Peaches are about as American as baseball and apple pie. And for good reason; they are just so delicious! So, it seems that if we are lucky enough to enjoy their sweet goodness our feathered friends should be able to too. Right? Makes us wonder can chickens eat peaches or must they look on in envy?
Keep scrolling and we'll see if chickens can eat peaches or not.
Can Chickens Eat Peaches?
Yes, chickens can eat peaches and they love them. Peaches are a nutritious and healthy treat to feed your chickens.
Peaches have a ton of nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So, not only are peaches delicious, but they contain nutrients essential to the health and wellbeing of a chicken.
Is it safe for a chicken to eat a peach?
For the most part, yes it is safe for chickens to eat peaches. The yellow flesh on the inside of the peach, what we think of as the actual peach, is absolutely a safe and tasty treat. Additionally, you do not have to remove the skin before feeding peaches to your chickens.
Can chickens eat peach skins?
Yes, chickens can eat peach skins. It will contain many nutrients that the chicken can use and can help keep your chickens healthy. They may waste some of it but they will probably eat a good amount of the skin while eating the fruit.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
Can chickens eat peach pits?
No, chickens should not eat peach pits, or stone, as it's sometimes called. The pit is the large, hard seed found in the center of a peach.
Just like when considering if chickens can eat apples, peaches contain amygdalin which changes into hydrogen cyanide. Cyanide in peach pits are, just like in apple seeds, toxic and can cause your chicken to become sick and even die. Fortunately, cyanide can not handle too much heat and can be eliminated by cooking it.
Fortunately, this will likely never be a real problem because the pits are generally much too hard and large for a chicken to waste time bothering with it; especially when there's a sweet and juicy peach close by.
Can chickens eat whole peaches?
No, chickens cannot eat whole peaches because they cannot have the peach pits as mentioned above. However, if you slice the peach in half and remove the pit, they can have peach halves.
Are the leaves and peach tree poisonous to chickens?
Just like the pit, the leaves of a peach tree also contain amygdalin. So the same risk of cyanide poisoning is present in the leaves. Stick to giving your chickens a juicy peach free of pits and greens.
Can chickens eat canned peaches?
Technically yes, chickens can eat canned peaches but it isn't really a great idea. Canned peaches contain a ton of sugar which can be harmful for chickens, which we will discuss a little more in depth later.
If you canned your own peaches with little to no sugar, or purchased no sugar added canned peaches those might be ok to feed your chickens.
Can chickens eat rotten or spoiled peaches?
No, chickens cannot eat rotten or spoiled peaches. Never feed rotten or moldy fruit (or any food, for that matter) to your chickens.
Chickens, and just about any living creature, should not eat anything that is in a condition that we, as humans, would not eat our food in that same condition. Spoiled and moldy food can make your chickens sick and possibly even cause death.
Are peaches healthy for chickens?
Considering what we just said above, it may seem a little confusing. Are they good and safe for chickens or are peaches toxic?
Let us clear it up for you. While the pit, tree, leaves, and other greenery around the peach can be toxic, the actual peach is completely safe and healthy for chickens to eat. They are high in things like Vitamin C and antioxidants. However, we must caveat that by saying so long as they are fed in moderation.
Peaches contain a lot of sugar which can be dangerous for chickens if they eat too much. A large shift in the amount of sugar in a chicken's diet can be harmful in a few ways. Chickens can actually become addicted, in a sense, to the sweet flavor; craving it over their own feed. Over time, they may stop eating their feed altogether and hold out just for a sweet treat.
Hypoclycemia in chickens
Another danger is hypoglycemia. Then sugar is broken down in the body it is converted into glucose which is a way our body has energy. Glucose, however, burns much faster than other sources of energy. The problem is a chicken's body is used to a certain blood sugar level. When the chicken consumes a bunch of sugar, and then that sugar turns to glucose, and then all of the glucose is burnt away, the chicken experiences a blood sugar spike and then a sudden and steep drop.
This spike and drop is similar to what happens when we eat too much sugar and then start to feel wonky a short time later. Chickens, being much smaller than humans, experience this in a more extreme manner. At best, they can be very uncomfortable until they level back out or they can go into a sugar coma which can potentially be fatal.
What are the nutritional benefits of peaches for chickens?
Peaches have plenty of good nutrients that your chicken can use to grow and stay healthy and strong.
The table below, courtesy of the USDA FoodData Center, has a breakdown of the nutritional analysis based on a serving size of 1 medium sized fresh peach (147 g).
What do these nutrients do?
Antioxidants work to repair damage from free radicals and fight off or prevent future damage. They also protect against oxidative damage which can lead to accelerated issues related to aging. Additionally, antioxidants are known to work as anti-inflammatories, to lower blood pressure, improve heart health in high enough doses, and assist in the development and health of tissue, skin, and feathers.
- Antioxidants: (Beta Carotene, Lycopene) repair damage from free radicals, fight off/prevent future damage, protect from oxidative damage, anti-inflammatory, lower blood pressure, improve heart health in high enough doses, development and health of tissue, skin, and feathers
- Vitamin A: eye, skin, respiratory, and digestive health
- Carotene, Beta (Beta Carotene): egg, feathers, skin, beak, and comb color; converts to Vitamin A
- Vitamin C: joint, cellular, and immune health; collagen synthesis
- Calcium: bones and egg shell strength
- Carbohydrates: give chickens energy
- Fiber: only small amounts or they can become constipated, get a blockage, etc; energy, growth, and digestive health
- Folate (B Vitamin): folate deficiency; helps blood formation; healthy feathers & size
- Potassium: temperature control; hydration & electrolyte regulation, metabolism; heart health/heart disease preventative
How do you feed peaches to chickens?
Wash, cut the peach, remove the pit, and give it to them; easy as that!
However, it will make things a bit easier and safer to eat if you cut them into smaller pieces. Another fun option, like we did with kiwi (chickens can eat kiwi, too), is to suspend a peach at the chickens' eye level. They will, not only have a tasty treat but a fun DIY chicken toy to keep them busy and less bored.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can I overfeed my chicken peaches?
Yes, you can give them too much. Like we said earlier, only feed your chickens peaches in moderation. We like to stick with the 90/10 rule meaning no more than 10% of your chickens' diet should be anything outside of their feed and what they can forage.
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.