Chickens love pears! It’s perfectly fine to feed your hens pears. Personally, I remove the core and seeds, and they gobble up the soft flesh and skin in a hurry. The only downside is that softer fruits can get messy.
Are Pears Healthy for Chickens?
Pears, like most fruits, are great for chickens. According to the USDA FoodData Central database, pears are a nutrient-rich low-calorie fruit.
They provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and even a small amount of calcium. Which, of course, is great for laying hens.
It makes me wonder why I don’t eat them more often!
Chickens do have different dietary requirements from us, of course. But they still require good nutrition to maintain optimal health and lay at their best.
While your chickens will get most of their diet and all their key nutrition from their commercial feed, healthy fruits and vegetables add some valuable variety to their diet.
They aren’t bad tasting either, right? Not that this matters much to chickens, in case you were not aware, chickens have very few taste buds compared to us.
Which makes perfect sense to me as I watch mine scratching about for grubs and other insects.
Can Chickens Eat the Pear Skin and Seeds?
The skin is absolutely fine, and it’s soft enough that chickens will usually gobble it up.
The seeds, on the other hand, are not advisable. Pear seeds/pits, like a lot of fruits (cherries, apricots, and plums to mention a few) contain a trace amount of cyanide.
Before you panic, don’t worry if you’ve not been removing the seeds. People blow this out of proportion all the time.
I can see why as we love our pets dearly, but it’s not something to be worried about.
It would take A LOT of pear seeds to cause any kind of poisoning or toxicity-related ill health. I have one of those fruit de-coring devices, so I pull out the core and seeds as a matter of habit anyway.
Then I usually either hang the pear for my chickens to peck at, or slice them in half and lay them down.
Either way, they don’t last long!
Some Other Foods You Can Give Chickens
Pears are just one of the many foods that you can feed chickens. Here are some of the foods backyard chicken owners commonly feed their flock:
Vegetables are also a great source of nutrition. Chickens will happily finish off leftover or spare cabbage, kale, carrots, sprouts, yams, sweet potatoes, and more.
Some Foods That Are Bad for Chickens
Pears are great for chickens, but not all common foods are. We have to do our bit to make sure our chooks don’t get their beaks into any toxic or harmful foods.
Here are some of the common foods that are known to be bad for chickens:
Raw Beans – This often comes as a surprise, but raw beans contain a toxic compound called lectin. Unless properly cooked, raw beans can be fatal to chickens.
Chocolate – Chocolat and foods containing cocoa are toxic to most small pets, and this includes chickens. There are a couple of compounds in chocolate called theobromine and caffeine that can cause them some serious health issues.
Tea and Coffee – Much like chocolate, tea contains the same two harmful compounds, and coffee is high in caffeine. I’m not suggesting you’d give your hens a cuppa, but it’s something to keep in mind if you recycle coffee grounds and tea bags in your garden.
Green Potatoes/Tomatoes – When potatoes and tomatoes are green, they are producing a toxin called solanine. This toxin isn’t present when they’re ripe, so white potatoes and red tomatoes.
Avocado Pits/Skin – The flesh of an avocado is fine (it’s more than fine, it’s delicious) but the skin and stone contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. This can cause some serious health issues, don’t give them to your hens.
Sugary, Greasy, Fatty Foods – Foods like fast foods, soda drinks, candy, etc are bad for chickens and hard for them to digest properly. There are plenty of healthy treats, stick to those!
Now you know, if you have spare pears or you want to treat your hens - they’ll happily take them off your hands for you!
It’s a fun and rewarding experience feeding chickens different foods. As long as you know the foods are safe, see what variety you can add to their diet.
Image credits - Photos by congerdesign on Pixabay, and Jess Bailey and Jason Leung on Unslpash