Having chickens as pets means having an unlimited source of fun. If you’re having a bad day, you can simply sit in your backyard and look at them fluttering around funnily to lighten your mood up. Chickens are not much of a trouble-giver in terms of food either. There’s hardly anything they say no to. Although poultry feed makes about 90% of their diet, the rest can consist of fruits and vegetables. But can you feed your chicken cherries?
Can chickens eat cherries? Yes, chickens can certainly eat cherries. Cherries have an abundance of nutrients and make delicious and healthy treats for your feathered pet. Different kinds of cherries, including wild and sour cherries, are safe for your chickens as well. However, you must remember to remove their seeds before feeding cherries to chickens, as the seeds contain amygdalin and can also create a choking hazard for the birds.
Chickens have a habit of nibbling around. If they find access to the leaves or flowers of cherry trees, can they eat them as well? What about baby chicks? Can they eat cherries as well? If these questions have crossed your mind, you can find the answer to all of them in this article.
Do chickens like eating cherries?
Before we talk about the health benefits of cherries for chickens, let’s first discuss whether or not your chickens will eat cherries.
Chickens are somewhat fussy eaters. While most chickens like eating cherries due to their sweet and crunchy taste, there’s a chance your chicken might not like it.
If you happen to have more than one chickens, some of them might be crazy about cherries, while the others won’t even touch them. In any case, if your chicken doesn’t like cherries, there’s no point in force-feeding them.
Treats, no matter how nutritious, are meant to make your pets happy, after all. You can always pick another fruit they like.
Are cherries healthy for chickens?
Cherries are low-calorie, fat-free fruits that have no trace of cholesterol or sodium and rich in vitamin C, minerals, and phytonutrients. Take a look at the nutritional chart of cherries given below.
|Vitamin A||88.3 IU|
|Pantothenic acid||0.4 mg|
|Vitamin C||9.6 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.9 mcg|
|Dietary fibers||2.1 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
It is evident that cherries are highly nutritious. However, how many of these nutrients can help your chicken? Let’s find out.
Just like humans, vitamin A is essential in animals and birds as well, including chickens. It not only improves their eyesight and general health but also boosts their egg production capabilities. A deficiency of vitamin A can lead to decreased egg production in them.
The series of B-vitamin in cherries have different functions in chickens. Niacin has anti-inflammatory properties and prevent mouth cavity inflammation or bowed legs in them. At the same time, pantothenic acid improves their skin health. A deficiency of this acid can increase the risk of Dermatitis in chickens.
Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) enhances the immune system of chickens. It also acts as a stress reliever for chickens, especially the heat stress they suffer from during hot summer days.
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant for chickens, while vitamin K is essential for their bone growth. A deficiency of vitamin E in chickens can cause Encephalomalacia in chickens.
Calcium prevents rickets in chickens as well as boosts their egg health. Iron is essential for hemoglobin, and its deficiency can cause anemia in chickens. Copper cures their digestive issues, while zinc is responsible for their healthy bones and feathers.
Cherries have a high water content, which is beneficial for keeping chickens hydrated, particularly in summers.
With all these vitamins and minerals working in favor of chickens, cherries can certainly be considered healthy for chickens.
Beware of cherry seeds
While cherries are healthy for chickens, their seeds, on the contrary, are lethal. The more straightforward threat cherry seeds pose to chickens is of a choking hazard. Chickens have a small throat and can easily choke on one of these seeds if they try to eat cherries whole.
Another, more severe threat is of amygdalin. Amygdalin is a naturally occurring compound found inside the seeds of some fruits, such as apples and cherries.
If you ingest a cherry seed and break it accidentally while chewing, the amygdalin degrades into cyanide inside your body. A considerable amount of cyanide in your body blocks the cells from using oxygen, eventually killing us.
Since they are much smaller than us, birds can suffer from severe effects by consuming only a single cherry seed. In many cases, the cyanide from a cherry seed kills birds within a day of consumption.
Can baby chicks eat cherries?
There’s no reason why baby chicks shouldn’t be treated with these sweet treats. All you need to take care of is moderation since too many cherries can upset the chick’s digestive system.
Can chickens eat wild cherries?
Also known as sweet cherries or gean, wild cherries are a cherry species which are more nutritious than regular cherries. However, feeding these cherries to chickens might be difficult. Unlike their names, wild cherries are very bitter in taste. Therefore, chances are, your chicken might not take to liking these fruits.
Can chicken eat sour cherries?
Sour cherries are not much different from regular cherries. These only have a high vitamins A and C content. Thus, these are healthier for your feathered pet than regular cherries. If you can find sour cherries in the market, you should use these to feed your chickens instead.
Can chickens eat cherry tree leaves?
As far as safety is concerned, the leaves of cherry trees do not contain any toxic elements for chickens. However, you won’t usually find chickens eating cherry leaves; it doesn’t suit their taste buds.
In case your chicken has developed a fondness for cherry leaves, you should limit their access. It is because these leaves can impact the taste of the eggs they lay.
Can chickens eat cherry blossoms?
Cherry blossoms are the flowers of a cherry tree. The cherry trees are laden with these flowers on the onset of spring. However, the blossom doesn’t last long.
In less than a month, all these flowers fall from their trees. If your chickens find these flowers fallen on the ground and want to take a bite, it’s perfectly okay. Cherry blossoms are safe for them to eat.
How to feed cherries to chickens?
As we mentioned in earlier sections, chickens can safely eat different types of cherries, including wild and sour cherries. You can feed your feathered pet cherries twice or thrice in a week without worries.
There are several ways in which you can offer cherries to your chickens. The first one is by simply cutting them up and serving them into their dish bowl.
Another more creative way of serving them cherries is by making a fruit salad by throwing in a couple of other fruits as well. If you want to feed your chickens in a way that stimulates their brain, you can try hanging cherries by a thread in their cage and let them work to eat it.
However, you should remember two things before feeding cherries to chickens: one is to remove their seeds, which are toxic to them. The other is to wash them thoroughly to get rid of any chemicals that the seller might have added.
Frequently asked questions
Which fruits are safe to feed my chicken? Following are some of the fruits you can safely feed your chicken.
Which vegetables are okay to feed chickens? You can feed your chickens kale, potato, carrot, cucumber, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, sprouts, pepper, corn, pea, etc.
Summing it up
To sum it up, cherries are not only safe for your chickens but also contain many vitamins and minerals that benefit their health. Chickens can eat all the different kinds of cherries, along with its flowers as well. The only toxic element you need to look out for is their seeds.