Yes, chickens can eat lemons. Citrus is not bad at all for chickens and they can easily consume citrus fruits in small quantities. In fact, citrus fruits like lemons and oranges can bring some benefits to their eggs and meat.
As a poultry owner, you might be often concerned about which foods to give to your chicken and which foods can harm them. Citrus fruits are acidic, but when given in small proportions, they can bring some benefits.
But it is not as simple as that. There are some points to consider while eating lemons. Scroll down further to get more information on this topic.
Can you Feed Chickens Lemons?
Fruits like lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits are loaded with Vitamin C. There is an ongoing debate on the topic, ‘Can chickens eat citrus fruits?’ as many people believe that citrus fruits can lead to poor egg production and also result in thinner egg shells.
Lemons are loaded with citric acid. It is believed that excess quantities of citric acid in chickens might lead to excessive feather plucking. But, these are just myths. The fact is that eating lemons and other citrus fruits, when given in moderation, can lead to better yield.
But, feeding lemons in large amounts to chickens can result in excess acidity levels in the body. This, in turn, will harm their egg production. Although some chickens might dislike the tangy and sour taste of lemons, some may binge on them. So, as a poultry owner, you must be careful about the quantity of lemons you are adding to your chicken feed.
Should Chickens Eat Lemons Regularly?
If you are thinking of adding a small quantity of lemons to your chickens diet regularly thinking that it would yield a better produce of eggs, here is where it gets tricky.
Small proportions of Vitamin C are not poisonous for a chicken’s body, but not at all necessary. Chickens are capable of synthesizing their own Vitamin C. So, although an added dose can make the meat more nutritious, it is not entirely necessary. Too many citrus fruits can, in fact, make them acidic.
So, you can experiment with the taste buds of your flock. Try to feed lemons occasionally to check their taste preferences. You can even check if your chickens eat citrus leaves or the seeds. If some do not touch lemons or their leaves and seeds at all, it is completely fine.
Can Chickens Eat Lemon Peels?
Chickens, more or less, eat everything that is offered to them. Although some may be picky about certain foods, the others may just eat anything that comes in front of them.
Chickens have an internal organ called gizzard that breaks up and easily digests hard things. So, even if you feel the lemon peels are hard for your chicken to eat as they have no teeth, they can easily digest it.
This being said, lemon peels are particularly sour and bitter. If some of your chickens eat citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, or clementines, they may completely detest lemons and lemon peels because of the sour and bitter taste. Some, on the other hand, may eat citrus leaves. The other citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and clementines have a sweet and sour taste, while lemon is just a citrus fruit with no sweetness. So, it is possible that some chickens may not eat lemon peels.
But, if your chickens eat lemon peels along with orange peels, then you need to be careful about a few things:
- Lemon peels are more acidic than the juice, and, when consumed in excess, can cause an upset stomach.
- Lemon peels might be loaded with fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals, which might harm your chickens.
But the same is not true for orange peels. While they may be loaded with fertilizers too, they also come with a lot of benefits. Most chickens shed a lot of salmonella bacteria in their faecal waste. This shows the high amount of bad gut bacteria in their bodies. Orange peels have cleansing properties that limit the prevalence of such harmful bacteria in their bodies. But, too many oranges can lead to too much sugar content in their bodies which is also bad.
So, if your chickens eat citrus fruits, you can give them a few lemon peels along with orange peels occasionally for them to munch on, but do not do it regularly.
Can Chickens Eat the Seeds of Lemon?
Lemon seeds can be given to chickens in small amounts. It does not have any side-effects on their well-being and is not poisonous at all. So you can give whole lemons to your chickens without worrying about the lemon seeds.
You also need not worry about cutting the lemons into small pieces as chickens have hard beaks that can easily break hard food rinds and peels.
Can you Feed Citrus Fruits Like Lemons to Baby Chicks?
Citrus fruits like lemons are fine when given in moderation to adult chickens, but these should not be given to baby chicks. Like humans, baby chicks have a very tender digestion and the high acidic content can harm their bodies.
It is better to stick to a neutral diet for baby chicks.
Are Lemons Good for Chickens?
When it comes to health benefits, every citrus fruit is loaded with vitamin C and is hence, healthy. But, just as we should have citrus fruits in moderation, the same applies for chickens.
If your chickens eat lemons and lemon rinds, you can treat them to this citrus fruit occasionally but not regularly. It is perfectly fine to for your chicken’s health. Here are some amazing health benefits of this citrus fruit for chickens:
Many Health Benefits of Lemons for Chickens:
It is a myth that too many citrus fruits can kill chickens. In fact, when given in a regular proportion, they can benefit from the nutritional value of the fruit. Lemons are rich sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C brings a plethora of benefits to a chicken’s body and immune system. Here are some benefits of Vitamin C observed when chickens eat citrus:
Heat and Stress Tolerance
Vitamin C improves stress tolerance in birds. It alleviates the side effects of stress, thereby helping chickens to tolerate heat better. Citrus leaves may help in getting healthy feathers.
It also improves their response to cell functional immunity. Vitamin C helps in combating the influence of microbial pathogens. It has amazing anti inflammatory properties along with benefits to their immune system.
Aids in Digestion
Vitamin C has shown improved digestion and bowel movements in birds. Lemon rinds can be grinded and given to chickens as excellent sources of fibre and roughage.
Improves Body Weight
Vitamin C has shown improved body weight when given in moderation regularly. Improved carcass weight and better meat quality and two benefits observed when chickens eat citrus.
Research has shown an improved fertility rate when chickens eat citrus fruits. The Vitamin C also helps in improved semen quality.