7 Things You Need to Know- Can Chickens Eat Cherries?

Chickens Eating Healthy Treats
Chickens Eating Healthy Treats
CAN CHICKENS EAT CHERRIES

Can chickens eat cherries? Yes, chickens can eat cherries in moderation, but care must be taken when feeding cherry leaves as they will produce cyanide as they begin to wilt. Also, feed cherries to chicks sparingly because their digestive system is more immature and cannot tolerate sugars as well as an adult chicken.

So, what parts of a cherry are safe for chickens to eat?

1. Can Chickens Eat Cherry Skin and Pulp?

Cherry skin and pulp are the best part of the cherry and are safe for your chickens to eat. Just make sure they are not candied cherries, like Maraschino Cherries, that are soaked in sugar water. Too much sugar can give chickens diarrhea.

Chocolate covered cherries are also a no-no for chickens. A chickens digestive system cannot process the chocolate.

Cherry skin is also good for your chickens.

Cherry pulp is filled with vitamins and also contain antioxidants that are good for the brain, eyes, skin and lungs.

2. Can Chickens Eat Cherries With Pits or Seeds?

CAN CHICKENS EAT CHERRIES OR CHERRY SEEDS (PITS)
CHERRY SEEDS (PITS) CONTAIN A TOXIC CHEMICAL CALLED CYANIDE. THEY ARE ONLY TOXIC IF CRUSHED OR CHEWED.

Cherry pits or the “seed” contains a toxic chemical called cyanide, but it is only harmful if crushed or chewed. Chickens don’t have teeth and are not able to crush or chew these hard stones. Most chickens will avoid this part of the fruit, but if they swallow a couple, it should pass in their poop.

3. Can Chickens Eat Wild Cherries?

The black cherry or wild cherry, otherwise known as Prunus serotina, is quite common in North America. (This shouldn’t be confused with the common Black Tartarian Cherry Tree.) Its leaves, bark and twigs are highly toxic to chickens and other livestock.

Chickens that eat the toxic leaves, bark or twigs may begin to show signs of respiratory distress, pant, convulse, become weak and die.

The wild cherry pulp is tart, but it is safe for your chickens to eat.

WILD CHERRY TREE:  PRUNUS SEROTINA.  THE LEAVES, BARK AND TWIGS ARE TOXIC TO CHICKENS.
WILD CHERRY TREE: PRUNUS SEROTINA. THE LEAVES, BARK AND TWIGS ARE TOXIC TO CHICKENS.

4. Can Chickens Eat Cherry Stems?

With the exception of the wild cherry trees, it is ok if your chicken eats a few stems. Cyanide levels are very low in the stems and would need to be crushed or chewed to release it.

Most chickens instinctively know this and will avoid cherry stems all together. If your chicken happens to eat a few cherry stems, you can rest easy knowing that its stomach cannot digest it and chickens do not have teeth, so they can’t chew it. Most likely they will be passed whole in their poop!

5. Can Chickens Eat Cherries Tree Leaves?

Cherry tree leaves that are fresh from the tree are ok for chickens to eat. Once the leaves begin to wilt, they begin to produce cyanide and are not ok for your chickens to eat.

If you choose to throw some cherry leaves into your chicken run, just make sure that you remove them before they begin wilting.

I have found that most chickens are not all that interested in cherry tree leaves. Chickens instinctively know what they can and can’t eat. But, if a chicken is hungry enough, it may consume something that it shouldn’t.

6. Are Cherries Healthy for Chickens?

Cherries are jam packed full of beneficial nutrients for your chickens and make a healthy treat for them to eat. Some of these include vitamins A, C, K, magnesium and calcium. They also provide antioxidants such as beta carotene and the essential nutrient choline.

Cherries should only be offered as a treat after they have had their regular feed. A serving size for an adult chicken is 1 TBS of treats per day. This is the equivalent to about 2-3 pitted cherries.

NUTRITION
FACTS
ADULT CHICKEN
SERVING SIZE
2-3 CHERRIES (1 TBS)
CALORIES15.6 CALORIES
VITAMIN K
(POTASSIUM)
54 mg
VITAMIN C2.91 mg
MAGNESIUM2.63 mg
VITAMIN A372.94 IU
BETA CAROTENE35.24 mcg
POLYPHENOLS32.79 mg
PROTEIN0.3 g
CALCIUM4.69 mg
IRON0.094 mg
SUGARS3.3 g
DIETARY FIBER0.6 g
FAT0 mg
CHOLESTEROL0 mg
SODIUM0 mg
NUTRITION IN 1 TBS OF CHERRIES FOR AN ADULT CHICKEN

7. How to Feed Cherries to Chickens

For healthy adult chickens, they should only be fed 1 TBS of treats per day. This would be the equivalent to about 2-3 cherries, without the pits.

Monitor your chickens’ poop after serving cherries to them for the first time. If you notice that it is causing diarrhea, cut back on the amount of cherries that you serve to them next time.

What Happens if a Chicken Eats Too Many Cherries?

Wilted cherry leaves contain cyanide. If a chicken eats too many wilted cherry leaves and stems, this can cause difficulty breathing, panting, red mucous membranes and put your chicken into shock. Depending upon the size of your chicken and how much was consumed it can even cause death.

If your chicken eats too many cherries, pulp only, it can have the same effect as it does on humans. This can cause stomach upset with diarrhea, gas and bloating.

If you notice any of these symptoms, remove any uneaten cherries and offer less next time. Symptoms should subside within 24 hours.

CHERRIES ARE A VERY NUTRITIOUS TREAT FOR YOUR CHICKENS TO EAT AS LONG AS YOU FOLLOW A FEW GUIDELINES.
CHERRIES ARE A VERY NUTRITIOUS TREAT FOR YOUR CHICKENS TO EAT AS LONG AS YOU FOLLOW A FEW GUIDELINES.

CONCLUSION: 7 Things You Need to Know- Can Chickens Eat Cherries?

Cherries are a very nutritious treat for your chickens to eat as long as you follow a few guidelines:

  • Only serve 1 TBS of cherries for each adult chicken.
  • It is ok to give your chickens the whole cherry to eat (just not the wild cherries). Most chickens will only eat the pulp and skin of the cherry and show no interest in the stems and pits.
  • Don’t let your chickens consume wilting leaves from a cherry tree or any leaves, stems, bark or twigs from the wild cherry tree Prunus Serotina. These contain cyanide and can be fatal if your chicken eats them.
  • When you first start feeding your chickens cherries, observe their poop. If you notice diarrhea, give less the next time you feed it to them.

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