If you’re eying an apple and wondering if you can feed it to your chicken, wonder no longer. We are going to take a look at if chickens can eat apples and what the reaction might be.
Yes, it’s perfectly okay for chickens to eat apples. These healthy, inexpensive treats are enjoyed by chickens. The number of apples in a chicken’s diet should never exceed how much feed they get.
That being said, it’s worth noting that chickens cannot eat whole apples, in general. The fruit is too large and hard for the chicken to eat. If you cut the apple into slices or chunks, exposing the soft inside, then the chicken can safely eat it.
Let’s take a closer look at how chickens react to apples.
Parts of an Apple
You probably already know this, but an apple has many parts. The reason this is worth bringing up is that each part has a different reaction when eaten by a chicken.
The outside of the apple is the skin. This is a harder surface, and it makes up the entire circumference of the apple. For chickens, eating the skin doesn’t necessarily hurt them. The problem lies in the hardness and size of the skin.
It was mentioned earlier, but a whole apple is never advisable to feed a chicken. This is partly because the skin is too tough for a chicken to bite into. When feeding a chicken an apple, you should always have the white inside of an apple exposed.
In some cases, people will peel an apple and eat the fruit for themselves. They will toss the peel to the chickens and allow them to enjoy a treat.
The core is far from the most delicious part of an apple. A lot of chicken owners will eat their apple and throw the core for the chickens to eat. It reduces waste, but does it hurt the chicken?
Surprisingly, no! Chickens are perfectly okay after eating the core of an apple. Granted, it’s a hard bit of apple that’s difficult for them to eat, but they don’t suffer any problems after eating it.
This is where things get a little trickier. It is a well-known fact that apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. Cyanide is a terrible chemical that leads to death when consumed in bulk.
The amount of cyanide in an apple seed is so minuscule that it won’t wind up hurting your chicken (or humans, in that case).
Do Chickens Like Eating Apples?
It’s hard to tell for sure, but there’s a lot of evidence that supports the idea that chickens enjoy eating apples. Of course, chicken owners know that chickens notoriously eat anything that’s put in front of them.
Regardless, a lot of chicken owners like to give apples as a special treat from time to time. If you’d like, you can give the scraps of an apple to your chicken after you enjoy the fruit. That means that you can eat the apple and leave them with the core and the peel.
Notes About Feeding Apples to Your Chickens
It was mentioned earlier, but you need to be careful about the size of the apple that you feed your chicken. This is important for two reasons.
Firstly, a chicken’s mouth and throat are pretty small. Trying to eat a large item can result in the chicken choking on the food. Alternatively, they may not even try eating food altogether.
The other thing to remember is that chickens don’t think with their stomachs. They will continue to eat until they overeat and potentially die. Giving a chicken way too much food can prove to be fatal.
With these ideas in mind, you have to be very intentional about how you feed your chickens apples. The best practice is to cut the apple into small pieces and feed them a little bit at a time.
What About Picky Chickens?
It might seem funny to hear, but there are chickens that are picky eaters. This idea might change how some chicken owners feed their feathered friends.
Some chickens won’t eat peels. Others won’t eat apples unless they’re sliced small enough. It takes a little bit of trial and error if you’re looking to work apples into your chicken’s life.
Apples have numerous ways that they can be fed to a chicken. That’s why it’s worth understanding this idea before moving forward. You might think a chicken’s refusal to eat an apple is some indication that it’s a dangerous food. The truth is that chickens will happily eat dangerous foods, but apples are perfectly safe for them to consume.
Conflicting Views About Feeding Apple Scraps to Chickens
There are opposing parties when it comes to feeding apple scraps to chickens. For reference, the scrap of an apple is the uneaten part. Typically a little bit of the fruit, some skin, the stem, the core, and the seeds.
People claim that the cyanide will eventually build-up, leading to the death of your chicken. There is no real evidence to support this claim (likewise, the same claim can’t be supported with human consumption of apple seeds).
The only real problem you might face is pieces of the apple core getting caught in your chicken’s throat. In these cases, the chicken will cough up the piece, or it will eventually get dislodged and digested.
The tricky part is, at the end of the day, the apple core and seeds serve no real nutritional value to the chicken. That’s to say that the only reason to feed apple scraps to a chicken is if you want to cut back on your waste. At the same time, apple cores and seeds are biodegradable, so there’s no actual waste if you throw them away.
Chicken owners have their own preferences when it comes to feeding apples to their chickens.
A Fun Apple Treat to Feed Chickens
Believe it or not, chickens love apple pie. After all, who doesn’t love it? The big disclaimer here is that the chicken’s body will react to apple pie just like a human’s will.
Thanks to all the fat and sugars in an apple pie, over time, you’ll see some serious health issues if you overfeed them an apple pie.
Still, it’s a fun treat to feed your chickens from time to time. They really seem to love it!
A lot of people actually make apple treats to feed their chickens. If you want some alternatives to apple pie, here they are:
You can put peanut butter on your apple wedges and serve them. Chickens really seem to like this treat.
For larger chickens, you can try stuffing the apple with different goodies. To stuff the apple, you have to de-core it first. Then, where the core was, fill it with a variety of different treats. You can try cranberries, raisins, or unsalted almonds.
Another apple treat that people like to feed their chickens is apples on a string. Feed a string through slices of apples and hang them near where your chickens are held. The chickens will slowly peck them over time, and they’ll enjoy their fun treat. It’s super easy to put together, too.
The Benefits of Apples
Just like in human consumption, chickens gain a lot of health benefits from eating apples. They are full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and pectin that are great for your chicken. Since apples are safe to consume, it’s always a healthy alternative to other snacks.
What About Apple Leaves?
If you grow your own apples, you might be curious about the leaves on the tree. Biting into the leaves releases the same chemical as the seeds – cyanide. Of course, it’s still a tiny amount, but it’s there. Just like the seeds, there is no real proof that chickens or humans can suffer cyanide poisoning from routine consumption.
In this case, it’s not advised to specifically feed your chicken apple leaves, but in the long run, it really won’t hurt them if you do.
Can I Use Apple Cores Instead of Feed?
If you’re looking to save money on feed, keep looking. It was mentioned earlier that apple cores don’t really have any nutritional value. They will reduce how much waste you throw away, but they aren’t useful in supplementing your chicken’s diet.
Namely, there’s no protein present in an apple core. This is the primary fuel for chickens that they get through the feed. You can definitely supplement their feed with other kitchen scraps (provided you’ve done the research and made sure they’re not toxic or dangerous). You should never supplement more than 20% of the total feed through another source like kitchen scraps.
Feed was made specifically to give chickens exactly what they’re looking for, so it’s always the best idea to give them that.
What to Do If My Chicken Accidentally Eats an Apple?
If your chicken accidentally eats an apple, you don’t have to do anything. They are perfectly healthy for them to eat, and you shouldn’t see any adverse reactions after they consume the apple.
There’s no need to panic or call the vet because you caught them eating an apple. However, if they act strangely or showing different symptoms, it’d be a good idea to call them.
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