The Cantaloupe is probably one of the most popular fruits during summer. This lightly ribbed fruit of the melon family is the perfect source of escape from the scorching heat of the sun. Its juicy texture and sweet taste add an extra appeal to it. Be it humans or animals; it is a favorite among all. But what about chickens? Do they like cantaloupes?
So, can chickens eat cantaloupe? Yes, chickens love eating cantaloupe. So much so that they tend to eat even the seeds and rind too. The Cantaloupe is absolutely safe for consumption by the chickens. In fact, it is one of their favorite fruits. Every part of the fruit other than the outer layer is safe to eat. The dried off rind and seeds mixed with yogurt is said to be a great way to treat the chickens.
Cantaloupe is mostly made up of water. Hence a great fruit for hot summers. Other than that it has good nutritional values too. It is a good source of carbohydrates, protein, fats, and Vitamin A and C.
Chickens love to pick on the orange flesh of the fruit and the rind and seeds are just another added bonus for them. Now let’s look at ways to feed them the Cantaloupe, shall we?
Sometimes it can make the owners a bit skeptical whether it is safe for the chickens or not. Well, we are here to answer all of your questions on this matter. Let’s put the matter to rest then.
Benefits of cantaloupe for chickens
Cantaloupe is mostly water. Hence it keeps the chickens hydrated. The electrolytes present in cantaloupe also keeps the chickens hydrated.
- 1 cup of cubed cantaloupe contains 144 calories which are more than enough for the chickens.
- There is no risk of the chickens consuming large amounts of fat and cholesterol as the cantaloupe has little to no fat or cholesterol.
- The recommendation of vitamin C for the chickens also gets fulfilled as the cantaloupe is rich in vitamin C.
- The antioxidants help prevent cell damage.
- Vitamin A keeps the chickens’ bones, eyes, and immune system healthy.
- It digests slowly, which means the blood sugar levels of the chickens will remain steady and under control.
- Phytonutrients are present in cantaloupes, which have tremendous anti-inflammatory properties.
How to prepare and what to avoid
- Wash and scrub the fruit thoroughly before cutting
- Cut the fruit in small bite-size pieces and remove the outer covering before feeding to the chickens.
- Once cut, the fruit should be refrigerated.
- It must be consumed within 2-3 days of being cut to prevent the risk of salmonella or other pathogens growing on it.
- The seeds and rind can be fed immediately or you can dry it to feed it later with other treats.
Ways To Feed
We have established that chickens love to eat cantaloupes. Now let’s look at some of the ways to feed it to them.
The easiest way is to cut the Cantaloupe in half or quarters and just let the chickens peck at it.
Another way is to put in a bit more effort and peel the fruit before dicing it into small cubes and feed it to the chickens.
The rind can be dried and later be fed on its own or with other feed
The seeds can be dried and ground up to be mixed with yogurt. Chickens favor it very much.
Many people like to give hidden treats. Which means they hide tasty fruits or other favorite treats inside everyday diet feed. This keeps the chickens excited for even the normal feed and they look forward to it.
Cantaloupe can be used similarly. Little pieces can be fed hidden inside the regular food items that the chickens eat on a daily basis. The change in taste will keep them very happy.
What not to feed
We know what to feed. We know how to feed. Now let’s focus on what food items not to feed our chickens. That’s just as important as the above.
- The peel or outer layer of cantaloupes is not safe for consumption.
- Avocado peel and its pit
- Green potatoes and especially the peel
- Chocolate. People occasionally give it to the chickens but it is not healthy for them.
- Moldy/Rotten Food.
Chickens are natural foragers. Meaning they like to roam around and find their food on the ground. This is a natural instinct for them. Poultry owners should use this to their advantage.
Every once in awhile the normal feed should be scattered or systematically placed around the barn/farm. The chickens would find it and forage it. This will help keep them healthy and preserve their natural instincts intact.
How much cantaloupe is too much for chickens?
The amount of cantaloupe fed to the chickens should strictly be in accordance with their diets. Feeding it as a treat and not as a whole meal is advisable to all owners. Veterinary advice should be taken.
Alternate food items to consider
As much as chickens like the cantaloupe, there are quite a few other items they like too. Maybe even more. Let’s take a look at some of these delicacies.
Worms and seeds – Do you want your chickens to love you? Give them worms. Freeze-dried worms are available to purchase and chickens love them.
Black oil sunflower seeds are also very good for healthy eggs and shiny feathers
Green leafy veggies – Lettuce, spinach, carrots or beets tops, sprouts and grass are some of the various green items that chickens like.
Any leftover greens are also a good treat for chickens such as cauliflowers, cabbage, etc.
Fruits – One cannot forget the importance of fruits in a chicken’s diet. They love most fruits anyway. Some of their favorite ones are Cantaloupe, watermelon, Honeydew melons, grapes, bananas, etc.
Yogurt – It is a healthy and tasty option for chickens to have as a meal. It has good bacteria and probiotics that help the digestive system. The calcium in it helps strengthen the eggshells.
Flax seeds are a good source of Omega 3 boost and help with the eggs.
Health and wellness
This is something that is almost the same as diet and feed. Yet it is extremely important to look after. The health of your chickens should be one of the top priorities. Here are some suggestions and tips on how to look after your birds well.
- Consult a veterinarian regularly.
- Keep an eye on the daily habits and activities of the flock
- Implement nutritional diets with proper consultation from the veterinarian.
- Be aware of any signs of the birds being sick or lethargic.
- Keep their barns clean and rodent-free.
Is the cantaloupe safe for chickens? Yes, cantaloupes are completely safe for chickens. In fact, they are full of nutrients that help in healthy egg production in chickens.
Can the cantaloupe be consumed fully? Apart from the outer peels, every part of cantaloupe fruit can be fed to chickens including rind and seeds.
Is cantaloupe healthy for chickens? Yes, it is a great source of various nutrients that are essential for the chickens. It is especially rich in vitamins A and C. It is also a great source of carbohydrates and protein.
What should be the appropriate amount? It depends on what your bird’s capability and what your veterinarian advises. Keep in mind though, this must not alter the regular diet of the chicken.
What are some of the other good treats for chickens? Worms, seeds, green leafy veggies, fruits like watermelon and pomegranates, yogurt, and flax seeds are some of the many tasty treats available.
That being said, keep in mind every bird is different and there may be some things about your particular chicken(s) that are different from what is written above. If you are already aware of the issues, plan accordingly. If not, please contact an expert immediately.
We hope to have answered all of your queries. Feel free to ask any other questions that you want to know the answers to. On that note, let’s end this article. Here’s to looking forward to a happy and satisfied flock.