There are many questions concerning chickens treats. “Can chickens eat watermelon?” – even how simple it might seem – needs an in-deep answer.
Whether you are raising chickens as pets or for food production, you need to ensure that they receive proper nutrition.
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So, can chickens eat watermelon?
Absolutely yes! Chickens can eat watermelon, I mean watermelon flesh, truth is, they even love it. It’s one of the best treats you can give to your beloved feathered friend on the hot days.
You can feed them watermelon other times, too, but on a hot day, it’s the best. It’s delicious and nutritious.
Watermelon is packed with 92% of water that helps hydrated your chickens. It also contains plenty of nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, a few powerful antioxidants.
Trace elements are also found in watermelons such as thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, phosphorus and lycopene. Surprisingly, it contains more lycopene than all other fruits or vegetables. All these nutrients play a significant role in the lives of your chickens.
Watermelon is so great for your flock that you should feed them as much as you can, right? Hmm, not exactly. The reason? Somewhere right in the name. What happens when you drink a glass full of water before meal? You eat less. So as your chickens.
Overfeeding chickens with watermelon can cause them to eat less of their normal feed. Besides, watermelon is most likely no salt and low in protein, which is critical to your layer’s egg production and your meat chickens growth.
One little set back is that if the chickens eat too much of watermelon, their poo is going to get a little bit runny.
This problem isn’t going to be that much of a problem, and it certainly isn’t a health issue, but we do want to point it out because some people are a little concerned when it starts to appear.
With all that in mind, watermelon should be used as an occasional treat for your chickens, not a staple for their diet.
How about baby chicken? Can they eat watermelon as well? Yes, of course they can, as long as in moderation. They need a very high protein diet to develop properly so you don’t want to overload them with treats.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that you never feed your flock with mouldy or rotten watermelons as they contain mycotoxin – a toxin secondary metabolite – which is capable of causing disease or even death for poultry like chickens, ducks, geese or even human.
Can chickens eat watermelon seeds, rinds, leaves and vines?
Adult chickens can eat all parts of a watermelon, they may favour some parts more than another but the good thing is they can consume it all. Baby chickens, on the other hand, should only be fed with watermelon flesh as their crops are not yet fully developed.
Adult chickens can eat watermelon rinds, they won’t typically eat the whole thing.
The rinds of watermelons have a good amount of health benefits. They aren’t as tasty as the flesh, but contains the most fibre and also high in potassium.
The outer rind is the hardest part and 9 out of 10 times would be leftover. You can help your chicks out by chopping them into small pieces.
Adult chickens can safely eat watermelon seeds (and seeds of all types) as their crops are fully developed.
The seeds are a rich source of vitamins, proteins, magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, copper, omega-6 fatty acids, potassium, and more.
Do not pick them out and throw away, leave them inside the water flesh for your chickens to feed on them, but in moderation as they are high in calories.
3. Leaves and vines
These are also fully edible. In fact, they contain fibre that plays a significant role in adding bulk to your chickens’ stools. Also, it improves their digestive system. With a healthy digestive system, your chickens will enjoy overall well-being. Their eggs production and meat quality will improve accordingly.
You should make sure that you’re feeding for flocks clean leaves and vines, which means no pesticide of any kind. If you grow your own watermelon then there’s no worry. But if you get them elsewhere, either rinse them well or just don’t use them at all.
Remember not to serve your chickens leaves and vines at the same time you serve the fruit, they would just ignore the green. I mean, we all do, right?
How to choose fresh watermelon for chickens?
Two important things to keep in mind when choosing watermelon for your chickens: fully ripened and fresh.
If you choose a pre-cut watermelon, choose those slices with a bright red flesh and don’t come with any white strikes. The seeds should also be deep in colour or white.
If you go for a whole watermelon, choose the one that feels heavy and dent. Select the one with a smooth rind and look for a spot that appears when it resting on the ground, if the spot is yellow, that’s the right one.
Always keep your watermelon fresh by putting it in the fridge all the time.
Raising any poultry requires specific principles to follow. Enriching yourself with proper knowledge would help you easier to keep your beloved feathered friends healthy and strong.
“Can chickens eat watermelon?” is not just a question that has a simple answer. We hoped that you found your best one here.