Can Chickens Eat Autumn Olive Berries?

By Chicken Pets on
Can Chickens Eat Autumn Olive Berries?

Yes, chickens can eat Autumn Olive berries. These berries are not toxic to chickens and can be a natural part of their diet, offering some nutritional benefits due to their vitamin content and antioxidants. However, they should be fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Quick Summary

  • Chickens can eat Autumn Olive berries.
  • They are non-toxic and can provide nutritional benefits.
  • Key benefits include vitamins and antioxidants; risks are minimal if fed in moderation.
  • Recommended feeding guidelines: Offer as a treat, not as a main food source.

Overview of Autumn Olive Berries

Autumn Olive berries are small, reddish fruits from the Elaeagnus umbellata shrub, typically found in North America. They are known for their high content of vitamins, minerals, and potent antioxidants such as lycopene and flavonoids, which are beneficial for overall health.

Benefits and Risks of Autumn Olive Berries for Chickens

Introducing Autumn Olive berries to chickens can provide them with an additional source of vitamins A, C, and E. The antioxidant properties of the berries can support immune health. However, like all treats, these berries should be fed in moderation to avoid digestive issues and ensure chickens receive a balanced diet.

Feeding Guidelines

While Autumn Olive berries can be a healthy treat, they should not replace a chicken’s primary feed. Offer berries to chickens in small quantities alongside their regular diet, using the berries as a supplement or treat rather than a staple food.


If Autumn Olive berries are not readily available, other safe berry alternatives for chickens include blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Ensure that these are also given in moderation as part of a varied diet.

Expert Opinions

Poultry nutritionists and veterinarians generally agree that a varied diet, including fruits like Autumn Olive berries, can be beneficial to chickens when offered in appropriate amounts. Feeding a diverse range of foods can help provide a spectrum of nutrients and keep the birds healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

After learning about the inclusion of Autumn Olive berries in the diet of backyard chickens, you might have some further questions. Let’s explore a few common concerns poultry owners might have.

How often can I feed my chickens Autumn Olive berries?

Autumn Olive berries should be considered a treat and given sparingly to chickens. You might offer these berries a few times a week, ensuring they do not make up more than 10% of the chickens’ overall diet.

Are there any parts of the Autumn Olive plant that are toxic to chickens?

No, there are no known toxic parts of the Autumn Olive plant to chickens. However, as with any new food, it should be introduced slowly to monitor for any adverse reactions.

Can Autumn Olive berries replace commercial chicken feed?

No, Autumn Olive berries should not replace commercial chicken feed, which is formulated to provide all the necessary nutrients chickens need. Berries should only be a small part of a chicken’s diet, primarily for enjoyment and supplemental nutrition.

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