There are many fruit treats that are good for chickens. Most of the fruits we eat are good and laden with nutrients that are good for healthy chickens. So, can chickens eat cantaloupe?
The reason we toss treats to chickens is to make them happy and supplement their diets. Treats act as boredom busters keeping these chooks busy pecking at something tasty instead of feather picking.
However, there is a long list of treats that these critters enjoy including chicken. Although, not everything edible is fit for their well-being, it is good to go for what you are sure of.
Chickens and cantaloupe
Do chickens like cantaloupe? Yes! Cantaloupe is good and safe for chickens to eat. All the fruit parts that is the seeds, fresh and rind are good for your birds.
This tasty fruit is laden with a host of vital minerals and vitamins that are good for the health of your chickens.
However, cantaloupe should be fed to chickens in moderation as a treat. This means that it should not make up more than 10% of the chickens diet.
Also, do not do away with the staple diet just because you discovered that your chicken breeds have a taste for this fruit.
How much cantaloupe do chickens need?
As I have just stated above, cantaloupe is a fruit treat and not the main diet. This clearly tells that when feeding it to chickens, moderation is key.
Although it is healthy, it does not contain all the nutrients that chickens require. So, feeding too much of it to chickens can lead to malnutrition.
Not all chickens will find cantaloupe good and tasty like some will. If you choose to make this tasty fruit the main diet, some chickens will starve especially those that do not like it.
What are the health benefits of feeding cantaloupe to chickens?
Cantaloupe is a good fruit to feed to chickens. It contains a host of vitamins and minerals which are very important for your feathered friends.
Below is a table that shows the nutrient content in a 100g cantaloupe fruit.
Vitamin C 36.7mg
Vitamin K 2.5ug
As you can see from the table above, cantaloupe is very healthy for chickens. It contains a lot of water making it a good treat to feed your birds on a hot summer day.
It has calcium which is a very important mineral in the chicken’s bodies. Calcium helps in formation of strong bones and development of good egg shells.
This fruit has some amounts of fiber which will prevent chickens from having a hard time passing out undigested food material.
Cantaloupe has iron that is very vital in the blood. Iron helps prevent a blood condition called anemia which is very dangerous and can cause death.
What parts of the cantaloupe can chickens eat?
The entire cantaloupe fruit is good and nutritious for chickens. However, before feeding this fruit to your black and white hens, there are things you need to consider;
1 The fruit may contain chemicals.
In some areas where cantaloupe melons are grown, farmers are forced to use pesticides, herbicides and other farm chemicals.
This is so because there are pests, weeds and other threats to the fruit in the farm. Feeding chickens fruits laden with chemicals can be dangerous.
Clean the fruit thoroughly with plenty of clean water before feeding.
2 Large pieces of cantaloupe can choke your hens.
Large chunks of cantaloupe especially the rind can be a choking hazard to your birds. Chop the fruit into bite sized pieces to help them swallow it with ease.
3 Make use of every part of the fruit.
As I said earlier, the entire fruit is edible and nothing should go into waste. However, some parts such as the rind can be tough for some chickens.
To ensure nothing goes to waste, chop them into tiny pieces and toss to chickens. You can also dry these rinds, grind them and mix with chicken feed.
How to prepare cantaloupe for chickens
Cantaloupe does not require spices or any cooking to make it ready for chickens. This fruit can be eaten raw or ripe depending on how you want your birds to have it.
Wash and rinse cantaloupe thoroughly with plenty of clean water. Washing ensures that any dirt, chemicals and other impurities on the rind are removed.
Chop this treat into bite sized pieces to make it easy even for your blue bantams to swallow. You can choose not to chop and hang it inside the wooden chicken coop for chickens to peck at.
Hanging is a good way to keep the hens busy and bust boredom. This prevents idleness which encourages bullying, unnecessary wrestles and feather picking.
Remove any uneaten fruit from the chicken feeders to avoid it going bad. If the fruit remains in the coop for long, it can attract harmful bacteria and rodents.
Can baby chicks eat cantaloupe?
Cantaloupe is sweet, tasty and healthy for chickens. Chickens do like to eat it and will not spare a frozen piece of it on a hot summer day.
However, the case is very different with baby chicks. Although this fruit treat is healthy, it does not contain all the nutrients that these little feathered friends require for growth.
In this case, it is wise and good to let these baby chickens stick to their staple diet of chick starter feeds because they are well-balanced with all nutrients.
This does not mean that if you toss cantaloupe fruit to chicks they will not dare eat it. Some of the quick learners and curious chicks will peck at the soft fleshy part.
What treats can chickens eat?
There is a wide variety of treats for chickens. But as the general rule of thumb states, all treats should be fed in moderation and should never exceed 10% of the chicken’s diet.
Treats are only meant to supplement their diet with extra minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Here are some of the treats chickens can eat;
Apart from cantaloupe, there are a host of fruits good for chickens to eat like: Watermelon, cherries, blackberries, mango, plum, grapes, peaches, ripe avocado, strawberries, pineapple, oranges and kiwi.
Most fruits are very rich in sugar and should be fed once in a while. Too much sugar will make your hens obese and overweight which can lead to ill health.
Vegetables are some of the best treats that chickens can eat even in excess. They are low in sugar and calories thus making them very safe for chickens to consume.
Leftovers and chicken scraps
Most of the food we eat is good for chickens. However, only feed leftovers that are low in salt, fat, oils and other spices.
These foods are not the best for chicks because they make these birds gain more weight than they are required to.
Herbs are some of the best treats chickens can eat. They are mineral laden and have a lot of antioxidants which are very good for chickens health and well-being.
These herbs are good and make some of the best natural dewormer for chickens. Some of the herbs chickens can eat include: Cilantro, dill, lavender, sage, mint, chamomile, pepper, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme and tarragon.
Can chickens eat cantaloupe final thoughts
Cantaloupe is an edible fruit for chickens. It is also known in other names like; Musk melon, Persian melon, Mash melon and Rock melon.
They are healthy just like honey dew melon is for your flock. However, they should be fed sparingly and in moderation.