Oh! Its treat time for your hens and in your fridge there is a piece of leftover watermelon. So what? Can chickens eat watermelon?
I know you are skeptical. But yes chickens can eat watermelon. Chickens aren’t picky when it comes to eating and will eat most fruits that we eat.
Feeding chicken is fun and enjoyable. It is good to offer treats to chickens as gifts. When you have a bumper harvest, of some of your fruits and vegetables, be generous and share some with your feathered friends.
In this article, I am going to cover everything you need to know about chickens and watermelon.
Do chickens eat watermelon?
Can chickens eat watermelon? Yes! Watermelon is good and healthy for chickens to eat. The fruit, seeds, rind, vines and leaves are nutritious for chickens.
This tasty fruit is moisture-laden and is especially nourishing during a hot summer day. Feeding watermelon to chickens is a good way to keep their bodies cool and well hydrated.
In addition to moisture, watermelon is laden with a host of vitamins and minerals. This makes it a good and healthy fruit to include to the list of treats for your flock.
How much watermelon can chickens eat?
Chickens do not know how to limit their stomachs. They will eat as much watermelon as they can as long as it is available.
But, do they need too much of it? Watermelon is a treat and it is good that all treats should be fed sparingly and in moderation.
Treats are meant to supplement chickens diet with additional vitamins and minerals. As the general rule of thumb states, treats should not exceed 10% of the chicken’s diet.
Do not do away with the main chicken’s diet of commercial feeds just because you discovered your hens have an appetite for watermelon.
If your chickens get used to watermelon, they may develop a taste for sugary foods. They may in turn refuse to switch back to their staple diet.
Treats with too much sugar are not the best for chickens. Sugar is converted into fat making your hens obese and overweight.
Obese chickens are prone to joint and back problems. They also get too heavy and are unable to run when fleeing for predators like chicken hawks and possums.
What parts of the watermelon can chickens eat?
The entire watermelon fruit and plant are good for chickens to eat. My Barnevelder hens do not spare anything when they sneak in my small orchard.
Chickens are excellent at foraging when allowed to roam and free range. They will much on the watermelon leaves and even eat up the soft parts of the vine.
But before you let your blue hens eat the watermelon plants, ask yourself whether they are laden with pesticides and other farm chemicals.
Most farm chemicals and pesticides are very toxic when ingested. They can cause lead poisoning which can be a recipe for ill health and even death.
In case you are not sure, rinse the leaves thoroughly with clean water before feeding.
The flesh part of the fruit is very appetizing to your chickens just as it is to you. It is sweet and succulent just like cucumber.
Your birds will not spare the seeds either. They can easily digest them inside the gizzard. Watermelon rind is good too for them.
The white part of the rind is rich in potassium. Outer watermelon shell may be hard for them to tear in small pieces but if they can it is good food too.
Why feed watermelon to chickens?
As I said earlier, watermelon is healthy and good for chickens to eat. This tasty fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals good for your birds.
But, let’s go through some of the reasons you may choose to feed watermelon to chickens.
1 It is a good water source
Watermelon fruit is 90% moisture. This means that chickens eating watermelon will have their bodies well hydrated.
It will help keep their feathered bodies free from hydration. As you know, water is very important to chickens just as it is to you.
These birds feel thirsty too. They need to drink to quench their thirst and also keep their body metabolism run smoothly.
Water helps chickens digest food, transport nutrients around the body and remove undigested food material.
A frozen piece of watermelon is refreshing for the hens on a hot summer day. Be kind and generous enough to share some of your leftover fruit with your flock.
2 Watermelon is a good source of nutrients
Not you or I can deny that watermelons are good for the health of chickens and well-being. Among the nutrients these fruits contain is fiber.
Fiber is very important in food digestion. It ensures that undigested food runs smooth during defecation thus preventing constipation.
These fruits also contain Vitamins A, C and B6. They are also rich in other minerals like Copper, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Zinc, Thiamin and Folate.
All the above minerals and vitamins are good for a healthy flock. However, don’t forget that watermelon is a treat and moderation is key.
3 They are good boredom busters
When chickens are idle and have nothing to do can get stressed easily. They may result in unnecessary fighting, bullying and even feather picking. This is especially common with chickens raised in confinement.
You can also put a piece on a clean surface and let you chickens dine on it. This will keep them busy, occupied and fed at the same time.
Things to observe when feeding watermelons to chickens
1 Moderation is key
Always remember that watermelon is a treat. Any treats fed to chickens and other farm animals should be fed sparingly and in moderation.
As the rule states, all treats should not make up more than 10% of the chickens diet. Treats are meant to supplement these birds with extra vitamins and minerals.
Do not do away with the main diet just because your flock has developed a taste for watermelon. Too much watermelon may make your hens shift to sugary foods.
2 Avoid rotten fruit
Rotten and spoilt watermelons are bad for the chickens just as they are to you. Do not feed your feathered friends what you cannot eat.
Bad fruits can cause ill health and even death. They may contain harmful molds and bacteria which can be very toxic when ingested.
3 Chop the fruit into pieces
A whole watermelon shell is a hard task for chickens to break. The outer green rind of the fruit is tough and small chickens like bantams cannot tear it apart.
Chop the fruit into small pieces or two equal halves depending on the number of chickens you have. This will help expose the fleshy part for the birds to eat.
Slicing the rinds after you have eaten the fleshy part is good. If you never had enough fruit for you and your birds, let them have the rind instead of throwing it away.
4 Check out for pesticides
Some farmers grow their fruits in areas where pests are a nuisance. This makes them use pesticides and other chemicals to control insect pests.
These types of fruits can be very dangerous to chickens when consumed. Feed chickens with watermelons that you are sure about the source.
Some of those fruits you buy in the local groceries may have residue chemicals on them. Wash them thoroughly to ensure they are clean and safe before tossing them to chickens.
Can baby chickens eat watermelon?
Chicks can eat watermelons. Although they are not the best food for these chickens, the fleshy part is sweet and tasty for these baby hens.
Watermelons do not have all the nutrients required for the healthy growth and development of chicks. These little chickens should stick to chick starter feeds but not treats.
Baby chicks require a protein rich diet. They have bones, muscles and feathers to develop. Feed them with a well-rounded course for proper growth.
Ensure that they get plenty of clean drinking water. This will help keep their bodies cool and well hydrated throughout.
What fruits can chickens eat?
Mango– Mangoes are sweet and tasty to chickens. Hang a whole mango in the chicken coop to keep them busy pecking at before dusk.
Apple- Apples are good fruits and don’t mind sharing some with your chickens. However, apple seeds should be removed first. They contain cyanide a toxic chemical to chickens when ingested.
Pineapple- Pineapples are very good treats for chickens. However, they are very rich in sugars and should be fed in moderation.
Too much sugar is converted into fat. It makes chickens obese, overweight and heavy. Obese chickens are prone to health problems and are an easy target for predators.
Pitted cherries are not good for chickens. These pits contain cyanide and can choke your birds when swallowed.
Pears- Pears are good fruits for chickens. Your grey hen breeds will enjoy pecking at this tasty crunchy treat.
Ensure the seeds are removed first before feeding them to your flock. Just like apple, plum and cherry seeds, they contain cyanide too.
Avocado- These fruits are very healthy for chickens. They are laden with a host of vitamins and minerals that boost the health of your flock.
However, avocado seeds are not good for chickens to eat. They pose a choking hazard and contain high amounts of cyanide which is toxic to chickens.
Watermelons are good fruits for chickens to eat. They contain a host of vitamins and minerals that are good for their well-being.
However, they are good when fed in moderation. These treats do not contain all the nutrients that chickens require.
Do your chickens eat watermelon? Share your thoughts.
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