How To Safely Feed Avocado To Your Chickens
It can be hard to know when it’s time to pull the trigger and buy some new chicks to raise on your own. Chickens have special dietary needs that must be taken into account in order to raise a healthy flock. You may be wondering which foods are okay to feed your chickens, and you may also wonder if avocados are okay to give to your beloved hens and roosters.
In short, chickens may eat the part of the avocado that humans eat, which is commonly called the flesh or meat. However, chickens may not eat any other part of the avocado because it may contain substances that are poisonous to the animal. If you are growing avocados at home, make sure the chickens are not eating any other part of the plant than the soft interior. The compounds that make the pit and the rind of the avocado toxic to chickens are present in the stems and leaves of the plant as well.
With the short answer out of the way, we can begin answering the more interesting questions that you might be wondering about. In the rest of this article, we’ll try to explain the dietary needs of chickens along with a more detailed discussion of what makes avocado skins and pits a dangerous food for your birds.
What is in Avocados?
Avocados are known to be high in fats and oils that are healthy for humans to eat. While the health benefits of the avocado meat may not transfer over to chickens, you can still safely feed it to your chickens. The danger only comes with feeding your chickens the skin and pit of the avocado.
Avocado plants contain a compound known as persin, which is toxic to both birds and humans. Due to the anatomy of chickens, persin is especially dangerous. In addition, chickens are much smaller than a human. This means that a quantity of persin that would be safe for a human could be deadly for a chicken.
Still, you don’t need to worry too much. Many chicken farmers report feeding their chickens whole avocados occasionally with no observed side effects. However, deaths from the persin contained in avocado pits and skins are not unheard of. Feeding a whole avocado to a single chicken wouldn’t be a good idea, but feeding one to a group of chickens might be safe every once in a while. If you don’t want to worry, you can eliminate any danger by removing the skin and pit before putting an avocado in with the rest of your chicken feed.
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What do chickens need to be healthy?
Generally, chickens don’t have the same dietary requirements that humans do. In particular, egg-laying chickens need to be fed a diet with calcium supplements. This is because eggshells are mostly made of calcium and carbon.
If you’re raising egg-laying chickens, you may occasionally catch them eating their own eggs. This behavior might be a little upsetting at first, but it is quite common. If it happens very frequently, it might signal that your chickens are suffering from a calcium deficiency.
While chickens might not be known as the most intelligent animals, they can experience food cravings according to the nutrients that they’re running low on. Hens and roosters can have personalities as well. Through the process of raising them, you may learn that some have foods that they like more than others. They also tend to know when they don’t want to eat a particular food.
This is why the occasional whole avocado may be safe. The pit and the rind may simply taste bad to them and they may just decide not to eat it. This is also why you shouldn’t panic the first time you catch a hen pecking at her own eggs. These animals aren’t machines, and sometimes they can be unpredictable. Additionally, some behaviors are a result of stress or bad temperament rather than a dietary deficiency.You can expect your flock to not be very picky when it comes to food. They are usually more than happy to eat most vegetables that you yourself might not want to eat. If you have an avocado laying around in the fridge that’s too old to eat, you can safely scoop out the inside and feed it to your chickens.
Chickens are very good at identifying which vegetables are still edible and which are not. This is part of the reason why the occasional whole avocado may not be an immediate death sentence for your entire flock. Unless you’re explicitly feeding your chickens poison, they will probably know whether something will be healthy for them or not.
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