Orange is one of the most popular fruits. No matter the age, everyone loves the taste of it. The oranges are nutritious and contain a high amount of vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants.
So, have you ever thought can you feed this tasty fruit to your backyard friends? Some poultry owners regret giving orange as it falls under the citrus fruit category. Regardless of being one of the citrus fruits, orange can be one of the best options to feed your chickens.
So, do you want to know why orange is one of the best options? Keep reading. The following table of content helps you to navigate through the article.
Can Chickens Eat Oranges?
In short, the answer is yes. The chickens can eat oranges. Since oranges contain citric acid, feeding a controlled amount will not do any harm to the chickens’ health.
However, remember that too much of any fruit is undesirable. The consumption of excessive vitamin C will cause chickens to pull out their feathers and result in producing thin-shelled eggs.
Therefore, it is important to examine your chickens’ reaction to oranges first. Some chicken breeds have different levels of sensitivity to citric acid. So, some chickens may refuse oranges.
Having said that I would recommend feeding oranges once or twice a week. Avoid giving oranges to the chickens every day since it is not safe to do so.
Nutritional Benefits Of Feeding Oranges To Chickens
As you already know oranges are rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fiber. Vitamin C is the highest nutritional benefit and that is the most vital element for the health of your chickens. In addition to that, oranges contain vitamin A, B, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber. Therefore, adding oranges to your chickens’ diet can be considered a wise decision.
The chickens can gain the following nutritional benefits by consuming oranges.
Though it is widely believed that chickens have poor vision, it is not true. Chickens have strong eyesight than humans. They can detect color shades and are even good at seeing lights. However, with time, the eyesight of the mature chicken becomes blurry and weak. Therefore, oranges can be an essential fruit for them. As orange contains vitamin A, it enhances the vision and keeps the membranes of the eyes healthy.
Prevent Skin Damages
Several environmental and dietary factors affect the skin condition of the chickens. If one chicken is infected with a disease, there is a possibility that the whole herd to be infected with that disease. Hence, it is always better to examine the skin condition of your chickens. The oranges would definitely be helpful to reduce those risks to a certain extent. Also, the antioxidants in oranges actively prevent the skin from damaging and help to keep your chickens healthy.
Comfortable Bowel Movement
The soluble and insoluble fiber in oranges causes a comfortable bowel movement. The oranges limit irritable bowel syndrome and help to prevent constipation. So, oranges are a good source of food for your chickens.
The soluble fiber in oranges helps to reduce the cholesterol level of your chickens. The soluble fiber forms a slow-moving gel, and it moves through the intestinal tract. Throughout that process, the excess cholesterol elements are reduced. So, the oranges prevent heat-related illnesses.
Are Orange Peels Safe for Chickens?
Yes, orange peels are safe for chickens. The citric acids in orange peel help in removing harmful bacteria in chickens’ digestive systems. Though the peel is not edible to humans, the chickens can peck at it whenever they have nothing to do.
However, some chickens find it difficult to eat orange peels because the skin is hard and tough. Some chicken owners, including myself, chop the peels and put them in the feeder. So that, chickens can easily peck at them or gobble without any trouble.
How to Feed Oranges to Chickens?
Like I said earlier, chickens have a sensitive digestive system. So, you have to be careful when feeding them oranges. I would recommend feeding oranges once or twice a week. One orange would be enough for 5 – 6 chickens.
After finding out the number of oranges needed, wash them properly. Make sure the oranges do not contain any chemicals that result in allergic conditions. Most of us buy oranges from stores, so it is important to check their quality first.
Then, peel off the orange and split it into smaller partitions. As chickens do not have teeth, they cannot bite the food. So, giving them smaller pieces helps to gobble without any difficulty. You can also cut the orange peel into small pieces and put them in another tray. After preparing both trays, keep them in the feeder.
Here is a tip if you want to keep your chickens busy all day without cackling. Do not cut both flesh and peel it into smaller pieces. Always give them larger portions. So, most of the daytime they will be pecking at the flesh and the peel. Of course, it is an exercise too.
Other Fruits That Chickens Can Eat
Kiwi is a healthy treat for chickens. It contains vitamins, minerals, and a good source of antioxidants. While it’s packed with nutrition, it also contains a lot of sugar. Too much sugar will lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and heart problems. For that reason, give them a small amount of kiwi, once or twice weekly.
Pears are healthy for chickens to eat due to their low level of sugar. Chickens can safely eat pears, but you may find that they won’t be interested in this fruit. If you want your chickens to eat pears, try mixing them with other fruits that they like or cut them into tiny pieces and blend them in their feeds.
Cantaloupe is high in vitamins A, B, and C. These vitamins are crucial to the health of the chickens. All parts of the cantaloupe are safe for them to eat including the cantaloupe seeds. Due to the high amount of water in the fruit, it should be fed to the chickens in moderation. Doing so will prevent them from getting diarrhea.
The orange is a safe and healthy fruit that you can give your chickens without any doubt. It prevents them from subjecting themselves to skin diseases and improves heart function, immune system, and vision.
Nevertheless, make sure each time you feed a smaller quantity of oranges for them. Overconsumption of anything is not good.
I cannot guarantee that your chickens will definitely love oranges; some might but some not. Either way, oranges are one of the best food options for your chickens. It helps to maintain their life healthy.