Chickens are especially intelligent and social birds that can make for great pets.
And as with most pets, the question at the top of your mind would be what to feed them?
Certain food items can be toxic to your pet. Some others would be impressive additions to their diet.
In this article, we try to find out if oranges are good for chickens.
Also, we will look at some food items that your bird needs to stay away from.
Can You Give Orange To Your Chicken?
There have been plenty of debates and discussions on this topic.
Arguments exist both for and against feeding oranges to your pet bird.
You could try giving a small piece to your bird to see if he likes the taste.
Some breeds of chicken might be sensitive.
Vitamin C and citric acid present in oranges may cause too much feather plucking in the birds.
Citric acid may affect the absorption of calcium. This may lead to fewer eggs and thinner eggshells.
A point to note here is that even the oxalic acid present in spinach affects chickens in much the same way.
So it’s wise to reserve spinach only for rare occasions.
Some chickens may love oranges.
If you have orange trees in your backyard, you would often find them pecking at the fallen fruits on the ground.
Usually, they would eat the flesh and not the skin.
It is completely fine for your chicken to feed on oranges now and then.
But a common belief is feeding them daily on this fruit may not be a good idea.
Should You Feed Orange Peels to Your Chicken
Your chickens may not be as interested to try out the peels as they would be to eat the flesh of an orange.
But some studies say it’s a good idea to get them to eat the peels as they have some beneficial effects on their health.
Oranges or any other citric fruits like grapefruit keep food-borne diseases at bay.
Citrus fruits help in reducing harmful bacteria in the intestine of animals.
Good news is they don’t affect the good bacteria.
Many animals including chickens shed harmful, disease-causing bacteria like salmonella through their excrements.
Oils from such citrus fruits help by killing deadly bacteria and virus particles.
This also reduces the chances of contamination.
Try feeding your animals leftover peels of citrus fruits.
As per research, the citrus oil found in the peels could be great at killing harmful organisms.
This would keep your animals healthy.
Keep in mind that these oils stay restricted to the peels of the fruits and are usually not found in the pulp.
So, giving them orange juice may not help much in battling disease-causing germs.
But feeding them on peels might be very helpful.
Peels are often tough to chew, and your chickens might find it difficult to eat these.
In such cases, you could encourage your birds to play with the peels instead.
Other Foods That Your Chicken Should Stay Away From
Below we have curated for you a list of some common food items.
While these may be great for you, they may not be as great for your feathered friend.
So be aware of what you feed your chickens.
Chickens instinctively tend to stay away from plants of the nightshade family.
These include potato, tomato and eggplants.
These contain solanine, a toxin that destroys red blood cells and causes diarrhoea.
It can even lead to heart failure.
Cooking potatoes at high temperature may destroy this toxin.
Boiling doesn’t make potato safe for chickens because it doesn’t do much to reduce solanine levels.
Best would be to keep your chickens away from potatoes with green skin, along with the plant and its leaves.
The skin and the stone inside the fruit contains a chemical called persin.
This substance can cause myocardial necrosis in birds and mammals.
But the rest of the fruit is harmless enough.
Make sure not to feed avocado leaves to your chicken since this can cause toxicosis in animals.
As long as you remove the skin and the pit, there’s not much to worry about feeding avocados to your birdies.
Raw beans contain a chemical called phytohemagglutinin.
This is an insecticide that can be deadly for your chicken.
To destroy this toxin, ensure you soak the beans well and then cook them.
Afterwards, you can feed it to your chickens, without any worry.
Or you can consider feeding your birds sprouted beans.
Sprouting destroys the harmful chemical.
Chocolate, Caffeine And Alcohol:
In the ordinary course of things, it is hard to imagine why any sane person would want to feed his chickens any of these.
But one never knows what an adventurous pet parent may like to try out!
So that we are clear, do not even consider feeding any of these items to your bird.
Scientists have found that caffeine and chocolate contain a chemical called methylxanthines theobromine.
This can be dangerous for most animals including birds.
As far as alcohol is concerned, it is not even good for humans.
So please don’t try it out on your innocent birdie.
Food Coated with Pesticides:
Pesticides on our food are the major cause of the increase in the incidence of cancer.
These are harmful chemicals that are very difficult to remove even after a thorough wash.
So try to give organic, home-grown food to your chickens instead of store-bought ones.
Always remember if something is bad for you then most likely, it would be bad for your feathery friend as well.