Crab apples and normal apples both belong to the same plant are essentially the same. It’s just that crab apples are smaller and can taste more tart in most cases.
Can chickens eat crab apples? Yes, chickens can eat crab apples just the same as regular apples. There is a small risk as the seeds contain a sugar and cyanide compound called amygdalin.
Are Crab Apples Healthy For Chickens?
Yes, crab apples are a healthy snack for your chickens.
They are just as nutritious as regular apples. Meaning, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and all the other good stuff that comes with eating fresh fruit.
While this doesn’t meet a chicken’s dietary requirements, it does make for a great supplement to their commercial feed.
So why don’t we eat more crab apples?
I don’t know about you, but I rarely see crab apples for sale. The main reason for this is that they don’t taste as good as regular apples.
They range in flavor from sweet to tart, but generally speaking, they’re not as nice tasting as regular apples.
The good news is that this doesn’t matter to chickens. They have very few taste buds compared to us. Not only does the taste not matter, let’s be honest, they eat worms and other insects anyway!
How to Feed Crab Apples to Chickens
The important thing is to remove the core and seeds from apples before giving them to chickens, I’ll explain more on that below.
Once you’ve removed the core, you can do pretty much what you want with them. Chop, slice, it doesn’t matter, your flock will be more than happy to be receiving those crab apples.
If you want to get a little creative, I have a friend who uses an apple corer to remove the core from apples while keeping them whole. She then stuffs the apples with fruit, nuts, grains, or some other stuff her girls enjoy.
Talk about being spoiled!
You can hang the fruit if you’re not chopping it up. Chickens love playing around pecking at food, but it won’t be long before it’s pecked to pieces and being rolled around on the floor.
Oh, and I’m sure you would do this anyway, but I’ll drop a reminder to give apples and any other fruits that you aren’t peeling a good wash before giving them to your chooks too.
Here's a video of some chickens more than happy to clear up some fallen crab apples:
Are Crab Apple Seeds Poisonous?
Technically speaking, the seeds are poisonous, yes.
It’s pretty much common knowledge that apple pips or seeds as they’re also known to contain a trace amount of cyanide.
Crab apples are no different.
I feel like a big deal is made out of this fact as cyanide is such a scary word. The risk is actually minimal and chickens or any other animal for that matter would need to eat a large amount in proportion to their size.
Still, it’s something to be mindful of. You should avoid giving your flock the seeds by way of a good habit.
The problem with crab apples over regular apples in this respect is that they are a lot smaller. So there’s less of the good stuff, and more picking out the core and seeds.
Still, it’s worth it if you have access to some. Chickens love them and they make for an awesome snack.
Considering Growing Your Own Tree?
If you’re considering growing your own tree and you also have backyard chickens, there are some reasons why this is a great idea.
The most obvious reason is the fruit that you’ll be able to feed to your flock. As well as having some spare for yourself.
Other benefits include having a beautiful tree in your yard as they bear some colorful flowers depending on the type of tree.
As well as attracting other wildlife and turning your yard into a hub of activity for all kinds of creatures. They pollinate early, which is great for insects and bees, and a lot of other animals and birds also enjoy eating the fruit.
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Crab Apples?
The answer to this question is, yes.
As long as you remove the core and pips, crab apples are fine for chickens. If you have a tree in or around your yard I’m envious. You’ll have a good supply of free, nutritious food for your backyard flock.
If you’re interested in what other fruits you can feed to your flock, please check out some of my other articles:
Is a crab apple tree poisonous - Hunker.com
Many benefits of growing crab apples - GrowVeg.co.uk