Most chicken owners know by now that chickens love fruit. However, you have probably also heard that certain kinds of fruit are dangerous or harmful to chickens.
Peaches are one such fruit that comes up in that conversation. Some people say you can feed them to chickens, some people say you can’t. What’s the real answer? Can chickens eat peaches?
Yes, chickens can eat peaches. However, chickens should not eat the pit because it contains toxic chemicals. Peach flesh and peach skins are completely safe for chickens, and reasonably nutritious.
That’s the straight answer. Chickens can eat peaches safely, and they won’t need much encouragement to dig into these aromatic and delicious fruits.
However, as you might imagine there’s a little bit more to know about serving peaches to your chickens, so keep reading to get the rest of the story.
Nutritional Profile of Peaches
Peaches are juicy, fragrant fruits renowned for their delicate flavor and sweetness.
Although they don’t quite stack up to other fruits in terms of nutrition, there is nothing to sneeze at, and contain a good selection of vitamins and minerals.
Peaches contain vitamin A, all B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
|Total lipid (fat)||0.27 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||10.1 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||1.5 g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||8.39 g|
|Calcium, Ca||4 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.34 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||8 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||22 mg|
|Potassium, K||122 mg|
|Sodium, Na||13 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.23 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.078 mg|
|Selenium, Se||2.1 µg|
|Vitamin C||4.1 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.025 mg|
|Folate, DFE||6 µg|
|Choline, total||6.1 mg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||24 µg|
|Carotene, beta||224 µg|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta||117 µg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||132 µg|
|Vitamin E||0.73 mg|
|Vitamin K||3 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.019 g|
Concerning minerals, the most essential ones are represented, including a good dose of potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium along with a little bit of zinc and calcium to round things out.
Health Benefits of Peaches for Chickens
Chickens will certainly love the taste and refreshment of peaches, but they also provide some good nutrition for your birds.
Vitamin A is important for growth and cell repair, as well as maintaining good vision, while vitamin C helps to maintain a strong immune system.
The B vitamins in peaches are helpful for all kinds of bodily processes, from metabolism to feather growth. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, and vitamin K helps with blood clotting.
As mentioned, peaches also provide a range of minerals that are essential to chicken health.
Phosphorus and potassium are critical for strong bones and electrolyte usage, magnesium helps with energy metabolism, manganese aids in tissue growth, and zinc and calcium are vital for a healthy immune system and bone/egg health respectively.
So, while they’re not a miracle food, adding a few peaches to your chicken’s diet can certainly help to improve their overall health and well-being.
Can Chickens Eat Peaches Raw?
Yes, chickens may eat peaches raw and this is the preferred way to serve them to your birds.
Peaches contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, but most of them are vulnerable to degradation during any cooking process so if you want to maximize the good that peaches will do for your birds, serve them raw.
Can Chickens Eat Peach Skins?
Yes, peach skins are entirely safe for chickens to eat and are one of the few skins that chickens seem to enjoy eating.
Peach skins are quite thin and delicate, and will pose no impediment at all to chickens who are just trying to get at the sweet flesh inside.
Can Chickens Eat Peach Pits?
No. In fact, eating a peach pit is a big No-No for chickens. The pit of a chicken contains amygdalin, a type of cyanogenic glycoside that can break down in a chicken’s body to release hydrogen cyanide.
That should tell you everything you need to know about how harmful it is for your poor birds that eat it.
Worse yet, periodic ingestion of small amounts of amygdalin can lead to an increased sensitivity to Future doses, allowing negative effects to sort of sneak up on your birds out of nowhere.
You definitely don’t want to risk that happening, so always, always remove the hard pit from any peaches that you plan on serving to your chickens.
Most chickens are pretty good about avoiding things that are harmful to them, but you cannot take that for granted.
Can Chickens Eat Canned Peaches?
Your chickens should not eat canned peaches even though they can eat them.
Canned peaches as a rule contain way too much-added sugar along with preservatives and other things you don’t want your flock to ingest.
Can Chickens Eat Peaches Cooked?
Chickens may eat cooked peaches with no ill effects, though as mentioned cooking the peaches that reduces their nutritional profile somewhat and will concentrate sugars.
Not the end of the world if you want to give your chickens a truly delectable treat, but make sure you reduce the portion size by weight accordingly.
Never Feed Peaches to Chickens that Have Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
It is worth mentioning on the subject of cooking peaches that you must never serve your chickens peaches that are prepared with harmful ingredients or used as an ingredient in a food item that they cannot have.
Pastries, pies, and other baked goods along with preserves, jams, and jellies are way overloaded with salt, sugar, butter, and other things that are bad for the health of your birds.
At best, they’ll be looking at weight gain and subsequent obesity but at worst they could be dealing with serious conditions like fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome.
If you don’t want to inflict such things on your birds, only give them wholesome peaches with no additives.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Peaches
If you are purchasing peaches at the grocery store with intentions of feeding them to your flock, you’ll need to be careful of pesticides.
All consumer products, and peaches in particular, are subjected to a heavy regimen of pesticide application in order to ensure that they can make it to market without being eaten up by insects.
Our produce is supposed to be thoroughly washed before it is sent to us, but you know how these things go. These residues are bad for people and even worse for birds.
Many commonly used pesticides have shown that they build up in body tissues over time and compose a substantial long-term health risk.
If you want to serve peaches from the grocery store to your chickens, make sure you wash them very thoroughly or, if in doubt, peel them entirely and discard the skins. Buy organic peaches if you can to reduce this risk.
How Often Can Chickens Have Peaches?
Peaches are healthy and wholesome, but that doesn’t mean your chickens can have them all the time.
Chickens should only get fruit as a supplemental part of their diet, preferably no more than 10% of their total calorie intake.
Among that 10%, peaches should only be part of the menu and accordingly, you should only serve them to your chickens once or twice a week as a juicy and refreshing treat.
Preparing Peaches for Your Flock
It is a simple thing to prepare peaches for serving to your flock. Remove the stem and leaves if still present, cut the peach in half and remove the pit.
With that done, you can serve the peach halves to your chickens as is and let them Peck away at them, or cut them up into smaller segments in order to spread them out a little better.
But be warned, chickens love peaches and will fight over them in order to get at them so make sure there’s enough to go around and consider putting out several bowls to relieve pressure and keep tempers in check.
Can Baby Chicks Have Peaches, Too?
Yes, baby chicks may have peaches but you’ll need to wait for them to grow up a little bit first. You can serve chicks a few small bites of peach once they are about 6 weeks old.
The digestive systems of chicks are quite delicate and prone to upset, so you don’t want to force this on them.
Diarrhea can easily send chicks into electrolyte shock or dehydration, so give them sparing, tiny portions of peach to snack on as an occasional treat outside of their chick feed.
Make sure You Clean Up After Serving Peaches to Your Flock
It should also be noted that you must clean up any scraps of peach skin or flesh once your chickens are done with it.
The aroma of peaches is extremely enticing to all kinds of animals, and that sweet sugariness will easily attract insect and mammal pests.
If you don’t want ants, rats, mice, and raccoons crawling all over the place, get rid of the remnants as soon as your birds have had their fill.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.