Chickens can essentially eat all day long. Imagine if you did that. Of course, chickens don’t have any other jobs to do, but they also rarely seem to get too fat and out of shape, despite limited space and plentiful food.
Especially in the warmer months, watermelon is enjoyed by many people. While eating your watermelon, you might realize that there’s a lot of fruit leftover and wonder if your chickens could help you out with consuming it.
Lucky for you, watermelon is a perfectly safe treat for chickens to eat. Even better, it might have some health benefits for your avian friends. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the dos and don’ts of feeding your chickens watermelon, and what benefits or risks come with it.
Is Watermelon Flesh Safe for Chickens?
The flesh of the watermelon is probably the best part to feed your chickens. It contains most of the nutrients, to start with. But most importantly, the flesh is the best-tasting part! If you give your chickens the choice of what part to eat, they’ll almost certainly opt to eat the flesh first.
What’s in a Watermelon?
Watermelon is named so for a reason; it’s more than 90% water! When your chicken eats it, they’re getting a great boost of hydration, which can be especially useful in the warm summer months.
Of course, the remaining 10% isn’t just empty calories either. Watermelon contains many nutrients that can help keep your chickens healthy, such as vitamins C and A. Additionally, you’ll find some potassium in this fruit, and it’s even got a little bit of fiber to aid in digestion.
Do you know what you won’t find in a watermelon? Sodium. Watermelon is very low in salt with lots of water and a few nutrients, making it an ideal treat for any chicken or flock.
Does Watermelon Provide Any Benefits for Chickens?
As mentioned, watermelon mostly consists of water, so it can boost hydration. This fruit also contains some antioxidants, like vitamins C, B6, and A. Antioxidants are essential for maintaining peak chicken health and reproductive performance.
Watermelon has a lot more nutrients than just antioxidants, including zinc, manganese, thiamin, niacin, copper, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, potassium, folate, betaine, choline, riboflavin, and more. It’s like a cocktail of useful nutrients that can help your chicken’s overall health.
Is Watermelon Rind Safe for Chickens?
While most people don’t eat the rind of the watermelon after finishing the flesh, your chickens won’t be nearly as picky. Chickens will eat the entire watermelon, rind and all. Thankfully, the rind is perfectly safe for chickens to consume. It’s not as high in nutrients as the flesh, though it does contain some vitamin B and C. Furthermore, watermelon rind is very rich in fiber, helping to improve your chickens’ digestive systems and add bulk to their stool.
Related Read: Can Chickens Eat Oranges? What You Need to Know!
Are Watermelon Seeds Safe for Chickens?
For adult chickens, watermelon seeds pose no problem. Their crops are developed to process seeds such as the ones in watermelon. When feeding watermelon to your adult chickens, pay no mind to the seeds.
Your baby chicks, however, are a different story. Young chickens’ digestive systems haven’t developed enough to break down watermelon seeds, so they could pose a major problem for baby chicks.
Can Chickens Eat the Watermelon Plant?
Many plants produce fruits and vegetables that are safe for chickens to eat, even though the plant itself is actually toxic to a chicken. In the case of watermelons, the entire plant is safe for chicken consumption.
That said, you have to be careful of pesticides. If growing your own melons, you can simply avoid the use of pesticides. But if your chickens are feeding on melons from a neighboring farm, you’ll want to wash them off well and ensure your chickens don’t eat watermelon plants that might be covered in dangerous pesticides.
Can Chickens Eat Spoiled Watermelon?
Chickens have pretty hardy digestive systems, but even chickens have limits. Spoiled, rotten, or moldy watermelon should never be given to your chicken. Mold can be dangerous for chickens as it contains mycotoxins. Health problems could follow after your chickens consume spoiled watermelon.
Watermelon is a great treat to offer your chickens. Not only is it safe for them to eat, but it’s also nutritious, providing antioxidants and other nutrients. Plus, it’s large, so a single melon could feed a whole flock with some leftover for you. Chickens will love the sweet taste, and you’ll love how affordable and easy this treat is to serve up for your birds.
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