Chickens can eat a wide range of foods besides their usual diet of seeds and pellets, and many people ask us if it’s alright for them to eat avocado. The answer is yes, your chickens can eat avocado and many of them enjoy it. However, some parts of the avocado plant can be toxic to them.
Keep reading while we look at the health benefits and dangers of avocado. We’ll also discuss how often and how much to feed your chicken to keep them healthy and happy.
Is Avocado Bad for My Chicken?
Persin is a deadly chemical found in the skin and stone of the avocado plant. This chemical can cause respiratory problems in many birds, including the chicken, and many times it can lead to death in a few days. You can also find persin in the plant’s leaves and stem, so the only safe part is the fruit, which is the same part we would eat. Most chickens won’t eat the stone, leaves, or stems, so you don’t need to worry about them. But they will eat the skin to get to the fruit, so you will need to remove it before letting them have one.
While the fats in avocado are the good fats, and we’ll talk about those soon, too much fat of any kind can lead to weight gain. Weight gain can lead to several health conditions that can end a chicken’s life prematurely, including heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes. Avoiding a high-fat diet is the best way to ensure your chicken remains a healthy weight.
Is Avocado Good for My Chicken?
Most chickens love the taste of avocado and will hurry over to eat some. Besides the great taste, avocado will also add fiber to your chicken’s diet, which can help reduce the risk of constipation or diarrhea by regulating the water in the intestines.
Vitamins and Minerals
There are plenty of vitamins and minerals in avocado that are helpful to chickens, including vitamins A and D, which help with egg production. Vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting, and the minerals phosphorus and magnesium also help with eggs hatching and are important to a healthy chicken.
Avocado has plenty of helpful omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These fats are one of the biggest reasons it’s so popular among humans, and they can also help your chickens. Omega fats can benefit the cardiovascular system and may even reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias. It can lower blood sugar and reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries. It also reduces inflammation, which is especially useful for older chickens that may be experiencing arthritis and others that have recently had a medical procedure.
Chickens are thirsty animals, and some birds will drink more than a liter of water on a hot day, so it’s important to make sure they always have access to fresh, clean water. Avocados can also help hydrate your chickens, especially if it’s a hot day or one is refusing to drink. In many cases, a little taste of avocado will return their behavior to normal.
How Should I Feed My Chicken Avocado?
The best way to feed avocado to your chicken is raw. Any cooking will strip it of its nutrients, and any processing can add chemicals and sugars that you want to avoid.
Remove the Stone
The first step in preparing avocado for your chicken is to cut it in half and remove the stone.
Scoop It Out
Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado but don’t get too close to the skin because the fruit in this area might have a higher level of persin.
Offer Small Portions
Even the edible part of the avocado will contain some persin and a lot of fat, so it’s best to limit the portion size to about one-quarter of an avocado per chicken every few days.
Most chickens won’t eat avocado unless you purposefully give it to them, so it is unlikely to cause a health issue. If one of your chickens got into some when you weren’t looking, it should probably be fine, but we recommend calling the vet and telling them how much your chicken ate to see if you need to do anything. A small portion of the fruit can be a great occasional treat with plenty of helpful vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fats.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this discussion and found the answers you needed. If we have helped increase the variety in your bird’s diet, please share this guide to feeding your chicken avocado on Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for more guides on what your chicken can eat? Try:
Nicole is the proud mom of 3 rescue fur babies, Baby, a Burmese cat; Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway; and Mac, a Lab/Mastiff. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband and new baby daughter in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe....Read more