Can Chickens Eat Tangerines? The Benefits and Safety Tips

Article Summary

  • Tangerines are safe and beneficial for chickens, providing essential nutrients like Vitamin C, folate, potassium, and antioxidants.
  • Tangerines support reproductive health in laying hens, optimizing egg production due to folate, potassium, and antioxidants.
  • The high Vitamin C content in tangerines boosts immune cells, helping chickens fight off diseases.

Tangerines make a juicy, sweet treat for humans, but can our feathered friends enjoy them too? As a chicken owner, you likely want to provide your flock with optimal nutrition from natural sources. Read on to learn if and how tangerines can be a healthy part of your chickens’ diet.

Are Tangerines Good for Chickens?

Yes, tangerines are perfectly safe and even beneficial for chickens to eat. Like other citrus fruits, tangerines are packed with nutrients that support chicken health:

  • Vitamin C – Critical for immune function and collagen production. Helps fight disease.
  • Folate – Needed for DNA and red blood cell production. Supports egg laying.
  • Potassium – Important electrolyte for muscle, heart, and nerve function.
  • Antioxidants – Protects against cell damage from free radicals. Boosts overall health.

So in moderation, tangerines make a nutritious supplement to a balanced chicken diet. The natural sugars and juices are also an appealing taste treat.

Tangerine Benefits for Chickens

Beyond basic nutrition, tangerines offer some specific benefits when fed to backyard chickens:

1. Supports Egg Production

The folate, potassium, and antioxidants in tangerines all support the reproductive health of laying hens. This can optimize egg production.

2. Strengthens Immune System

The vitamin C content in just one tangerine meets a chicken’s entire daily requirement. Vitamin C boosts immune cells which fight off disease.

3. Aids Digestion

The fluids and fiber in tangerines can stimulate digestive enzymes and gut motility. This helps your flock digest and absorb other foods optimally.

4. Antioxidant Protection

Tangerines are packed with antioxidant compounds like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and cryptoxanthin. These mop up damaging free radicals to reduce inflammation and cell mutations.

5. Promotes Healthy Feathers

Bright orange pigments in tangerines, like beta-carotene, are metabolized into vitamin A. This vitamin keeps feathers strong and lustrous.

Is it Safe for Chickens to Eat Tangerines?

Yes, tangerines are perfectly safe for chickens to eat. The main safety considerations are:

  • Choking hazard – Only feed peeled slices or wedges, not whole fruit with peel.
  • Citric acid – Too much can upset digestion. Feed tangerines in moderation.
  • Pesticides – Only use washed, organic tangerines to avoid any chemical residue.

As long as you account for these factors, tangerines should pose no risks when included as part of a balanced diet. In fact, the benefits far outweigh any minimal risks.

What Type of Tangerines Can Chickens Eat?

There are many tangerine varieties that all make healthy, safe options:

  • Clementines – Very small and sweet. Easy to peel.
  • Satsumas – Sweet, seedless, and easy to peel.
  • Dancy – Oldest variety. Zipper-skin is tedious to peel.
  • Honey – Very sweet with some tartness. Low seeds.
  • Sunburst – Hybrid of clementine and murcott. Few seeds.
  • Murcott – Juicy, seedless, with rind that peels easily.
  • Orlando – Medium-sized and juicy with reddish skin.

Any of these delicious tangerine varieties can be fed to chickens in moderation. The easiest to prepare will be clementines, satsumas, and murcotts.

Which Parts of Tangerines Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can safely eat:

  • Flesh – The juicy orange segments provide the most nutrients.
  • Juice – The fluid is rich in beneficial compounds.
  • Peel – Small amounts provide fiber. Can cause choking.
  • Seeds – Non-toxic but can cause choking. Best removed.

For optimal safety and nutrition, peel the tangerines and remove the seeds before feeding just the flesh and juice to your flock.

Can Chickens Eat Tangerine Seeds?

While small amounts of seeds are not toxic, it’s best to avoid feeding tangerine seeds to chickens. The seeds pose a potential choking risk, especially for younger birds. For mature hens, the seeds could potentially get lodged in the crop.

TIP

To be safe, simply peel the tangerines and pick out any seeds before feeding the flesh to your flock. This removes any hazard while still providing all the benefits.

To be safe, simply peel the tangerines and pick out any seeds before feeding the flesh to your flock. This removes any hazard while still providing all the benefits.

What to Watch out for When Feeding Tangerines

Follow these tips for safely feeding tangerines:

  • Start with small amounts to avoid upset digestion
  • Monitor for loose droppings
  • Remove peel to prevent choking
  • Discard seeds to avoid crop impaction
  • Prevent resource guarding behaviors
  • Rinse fruit to remove pesticides
  • Store cut fruit in fridge to prevent mold

As long as you introduce tangerines slowly and take basic precautions, your flock can gain great benefits. Monitor to ensure the treat does not cause any digestive issues.

How to Prepare Tangerines for Your Chickens

Get the most out of tangerines for your flock by:

  1. Selecting ripe, undamaged fruit
  2. Scrubbing the rind well under water
  3. Peeling the skin completely off
  4. Separating the wedges
  5. Removing any seeds
  6. Chopping peeled fruit into bite-sized pieces
  7. Putting prepared pieces into a non-porous dish
  8. Refrigerating unused portions

Feed chickens directly from the dish to avoid food waste. Properly stored, the prepared tangerine chunks can last up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

How Much Tangerines Can You Feed Chickens?

Tangerines should be fed just as an occasional treat in moderation. A good general guideline is:

  • No more than 1-2 tangerines per standard-sized chicken
  • Feed only once or twice per week
  • Do not replace other dietary sources of nutrition
  • Adjust quantities based on chickens’ condition and reaction

Monitor your flock’s droppings for any signs of looseness from too much fruit. As long as tangerines make up only a small part of their overall diet, chickens can benefit from this citrus treat.

Can You Feed Tangerines to Chickens Every Day?

It’s best not to feed tangerines, or any single treat item, to chickens daily. Too much of even healthy fruits can cause an imbalance in their diet.

Limit tangerines to no more than a couple times per week…

Limit tangerines to no more than a couple times per week. This prevents any upset digestion from excess citric acid or loose droppings from too much fruit sugar.

Also, rationing tangerines will help prevent boredom in your flock. They will see it as a more appealing, intermittent treat. A varied diet is healthiest to provide a wide range of nutrients.

Can Baby Chickens Eat Tangerines?

Yes, baby chicks can start enjoying tangerines in small amounts. The nutrients support their rapid growth and immune function.

The main considerations for chicks are:

  • No citrus until at least 3-4 weeks old
  • Monitor closely for any signs of digestive upset
  • Chop flesh and juice into extra small pieces
  • Avoid any choking hazard from seeds or peel

Start chicks off with just a few tiny pieces of tangerine. If they tolerate it well, slowly increase the quantity as they grow.

Can Chickens Eat Tangerines and Oranges?

Yes, chickens can safely eat other citrus fruits like oranges too. In fact, alternating different fruits will provide a greater variety of micronutrients.

Oranges offer similar benefits as tangerines, including:

  • High vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants

Valencia, navel, cara cara – all types of oranges can be fed to chickens in moderation alongside tangerines for a healthful treat.

So don’t hesitate to share a variety of nature’s sweet citrus bounty with your backyard flock. In reasonable amounts, tangerines, oranges, and other fruits can be a delicious, nutritious supplement to your chickens’ diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can chickens eat tangerines and oranges?

Yes, chickens can eat tangerines and oranges in moderation. These fruits provide a tasty and nutritious treat. However, feeding should be limited due to the acidity content.

What fruit can chickens not eat?

Chickens should avoid certain fruits with pits or seeds containing cyanide, like cherries and apricots. Additionally, citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, should be given in moderation due to their acidity.

Can chickens have citrus peels?

While chickens may peck at citrus peels, it’s generally advisable to avoid offering them. Citrus peels can be tough to digest, and the essential oils in the peel may not be suitable for chickens in large quantities.

Are chickens allergic to citrus?

Chickens are not known to have allergies in the same way humans do. However, some chickens may be more sensitive to the acidity in citrus fruits, so it’s essential to introduce them gradually and in moderation to observe their reactions.