I don’t know that I can think of any animal that is more enthusiastic about food than chickens. Well, that’s not true, maybe dogs, but among farm animals I think chickens rule the roost when it comes to excitement over food.
Most of my chickens seem to really love a choice piece of fruit, and though they can eat a lot of the same fruit that we can they can’t eat everything.
How about peaches? Is it safe for chickens to eat peaches?
Yes, peaches are safe for chickens but they should never eat the pit which contains dangerous cyanide precursors. Peaches are fairly nutritious fruits, but very sugary and should only be fed to chickens as occasional treats.
That’s just about everything you need to know. Chickens can eat the flesh and skins of peaches but should never, ever eat the pits which are dangerous.
There’s not much risk of this because the pits are large and extremely hard, making them tough for chickens to eat, but the danger persists.
There’s more you’ll want to know if you’re planning on serving peaches to your chickens, so keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it below.
What Benefits Do Peaches Have for Chickens?
Peaches are an excellent source of energy for chickens, and also fairly hydrating.
Aside from being delicious, peaches have vitamins and minerals that can do everything from improving a chicken’s immune system and circulatory health to promoting a stable metabolism, and even helping a chicken’s vision.
Peaches also promote good skeletal growth, and health along with encouraging hens to lay eggs and lay good ones; various minerals and other compounds in peaches help give eggs strong, well formed shells and nutrient-rich yolks.
Your chickens will love peaches because they taste great, but you’ll love what peaches can do for the health of your flock.
Peach Nutritional Info
Peaches are most renowned for their amazing taste and indescribable fragrance, but they also happen to be pretty healthy though their nutritional profile doesn’t compare too favorably with other fruits and veggies.
They certainly have a large assortment of vitamins, however, particularly vitamin A and beta carotene along with vitamins E, K and a good shot of C, although chickens don’t need much vitamin C in their diet because they make their own.
Also present is a great selection of the B complex vitamins, including riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and a little bit of folate.
Peaches also contain a tiny amount of choline, though every little bit helps.
The mineral content is similarly diverse but relatively low compared to other fruits, with magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium being present in the greatest concentrations followed up by slightly less iron, calcium and zinc.
Are Peaches Safe for Chickens Fresh?
Yes, fresh peaches are 100% safe for your precious chickens, and fresh is best when it comes to nutrients.
Fresh peaches are much higher in nutrients than cooked, canned or dried ones and also have that incredible aroma that chickens can’t get enough of.
Just make sure you remove the pit prior to giving it to your birds, because chickens may not be able to crack the peach’s hard pits open, and even if they do, they’re no good for them. Here’s why…
Are Peach Pits Safe for Chickens?
No! Peach pits are toxic for chickens because they contain a chemical compound that basically turns into cyanide once ingested.
Cyanide is incredibly poisonous, and can easily be fatal for chickens, so never let them eat the pits.
This is unlikely to happen except in the case of very large, strong birds since peach pits are quite large and extremely hard, but you still shouldn’t take the chance.
Remove the pits from any peaches you serve to your flock, and don’t give them any pits!
Are Peach Skins Safe for Chickens?
Yes, and surprisingly this is one fruit skin that chickens seem to like. Probably because they are so soft and delicate they’re easy to eat.
Either way, whether or not your flock eats the skin they won’t slow them down at all as they try to get at the flesh, so you can peel your peaches or not. It won’t matter!
Can You Cook Peaches to Give Them to Chickens?
Yes, you can, although this is not at all necessary to get them to eat them, and cooking usually only serves to deplete what relatively scarce nutrients peaches have when fresh.
Are Canned Peaches Safe for Chickens?
It depends: canned peaches that are packed with sugar, artificial sweeteners, syrup and other trickery are not at all okay for chickens and can make them seriously sick.
Peaches that are canned in juice are okay, I guess, in that they aren’t plainly toxic, but being packed in juice will greatly increase their already sky-high sugar content and generally make them a bad choice for chickens.
So, you can give juice-canned, unsweetened peaches, but do so sparingly and check the label to ensure that there is no added nastiness!
In any case, I won’t feed canned peaches to my birds and I recommend that you do not either.
Are Peaches Still Safe for Baby Chicks?
Yes, safe-ish, but I think that peaches are way too sweet and too moist for chicks. This is because chicks have delicate digestive systems and very strict nutritional needs, so it’s best to avoid feeding them anything sugary or high in moisture.
Both elements that peaches have can cause problems for chicks, and as any seasoned keeper will tell you “problems” often mean death for the little things.
If you are dead-set on giving your chicks peaches, then I recommend giving them tiny pieces of peaches only once they have reached about 6 weeks of age, and even then very sparingly.
How Frequently Can Peaches be Fed to Chickens?
Small portions, once a week. That’s about as much as I would go. Peaches are wholesome and fairly nutritious, but super sweet and very moist.
As mentioned above, two things that will cause serious trouble for chickens when they eat too many or too often.
Peaches should be treated like an occasional treat or a supplement to your flock’s diet, but not a sizeable component of it.
What’s the Best Way to Serve Peaches to Your Flock?
Raw. You don’t need to cook peaches at all. Simply remove the pit, always, and peel if desired. Cut the peach into small, bite-sized pieces if required and serve. It’s that simple!
Try to Only Feed Peaches to Chickens if They are Pesticide-Free
The sad state of affairs today concerning all of our produce, and peaches included, is that they’re constantly bombarded with various noxious pesticides to ensure they will make it to market without being damaged or infested by insects.
These chemical residues are very dangerous to birds (and people!), and will persist to varying degrees even after peeling and washing. Peaches, sadly, are more prone than most to absorbing these chemicals.
That can be bad news for your chickens over time and with repeated feedings.
To help prevent this, only buy organic peaches, or better yet, get to know your local growers and ask if they use any sort of pesticide on their crops. If not, get those!
Peaches are Safe, But Only Safe By Themselves: No People Food!
Peaches are incredible by themselves but truly decadent when made into some sweet, delicious dessert.
As tantalizing as these desserts are, don’t get any ideas of sharing with your chickens: That means no cake, no pie and definitely no ice cream or anything else that contains dairy products, sugar (sometimes in the form of syrup or honey), artificial sweeteners, preservatives, chocolate or anything like that.
All of these ingredients can cause serious health problems for your chickens – some of which can be fatal.
So, keep the desserts for yourself, and just give your chickens plain, fresh peaches. That will do them just fine, I promise.
Don’t Leave Peaches Scraps Around the Run or Coop
Your chickens will love peaches, depend on that, but lots of other critters love peaches too. In fact, they love them so much that they will be quick to come sniffing around looking for scraps of that sweet stuff.
If you don’t want insects and possibly predatory mammals or rodents coming to your patch in search of peaches, clean up all scraps when your flock is finished with them.
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.