As a chicken keeper its only natural to want to treat and spoil your chickens, but there are some foods which make better treats than others.
With rules and regulations around what we can and cannot feed our chickens (especially if you live in the UK), it can be difficult to know which foods you can safely feed to your chickens.
As a chicken keeper myself, I’ve got to know over time the best foods for chickens along with foods which they can and can’t eat.
Apples are one of those treats which people often want to feed to their chickens, mainly because at the end of the growing season there are so many going spare and also because they may have fallen in an area where chickens usually graze.
In short, chickens can eat apples and it’s safe for them to do so providing they’re not eating potentially poisonous apple seeds in large quantities. However, apples are not generally a chickens favourite treat and some will choose not to eat them.
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Do Chickens Like Eating Apples?
I’ve tested apples out in various forms on my own flock of chickens and while some did have a peck at them, some were completely uninterested.
When compared to other foods such as corn (which they absolutely love) their response to apples was that they’re pretty uninspiring.
We’ve tried giving chickens whole apples to peck at as well as cutting them into smaller chunks and smaller chunks seemed to get a little bit more interest than whole apples, but after a few pecks, they walked away.
I think it also comes down to the individual chicken too, just like us they all have different tastes and some just like certain foods more than others.
There will be lots of chicken keepers who’d probably say their chickens love apple and can’t get enough, it really depends what else they’re used to eating as a treat.
So, the best way to find out is by testing them with a small amount to see how they react, if they hate it, you know not to give them more.
Other than apples, there’s a large selection of food your chicken can eat.
Can Chickens Eat Apple Seeds?
Apple seeds contain a small quantity of a poisonous substance called cyanide which can make an animal (or human) seriously ill and even become fatal if consumed in high volume.
Although the odd one or two apple seeds shouldn’t impact a chickens health, to avoid any potential risk it is a good idea to remove the core of the apple before you feed them to chickens.
By slicing down each side of the apple and avoiding the core, you can get some nice pieces to chop up and feed to your chickens.
Can you Feed Apple Peels to Chickens?
You can feed apple peels to chickens, but whether they like them or not is a different story!
There are are also a few things you might want to consider too:
- Some shop bought apples may have been sprayed with substances such as wax or pesticides, so fresh organic apples or apples straight from a tree are the best kind to feed to chickens.
- If the chickens don’t eat the peelings that are thrown on the ground, they’ll quickly become black and rotten.
- You might be subject to rules around feeding kitchen scraps to chickens (see next section).
To test if your chickens like apple peel just try them with a little bit first rather than throwing down a pile which doesn’t get eaten, that way you’ll know whether to bother or not in future.
Rules Around Feeding Chickens Kitchen Scraps
Depending on where you live it’s worth knowing that you might be subject to certain rules on what you can and can’t feed your chickens.
For example here in the UK, Government rules state that we cannot feed our chickens with any scraps that come from a kitchen that isn’t vegan.
This is to prevent cross-contamination from other meat products from one food chain to another.
This means that we shouldn’t feed chickens foods or scraps such as apple peelings etc which have been prepared in our kitchens.
According to these rules, to feed apples to chickens they need to come directly from the tree or shop without any home preparation.
Ways to Feed Treats to chickens Without the Mess
Using a treat holder is a good way of experimenting with different treats such as leafy greens, broccoli etc, without having the mess of uneaten food in the run area.
This way, if the chickens aren’t interested in the food, the holder can be opened and the contents easily composted or binned.
Should you Feed Apples to Chickens?
We know that chickens can eat apples providing they’re cored and deseeded, but should you actually give apples to your chicken as a treat or should you give them something else instead?
When it comes to treating chickens it’s really just like treating children, so now and again is fine, but too much of a good thing can lead to them wanting treats all the time instead of their usual feed.
Although it’s fine to feed chickens apples here and there, they are just a treat because they will get all the nutrients they need from a complete chicken feed.
Personally, we don’t feed our chickens apples, because they don’t really like them and we use dried corn as a treat instead (which they go mad for).
As well as some fruits, other good chicken treats include broccoli, cabbage, sweetcorn, spinach and other leafy greens.
But it is a case of trial and error because chickens can be fussy creatures! for more information on what chickens should eat, you might like to take a look at the following article:
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