Apple is a beloved fruit to humans, and chickens are beloved animals too. Since this is a union of two beloved things, can chickens eat apples?
Chickens do eat apples, just like most fruits you throw to them. Apples are sweet and a delight to consume for humans and birds alike.
While your chickens might fall in love with Apples, should they eat them?
An apple consists of many parts, some of which might not be great for chickens. In this article, you’ll learn all there is to know about chickens eating apples.
Can Chickens Eat Apples?
It’s hard to name a fruit that chickens don’t eat; an apple isn’t going to be that fruit. Chickens eat and enjoy eating apples.
While apples are nutritional to humans, birds like chickens can take advantage of the nutritional value of apples too. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals that chickens need to grow well and produce quality eggs.
However, apples are not all good in a chicken’s diet. If you’ve been feeding your chickens with some other fruits, you will only need to introduce a minute amount of apples into their diet.
Apart from supplying excessive nutrients, some parts of an apple are downright dangerous to a chicken.
This article won’t only teach you the advantages and risks of feeding your chickens with apples; you’ll also learn what parts of an apple are dangerous for chickens to avoid inadvertently poisoning poor birds.
How to Serve Apples to Chickens
To get your chickens to try out apples, you must make them look delicious. Just as humans, chickens might refuse to eat apples if it doesn’t look edible to them.
Also, what works for a chicken mightn’t work for another, so you might want to start trying every single kind of apple treats available out there. Needless to say, this requires an insane amount of creativity.
However, we’re ridding the process of the creative part, so you can simply copy a recipe, and your chickens will be pecking away at apples in no time.
First off, you must rid apples of the seeds before giving them to your chickens. Apple seeds contain cyanide, and while it might not pose an imminent threat, it can be very toxic to chickens in excess.
Cyanide can hinder cellular respiration in a relatively short time. Cyanide poisoning can lead to death within a few minutes, which you can prevent by simply removing the seeds.
Chickens can eat any part of an apple as long as you’ve removed the seeds. They can even eat the core, unlike most fruits.
The core is the part inside the apple that contains the seeds. You don’t have to peel the apple as the chickens can eat through the flesh.
When serving the apple as a whole, you should cut it into little chunks to aid the eating process.
While feeding your chickens with apples sound like a good idea, you shouldn’t overdo it. Apples are not crucial to chickens’ survival, and too many apples are simply bad for them.
A creative way to integrate apples into your chickens’ diet is by making a salad. You can mix different varieties of fruits and vegetables and hope the birds eat a balanced mixture across the meal.
If you’ll like to squeeze more protein out of a ‘fruity’ diet, you can try stuffed apples. It involves stuffing the apples with blended peanut butter, almonds, and some other seeds of your choice.
Stuffed apples make a more nutritious meal overall, and your chickens will surely love it.
Nutritional Value of Apples to Chickens
Before giving apples to your chickens, you must study the nutritional value of these apples.
While apples are nutritious, the value depends on the typical contents of your chicken feed. If your chicken feed contains most of the nutrients that are available in an apple, adding an apple to the diet becomes unjustifiable.
In this section, we’ll look at the nutritional value of apples and how they help your chickens achieve better health in the long run.
- Contains magnesium
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is commonly underrepresented in traditional chicken feed. Apples can easily breach the magnesium gap in chicken feed.
Magnesium strengthens chickens’ eggshells while helping them maintain healthy bones. It also serves as an aid for cellular metabolism in chickens, making the nutrient invaluable.
- Contains Vitamin C
Vitamin C teams up with magnesium and some other nutrients to help build stronger bones and shells in chickens. Apples appear to be one of the best sources of vitamin C for your chickens.
Vitamin C is also a great immune booster for chickens. It helps to build and subsequently maintain a strong immune system to fend off illnesses in the birds.
- It contains other essential nutrients
Apart from Vitamin C and magnesium, apples also supply iron, vitamins of different types, proteins, and potassium to chickens. These nutrients perform several functions that are essential to the healthy growth of chickens.
And apples contain fiber too. Fiber helps to ease excretion and treats irregular bowel movements in chickens and humans alike.
Risks of Feeding Apples to Chickens
Apples aren’t all good for chickens. Sometimes, you shouldn’t feed your chickens with apples for a couple of reasons.
While these reasons can all be fixed, it helps to know if you’re feeding your chicken the right way, if you should be feeding them at all.
- Cyanide poisoning
The possibility of this is unlikely, but it can still happen, especially if you don’t actively regulate the chickens’ intake of the apples.
When you serve the apple as a whole, the chickens are more likely to peck deep into the core, ingesting the seeds. While the core doesn’t pose any imminent threat, the seeds are known to contain cyanide.
Cyanide is a harmful chemical to chickens with potentially lethal consequences. While one or two apple seeds won’t kill your chicken, the chemical consequences can accumulate over time, sometimes causing sudden death.
The simple solution is ridding the apple of the seeds before serving it to the chickens. You can also remove the core, as some argue that it doesn’t offer any nutritional benefit.
If you don’t have a degree in regulating your chickens’ apple intake, you should get ready to deal with many problems.
Apple contains some nutrients that your average chicken feed already has in abundance; adding these nutrients to a chicken’s diet through apples becomes much of an overkill.
While your chickens will typically stop pecking the apple when they’ve had enough, but they overeat at times.
Feed a chicken only a quarter of an apple at a go, and make apple treats few and far between. Sometimes, you can rid their meal of apples for a week.
Chickens can and should eat apples. While you feed them apples, you should note that apples are not a staple food for the chickens.
While apples contain essential nutrients for chickens, most items in a typical chicken feed contain these same nutrients; hence, you should regulate apples for your chickens.
An apple a day in the case of chickens doesn’t do well to keep a doctor away.