Can Chickens Eat Elderberries? 5 Important Benefits

Written By Jill Taylor

Can chickens eat elderberries? Yes, chickens can eat elderberries. They are a great source of nutrition for them. Elderberries provide vitamins A and C and minerals such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Elderberries can also provide a natural source of antioxidants that help protect chickens from diseases.

It’s important to note that chickens should only eat the fruit of the elderberry bush, not the stems or leaves. Ingesting the leaves and stems of an elderberry bush can cause digestive upset in chickens. Additionally, elderberries should not make up a large part of your chicken’s diet as they are high in sugar and can lead to obesity.

This article will discuss the benefits of elderberries for chickens and provide tips on how to feed your chickens this fruit safely.

can chickens eat elderberries

Can chickens eat elderberries?

The short answer is yes, they can. Elderberries are safe for chickens to eat and provide several nutritional benefits. They contain high amounts of vitamin A, calcium, potassium, iron, and other essential minerals. Eating elderberries also helps to improve a chicken’s digestive system and overall health.

Elderberries are also a great source of antioxidants, which help protect chickens from diseases by fighting off free radicals in the body. Additionally, elderberries are high in dietary fiber, which helps keep chickens regular and can reduce the risk of digestive issues.

Despite these benefits, it’s important to remember that elderberries should not be the main food source for your chickens. They are high in sugar, which can lead to obesity if eaten in large quantities. Therefore, it’s important to feed your chickens elderberries in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.


The benefits of eating elderberries for chickens

With the right diet, chickens can live healthy, happy lives. As part of their diet, elderberries can be a natural way to improve your birds’ nutrition and overall health. Let’s look at the five main health benefits of feeding elderberries to chickens.

Improved Immune System

Elderberries are high in antioxidants which have been proven to help boost the immune system in chickens, making them more resistant to disease and infections.

Additionally, elderberries contain flavonoids called anthocyanins that are thought to reduce inflammation and fight off viruses. This makes them a great supplement for poultry owners concerned about their birds’ health and well-being.

Increased Nutrition

Elderberry is high in iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and other essential minerals, which can provide added nutrition for your chickens.

These nutrients can help with bone growth, development, muscle strength, and energy levels.

Improved Digestion

Elderberry is rich in dietary fiber, which helps keep your chickens’ digestive systems running smoothly. This can be especially helpful if your birds are having trouble digesting their regular food or experiencing gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or constipation.

The fiber found in elderberries helps encourage healthy gut bacteria growth, improving digestion and nutrient absorption overall.

Better Egg Production

The B vitamins found in elderberries have been linked with better egg production in hens – so if you’re looking for a natural way to increase the number of eggs your flock lays each week, adding a small number of elderberries could be just what they need.

Natural Parasite Prevention

Some studies have suggested that elderberry extract may prevent parasites from attaching themselves to poultry, which could also help protect against lice or mites infestations.

Things to watch out for when feeding elderberries to chickens

fresh elderberries on bush

Before you go ahead and offer these berries to your chickens, there are a few things you should know first. Here are three important points of caution when feeding elderberries to chickens.

Feed in Moderation

Elderberries are a great source of nutrition for your chickens, but you should feed them in moderation. Too many elderberries can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or indigestion.

It’s best to feed no more than a handful per chicken and monitor their eating habits closely after introducing the berries into their diet.

Leaves and Stems are Toxic

When it comes to elderberries, it’s important to remember that only the ripe fruit is safe for consumption by chickens and humans. The leaves, stems, and unripe fruit contain toxins that can be harmful, so make sure that you only feed ripe elderberry fruits to your chickens.

If you harvest the berries yourself or purchase them from another source, always check that they are ripe before offering them to your chickens.

Watch Out For Pesticides

If you’re purchasing elderberries from the store or market, make sure they are grown pesticide-free or organic. Commercial berries may have been sprayed with chemicals that could harm your chickens if ingested.

Even if they appear safe on the outside, there could still be traces of pesticides inside. Always buy organic whenever possible.

How often should chickens eat elderberries?

flock of chickens

Elderberries can be given to chickens as a treat once or twice a week. As mentioned above, ensure not to feed too many in one sitting and keep an eye on them afterward to ensure they do not have any negative reactions.

You can also sprinkle a few dried berries over their food a few times per week for an added boost of nutrition.

How to prepare elderberries for feeding to chickens

Elderberries can be fed to chickens fresh or dried. If you’re feeding them fresh, only feed ripe berries and remove any stems, leaves, or unripe fruit before offering them to your birds.

Dried elderberries can also be given to chickens, either mixed into their feed or as a treat. If you’d like to dry them yourself, spread the fresh berries out on a baking sheet, place them in an oven set to the lowest heat setting and leave them for several hours until they’re completely dry.

Stored in an airtight container, dried elderberries can last up to a year.

Can baby chickens eat elderberries?

Yes, baby chicks can eat elderberries, although it’s best to start introducing them in smaller amounts as they are more sensitive to the effects of the toxins found in leaves, stems, and unripe fruit.

It’s also important to note that elderberries should only be given to chicks over the age of 6 weeks as their digestive systems are still developing before then.

What other berries can chickens eat?

fresh blackberries

Elderberries are a popular choice for chickens because they contain natural vitamins and minerals that help keep them healthy. But what other berries can chickens eat apart from elderberries?


Strawberries make a tasty treat for chickens. Their sweet flavor and bright, juicy texture will surely be a hit in the coop. Strawberries are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C, which help boost your birds’ immune system. They also contain dietary fiber, which helps with digestion.

Make sure when you give your chickens strawberries, only give them the ripe ones – avoiding any unripe or overly soft fruit, as these can cause digestive upset in some birds.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Strawberries? 6 Excellent Benefits


Blueberries are another great berry option for your chickens. Their small size makes them an ideal snack for smaller birds, while their tart flavor is sure to please larger breeds. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which can help protect against disease and illness in your flock.

As with all fruits, ensure that blueberries given to your birds are ripe before feeding them, as overripe fruits can cause digestive upset.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Blueberries? 5 Important Benefits


Blackberry bushes have become increasingly popular among chicken owners thanks to their hardy nature and abundance of sweet fruit. Blackberries offer several health benefits, including being high in vitamin C as well as dietary fiber, which aids in digestion.

Like any other berry, ensure that blackberries given to your flock are ripe before feeding them; otherwise, they may cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Blackberries? 5 Fantastic Benefits


Cranberries make a great treat for chickens. They’re packed full of antioxidants that can help protect against disease and illness in your flock. Cranberry juice has been known to aid in treating UTIs (urinary tract infections) often found in poultry flocks.

However, it’s important not to give too many cranberries at once; like most fruits, overfeeding cranberry juice or fresh berries could lead to digestive upset if done regularly.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Cranberries? 6 Amazing Benefits


Raspberries make a delicious snack for chickens. Not only do they taste good, but they’re also packed full of vitamins A & C plus dietary fiber, which helps with digestion – making them an ideal treat for birds who might suffer from constipation or other gastrointestinal issues.

It’s important not to feed raspberries that aren’t fully ripened, as this could lead to digestive upset, so check the color before offering them up.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Raspberries? 5 Awesome Benefits

Can chickens eat elderberries – final thoughts

Elderberries are a great treat for chickens as they contain natural vitamins and minerals that can help keep your birds healthy. They can be introduced to young chicks in small amounts and only when they are over the age of 6 weeks.

When feeding your chickens other berries apart from elderberries, ensure they’re ripe before giving them to your birds, as overripe fruit can cause digestive upset. Lastly, use caution when feeding your chickens any berry, as too many can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting.

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