Can Chickens Eat Lemons?

Can Chickens Eat Lemons

Whenever we are suffering from a deficiency of Vitamin C, what do we turn to? You’re right, we turn to citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, clementine, and so on. These fruits not only have a unique tangy taste but are also extremely beneficial for our health. But what about our little feathered pets? Can chickens eat these fruits as well?

So, can chickens eat lemons? Yes, they can as long as it is being fed to them in moderation. Lemons have a lot of health benefits for these poultry birds and can make a delicious treat for them. However, you should avoid feeding them too many lemons as it can cause acidity in their body as well as harm their egg production. 

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about feeding lemons to chickens.


Citrus fruits for chickens: healthy or unsafe?

Before we begin to talk about feeding lemon to chickens, its advantages and disadvantages, let’s first discuss a rumor that has spread like wildfire among the chicken owners. Yes, we’re talking about the rumor that citrus fruits can kill chickens.

For those of you who believe it to be true, you’re sadly mistaken. There is nothing about these fruits that is particularly toxic to chickens or any other bird for that matter. However, we are going to state three reasons that might have led people to consider them to be toxic to their feathered pets.

First and foremost is the fact that these fruits are slightly more acidic in nature than the other fruits. However, unless you’re feeding your chickens too many of them, there is nothing to be worried about.

The second reason is their high sugar content, but many of the fruits contain substantial amounts of sugar. So, they’re all equally harmful to the health of your pets.

The third and last reason is that the citrus fruits are primarily known for the abundance of Vitamin C in them, and chickens are capable of synthesizing their own Vitamin C and don’t need an external source for it. However, this only proves that these fruits might be unnecessary for the chickens, but not poisonous.

Therefore, we can safely say that citrus fruits pose no additional threat to the chickens when fed in moderation, just like the rest of the fruits.


Will chickens eat lemons?

As we mentioned above, lemons can be used as an occasional treat for chickens. But would these really be a treat if your chickens do not like eating them? Not really.

So, will chickens eat them? This is a difficult question to answer. While most chickens would eat almost anything, some of them are quite picky about their food and might not eat everything they’re being offered.

The best way to find out whether they would like to eat lemon not is to feed them these fruits and see how they react to them. If they don’t touch it after tasting it once, it’s a clear indication that they’re not really fond of it.


Are lemons healthy for chickens?

As we’ve already discussed, chickens can synthesize Vitamin C on their own and are not dependent on their diet for it. Apart from Vitamin C, are there any other nutrients that lemons can help your chickens with? Let’s find out:

Vitamin A22 IU
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.05 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.02 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.1 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.18 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.07 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folates)11 mcg
Vitamin C53 mg
Vitamin E0.14 mg
Vitamin K0 mcg
Iron0.6 mg
Calcium26 mg
Sodium2 mg
Copper38 mcg
Potassium137 mg
Magnesium8 mg
Manganese0.04 mg
Zinc0.06 mg
Protein0.65 g
Carbohydrates5.42 g
Dietary fibers1.6 g
Sugar1.44 g
Water51.62 g
Calories17 kcal

Serving size: 100 grams

In the chart given above, you can observe that there are many vitamins and minerals in lemons. Now, we’ll discuss how they can benefit the health of your feathered pets.

Vitamin A promotes healthy growth and development in chickens and plays a vital role in their egg production. Thiamin improves their appetite, Riboflavin protects them against Curly-toe Paralysis, Niacin has anti-inflammatory properties, and Pantothenic acid keeps their skin healthy.

The deficiency of Vitamin E in their diet can expose them to Encephalomalacia. Calcium and phosphorus are responsible for the quality of the chickens’ eggs, Zinc boosts their bone and feather health, and Iron prevents them from Anaemia.

Therefore, it is evident that lemons have many health benefits for chickens apart from Vitamin C.


Can chickens eat the lemon rinds?

When we use lemons, we throw away their outer skin or rind. But can these discarded rinds be fed to your chickens? No. It is not a good idea to feed your chickens these rinds for two reasons: the first one is the fact that the rind is more acidic than the juicy flesh inside, and too much acidity can upset your chicken’s stomach.

The second reason is the possibility of the presence of pesticides, fertilizers, and even wax on the rind, which could make your pets very sick if they ingest them.

Moreover, the chickens themselves are not very interested in eating the lemon rind, so you don’t have to worry about them eating it by mistake.


Are lemon seeds safe for chickens to eat?

Every lemon fruit has about 6-8 small seeds present in the center of it. We usually discard these seeds while using them, but what about our pets? Can they eat the seeds or not?

There is very little data about the impact of lemon seeds on chickens. That’s why it is best not to feed them these just to be on the safe side.


Is it safe for baby chicks to eat lemons?

No, it is not safe to feed lemons for baby chicks. While a full-grown adult chicken might handle a bit of acidity without any consequences, there’s no telling how lemons would impact the fragile health of baby chicks. If you have chicks at home, always try to stick to their natural diet until they grow into adults.


Frequently asked questions

Can orange peels be fed to chickens? No. The peels of oranges are too tough for the chickens to chew or digest. Moreover, chickens do not like eating them either.

Can I feed herbs to my chickens? Yes, chickens love eating herbs. They’re also great for their health. We would recommend you to feed them lavender, sage, yarrow, bee balm, mint, and parsley.

Can chickens eat beans? Chickens can only eat beans when they’re properly cooked. Eating raw beans is extremely harmful to them, as they contain phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin that can make them very sick.


Conclusion: Can chickens eat lemons?

In the end, we’ll recapitulate everything we have learned so far: chickens can safely eat lemon in moderation, just like any other fruit or vegetables.

While these poultry birds can take of their Vitamin C requirements on their own, there are many other vitamins and minerals that they gain from eating lemons.

However, you must make sure that they’re eating it in moderation and not on a daily basis, for lemons are highly acidic and can cause several digestive issues for your chickens. Also, avoid feeding them the seeds or the rind of lemons.


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