Can Chicken Eat Oranges? (Benefits, Risks, and Feeding Tips)

Some thought chickens were herbivores, but they are not— they devour bugs and small animals that they can catch with their beaks.

If chickens are forced to eat only from plant sources, they will fall ill. Forced vegetarianism in chickens results in protein-based amino acid deficiency, making them sick.

Just like humans, chickens eat a wide selection of food. Can chickens eat oranges? Let’s see.

Chickens Like Fruits: Can Chicken Eat Oranges?

chickens eat oranges

The answer is simple: apply the general rule that if you can eat it, then chickens can too. Thus, yes! Your chicken can eat oranges.

However, it does not mean that if chickens can eat oranges, they like it or are safe for them. Oranges are not necessary for chickens to have. Most chickens do not like the taste of oranges.

Naturally, the chickens became curious about the orange and nipped it a few times. However, they walked away dissatisfied. Was the orange sour? Or was it just not their preferred taste?

Meanwhile, some chicken owners and handlers worry about the mineral and vitamin content in oranges that may affect the chicken’s health, especially on egg-laying chickens. It concerns them that the citric acid may interfere with the chicken’s calcium absorption making it unfavorable for egg production. 

Although several factors affect the quality of a chicken’s eggshells before they are laid, it is understandable how chicken handlers or owners argue about this. But, this particular concern about citric acid isn’t one of the primary factors affecting eggshell quality.

If you want to try feeding your chickens with oranges, give it a first try with a few tiny orange cuts, and observe your chicken. Your chicken might not like the taste of oranges.

Do Chickens Need Oranges?

do chickens eat oranges

Although oranges are not toxic for chickens, they do not necessarily need oranges on their diet. Oranges are known to have a great amount of vitamin C. However, chickens do not need vitamin C as they produce their own. Moreover, it has fiber and potassium that’s beneficial for them.

The only downside of feeding them oranges is it has sugar, and too much sugar for chickens is bad. Thus, you can give your chicken an orange in small amounts but not often. Everything that’s in excess may result in unfavorable circumstances. 

A Medium-Sized Orange Nutrition and its Effects on Chickens

Nutritional Component Amount Effects on Chickens
Vitamin C 70 mg Antioxidant
Fiber 3.1 g Aids digestion
Sugar 12 g Energy source
Potassium 237 mg Muscle function
Calcium 52 mg Bone & eggshell health
Vitamin A 4% DV Vision health
Folate (Vitamin B9) 8% DV Cell function
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 10% DV Energy metabolism

Note: The values are approximate and can vary based on the source and variety of the orange. Moderation is key when feeding chicken oranges due to potential effects on egg production.

Can Chickens Eat Orange Peels?

Some might ask if the orange peels are fine for chickens to eat. Well, this is an entirely different story. Although chickens can eat orange peels, experts do not suggest giving them to chickens.

A few reasons why chicken experts do not suggest orange or fruit peels are the risks it brings to the chicken. Unlike fruits growing in your backyard and not receiving any chemical treatments, most of us have store-bought fruits, and these have chemical coatings on their peels.

Aside from that, fruit peels are hard and thick. It may cause digestive problems in chickens. Thus, it is best to leave it to that. If you do feed them oranges, only give them in moderation.

Can Chicks Eat Orange?

Let’s not forget about baby chickens or chicks.

Chicks stay close to the mother hen, who feeds them. An attentive mother hen feeds her chicks by holding food in their mouth so they can peck at it, or the mother hen drop the food on the ground for the chicks to pick and eat.

Do not feed baby chicks the same food you give to adult chickens. For now, do not give them oranges. Before introducing new foods to the chicks, ask a veterinarian or local feed expert for advice.  Moreover, do not forget to give your chickens the necessary vaccinations.

How to Serve Oranges to Chickens

You might be excited to feed your chickens oranges. A gentle reminder that your chicken might not like oranges, and too much is not healthy for them. So, give them only a few pieces.

Peel the Oranges First

Chickens do not have teeth; we all know chicken anatomy, right? They only have beaks, so they only peck on their served food. Thus, aside from orange peels being unhealthy for them, giving whole unpeeled oranges is not ideal. 

Feed it in Small Pieces

It is best to chop the oranges. You can cut it in half, leave it near the flock, or mix the sliced oranges with their feed.

Clean Up After Feeding Them with Oranges

As we have mentioned earlier, your chickens may not like oranges. If you’ve mixed oranges with their feed or placed them in feeders, make sure to clean the feeders. There are chance that those chickens who do not like oranges will not eat the feed next time if there are traces of oranges.

Remove the Oranges From the Coop or Pen

If you throw whole peeled orange or halved orange into their pen or cage, take the leftovers after. Do not let your chickens keep pecking the oranges even if they have been covered in dirt.

Pro Tip: Freeze the oranges and give them to your chickens as a cold treat during hot weather.

Are There Foods Toxic for Chickens?

can chickens eat citrus

It is natural to be cautious about the foods you feed your chickens. Thus, even when you feed them with scraps of chopped vegetables and fruits or chicken pellets or mills, you have to check what you are feeding does not harm them. 

Here is a quick list to help you determine what are off-limits for chickens:

  • Apple seeds 
  • Fruit skins and pits
  • Chocolate
  • Dry rice
  • Dry beans
  • Raw eggs
  • Salty foods
  • Sugary foods

Keep your chickens happy and healthy. Avoid giving them these types of food. Be cautious when giving plant source foods as some are treated with herbicide or pesticide. Always give your chickens fresh, chemical-free foods.

Now that you know the safe and harmful foods for chicken and whether oranges are safe for them, it is time to understand the best foods to feed your chickens. 

What to Feed Chickens?

can chickens eat orange

Honestly, what to feed your chickens depends on why they are raised. Chickens raised for meat have different diets for those who are for poultry to lay eggs.

Chickens raised for eggs are typically found in small farms or backyards. They are free-roaming and often served with household food scraps, and sometimes it is mixed with chicken feeds. 

Meanwhile, chickens raised for meat are raised indoors or in pastures. These chickens are heavy eaters. They require a high-protein diet to achieve their top weight efficiently. If you raise meat chickens outdoors, they have a more rounded and healthier diet as they do not only eat feeds.

You have to monitor the feeds you give to your chickens to prevent them from overheating. Overeating in chickens results in fatalities.


 Chickens can eat many foods humans can, including oranges.

Some chickens want oranges, while others do not prefer them. Nevertheless, if your chicken likes oranges, you can give them this tasty treat once in a while. Always give them in a few amounts. Excessively feeding them with oranges is harmful to them. Lastly, do not forget to peel the orange before giving it to the chickens.

Can Chickens Eat Oranges

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