The global population of poultry amounts to over 35% of the world’s livestock. Feed accounts to 65% to 70% of the overall costs involved in poultry farming. Increased costs of chicken feed has a major impact on the profitability of the industry and affordability of poultry products for the consumers. These exorbitant feed prices have created a demand for cost effective alternatives.  Most farmers have therefore opted for bananas as they are readily available.

Banana Nutrients

Bananas contain essential nutrients including magnesium, potassium, vitamins B12 and B6. Chickens can eat bananas in order to acquire these nutrients, especially in the absence of proper chicken feed. Banana feed can comprise of banana peels, banana leaves and overripe bananas. These are just as nutritious as bananas. Farmers must be cautious of the rations added to the chicken dilatory plan. Although the addition of bananas to chicken feed is highly beneficial, bananas should only be used in limited amounts. This is because they contain high levels of sugar which can be harmful to chickens if consumed in excess. The recommended amount is approximately 10% of the overall diet. Also, bananas do not have adequate nutrients to sufficiently supplement poultry feed. Their skin is mostly fibre and cellulose which is of low nutritional value compared to the usual poultry feed. Chickens can eat bananas provided that they are ensiled with a nutritious feed. A well balanced dietary plan directly translates to increased productivity, thus a successful agricultural venture.

Banana feed for growth enhancement

Bananas contain starch and vitamins among other nutrients that can improve chicken production. Chickens can eat bananas in order to boost weight and feed intake. In addition, banana peels have a very high composition of vitamins and carbohydrates that are essential in all phases of chicken growth. Furthermore, bananas are a good source of amino acids which have been proven to be very important in poultry. Amino acid is a constituent of protein with a function to increase growth in chickens. Chickens that eat banana peels usually weigh much more than those without bananas in their diet. Chickens can eat bananas in order to improve their quality of meat. Bananas help to reduce cholesterol levels in poultry, and so the meat harvested is of superior quality. Note that this is only applicable when they are added in sufficient amounts. It is therefore recommended to add banana peels to chicken diet as a supplement for proper broiler feeds, provided they only make us 10% of the overall diet or less. This is because bananas contain sugars and some anti-nutritional agents like tannins, oxalate and phytate amongst others which could induce adverse effects including depressive growth, reduced feed efficiency. For this reason, farmers should make sure that they do not exceed the recommended dietary amount as it can be detrimental to productivity.

Banana feed for health maintenance

Bananas consists of nutrients and minerals that are vital in the health of chickens. Chickens can eat bananas so as to acquire Vitamin B12 which plays a crucial role in fighting diseases and boosting the immune system. Chickens that eat bananas are generally hardier compared to those with banana free diets. In addition, bananas contain trace minerals including calcium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, fluoride and selenium. These are of utmost importance as they help in the immune development and response as well as tissue and bone development. Trace nutrients are often ignored as their impact is seen after a long period of deficiency. Deficiency of these nutrients in poultry could include  suppressed immune system, poor feathering and dermatitis, infertility and poor shell quality. Over time, deficiencies in trace minerals can lead to reduced performance and even death. Recent agricultural findings have proven that adding soluble fibres from banana plants into chicken feed can be an alternative approach to antimicrobials. The inclusion of banana to poultry feed therefore aids in reducing the impact of invasive diseases such as the salmonellosis.  For this reason, chickens can eat bananas. As proven, they are a form of natural medicine that helps boost the immune system and offer some form of resistant against diseases.

Banana feed as an antioxidant agent

Poultry is highly susceptible to oxidative reactions.  Control of oxidation processes is the focus of many farmers owing to the negative impact of these reactions on animal growth, performance, and meat quality. Lipid oxidation has been recognized as the biggest threat to productivity. Therefore, as a means to control oxidation, chickens can eat bananas. Bananas are a rich source of trace minerals such as selenium which protect poultry from oxidative stress. Selenium is an important constituent of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase which offers defence against exudative diathesis. Hence, chickens can eat bananas to keep healthy, improve fertility and meat quality which translates to high productivity as well as increased profits.

Banana feed for layer production

Chickens can eat bananas to improve their layer production. Nutrients found in bananas contribute towards the development of thicker egg shells. Manganese, a mineral found in bananas, is an important component of bone cartilage and egg production. Chickens with a very low or none existent manganese intake tend to have poor quality eggs shells. Furthermore, chickens can eat bananas in order to produce eggs that are much more nutritious. In fact, it has been proven that bananas help to reduce cholesterol levels in both chicken meat and eggs. The result are much healthier eggs thus of superior quality. It is however important for farmers to note that overfeeding does not improve on production, instead it can be detrimental to the health of poultry.

Chickens can eat bananas for various reasons; improved meat and layer production, growth rate, and a strong immune system are just a few examples.  Although bananas play a crucial role in increasing productivity, they should not be overfed to chickens. This is because they contain higher levels of glucose which can be detrimental. Also, high levels of phosphorus, copper and iron found in bananas can interfere with the availability of some minerals, for example zinc and manganese. Diseases that include anemia are likely to prevail under such circumstances.