When you’re living off the grid, it’s important to make sure that you can use all resources at your disposal. You must keep your animals healthy if you intend to use them for meat, dairy, and, in the case of chickens, eggs.
With all that said, all animals enjoy a good treat from time to time and watermelon is a particular favorite for many of them – notably ducks. So, here’s the question: is watermelon safe for your chickens?
Yes, watermelon is perfectly safe for chickens and is a particular favorite for them. The sight of it can send them into a frenzy of sorts and they’ll sometimes fight over the fruit. They’ll eat the whole fruit – rind and all. Watermelon is 90% water, which boosts hydration, and has vitamins A and C. You’ll also find potassium and a bit of fiber in the fruit which aids in digestion.
What do Chickens Typically Eat?
So, what do chickens typically eat?
A chicken’s diet usually consists of:
- Potatoes/sweet potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs are a source of protein, and the pumpkin, squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are both palatable and easily digested. Corn is a favorite food, and provides a significant energy supplement.
You can also encourage exercise and scratching by scattering the corn in their bedding. Grapes are expensive but chickens like the sweetness of them. Cabbages can be attached to strings to provide a treat and a game at the same time.
What does Watermelon Provide to your Chickens?
Watermelon is a treat of choice for chickens – especially if they’re raised in warmer climates. Chickens will eat everything – including the rind – but given a choice between flesh and rind; they’ll choose to start with the flesh.
With that in mind, what benefits would your chickens get out of watermelon?
Temperature regulation and Hydration
Apart from being a generally sweet treat, watermelon is 92% water; this makes it a good source of hydration for your birds – replacing the water they lose through exhalation (vapor). It also helps to cool their body’s temperature.
Improves their Mood
Is this really a surprise? Who doesn’t enjoy a good watermelon? There’s a reason we use things like chocolate and ice cream when we’re in a bad mood.
These sweet treats help us to feel better at times. The same thing applies to chickens and watermelon. They love the stuff, and it always makes them happy to get some of it – especially if it’s fresh!
There are several nutrients in watermelon including vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. The fiber is particularly important as it aids in improving the digestion.
What About Feeding Watermelon to Baby Chicks?
Surprisingly, baby chicks can eat watermelon flesh. There’s this one study where they tested giving them watermelon powder without any negative effects. I’d still remove the seeds before feeding them watermelon just to be safe.
Things you shouldn’t Feed your Chickens
We can’t talk about what’s good for your chickens without discussing what you shouldn’t feed them. It should be noted that chickens will rarely – if ever – eat something they can’t digest and will usually avoid certain plants/plant leaves. With that said, apart from spoiled food, some of the things you shouldn’t feed your chickens include:
- Dried beans
- Trees/ornamental plants
- see more here.
Dried beans contain hemaglutinin which causes the red blood cells to clump together – which can and will cause a serious problem. Trees and/or ornamental plants tend to contain chemicals which can be toxic to your birds.
Flour shouldn’t be fed to your chickens as it can cause a gooey mess of sorts by forming a type of glue when mixed with their saliva. While chocolate is toxic and should be avoided like a plague as it can mess up your chickens’ digestive systems.
So, the final answer is yes, chickens can eat watermelon – they love it! It contains a variety of nutrients which aid in preserving/improving your birds’ overall health.
I hope you enjoyed the article and found it informative. In closing, I’d like to say thanks for reading; it’s greatly appreciated. I’ll see you for the next one very soon. Take care!
Greg spent most of his childhood in camping grounds and on hiking trails. While he lives in the suburbs nowadays, Greg was raised on a small farm with chickens. He’s a decent shot with a bow, and a huge knife enthusiast. Find out more about Greg.