One thing with chickens is that they can eat various types of foods. They will eat different types of greens, fruits, and grains. The advantage of this is that it’s never hard to find a treat for your chickens. In this article, we will be discussing cantaloupe as a treat for chickens.
Can chickens eat cantaloupe? Yes, they can.
Cantaloupe is very safe for chickens to eat. Chickens will eat the rind, the seeds, and the flesh of the cantaloupe. Cantaloupe can be fed whole but eating is easier when you cut the cantaloupe into small chunks for your chickens.
However, like with many other treats, you should feed cantaloupe to your chickens in moderation.
Cantaloupe Nutrition Facts
So, what nutrients are present in cantaloupes, and how are they useful to your chickens? Well, in cantaloupes, you will find the following nutrients:
Beta carotene can help your chicken in many ways. For one, it plays a role in determining the color of the eggs, feathers, skin, beak, and comb.
Beta carotene may also keep your chicken healthy. It is an antioxidant, so it can help reduce oxidative stress in chickens.
Apart from the already stated functions, beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in chickens. So, now let’s see how vitamin A helps chickens.
Vitamin A ensures the healthiness of the eyes, skin, respiratory, and digestive tract of chickens. Deficiency of vitamin A predisposes your chickens to diseases like roup and conjunctivitis.
Well, your chickens will usually make their own vitamin C, and under normal circumstances, it should be enough. But when your chickens are facing extreme stress, an external source of vitamin C will come good.
Chickens are more likely to suffer folate deficiency than most farm livestock. Folate is useful for appropriate blood formation. It also plays a part in the growth of healthy feathers and the size of the chickens.
In the absence of folate, your chickens will appear anemic, stunted, and have unappealing plumage. Cantaloupes may not be the main dietary source of folate, but it is useful.
In chickens, fibers will do what fibers normally do. They improve the digestive health of the chickens. They could also serve as a source of energy, and help with the chickens’ growth.
Potassium will help ease the effect of high temperatures on your chicken. Potassium is important for maintaining electrolyte balance inside your chickens.
Potassium also improves water intake, and this helps when the environment is too hot for the chickens.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals for chickens. It is essential for the development of strong bones in your chicken. It is also necessary for the formation of strong and uniformly colored eggshells.
Parts of Cantaloupes That Can Be Eaten by Chickens
Chickens can eat most parts of a cantaloupe. But of course, each part does not taste the same or offer the same things. So, let’s see what each part they eat has to offer.
The Cantaloupe Flesh
The flesh is the tastiest part of the cantaloupe, so it is not surprising that chickens love it. It is also the juiciest part of the cantaloupe. With the high water content of the flesh, it makes for a very good chicken treat during hot periods.
Chickens can easily eat cantaloupe seeds. Due to the presence of gizzards in their stomach, they are suited for the digestion of whole seeds. But apart from feeding whole cantaloupe seeds to your chickens, you may also dry the seeds and grind them before you feed the chickens.
Well, the rind is nowhere near as tasty as the flesh, but it is safe for chickens to eat.
Usually, chickens will eat the rind in small quantities, and they will avoid the outer rind. The outer rind can be tough for them to peck at, so it is not surprising that they avoid it.
How You Can Feed Cantaloupes to Chickens
There are a few ways to feed cantaloupes to your chickens. One way is to divide the whole cantaloupe into halves, quarters, or eighths.
Place the divide parts before the chickens and let them have a go at it. Also, instead of letting them peck at these larger portions, you may cut the cantaloupe into tiny dices.
A second option is to dry the seeds or the rind and feed it to the chickens. You may also grind the dried seeds and mix them with other treats like yogurt.
You may also mix tiny pieces of cantaloupes with the chickens’ usual feeds. This could make them more eager to eat the feeds.
Dangers of Feeding Cantaloupes to Chickens
When given in the right quantity, cantaloupes are generally safe for your chickens. But when they become rotten or stale, feeding cantaloupes to your chickens can cause problems.
Always feed your chickens only fresh cantaloupes. If you wouldn’t eat it, you probably shouldn’t give it to your chickens either.
Cantaloupes that are rotten or have mold should be thrown away.
Can I Overfeed My Chicken With Cantaloupes
No, you should not overfeed your chickens with cantaloupes. Overfeeding them leaves your chicken at risk of diarrhea.
There’s no exact amount of cantaloupes to feed your chicken. But this does not mean you should feed them without limits.
Cantaloupes should only be given as treats. This means, alongside other treats, it should not exceed 5% of your chickens’ diet. You should seek a vet doctor’s advice for more details.
Things to Remember
- Do not let the cut cantaloupes stay too long before you feed them to the chickens. This may leave them at risk of different infections.
- Although they will most likely reject it, do not feed rotten cantaloupe to your chickens.
- Feed them moderately.
Your chickens can safely eat most parts of a cantaloupe: the flesh, the seeds, and the rind. You must, however, pay attention to the freshness and quantity of the cantaloupes you feed them. If you get the quantity right, and you do not feed them rotten or stale cantaloupes, there should be no issues.