Can Chicken Eat Oranges? 

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

Chickens are omnivores; they eat plant and animal sources. 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 with plant sources, they will fall ill. Forced vegetarianism on chickens results in protein-based amino acid deficiency, making them sick.

Do you want to know what chickens eat? Check out this video first.

How are Chickens Omnivore? 

Chickens are not solely vegetarians; it eats both plant and animal sources. Have you seen chickens ploughing the soils in your backyard? They are searching for seeds, bugs, or insects during those times. Anything they catch in their beaks is a possible meal, even small snakes or lizards; a chicken can eat almost everything. 

Even though chickens can eat about anything nearby, they are occasionally picky eaters. Again, chickens are like humans; although their taste buds are not as developed as ours, they still want and dislike to eat certain foods. So, what foods do chickens enjoy eating?

  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Grasses
  • Insects
  • Reptiles
  • Small mammals

Yup, chickens eat fruits. But, what kind of fruits? Can chicken eat oranges?

Chickens Likes Fruits: Can Chicken Eat Oranges?

chickens eat oranges

At this point, you might be really curious whether chickens can eat oranges. That’s good that you are curious about what chickens can and cannot eat. It is the best way to take care of them— and one wrong food can harm them.

Lately, chicken owners and handlers have been worried about whether chickens should eat or avoid oranges.

Can Chicken Eat Oranges?

The answer is simple, apply the general rule that if you can eat it, then chickens 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. RSPCA Australia claimed that oranges are not necessary for chickens to have. Most chickens do not like the taste of oranges. They have tried it out by throwing a few oranges to chickens.

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, their concern is not among them. 

So, if you want to try feeding your chickens with oranges, make sure to cut them into small pieces. You might think you are giving them a special treat, but remember, we have discussed earlier that they might not be fond of the taste of oranges.

So, 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. 

On the other hand, 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 orange or fruit peels to chickens. 

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

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. Do not feed them orange peels, and only give them a few oranges. 

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 have mixed the oranges with their feeds or placed them in their feeders, ensure to clean the feeders. There are chances 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 threw 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.

Lastly, there is a great way to serve oranges to chickens, especially during the hot seasons. If your chickens love oranges, this is the best snack treat for them! Freeze the oranges and when the weather is hot, give them the cold oranges.

Now that we know oranges are not toxic for chickens, what are?

Are There Foods Toxic for Chickens?

can chickens eat citrus

Definitely, yes. If humans are cautious with their food intake, it may harm their health. There are also foods toxic for chickens. 

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.

VIDEO CONTENT: The Role of Vitamins in Poultry Nutrition

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 depend on why they are raised. Chickens raised for meat has 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; they forage on plants, insects, and small animals.

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

Let’s not forget about baby chickens or chicks.

Chicks have to stay close to the mother chicken to feed them. An attentive mother hen feeds her chicks by holding food in their mouth so they can peck at it, or the mother hens 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.

Summary

Chickens are like humans; what we can eat, they can. So, yes! Chicken can eat 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 orange is harmful to them. Lastly, do not forget to unpeel the orange before giving it to the chickens.

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