Can Chickens Eat Strawberries? The Impact of Strawberries on Your Chicken's Diet

Published: November 5, 2023

A bunch of juicy strawberries in a colander on a wooden table
Credit: / @lacylucy

If you wonder if your chickens can enjoy strawberries as much as you do, look no further! The answer is yes. In this article, we'll dive into the delicious (and sometimes surprising) world of feeding strawberries to your flock.

We’ve got you covered when it comes to ensuring the health and happiness of your chickens. From how, what, and when to feed them to the potential dangers of fruity treats, we'll cover all bases so that you can confidently introduce strawberries and other sweet delights into their diet.

You will learn whether or not it's safe to offer a fruity feast to your feathered friends and the benefits of occasionally indulging them.

Can Chickens Eat Strawberries? 

​​Yes, chickens can indeed eat strawberries. As foragers, chickens enjoy a variety of foods in their diet, and strawberries can certainly be a safe and enjoyable addition, but with a note of caution - moderation is key. 

Strawberries are nutrient-dense fruits packed with beneficial vitamins such as vitamins C and B9 and antioxidants. These nutrients are beneficial not only for us humans but also for our feathery friends. 

Introducing strawberries into their diet can also serve as an enrichment, alleviating boredom and potentially reducing negative behaviors such as picking on each other or causing fights. However, due to their sugar concentration, strawberries should be considered an occasional treat rather than a staple in their diet.

While chickens usually relish strawberries, it's important to be mindful of the quantity they consume. Though nutrient-rich, strawberries contain sugar, which can cause metabolic issues in chickens if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, these sweet fruits should be given sparingly, keeping a balanced diet in mind. It's also crucial to ensure that the strawberries are fresh and not moldy or rotten before feeding them to your chickens, as spoiled food can cause illness or even prove fatal.

Chickens, by nature, need grit to digest their food, especially when introducing new foods such as strawberries into their diet. 

Providing extra grit can help them process the berries more efficiently. On a hot summer day, serving cold or frozen strawberries can be a refreshing treat that your chickens will absolutely love. 

Ripe, Fresh strawberries

Strawberries are a great way of treating your feathered friends to a delicious fruity snack – they'll love them! Strawberries are packed with healthy goodness, and the strawberry seeds provide extra texture and stimulation for their curious beaks. This makes them unique treats that offer both nutrition and entertainment.

Feeding ripe, juicy strawberries to your feathered companions can be a delightful sight. It's like watching little children indulging in their favorite candy. These succulent treats not only offer alternative flavors to your chickens’ daily diet but also provide them with some essential nutrients.

Don’t worry about strawberry seeds! These are quite small and soft, so they don't pose any choking hazard to your birds. Additionally, your chickens will naturally be attracted to the color variations in ripe strawberries, encouraging them to eat enthusiastically.

Can chickens eat the tops off strawberries (and leaves and stems)

While chickens can safely enjoy the sweet flesh of strawberries, it's generally recommended that they avoid consuming this fruit's tops, stems, and leaves. Strawberries belong to the Rose family, and interestingly, they have a defense mechanism against insects that involves the production of hydrogen cyanide, a toxic gas, in small doses. This gas is released when strawberries are picked, particularly during the early stages of decay.

Hydrogen cyanide is minimal inside strawberries. This amount is generally harmless to humans but may affect chickens due to their sensitive respiratory and digestive systems. Therefore, it's advised to remove the tops, stems, and leaves when feeding strawberries to chickens, even if they have been washed thoroughly. 

Interestingly, the gas dissipates once the leaves have dried out, rendering dry strawberry leaves safe for consumption. They can even be used to make herbal tea. However, it's important to note that limited scientific research is available on the specific effects of hydrogen cyanide on chickens. Until further research is conducted, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding strawberry leaves, stems, and tops to your chickens. Instead, stick to the sweet and juicy flesh of the fruit, which is known to be safe and enjoyable for them.

As a rule, every last bit of the strawberry can be eaten. However, before feeding them to your flock, you must be mindful of possible allergies. Be aware that some plants produce natural pesticides that may not sit well with your chickens. Wash the leaves thoroughly or blanch them briefly before serving to ensure maximum safety.

Frozen strawberries

A single frozen strawberry on a piece of wood
Credit: / @nechamalock

Imagine treating your feathered pals to a cool, refreshing snack on a hot summer's day. That's where frozen strawberries come into play.

Frozen treats like these can help keep your chickens comfortable during the sweltering months while providing essential nutrients for their well-being. Mix some other fruits or veggies with the strawberries to create an enticing summer fruit salad refreshment that'll get them clucking with joy.

While frozen strawberries are great for summertime, they can also be used as winter snacks when fresh produce is scarce, helping them maintain proper nutrition throughout the year.

Remember to chop the frozen strawberries into smaller pieces before serving them to your flock. This makes it easier for your chickens to eat and prevents choking hazards.

Store-bought strawberries

If you're considering buying store-bought strawberries for your feathery pals, there are some things to keep in mind.

When sourcing strawberries for your flock, it's important to consider organic farming practices. Choosing organically grown fruits ensures that your chickens enjoy all the benefits of this tasty treat without exposing them to harmful chemicals.

Additionally, organic farms typically use sustainable methods that help protect the environment and maintain soil health. You can feel good about this when feeding these fun fruits to your feathered friends!

If organic strawberries aren't available or don't fit within your budget, don't worry! You can still provide store-bought strawberries by using proper washing techniques.

Leftover strawberries

Now that you know store-bought strawberries are safe for your chickens, what about those leftover strawberries in your fridge? Maybe they're a little overripe or starting to lose their freshness. Don't worry! Your flock will still appreciate these tasty treats, and it's an excellent way to reduce food waste.

Before tossing those leftover strawberries into the coop, consider a few important points to ensure they're suitable for consumption. Here's a quick checklist:

  1. Overripe issues: Slightly overripe strawberries are generally okay for your chickens, but steer clear of moldy strawberries or rotten food, as they can lead to health problems.

  2. Unusual reactions: Keep an eye out for any unusual reactions after feeding your chickens strawberries for the first time; some birds may have sensitivities or allergies.

  3. Quantity control: As with any treat, moderation is key – don't let them gorge on too many sweet snacks at once.

Strawberry jam

While strawberries can be a healthy treat for chickens, strawberry jam may not be the best choice due to added sugars and preservatives.

When making jams or preserves, strawberries are typically mashed or pureed, meaning most seeds will still be present in the final product. Although these tiny seeds aren't harmful to chickens in small amounts, they could cause digestive issues if consumed excessively.

If you want to share preserved fruits with your feathered companions but don't want them to consume high-sugar jams, opt for other preservation methods, such as freezing or dehydrating whole berries.

Wild strawberries

A single wild strawberry in the field

If you are fortunate to have wild strawberries growing in your yard, rest assured these are perfectly safe for your birds. As these plants grow in various habitats – from woodlands to swamps - they may already be a feature of your chicken’s diet.

A smaller version of the traditional fruit, wild strawberries still pack a flavor punch – the only downside is they are a favorite of wildlife and insects such as mice and slugs too!

How do you prepare strawberries for chickens?

Strawberries under running water inside a colander 
Credit: / @ohmky2540

When giving your chickens strawberries, thoroughly rinse them under running water to remove any lingering pesticide residue before offering them to your chickens.

Additionally, you can soak the strawberries in water and vinegar (1-part vinegar to 3-part water) for about 20 minutes and then rinse with clean water; this extra step helps eliminate even more potential contaminants.

Next, cut the strawberries into small pieces or thin slices to make them easier for your happy flock to consume.

What are the nutritional benefits of strawberries to chickens?

Strawberries contain vitamin C, B9, potassium, and antioxidants, which help boost your flock’s immune system and general well-being as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Strawberry seeds also provide some fiber while not causing allergic reactions, as usual in humans. However, it's important to remember that strawberries should be given as treats, not as a chicken staple.

Recommended daily consumption

Daily limits are essential to remember, as you don't want your chickens to overindulge in strawberries and miss out on their regular balanced diet.

It's important that strawberries and other treats are given in moderation – think about treat frequency when planning their menu. Generally, treats like strawberries should make up no more than 10% of your chickens' daily food intake. This ensures they still get nutrients from their primary feed while enjoying a delicious fruity snack. Too much fruit can lead to digestive issues and obesity in chickens due to its high sugar content.

Consider mixing them with other fruits and veggies so your flock of chickens doesn’t get bored or develop nutritional imbalances!

Can laying chickens eat strawberries?

A hen searching for food with her three baby chicks outdoors
Credit: / @adityabalor

Laying hens can relish those juicy, red gems as a delightful treat. Not only will your laying chickens enjoy strawberries, but they also provide some valuable nutrients that support overall hen health and egg production.

As with any treat, moderation is essential to ensure that strawberries don't negatively impact laying hen nutrition or cause strawberry allergies.

What other fruits can you feed your flock?

Here are some fun fruits that you can offer to your chickens in addition to strawberries:


  • Blueberries

  • Raspberries

  • Blackberries


  • Watermelon (a summer favorite)

  • Cantaloupe

  • Honeydew

Other Fruits:

  • Apples (seedless)

  • Grapes

  • Bananas (in moderation)

Whilst most fruits are a healthy treat for your flock's diet, certain fruits should be avoided.

Do not feed your chickens: 

  • Whole stone fruits such as peach, plum, or apricot as the stones and seeds within these contain a highly toxic cyanide compound. Once the stone is removed, the flesh is safe for your birds.

  • Rhubarb contains high levels of oxalic acid in its leaves, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

  • Elderberries contain cyanogenic glycosides, which release hydrogen cyanide upon ingestion.

  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, or lime, can negatively impact egg production.

Remember to always monitor your flock for any potential signs of allergies after introducing new treats, and consult with an avian veterinarian if you have concerns about their diet.


So, savor those sweet strawberries, sharing fruitful moments with your feathered friends. Chickens can certainly chow down on these fabulous fruits without fear, and they'll likely love you even more for it!

Remember, moderation makes the meal magnificent for your clucky companions. For a balanced diet, the quality chicken feed will provide a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, and nutrients without allowing a picky chicken to pick and choose what they might like.

Frequently asked questions

How many strawberries can I feed my birds?

1-2 small strawberries per day per chicken is adequate.

When is the best time of day to feed my chickens strawberries?

Any food given in the morning is easily digested throughout the day.

Will chicken eggs taste different if my birds eat strawberries?

Though the flavor of the chicken’s eggs is predominantly determined by its diet, a moderate number of strawberries given as a treat is unlikely to impact the taste and flavor of the eggs.

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