Can Chickens Eat Apples?

Can Chickens Eat Apples Featured Image
Chickens can eat apples but not all breeds enjoy this fruit. They also can't eat the seeds, so you should also cut apples into small pieces to help them eat and digest the pieces easily. 

If you have an apple tree, or if you accidentally bought too much produce and are wondering if you can feed apples to your chickens, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about feeding apples to chickens, which parts of the apple are safe, and what the health benefits and potential dangers you face when feeding apples as a part of your chicken’s diet.

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Apples?

As a general rule, apples are safe as a supplement to your chicken’s diet, but some parts of the apple should never be fed to chickens (such as the seeds).

chickens eating green apples
Chickens can eat apples, but best not to serve whole apples like this

If you provide apples as a treat for your flock, you will want to ensure that you cut them up into small pieces which will help your chickens eat them easily, and decrease the likelihood of them developing sour crop.

Apples themselves aren’t dangerous, but…the seeds are poisonous and your chickens can get cyanide poisoning from them, so always remove the seeds!

See Also:  Why Do Chickens Eat Their Eggs?

As with any treat, chickens are prone to overeating if they like something, so you will want to make sure you don’t feed them a large amount, and cause unintentional weight gain. Offering apples a few times a week is ideal.

You should never feed moldy apples or peelings to your chickens as this can cause digestive issues so always do a quick visual inspection for mold prior to feeding.

Baby chicks can eat apples if they are finely diced, but only in small amounts. Baby chicks are the most vulnerable birds in your chicken coop.

We recommend feeding organic fruits and vegetables to your chickens as part of their regular diet, as some pesticides can be harmful to chickens if consumed in large quantities. Always clean any produce to reduce the amount of pesticide that may be present.

Do Chickens Like Apples?

Some chickens love apples but not all chicken breeds do! The best way to know whether your flock likes apple treats is by offering it to them and seeing how they react.

If they quickly gobble up the tasty treat, then you can be sure that they enjoy apples. If they peck at it a few times and ignore it, you will know that apples aren’t their favorite thing and you can try something else like tomatoes, or cucumber!

So Chickens Can’t Eat Apple Seeds?

Chickens should never eat apple seeds because they contain cyanide. This can cause serious issues with a chicken because as the apple seed is processed, cyanide poisoning can occur.

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Health complications are highly likely to arise if you feed your chickens apple seeds and they don’t need to ingest many of them to suffer ill effects.

hand with apple seed
These seeds are dangerous for chickens to consume

If you have accidentally fed apple seeds to your chickens and notice that they are struggling to breathe or see that their comb has changed color, immediately take your chickens to a veterinarian for emergency assistance.

Chickens can die in less than a half hour if they have cyanide poisoning so do not wait.

Can Chickens Eat Apple Skins and Peels?

Apple peels and apple skins are usually okay for chickens to eat in moderation as they are packed with nutrients. It is a good idea to break them down by cutting them into small pieces first.

Some birds may enjoy apples, but not particularly care for apple skins, so you will need to perform a taste test and see if apple peels are something they will eat.

Can Chickens Eat Apple Cores?

Chickens can eat apple cores that have been thoroughly de-seeded, and diced.

Apple cores are hard and will be difficult for your chickens to consume, so it may not be their favorite part of the apple, but it is safe to offer it to them.

What Health Benefits do Apples Provide for Chickens?

Apples offer incredible nutritional value and contain important antioxidants, amino acids, and vital vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium!

All of these are of benefit to your chicken’s immune system and even their digestive system because of the high fiber content in apples.

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Apples are considered a healthy food for chickens if they are an occasional treat.

What Type of Apples Should You Feed Chickens?

You can feed any type of diced apple to your chickens but you should never provide the whole apple because of the seeds.

You can, however, remove the seeds and make stuffed apples with nut butter, sunflower seeds, blueberries, and cranberries as an extra special treat that your birds will love to peck at!

It is not a good idea for your chickens to eat apple butter or apple jelly due to the extra sugar and pectin found in those processed products.

apple butter
Skip on feeding apple butter to your chickens, and instead, send it to your compost bin

Fresh apples of any variety are good for chickens as part of a balanced diet. So too, is apple cider vinegar which can be added to your chicken’s water in small amounts a few times a week as an alternative to adding antibiotics.

Christina

A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina recently moved across the globe to Austria, where she bought land specifically to build a small house with room for a backyard chicken coop. Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for a flock of hens owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of chickens, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Chicken Care Taker in 2022.

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