Can Chickens Eat Oranges?

Can Chickens Eat Oranges Featured Image
Chickens can eat oranges but they generally won't eat whole oranges. You'll need to cut these into smaller pieces and clean up the rinds once they are finished eating.

Chickens appreciate variety in their diets the same way we do. In choosing tasty treats for your backyard chickens, common citrus fruits such as oranges and limes are often offered to our feathered friends.

Oranges may not be a fan favorite of your flock, however. Just as humans have preferences and individual tastes, so do chickens.

Generally speaking, most chickens will ignore oranges in favor of other fruits and vegetables. This is a shame because oranges offer such incredible health benefits, and contain plentiful nutrients for backyard chickens.

Are Oranges Safe for Chickens to Eat?

Oranges are safe for chickens to eat, provided the fruit is cut into smaller pieces.

If you feed chickens oranges, it can provide a lot of nutritional benefits. However, they cannot eat the rind of the orange and will ignore it, so be sure to remove orange peels from the fruit prior to offering it to your chickens.

Chickens have beaks rather than teeth and they cannot chew their food, so small pieces should be offered rather than whole fruits. Some owners have said citric acid in large amounts may be harmful and kill off good bacteria (as well as bad) in your chicken’s gut so always serve these types of fruit in moderation.

Some owners have also said they have witnessed feather plucking when their chickens had too much Vitamin C. If you feed a lot of foods that have high amounts of Vitamin C, be sure to monitor your birds so they don’t pluck out their feathers.

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chicken with plucked feathers
Pay attention to plucked feathers. Luckily, this is a worst-case scenario

Any fruit or vegetable given to your birds should be well-washed to get rid of pesticides that may have been sprayed on them when they were growing. Yes, even oranges can have pesticides on them.

Baby chicks should not eat too many oranges in particular because their crumble is so important for them to eat. Should they like oranges (or any other fruit or veggie) more than their crumble, they may not eat enough chicken feed to grow properly.

Are Oranges Healthy for Chickens?

Oranges can provide your chickens with many nutritional benefits and contain important antioxidants along with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Potassium which can help their immune system.

Oranges are a great source of calcium and through calcium absorption can help your chickens to produce eggs with strong shells.

Oranges can be a great addition to a chicken’s diet and are one of the best heart-healthy fruits that chickens can eat in small quantities.

If you are concerned for your chicken’s health and can find a way to sneak oranges into their feed, it will only benefit them.

How Can You Get Chickens to Eat Oranges?

The many health benefits of oranges mean that you should make an attempt to see if your chicken will eat them. This is easier said than done if they don’t seem interested in this sweet citrus fruit.

chicken coop with orange tree
Since chickens generally won’t eat whole fruits, you can grow oranges in their coop!

Some chicken breeds may enjoy oranges if they are mixed with other favorite fruits such as blueberries or watermelons. Feed oranges in tiny amounts at first to see if you can tempt them into eating them and gradually increase the amount until they ignore it.

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This should give you a good idea of how much is tolerable for them. Of course, there may be a few birds in your flock who enjoy oranges – if so, that makes it easier!


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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