One of the questions that chicken keepers frequently ask is ‘can chickens eat oranges?’ The general answer to this question is yes they can, however there are some things you should know before going ahead and giving your feathered friends oranges.
In this article we will discuss feeding oranges to chickens and the precautions you should take when doing this to ensure your chickens get to eat their nutritious fruits happily and safely.
What this article covers
Below are some quick links. Click any of them to go straight to the section you are interested in – or just carry on reading for the full article!
Are oranges healthy for chickens?
Yes, oranges like most other fruits are high in water content, vitamins and nutrients. Fresh oranges are a great source of nutrition as well as fiber, folate and vitamin c which keeps a chicken’s digestive system happy, healthy and functioning in its optimal capacity.
Oranges also provide diversity in a chickens diet and help to keep their diets interesting. You could think of oranges as a bit of a healthy sweet treat to give to your chickens. Oranges are also very high in vitamin C which help to boost a chicken’s immune system.
Nutritional Profile of Oranges
1 raw whole orange contains:
- Calories: 66
- Water: 86%
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Carbs: 14.8 grams
- Sugar: 12 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
Oranges are very high in water content to help keep your chickens hydrated.
Oranges are also said to improve immune function, collagen synthesis and iron absorption.
They are also high in antioxidants which contribute to a well functioning immunity, optimal growth, healthy egg production and numerous other beneficial health functions for your chickens.
Are oranges safe for chickens to eat?
Yes, oranges are safe for chickens to eat – as long as they are given in moderation and and alongside a diverse and planned out diet, balanced with high quality commercial chicken feed. We use this organic brand for our own girls.
Some precautions to keep in mind when feeding chickens oranges are:
- Oranges are sweet so treat them like a healthy treat. Give them in moderation and alongside a balanced diet.
- Try and source organic or spray free oranges for your chickens due to the high pesticide use when producing this crop.
Can chickens eat orange peels?
Yes, orange peels are safe for chickens to eat, however, chickens are most likely to not even touch orange peels! They do not find orange peels appertizing and will probably ignore them. This is why if you want your chickens to try oranges its best to peel them first before offering.
If you do decide to give chickens oranges with the peel its best to wash the peel first with some vinegar, salt and water to remove as much pesticide residue as possible before feeding.
How to feed oranges to chickens
The easiest way to feed oranges to your chickens with the best chance of them actually eating the orange is to chop them up into smaller and easier digestible pieces, alternatively you can just throw a whole peeled orange on the ground for your chickens to peck at.
We love to hand feed our our chickens small bite sized pieces of orange. It’s a great bonding experience.
Its best to feed your oranges raw due to the fruit retaining its water content. This ensures the chicken is not taking in too much concentrated sugar, which can occur when oranges are cooked and the water content is evaporated, turning it into a jam or marmalade.
As with other foods, do no feed your chickens moldy oranges either, as this can make them very sick.
Another stimulating activity you can create for them is to hang a peeled orange or two in a feed basket and let them pick at them. This activity will keep them entertained whilst pecking and watching the basket swing back and forth. We have this one pictured below for our flock and really enjoy watching them have fun with their food when using the basket.
What foods can chickens not eat?
There are several foods that chickens should not eat. We have compiled a quick table below for your reference.
|Acorns||Avocado Skins||Beans – undercooked or dried|
|Chocolate||Chocolate Cake||Coffee Grinds|
|Rhubarb||Refined Sugar||Tomato Plants|
So, can chickens eat oranges?
Yes! Go ahead and give your chickens the delicious and nutritious benefits of oranges – but just don’t expect them to go crazy for them!
Just remember to give them oranges in moderation with the vast majority of their diet should come from a high quality commercial feed with other fruits and vegetables given as well.
Nutritional profile of oranges – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oranges#nutrition