You’ve probably heard that chickens shouldn’t eat citrus fruits, right? Well, there’s nothing toxic or harmful about citrus fruits, it’s more so that the smell is so strong they tend to avoid citrus.
Can chickens eat oranges? Yes, chickens can eat oranges. In fact, I will explain why oranges are good for chickens and show you how much they enjoy them in this article.
Are Oranges Healthy for Chickens?
It’s well-publicized that oranges are a good source of vitamin C.
This is little use to chickens though as they are able to synthesize their own vitamin C and don’t need dietary sources of the vitamin.
Oranges contain some other healthy nutrients, such as fiber, potassium, and a range of minerals that are good for chickens, however, so it’s not a complete waste eating them.
Can Chickens Eat Oranges?
Contrary to what you may have heard, chickens can eat oranges.
Whether or not they want to is another question. A lot of chickens are put off by the scent of citrus, so if you have strong smelling oranges they may turn their beaks up.
As long as you’re sticking to the general rule of using table scraps, fruits, vegetables and so on as treats, it’s fine.
Can Chickens Eat Orange Peel?
They could eat orange peel without issue. The real question is, why would you want them to eat the peel?
There’s always a risk of pesticides on hard-skinned fruits. As well as the fact that it’s too tough to break up and digest, so there’s the added risk of some digestive issues.
Personally, I don’t give the peel to my chickens. As you’ll see in the video below, all you have to do is break up the segments and throw those to your flock to send them on the chase.
Is Citrus Bad for Chickens?
I often hear that citrus is bad for chickens. Yet, the more I research it, the more I find out that it’s really not that bad for them.
The reason people say this is because citrus fruits are highly acidic and contain sugar. Two things that chickens don’t need or benefit from, I’ll admit.
In small quantities, however, it’s perfectly fine to feed chickens citrus fruits.
What Can Chickens Not Eat List:
Now you know that oranges and some other fruits that are safe for your flock you have plenty of foods to share with them.
It’s probably more important to be aware of the foods that chickens can’t eat though. Here are some of the foods to avoid giving to your flock:
Coffee Grounds - I put my old coffee grounds into my compost pile in my garden. So, I thought I’d check if/how harmful they were to my chickens and other animals that may come across them.
Coffee (and tea) contains theobromine and caffeine, two compounds that are known to be toxic to chickens. Keep the coffee grounds well away from where your flock grazes.
Avocado Pit and Skin - I love avocados, and I’ve shared some on occasion with my flock. Only the flesh part of the fruit that we eat is safe for chickens though. The skin and large stone inside contain a toxin called persin that’s toxic to chicks!
Chocolate - Chocolate and cocoa are toxic to chickens for the same reasons as coffee and tea; theobromine and caffeine. Keep all the chocolate for yourself!
Raw Beans - Would you believe that raw beans are one of the most toxic and potentially dangerous foods for chickens?
Raw beans contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin, which unless cooked for a minimum time and temperature, poses a serious health threat.
Moldy Foods - Foods that are going bad and started to sprout mold post a health risk to chickens. Don’t chance it with food that’s past its best or leave out their feed in damp conditions.
Foods Chickens Can Eat List:
It’s fun sharing different foods with chickens. As long the bulk of their diet, approx 90%, comes from their commercial feed, you can experiment with some other foods.
Here are some foods that are safe for chickens and help add some variety to their diet:
Cooked Foods - If you’re cooking up some brown rice, pasta, or meat and make too much, why not share some with your flock. They’ll be more than happy to gobble up most table scraps.
Vegetables - Adding veggies to your flock’s diet is one of the best ways to boost their intake of vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients. Try carrots, cabbage, vegetable peels, sweet potatoes, etc.
Grains - Grains are one of the easiest and most common foods backyard owners give their flocks. It’s great for satisfying their need to scratch around, and a good source of energy and key nutrition. Try oats, wheat, corn, quinoa, etc.
Herbs - I have a little herb garden I’m very proud of. I use herbs when I cook and spare what I can with my flock. They love lavender, parsley, sage, etc, and herbs have some powerful healing and wellness properties.
Despite what you may or may not have heard, it’s fine for chickens to eat oranges.
Some chickens are put off by strong scented citrus fruits. This doesn’t mean it’s bad for them, just that they aren’t interested in eating it.
Why not find out for yourself if your flock like oranges?