Anyone who keeps animals will understand that the biggest, and often most expensive task is feeding them. Buying commercially produced animal feed is convenient.
This type of feed has the nutrients required to supply a balanced diet for your animals. However, we often have a surplus of homegrown products.
Any surplus is great, we can sell or use it to feed our animals. Most animals have a list of things that they should not eat. However, we should always take care to ensure that they do not eat anything that will harm them.
So, should chickens eat cantaloupe?
Yes, chickens will eat a complete cantaloupe. The seeds, rind, and the flesh will all disappear very quickly, especially cut into small pieces. Most importantly, cantaloupe is a food that is safe and beneficial for chickens to eat.
In each cup measure, cantaloupe has roughly:
- 1.5 grams of protein
- 14.5 grams of healthy carbohydrates
- 1.5 grams of dietary fiber
- 0.3 grams of healthy fat
In total, there are close to 60 calories in one cup.
Approximately 90% of the volume of a cantaloupe is water.
These properties combined with the minerals and vitamins in cantaloupe make it a healthy food for chickens. Although it is not an essential item for them to eat if any surplus is available, it would certainly be appreciated by the chickens.
Minerals and Vitamins
When we consider that cantaloupe consists of mainly water, amazingly, it holds many beneficial minerals and vitamins. Let us have a look at the most important ones that are beneficial for chickens.
Calcium is essential for chickens since it helps to support cellular functions. It is also crucial in the development of a strong bone structure. The chicken also needs this mineral to enable the production of strong eggshells.
Strong eggshells are especially important for those that keep chickens for egg production.
Good levels of potassium are essential for chickens as it is an important factor in many cell and metabolic functions. It helps to keep electrolyte levels balanced so that chickens’ body temperatures can be regulated. Potassium is also linked to reducing the risk of heart disease by promoting healthy heart development.
When a chicken eats anything that has Beta-carotene the digestive system transforms it into vitamin A. This vitamin helps to keep the eyes and skin healthy. It is also important for keeping the chickens’ immune systems working correctly.
This vitamin is vital in creating a strong immune system that helps chickens to fight off infections and bacteria. Vitamin C helps to keep joints healthy and functioning, while supporting and repairing body cells.
Folate is a B-vitamin that aids the development and growth of a strong body and feathers. Folate is also important since it helps with the formation of blood.
Vitamins A and C are antioxidants. These are vital in the fight to neutralize Oxidation damage is caused by free radicals. Free radicals that are produced by chemical reactions may contribute to the development of certain diseases and health problems. Free radicals can also cause damage to the chicken’s DNA.
Flavonoids are important because of their antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti‐inflammatory properties. Flavonoids help to prevent cell damage and help to protect the cardiovascular system.
These antioxidants also help to regulate blood pressure by keeping it low. Maintaining low blood pressure will protect the heart from damage that can be caused by high blood pressure.
Polyphenols help to stop the body from converting starch into sugar. High levels of sugar can cause damage. They also stimulate the production of insulin that also helps to support healthy blood sugar levels.
The balance of fiber intake is important for chickens as too much can result in constipation or intestinal blockages. A reasonable amount is required to promote a healthy and regular digestive system.
Cantaloupe holds approximately 0.9 grams of fiber in every 100 grams. This level is good for the chickens.
Chickens need to support their hydration levels to keep themselves healthy. The cantaloupe being high in water levels is ideal to feed to them to help prevent dehydration. This is especially important in hot climatic areas and when the weather is warm.
Most pellet food that is given to chickens has little moisture. Consequently, the chickens need another source of water.
Cantaloupe holds fructose, which is a natural form of sugar. This form of sugar has little effect on blood sugar levels, unlike processed sugar. Although the cantaloupe is sweet it is not going to elevate the levels of sugar in chickens.
How to feed Cantaloupes to Chickens
One of the main benefits of keeping chickens is that they are not fussy eaters. They will eat just about anything that they are given.
All the cantaloupe will be eaten by the birds. When it has been bought from a store rather than own grown it is best to clean them thoroughly. Some growers will use harmful herbicides, pesticides, or chemicals to enhance and protect their crops.
Traces of these could be left on the skin. A thorough clean will prevent the chickens from digesting anything harmful.
Although they will eat all the cantaloupe it is not necessarily a good idea to offer them whole to the chickens.
Possibly the easiest way to feed cantaloupes to chickens is to cut them in half, and let them pick at them when they want.
A favorite activity of chickens is to peck and claw at food items. It is a rigorous activity that chickens are keen to engage in. This activity is good for them, and certainly fun to watch.
The slight negative to this is that if it is not all eaten within a short time, it will start to spoil. Bacteria can develop quickly, especially in warm environments due to the moist nature of cantaloupe.
Eating contaminated food is dangerous for the chickens and could cause problems with any eggs that they lay. Any leftovers will also attract rodents or other unwanted scavengers.
The best way to feed Cantaloupe to chickens is to skin them and dice the soft flesh. We have said that the chickens will eat everything, but the skin is probably their least favorite part. The skin will probably be left until last by the chicken.
Cutting the cantaloupe will allow smaller amounts of the skin to be given to them. The seeds can be fed as they come from the fruit, however, they are best dried before feeding as this will help them to be digested.
Cutting the fruit allows separating the components. The soft flesh can be fed on its own, or mixed with other components. Alternatively, the skin and the seeds when dried can be included with any pellet foods.
Dicing the flesh and the skin will also allow refrigeration to keep it as fresh as possible. This will also allow portions to be controlled.
Cantaloupe Is Safe For Your Chicks
Chickens are easy to keep. They are not very demanding and will eat just about anything that they are given. However, what they eat is especially important since their diet affects their well-being.
We have asked should chickens eat cantaloupe since we want to know if it is good for them. No one wants to feed animals with food that will harm them.
We have seen that we should allow chickens to eat cantaloupe. This is food that has many benefits. As cantaloupe has a high water ratio, it can help to reduce the risks of dehydration, especially in hot climates.
We have also seen that this food has many vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the animals.
The many vitamins and minerals help to keep the chickens in good physical condition and help to prevent free radical damage. They look after its feathers skin, muscles, internal organs and most importantly helps them to form and lay good quality eggs.
So yes, chickens should definitely eat cantaloupe. This is a perfect food to add to a balanced diet.
Gordon is a British homesteader established in Spain, growing large amounts of veggies and fruits. He also has a high degree of self-sufficiency as he is procuring his own water, wood, and solar energy.