated plums, prunes are rich in contributors to chicken health like vitamin A for immune function and vision, potassium and magnesium to support bone strength and nerves, and disease-reducing antioxidants. 

Through careful integration, chickens can glean valuable nutrients from prunes without negative side effects.

By controlling serving sizes, preparation, and frequency, chicken raisers can find the right prune balance to take advantage of the vitamins and minerals of prunes as a supplement to a balanced diet and lifestyle.

With this prune feeding guidance, chickens can get just the right amount of these shriveled fruits.

Can Chickens Eat Prunes?

Can Chickens Eat Prunes
Can Chickens Eat Prunes

Yes, chickens can safely eat prunes in moderation. Prunes are dried plums that are high in nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants.

The high fiber and sugar content of prunes also makes them an excellent treat for chickens. Chickens do not have a sweet tooth like humans, but they can enjoy the taste of prunes and benefit from the nutrients.

Prunes contain about 60% sugars, making them a high-energy snack.

As with any treat, chickens should only be fed a few prunes at a time to avoid overconsumption. Overall, prunes are a healthy, natural fruit snack that provides key vitamins and minerals to a flock’s diet.

Benefits of Feeding Prunes to Chickens:

There are several benefits to feeding prunes to chickens in moderation:

  1. Prunes can act as a natural laxative thanks to their high fiber and sorbitol content. This helps promote good digestion and prevents constipation in chickens.
  2. Prunes contain high levels of vitamin A, which supports immune health and vision in chickens. Vitamin A deficiency can cause issues like night blindness.
  3. These are high in antioxidants, which boost the chicken’s health by reducing inflammation and cell damage. This supports overall disease resistance.
  4. The nutrients and sugars in prunes provide an energy boost for chickens. This can improve activity levels and egg production.
  5. Prunes contain potassium and magnesium, which are electrolytes needed for normal muscle and nerve function in chickens.
  6. The fiber in prunes helps fill up chickens so they eat less feed, which can reduce feed costs.

In moderation, prunes are a safe, healthy, and cost-effective supplement to a balanced chicken diet.

Risks of Feeding Prunes to Chickens

While prunes offer many benefits, there are some potential risks to overfeeding them to chickens:

  1. Too many prunes can lead to diarrhea or runny droppings since prunes have a laxative effect. This can cause dehydration if severe.
  2. The high sugar content means overconsumption may contribute to obesity, liver damage, and other health issues.
  3. Excessive prunes can reduce a chicken’s appetite for regular feed, leading to nutritional deficiencies if their main diet is displaced.
  4. Prunes contain trace amounts of oxalates, so very high intake over time could potentially cause kidney or bladder stones.
  5. If chickens fill up on prunes, it can reduce feed intake and egg production since less protein and nutrients are being consumed.
  6. Dried fruits like prunes are sticky and can get lodged in a chicken’s crop if they don’t chew thoroughly. This requires monitoring.
  7. Too many sugary treats like prunes risks altering the natural taste preferences of chickens away from feed.

To avoid these risks, prunes should be limited to a few per chicken just 1-2 times per week at most. Moderation is key.

How Often Should You Feed Prunes to Chickens?

Prunes should be fed to chickens in moderation, about 1-2 times per week at most. When feeding prunes:

  • Chickens should receive only 1-2 prunes per bird per serving
  • Feed prunes as an occasional treat, not a daily dietary staple
  • Avoid feeding chickens prunes multiple days in a row
  • Monitor chickens after feeding prunes to watch for adverse reactions
  • Reduce or eliminate prune feeding if chickens develop diarrhea
  • Do not replace regular feed intake with excessive prunes

Feeding a few prunes, 1-2 times weekly provides chickens with a healthy, natural source of key nutrients and fiber. But overdoing prunes can cause nutritional issues, diarrhea, and other problems. Following the 1-2 prune per chicken 1-2 times weekly guideline allows chickens to gain benefits of prunes while avoiding potential risks of overconsumption.

What Other Fruits Can Chickens Eat?

In addition to prunes, chickens can eat a variety of other fruits in moderation:

  • Apples – High in fiber and vitamin C
  • Bananas – Provide potassium and vitamin B6
  • Berries – Full of antioxidants like blueberries and strawberries
  • Cantaloupe – Packed with beta-carotene and vitamin C
  • Grapes – Contain manganese and vitamins C, B1, and K
  • Mango – Great source of vitamins A and C
  • Melons – Watermelon and honeydew provide hydration
  • Oranges – High in vitamin C and folate
  • Peaches – Loaded with vitamin A and potassium
  • Pears – Have fiber, vitamin C, copper
  • Pineapple – Contains bromelain, vitamin C, and manganese
  • Tomatoes – Provide niacin, vitamins A, C, and K

The key is feeding fruits in small quantities as a supplemental treat a couple times a week. Chop larger fruits into small pieces and avoid giving chickens more than a few ounces per bird at a time. This allows chickens to gain nutritional benefits without overfeeding sugary fruits. Monitor chickens closely and adjust fruit quantity based on their reaction.

Can Chickens Eat Prunes Seeds?

Can Chickens Eat Prunes Seeds

Yes, chickens can safely eat the small soft seeds inside prunes. Prune seeds are not toxic or harmful to chickens. However, it’s best to chop prunes into small pieces before feeding to minimize the risk of choke hazards from larger seeds.

Prune seeds provide extra protein, fat, and fiber, adding nutrition to a chicken’s diet. The seed coats also contain antioxidants and vitamin E. In commercial prune production, the seeds may be removed to extend shelf life, but most conventional prunes contain seeds.

Organic prunes are more likely to retain the seeds since they involve less processing. As with any treat, chickens should only receive a couple prunes at a time, chopped up to allow easy swallowing of seeds.

Can Chickens Eat Dried Prunes?

Yes, chickens can safely eat dried prunes. Drying is the process that turns fresh plums into prunes, so all prunes available commercially are dried. Prunes are dried slowly at low temperatures which reduces their water content while concentrating the sugars and nutrients.

The drying process preserves the vitamins and minerals in prunes while extending their shelf life. For chickens, dried prunes offer more flavor and nutrition per bite compared to fresh plums.

The drying process also makes prunes very chewy. Be sure to chop dried prunes into small pieces before feeding to prevent choking hazards or crop issues.

Dried prunes lack the juiciness of fresh plums but their compact size and concentrated nutrition make them an excellent supplemental treat for chickens to eat in moderation.


Should I Chop Prunes Before Feeding Them to Chickens?

Yes, it’s best to chop prunes into small pieces before feeding them to chickens. Whole prunes pose a choking risk since they are sticky, dense, and can get lodged in a chicken’s crop. Chickens don’t chew their food thoroughly like humans. Chopping prunes into quarters or eighths allows chickens to safely swallow the pieces. Smaller pieces also let the beneficial nutrients disperse better throughout the flock rather than being eaten by dominant hens. Make sure to always monitor chickens when feeding prunes in any form.

Can Baby Chicks Eat Prunes?

No, Prunes are not recommended for baby chicks under 6 months old.

Baby chicks have sensitive digestive systems and prunes can cause diarrhea. The high sugar content can also be problematic for fast-growing chicks.

Instead, focus on a balanced chick starter feed and chick grit.

Once chicks are mature around 6 months, they can start to eat a few prunes at a time. Introduce prunes slowly and monitor for any signs of diarrhea. The fiber and nutrients in prunes are beneficial for mature chickens but too harsh for young chicks.

Can Chickens Eat Cooked Prunes?

Yes, chickens can eat cooked prunes. Lightly steaming or boiling prunes can make them softer and easier to digest. The cooking process breaks down the fiber slightly while still preserving the key nutrients.

Cooked prunes may be less likely to cause choking or crop impaction since they rehydrate and become softer. However, don’t overcook prunes into mush, as chickens can then aspirate the prune puree.

Lightly cooked whole prunes or chopped, partially cooked prunes are safe for chickens to consume. Monitor their droppings for any diarrhea after feeding.

Can Chickens Eat Prune Juice?

Chickens can drink small amounts of prune juice in their water. You should know that prune juice is very concentrated and high in sugar. More than a few tablespoons of prune juice per gallon of drinking water can cause diarrhea.

Limit prune juice to no more than 10% of the total drinking water volume. Provide the prune juice water mixture in a separate container from regular water so chickens have access to both.

Monitor for watery droppings and discontinue use if diarrhea develops. Prune juice water should not replace regular drinking water. Use it as an occasional supplement only.

Can Prunes Help With Chicken Egg Production?

Yes, feeding prunes may help support egg production in chickens. The nutrients in prunes like vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium support overall health and energy levels needed for laying eggs. The extra calories from prune sugars provide fuel for egg development. Prunes also contain sorbitol, which may stimulate egg laying.

But prunes should never exceed 5% of a chicken’s total diet. Excess prunes can inhibit feed intake and lead to nutritional deficiencies that reduce egg production. Used sparingly as a supplemental treat, prunes can provide a boost but should not replace a balanced laying feed.

About Hailey Pruett

Hailey “Lex” Pruett is a nonbinary writer at YIHY primarily covering reptiles and amphibians. They have over five years of professional content writing experience. Additionally, they grew up on a hobby farm and have volunteered at animal shelters to gain further experience in animal care.

A longtime resident of Knoxville, Tennessee, Hailey has owned and cared extensively for a wide variety of animals in their lifetime, including cats, dogs, lizards, turtles, frogs and toads, fish, chickens, ducks, horses, llamas, rabbits, goats, and more!

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