Can Chickens Eat Avocado?

We already know that avocado has tons of antioxidants and ingredients that can fight cancer and eradicate damaging human cells.

However, the question is whether it is good for your pet chickens or not.

Chickens have an appetite that includes various food choices, but they depend on their owners to give them the right things to eat.

Quick Navigation

Chicken Diet

Chickens are omnivores, and that means they have varied dietary choices, mixing up different kinds of foods to whet their appetites. When it comes to avocados, though, this should be excluded from the chicken’s diet because of the compound called persin.

However, some chicken farmers do give their chickens’ avocado to eat without noticing any side effects.

Persin is considered to be toxic for chickens. The chicken’s anatomy makes the person especially toxic and dangerous. The small size or small stature of chickens makes it even more unsafe to consume avocados in large quantities, especially since the persin found in avocados is so toxic.  

If it weren’t for the persin in the avocado, your chickens would greatly benefit from all the nutrients in this fruit, such as Vitamin A, calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron.

The Dangers

It is not uncommon for chickens to die from consuming avocado skins. It would never be recommended to feed an entire avocado to a single chicken rather than to a group of chickens. However, this should not be done regularly.

If you want to protect your feathery friends, it is best that you avoid putting avocado in their diet; especially the skin. How dangerous is persin? It can cause cells to die and damage the muscles in the heart. It can also result in inflammation of the intestine and stomach.

It changes the production of milk in mammals and has a negative effect on the mammary tissue.

The Consumption Level

Of course, there are farmers who claim to have given avocado to their chickens, but some farmers try to avoid it at all costs. Which farmer should we believe? The research will provide obvious answers, not the experiments done by farmers. If you have doubts, it is best to depend on facts.

As it relates to their feed, chickens are known to be flexible. Most of them are willing to sample different types of food. Because they are omnivores, it goes without saying that they don’t mind having a varied diet, and most owners try to mix up their food. Avocado consumption, though, is debatable for many chicken farmers.

The Damaging Parts of the Fruit

Depending on how much avocado is consumed, poisoning can occur almost immediately, and this can be quite severe. The outcome also depends on the variety of avocado consumed.

Every part of the avocado contains the compound, persin. For that reason, the bark, branches, leaves, pit, and pulp of the avocado are considered toxic and dangerous to chickens, and ingesting these can be quite fatal. So, there is no getting away from poisoning when consumed in large quantities and on a regular basis.

Healthy Alternative

In general, chickens have different dietary requirements than humans have. Chickens that lay eggs should be fed a diet containing calcium supplements.

Why? Well, eggshells contain mostly carbon and calcium. Avocados do not provide these health benefits. Avocados are high in oils and fats, which is healthy for consumption in humans, but not in chickens. Many chicken farms choose to give their chickens the skin of the avocado, which provides a healthier alternative than the whole avocado would.

When chickens are seen eating the eggs that they have laid, it is a signal that they are calcium deficient. While avocados could be the ideal supplement in providing calcium to chickens, it is not recommended. 5% consumption of an avocado has been known to take the life of a bird within 48 hours of consumption.

The Controversy

The topic of whether or not chickens can eat avocado is very controversial within the poultry community. Some farmers might say that you can, while others may indicate otherwise.

There are others who might say that it is OK if done in limited quantities. No matter what the verdict, the fact that avocado contains persin makes it a difficult decision for many farmers. Is it really worth the risk? Let’s take a keen look at this.

What The Experts Say

While some farmers report that their chickens consume avocado without any mishap, it is still dangerous to try. Avocados are in the superfood category, which means that it contains minerals and vitamins to benefit one’s health.

However, as mentioned before, the health benefits are enjoyed mostly by human beings. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual provided after research was conducted, the findings made clear that avocados can be quite fatal if it is consumed by birds and many other animals.

Are Avocados Fatal To Chickens?

From scientific research, it has been proven that avocados can be fatal to chickens. If this does happen, the fatal outcome is based on the dosage and on whether the chicken is weaker and older.

More robust and younger chickens may fair better. Let’s take another look at Persin and what it can do, even if it is ingested in small doses. It can result in:

  • Tissue damage (Myocardial)
  • Heavy breathing (labored)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Apathy and unrest

Several Symptoms

Some of the symptoms above are not as fatal as others. But, it shows that your chicken’s health is at stake for the long term. It also leaves your chicken susceptible to various types of illnesses including weakened immune system.

If Persin is ingested in higher doses from consuming avocados, it can result in acute respiratory condition where death is the only likely occurrence and this could happen within 24 hours and as little as 12 hours.

Other Things To Consider

Beyond Persin, the avocados consist of fatty acids that chickens find hard to digest; resulting in diarrhea, which could continue for several weeks.

Even though, studies show that chickens have resistance to the impact of avocados more than other birds do, you should still not take the chance or the risk. It is best to avoid it entirely.

The Flesh or Pit of the Avocado

Even though, there are risks associated with avocado consumption for your chickens, some farmers have still taken the chance and had no repercussions. In that case, you should be very careful how you administer the feeding. Here is how you should do it safely:

  • Remove the avocado skin prior to giving it to your chickens. This has the most persin. No part of these pieces should get into the feeding tray.
  • You can also scoop out the flesh or pit of the avocado, but be careful with how you scrape it. You don’t want some of the skin to get into the fleshy part.  
  • Only give a small dose of the fleshed out avocado

When you scoop out the fleshy part of the avocado, you can combine it with other veggies and fruits, but make sure you mash everything into a smooth paste; making it easier for consumption. If you accidently gave your chicken the skin of the avocado, they likely may not consume it anyway.

The Intuitiveness of Chickens

You would be surprised the intuitiveness of chickens as it relates to what they consume. Often, your chickens will be aware of what to avoid. If it happens that they have accidentally ingested the skin, then you should call your vet right away.

Chickens can identify different food types; knowing which ones are edible and the ones that are not. For this reason, if you occasional include whole avocado into their feed, it might not be an instant death sentence to your group of chickens. Unless you are giving poison explicitly to your chickens, they will probably be aware of when something is not healthy for them.

Additional Foods to Avoid

There are other food groups that should be avoided. Here are some other things that you should keep from feeding to your chicken:

  • Apple
  • Onion
  • Salty food
  • Butter
  • Cherry
  • Chocolate
  • Raw chicken
  • Eggplant
  • Mushrooms

Do the Right Thing For Your Furry Friends

Chicken farmers should avoid feeding avocados to their chickens. Of course, some may get away with it and continue to do so, but compared to the rewards, the risks are so much higher.

The best and safest option is to avoid feeding your chickens, something that can potentially harm them and result in a fatal outcome in some cases. There are, of course, other types of nutritious food you can give your pet, such as mealworms.

You should definitely avoid anything toxic. If you decide to take risks, you should practice careful steps, as mentioned above, by leaving out the skin of the avocado. It is obvious that avocados are not the ideal food source for your chickens, whether you are using it as a treat or whether consumption is in moderation. You owe it to your furry friends to do the right thing. 

Read More about popular types of chicken breeds