can chickens eat goji berries

Can Chickens Really Chow Down on Goji Berries? This Country Boy Found Out!



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I never thought I’d see the day where my chickens would be eatin’ berries!

But one hot summer afternoon while I was takin’ a break from fixin’ fences out back, I spied old Bessie through the kitchen window peckin’ away at my goji berry bushes near the coop.

“Well I’ll be,” I said to myself.

Is that dang chicken really eatin’ berries?”

Now I know chickens will eat just about anything, but berries? That seemed downright strange.

So I put down my lemonade and moseyed on over to the coop to get a better look.

Sure enough, Bessie had her feathered face buried deep in them goji bushes, gobblin’ up berries left and right.

The other chickens were watchin’ her like she was plumb crazy.

“What in tarnation is goin’ on over here?” I thought.

Now I wasn’t one to question a hungry chicken doin’ what chickens do, but this had me scratchin’ my head somethin’ fierce.

That’s when it hit me – maybe goji berries was somethin’ chickens could actually eat! What a revelation that would be.

But I needed to do my research before I started feedin’ the whole flock forbidden fruit.

As it turns out, chickens can enjoy goji berries as a healthy snack every now and again.

But I figured it was best to keep an eye on ol’ Bessie at first, just to make sure them berries didn’t, y’know, ruffle her feathers or nothin’.

And that’s how I discovered chickens just might take a likin’ to some berries after all.

Are Goji Berries Any Good For Chickens, Really?

can chickens eat goji berries

So after seein’ Bessie pig out on gojis that day, I got to thinking – what exactly do chickens get from eatin’ berries? Are they any good for ’em nutrition-wise? I’ll tell you friends, I did my research and was downright surprised by what I found.

Turns out goji berries are packed full of all sorts of good-for-ya vitamins and antioxidants that can really benefit a chicken.

We’re talkin’ vitamins A and C, plus antioxidants galore.

Antioxidants are mighty important for boostin’ a body’s immune system and fendin’ off illness.

And vitamins A and C help everything from vision to overall health and wellness.

The more I read, the more it seemed goji berries were the perfect superfood treat for my flock.

With nutrients like that, it’s no wonder Bessie took a fancy to ‘em! But I still needed to know some more details before I started incorporatin’ them into the chickens’ regular diet.

Can These Little Birds Really Digest Berries?

can chickens eat goji berries

This was the big question on my mind after learnin’ about them nutrients.

I know chickens will try eat just about anything, but can their tiny bodies actually break down and absorb all those good-for-em vitamins and minerals from little bitty berries? It seemed like a stretch, if you ask me.

So I hit the books again and discovered some fascinatin’ facts about a chicken’s digestive system.

Come to find out, after peckin’ and swallowin’ their food whole, berries and all sorts of eats get transported to a chicken’s crop.

Now the crop acts kinda like a chicken’s stomach to slowlymusheverythin’ up before it heads down the hatch.

This gives their bodies time to break food down and absorb all the nutrients.

And as it turns out, them teeny tummies are perfectly equipped to handle somethin’ as small as goji berries! The crops can break apart and digest even the tiniest little berry bits with no problem.

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Well slap my neck, who’d have thunk it! I was one impressed farm boy, I’ll tell ya.

How To Safely Feed These Berries To Your Backyard Birds

can chickens eat goji berries

By now my curiosity was fully piqued and I was rarin’ to introduce some goji lovin’ to my whole flock.

But I wasn’t about to just chuck a whole bag of berries into the coop and call it a day.

I wanted to ease my girls into it slow and steady, just to be safe.

So I did some more research on best practices for feedin’ goji berries to chickens.

Turns out it’s pretty straightforward once you know what you’re doin’.

But I still took all the proper precautions before my flock got too berry-crazy.

The key things I found was to always wash the berries thoroughly before feedin’.

Didn’t want no dirt or germs rufflin’ any feathers, if ya know what I mean.

Then I started by scatterin’ just a few berries each across the coop floor so the chickens could find ’em on their own time.

I also mashed a few into their regular feed at first, just to get ’em use to the new taste.

And most importantly, I only gave each chicken a small handful to test the waters.

Didn’t want to shock their systems by gorge-feedin’ berries right off the bat! I figured goin’ slow was smartest until I knew for certain them girls had no reactions.

It seemed the health benefits far outweighed any risks, but I wasn’t takin’ any chances with the well-bein’ of my flock.

After a few days of light nibblin’ on berries with no issues, I knew gojis could become a regular treat around my farm.

So in summary – gojis are packed with good-for-ya nutrients, chickens digest ’em just fine, and introducin’ ’em slow and steady is the safest way to feed.

Who’d have ever thought this country boy’s chickens would find a hankerin’ for berries?! Nature sure is full of surprises.

What Other Health Benefits Do Chickens Get From Eating Goji Berries?

can chickens eat goji berries

After seein’ how happy and healthy my chickens were gettin’ from their daily nibbles of goji berries, I was more curious than ever to learn about all the other possible perks these little red fruits could be providing for my feathered friends.

Turns out gojis are packed with way more than just your basic vitamins and minerals.

They’re also loaded with polysaccharides, beta-carotene, iron, and over 20 essential amino acids that chickens really benefit from.

Polysaccharides help regulate blood sugar levels and metabolism.

This is real important for productivity and egg-layin’.

The beta-carotene is an antioxidant that guards cells from damage.

And iron deficiency is common in egg-layin’ hens, so the iron in gojis helps with that.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

Chickens need quality protein sources to maintain healthy muscles, feathers, and immune function.

The assortment of amino acids in gojis provides a diverse protein profile to support all those needs.

On top of it all, studies also show gojis may boost brain development and learning abilities in chickens.

Now ain’t that something? Who knew little berries could be such brain food!

With so many crucial nutrients packed inside, it’s no wonder my ladies were livin’ their best, happiest lives with daily helpings of goji love.

These berries really are a superfood treat for backyard chickens.

How Much Goji Is Too Much For Chickens?

I was feelin’ pretty darn proud of myself for discovering such a healthy new snack for the flock.

But as the old sayin’ goes, too much of a good thing and all that.

So I knew I had to learn about appropriate portion sizes and what the limit was before these berries might start causin’ issues instead of solvin’ ’em.

Turns out chickens can handle a good amount more gojis than I would’ve guessed.

Most experts say no more than 1-2 tablespoons per small chicken or 1⁄4 cup per larger fowl is the daily limit.

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Any more than that and you run the risk of an upset crop.

Too many little seeds and skin bits could gum things up if overfed by just a smidge.

And excess vitamins, especially vitamin A, may build up to toxic levels with disproportionate amounts.

So I played it safe by stickin’ to pinches and palmfuls scattered across the yard.

Sure, my ladies begged for more with those beady eyes of theirs.

But I had to resist the sad faces to keep my flock feelin’ and lookin’ their best.

Like most good things, moderation is key when it comes to feedin’ goji berries to chickens long-term.

But man, were they ever a delicious superfood treat in the amounts I was givin’!

What Are Some Tips For Growing Your Own Goji Berries For Chickens?

After witnessin’ firsthand how much my chickens loved their little red berry snacks, I got to thinkin’ how fun it’d be to grow my very own supply right on the farm.

Sure, I could buy bags of dried berries online.

But there was somethin’ real satisfyin’ about the idea of tendin’ live plants and seein’ the little bushes burst with berries each season, all for my flock to enjoy.

So I hit the library and Internet to research everything I needed to know about cultivatatin’ some goji crops of my very own.

Come to find out, these resilient plants are pretty darn low-maintenance once established.

I live in USDA zone 6, and most sources said that’s the perfect climate for growin’ gojis outdoors.

They prefer full sun and well-drained, mildly acidic soil.

A spot against a fence or wall works great since they grow as vines.

I planted a few small starts in the spring and matched their likes – compost or manure in the soil, mulch around the base, and once-weekly waterin’ if rain was sparse.

Before I knew it, little red berries started poppin’ up all over the place!

Now each fall I collect bags of berries that the chickens can peck through all winter long.

It don’t get much better than homegrown goodies for your flock.

And my ladies sure do love their personal all-you-can-eat berry buffet, I’ll tell ya what.

Growin’ gojis yourself is real simple once you get the hang of it.

I say give it a try – I bet your chickens will thank ya with their happy clucks and wiggles!

What Else Can Chickens Eat Alongside Goji Berries For Optimal Health?

By this point you might be thinkin’ goji berries are the end-all-be-all superfood for chickens.

And don’t get me wrong, they’re mighty fantastic treats.

But no single food is everything a body needs.

So I did some learnin’ on buildin’ the most complete, balanced diet possible to keep my ladies in tip-top shape all year long.

Other than gojis, some other top-notch choices are veggies like carrots, squashes, lettuces – really any plant they can forage.

Greens supply key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants better’n any supplement.

Probiotics like yogurt and kefir aid digestion.

Whole grains like oats, wheat and corn give energy and keep ‘em fillin’ full.

And of course, a high-quality commercial feed meets basic nutritional needs with a balanced formula.

Variety is so important too.

Different foods deliver vitamins and minerals in varying forms for peak absorption.

A diet touching on all these categories means chooks will always get their daily doses, rain or shine.

Goji berries do so much good on their own.

But when combined with diverse whole foods and a little feed, chickens’ health just keeps getting better and better like a fine wine.

These girls got it made!

What Are Some Fun Ways To Incorporate Gojis Into Chicken Treats?

My chickens sure do get a hoot out of free-rangerin’ the farm each day gatherin’ their eats.

Sometimes a gal just wants a special little somethin’, though, know what I mean?

So I started experimentin’ with more exciting ways to serve up their favorite berry beyond scatterin’ raw.

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The creative chef in me came up with all sorts of fun flock-friendly formulations.

I’d bake up muffins and mash in crushed gojis, or make homemade seed bars packed with the nutrients my ladies love.

Foraging boxes filled with berries hid under wood shavings kept ‘em occupied for hours, too.

The easiest was just tossin’ raw berries into their dust baths – talk about a spa treatment! Chickens went nuts rollin’ around in the red-dusted dirt.

With clever creations like these, not only were my chooks gittin’ a balanced berry blast, but their days were filled with more foragin’ fun too.

What more could a flock of happy hens ask for?

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Feed Chickens Goji Berries?

Bein’ an avid grower of gojis myself now, I started noticin’ their fruits ripenin’ at very specific times round these here parts.

Come to find out, the goji berry harvest mirrors the seasons pretty closely depending on where you live.

Here in zone 6, my bushes burst with deep red berries from about late August through the first frosts.

That makes peak season the late summer months.

Coincidentally enough, that happens to line up almost perfectly with the chickens’ annual molt too when nutrients are crucial.

So you can bet I was gorging my ladies on all the ripe gojis they could handle as they shed their feathers and grew new ones in.

All those extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants surely helped the process along.

But really any time fresh berries are available is a fine time to incorporate them as a supplemental treat.

My chickens come a-runnin’ for gojis spring through fall without fail.

Nature sure knows best when it comes to timing critical nutrients with natural animal cycles.

I couldn’t have planned it better myself with the perfect fall harvest to fuel my ladies through their molt each year.

Are Dried Goji Berries As Good For Chickens As Fresh Ones?

Being a self-sustaining farm means doin’ what I can to make supplies last as long as possible, goji berries included.

Which had me wonderin’ – are store-bought dried berries still any good for the flock?

Turns out while fresh is always best, dried gojis can absolutely still benefit chickens with most of their nutritional value intact.

The drying process helps concentrate and preserve vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that might otherwise degrade over time.

Fiber and carbohydrates remain largely unchanged too.

However, it does remove a lot of the natural moisture content.

So when feedin’ store-bought dried berries, be sure chickens have constant access to clean water to rehydrate in their crops.

Other than that, dried gojis are perfectly suitable as an occasional snack.

Most important nutrients survive the dehydrating intact to still boost the immune system, vision and more.

So if fresh berries aren’t an option, I don’t feel too guilty pulverizin’ up some store-bought dried versions for the girls.

They sure do love ‘em all the same!

Any Tips For Storing And Preserving Fresh Goji Berries Long-Term?

With bumper crops filling my goji bushes to the brim each fall, I needed clever ways to stockpile and preserve berries through the winter months.

One easy method is leavin’ berries on stems still attached to cut branches, good as fresh for weeks that way.

Air-dried berries in mesh bags or laid on screens also last a month plus.

For longer keeping, nothin’ beats canning or freezing.

I juice ‘em up first to concentrate nutrients, then pour into ice cube trays or jars.

Frozen cubes straight into chickens’ water is a vitamin-packed treat on the coldest days!

Or lay washed berries single-layer on trays, pop in the freezer, then transfer to airtight bags.

They’ll maintain peak nutrition for 8 months or more frozen solid.

Canned gojis in water or juice last over a year, too.

As long as jars seal right, all those antioxidants, vitamins and minerals stay factory-fresh til next harvest rolls around.

With the right preservation methods, my goji bounty becomes a year-round superfood staple for my happy, healthy chickens.

Don’t have to hibernate after all!

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