If you’ve taken it upon yourself to give your chickens a complete and varied diet beyond their usual feed, you’ve probably already learned that they can eat all sorts of fruits…
Chickens only need fruit on a limited basis but it still plays an important part in their diet, and not for nothing most chickens seem to really enjoy a sweet, perfect piece every now and then.
Chickens can even eat some exotic fruits that you wouldn’t expect. How about quince? Is it safe for chickens to eat quince?
Yes, quince is safe for chickens so long as they eat only the flesh and the skin. Seeds should be discarded because they can cause cyanide poisoning if ingested. Although quince is safe, it offers very little for chickens in terms of nutrition.
If you’ve read this far and don’t know what quince is, don’t worry. Most people haven’t, even though this fruit used to be the choice fruit of royalty back in the day.
I’ll tell you a little bit about quince below, and a lot about how it fits into the diet of your chickens.
Quince? What’s That?
Quince is a fruit that used to be a lot more popular a long time ago, but has since fallen out of favor compared to many other fruits, particularly its close cousins, apples and pears, with which it shares a family.
Quince, most famously, was the fruit that was originally processed into marmalade and this is what made it such a beloved crop for royalty throughout Europe.
It’s a good thing it could be used to make marmalade because raw or lightly cooked quince is borderline inedible. It’s usually bland or bitter at turns, though it has a highly appealing and slightly mysterious fragrance.
And speaking of pears, quince looks a lot like a pear: bright yellow, only lumpier and shaped even more oddly.
What Benefits Does Quince Have for Chickens?
Quince has very few benefits for chickens. It will provide chickens with some energy, but because it’s so lacking in vitamins and other minerals it will only give chickens a little bit of the resources they need to manage cellular activity and slightly boost the immune system.
It can also improve circulatory health to a degree since it contains iron, and the other minerals can slightly improve electrolyte balance in a chicken’s body.
Quince Nutritional Info
It’s no wonder quince has fallen out of favor as a fruit: it has very few qualities to recommend it against almost any other kind!
Nutritionally, quince isn’t bankrupt but it’s pretty close. It has only a paltry amount of vitamins and very few minerals, and the ones that it does have are present only in small amounts save iron, which is merely mediocre.
Is Quince Safe for Chickens Raw?
Yes, quince is safe for chickens when raw but depending on the cultivar might be so hard and dense that chickens cannot effectively peck it apart to eat it.
However, if they can, this is definitely the best way to serve quince to chickens since it will have the most nutrients, even though that is still not a lot.
Are Quince Skins Safe for Chickens?
Yes, quince skin is safe for chickens though they rarely find it appetizing.
Are Quince Seeds Safe for Chickens?
No! Quince seeds are not safe for chickens for the same reason that apple and pear seeds are not: quince seeds contain compounds that can turn into cyanide in the body after ingestion, potentially poisoning chickens. Fatal poisoning can result even with a small dose.
Most chickens will instinctively avoid quince seeds, but not always, so make it a point to prepare and remove the seeds from any quince fruits you plan on feeding your flock.
Can You Cook Quince to Give it To Chickens?
Yes, and cooking is a pretty good way to serve it to your chickens considering many types of this fruit are so dense that they are virtually inedible. It’s also a good way to soften the skin for the same purpose…
Is Quince Safe for Baby Chicks?
Yes, quince is safe for chicks but there’s almost no reason to feed it to yours. It has very little nutrition, it is very difficult for chicks to eat, and it still might upset their stomach and give them diarrhea.
Quince also tends to be so tart and bitter that it might cause crop problems in chicks, and you definitely don’t want that to happen!
How Frequently Can Quince Be Fed to Chickens?
Quince is a reasonably wholesome and interesting snack for chickens, but that is all it is, and it should be given to them sparingly.
I would give chickens no more than a small portion of quince once a week, and even then only if they were getting all of the nutrition they needed from their feed and other whole foods in their diet.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Quince to Your Flock?
Whichever way you decide to serve quince to your flock, make sure you remove the seeds. If you have a softer variety, or large, strong chickens, you can cut it in half, core it and let them peck at the firm flesh.
But if you have a harder variety, you’ll need to cook it first to soften it. Boiling, steaming and roasting are all viable methods for preparing it.
Just remember to let it cool before you serve it to your chickens, and don’t add any other ingredients to try and make it taste better. More on that in just a minute…
Try to Only Feed Quince to Chickens if it is Pesticide Free
If you are purchasing your quince from a grocery store, try to buy an organic variety if you can. All commercially sold produce, including quince, is typically treated with multiple rounds of pesticide before harvest to keep it safe from insects.
These pesticide chemicals can seriously harm the health of your chickens if ingested over time and allowed to build up in their bodies.
Washing, and even peeling do not remove all of these residues. So if you aren’t growing your own quince or getting it from a trusted supplier, you should spring for organic if you’re going to feed it to your chickens.
Quince Is Safe, But Only By Itself: No People Food!
It sure sounds like quince does not have a lot going for it, but one interesting fact about it is that it was once upon a time the primary ingredient in marmalade, something that is still used for to this day, along with making all sorts of jellies, preserves and other specialty sweets.
I’ll tell you, these foods taste a whole lot better than the fruit by itself, but nonetheless you can’t give any of them to your chickens.
That’s because they have way too many added ingredients that chickens can’t have, things like sugar, salt, butter and the like. Any of them can cause serious harm to chickens.
If you don’t like the idea of feeding quince to your chickens plain, just don’t feed it to them and save all of the desserts and toppings for yourself.
Don’t Leave Quince Scraps Around the Run or Coop
Quince, as is, is not very tasty. However, it is highly aromatic, and if you leave Quinn’s scraps lying around the coop or run it is bound to attract insects and other pests like rodents, and potentially larger predators that could hurt your chickens.
I know you don’t want this to happen, so make it a point to pick up the leftover bits of quince after your birds are done eating it.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.
Find out more about Tim and the rest of the crew here.