Chickens are not very choosy when it comes to food. They will devour almost anything including chicken if they get it. Most foods that people eat can be eaten by these birds mostly as treats. So, can chickens eat cherries?
Although most human food can appear on the chickens menu, some are not fit for their health and well-being. So it is important to ask yourself whether what you are about to toss to your hens is food or poison.
Feeding chickens fruits is a good way to supplement their diets with extra nutrients. Additionally, they will eat these fruits and prevent any wastage especially when the harvest is bumper.
In this article, I am going to talk about chickens and cherries. What are the benefits? Are they safe for these birds to eat? The answer is here.
Are cherries good for chickens to eat?
Yes! Cherries are certainly on the chicken’s diet. These tasty fruits contains a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are good for the health of your friendliest chickens.
Cherries are good to toss to your feathered friends as a treat and this should not make you do away with their main diet of crumbles and pellets.
They should be fed sparingly in moderation several times in a week. This tasty treat will supplement their diet with additional nutrients and minerals.
Fresh cherries are good chicken treats and will cause no harm to them. Although they are sugar rich, cherries make a good treat to toss to chickens.
How many cherries should chickens eat?
Although they make a good snack, cherries should be fed in moderation as a treat. They contain too much sugar that is converted into fat, stored in body muscles making chickens obese and overweight.
When chickens gain too much weight, they are prone to joint, liver and back problems. Additionally, they become too heavy and cannot flee to safety when chased by chicken predators making them an easy target.
Toss this treat once in a while just like you toss grapes, strawberries and mealworms. This tasty treat is meant to supplement them with extra nutrients, act as a boredom buster and entice them to come back to their coop and roost before dusk.
Feeding too much sweet foods to your roosters can make them develop a taste for sugars and refuse their sugarless crumbles and pellets.
Just because chickens are eating cherries does not mean that you do away with their main course. Feed treats in moderation!
The general rule of thumb states that all treats fed to chickens should never make up more than 10% of their total diets. Let the remaining percentage be their main course of crumbles and pellets.
What types of cherries are good for chickens?
In general, all cherries are good for chickens as long as they are ripe. Dried cherries are good just as raisins are. Sour cherries are better because they contain more nutrients and less sugars.
The only exemption should be Bordeaux maraschino cherries because sometimes they are coated with chocolate which is not good for chickens.
Wild cherries are as good as those grown on the farm. I consider wild cherries even better because they grow naturally in the wild and contain no pesticides.
Avoid cherries that had chemicals sprayed during the growing period. Some farm chemicals remain as residue on the fruit and can be deadly to chickens. This also includes those store bought cherries because you are not sure where and how they were grown.
Can chickens eat cherries with pits?
In most cases, fruits pits are dangerous for chickens to eat. This is because they contain cyanide a toxic chemical to chickens.
Cherries with seeds are not the best to feed to chickens. However, two or three cherry pits will cause no harm to chickens and will be passed out with poop.
But this does not mean that all the cherries fed to chickens should have pits. Use a knife to half the fruit and remove the seed with your hands.
Cherry pits can easily choke chickens to death because of their size. Watch out!
You can also buy a cherry pitter to help- you remove the seeds. The same case applies to cherry leaves. They are as bad as the pits are and should never be fed to chickens.
How to feed cherries to chickens?
When feeding this chicken treat to your birds, consider they age or their stage of growth. In most cases baby chickens will not swallow whole cherries and they are not the best type of food for them either.
These young birds require chopped or ground cherries. As for the adult chickens, whole fruits pose no threat and can swallow them with ease.
Frozen cherries are a good treat to feed to chickens during the summer season because they will help cool their bodies.
Can baby chicks eat cherries?
Cherries are not the right type of food to feed to baby chicks. Remember these birds are still very young and their digestive systems are not fully developed to digest treats.
Chicks should stick to their starter feeds until they are about 6-8 weeks of age. Chick feeds are well formulated and have all the nutrients these birds need right after hatching until they are fully feathered.
Remember that cherries are sweet and can make baby chicks develop a taste for sweet foods. This can be a challenge especially when they have to eat their main course which contains no sugars.
What other treats are good for chickens?
Apart from cherries, there are a host of other treats that you can toss to chickens. They include fruits, vegetables, kitchen scrap and meal worms.
Many fruits make excellent treats for chickens. However, they should be fed in moderation because they contain too much sugar.
When feeding the above fruits, do not let chickens consume apple seeds and pits of peaches and avocado. They contain cyanide which is toxic to chicken.
Unlike fruits, vegetables do not have sugars that are harmful to chickens. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that boost chickens health.
Most kitchen scrap is made up of left-over food, cheese, fruit peels, strawberry tops and un popped corn.
However, when feeding kitchen scrap always remember that chickens do not need salt, butter and spicy food.
What things are toxic to chickens?
Members of the night shade family are harmful to the health of chickens. They include green tomato fruit and the entire plant. Although green tomatoes are not good, ripe tomatoes are good treats for chickens.
Raw dry beans are dangerous to chickens. They contain a toxic chemical compound called hemagglutinin that is deadly to chickens when ingested. However, cooked beans are good and can be fed to your flock.
All dairy products are not good for chickens. Their digestive system was not designed to digest such foods. When ingested by chickens, these products can cause severe diarrhea which can lead to dehydration. However, cheese despite being a dairy product can be fed to chickens sparingly.
Do not feed raw meat to your chickens. Uncooked meat can cause salmonella poisoning which can cause health problems and even death to your chickens.
Potato peels are another thing you should never feed to chickens. They contain a harmful chemical called solanine that is toxic to chickens. However, cooked potatoes make good treats for chickens and can be fed either mashed or boiled whole but in moderation.
Cherries and grapes can be fed to chickens. These tasty treats are good when fed in moderation and they will add valuable nutrients and vitamins to their bodies.
However, avoid pitted cherries by removing the seeds and feeding cherry flesh to chickens. Cherry seeds are not good for chickens to eat and can lead to death. Do you feed cherries to your chickens?
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