My chickens are eating fallen oranges

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by californiagirl, May 23, 2012.

  1. californiagirl

    californiagirl In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    Yucaipa, CA
    We have three huge, overgrown orange trees in our back yard which is also our chicken's habitat. We're pretty good about picking up the windfalls, but this past week they've been dropping all day long and often split because of the impact. My older hens have never had any interest in the oranges, but this new batch of chicks (6 pullets and 2 cockerels) have gone nuts over them! They actually pick pieces up and run around chasing each other. I've found several oranges completely hollowed out. They have access to feed, water, and grass pasture all day long so it can't be that they're not getting enough to eat.

    My concern is that I remember reading that citrus should not be given to chickens, but I can't find out WHY. I've also read that chickens have an instinct for what's good and what's not and have the feeling that they wouldn't eat them if they were really poisonous to them. I haven't seen any ill effects in the little ones, who are three months old, but I'm wondering if anyone knows what I should be looking for.
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    There's nothing wrong with them eating fresh citrus. The concern is mostly over using citrus residue in making chicken feed which they would have to eat as a significant part of their diet. Fresh citrus is no worse for them than any other fresh fruit and chickens have been eating it for centuries where ever citrus and chickens are raised together. Which is a significant part of the planet.
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    The fresh citrus is an issue because of the calcium I've been told. Too much can hurt their kidneys. Not sure how serious it can actually be. I don't have that kind of problem - boy I wish I did. What I'd give to be somewhere warm enough to grow oranges!

    If you don't see any ill effects, I'm sure they are fine.
  4. Tigertrea

    Tigertrea Songster

    Feb 10, 2012
    LaSalle Ontario Canada
    I don't know if some citrus in their diet is bad or not. I haven't been around nearly long enough.

    Calcium does decrease calcium absorption in humans and dogs for sure. I don't know about other species though. Also the body only uses as much vitamin C as is necessary. The rest is excreted by the kidneys. Some people say this is hard on the kidneys, others disagree.

    I have to agree with above....I'd love to live somewhere that I have to worry about it LOL!
  5. californiagirl

    californiagirl In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    Yucaipa, CA
    I just went out and thought they'd all sprouted bloody noses - their faces were all brown and crusty looking. But it turns out it was just orange juice mixed with dirt that had dried on them! Freaked me out!

    When I started collecting the fallen oranges and throwing them over the fence, the chickens started chasing me and yelling in the most pathetic way. They're like little, feathered, orange addicts who are upset over their intervention. I guess it's okay for them to eat oranges, but I worry about flies being attracted to the dried juice.

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