Chickens are hardy critters. They can handle a lot of different foods, and it’s safe to say that they often know exactly what they can and can’t eat.
With that being said, Avacado is one fruit a chicken should not eat.
Why Chickens Can’t Eat Avocado
In truth, there are parts of the avocado that a chicken can eat, and there are parts that are toxic and deadly to chickens.
I like to be safer rather than sorry, and avoid giving my chickens anything that has a “part” of it that’s considered toxic. But, if you simply must, you should be ok if you give your chicken just the flesh and not the skin of an avocado.
The skin of an avocado has a toxin called persin within it, and if your birds consume too much of it, they will have respiratory problems and most likely day within a day or two.
Persin can be found in an avocado stone as well, but most of the time chickens will forgo that part of the fruit anyway. In addition, the toxin is also present in the leaves and bark of an avocado tree. So if you have one, keep your free-range chickens clear of it.
You might wonder about the safety of avocado flesh if the toxin is found in other parts of the plant. And you’d be right to be concerned because it is present within the green flesh as well. So, in large quantities, your chickens may also have complications from the gooey inside of an avocado.
Better safe than sorry, right?
But Avocados Have so Many Good Qualities!
Yes, it’s true, avocados provide iron, potassium, and the good fats everyone wants in their diet. But are you willing to risk the potential harm an Avocado presents just to get those benefits? You can probably find supplements and treats in your local ag store that provides all of them and more. (and there’s the added plus of those supplements not being lethal).
How to Safely Feed Your Chickens Avocado
If you do want to attempt to feed your chickens avocado, follow these tips to ensure they stay safe while feasting:
Remove the Skin
Always remove the skin and pit from the avocado before you give it to your chickens. Remember, these are the two parts of the fruit that have the most persin within it. Ensure that there are no missed pieces of skin on the flesh that you give to your chickens.
Scoop it Out
If you decide to scoop the avocado out of the skin, leave a little of the flesh on the avocado skin as a barrier. An accidental scrape may drag some of the toxin-laden skin onto the edible part of the plant.
Only a Little
Remember, even the flesh of avocado contains some of the toxins that is known kill chickens, so if you’ve decided to give chickens avocados, then make sure it’s in small doses.
Did You Accidentally Give Your Chickens Avocado Skins and Pits?
The good news is, if you’ve accidentally given your chickens access to avocados, they probably don’t care to eat them anyway. It’s amazing how intuitive chickens are when it comes to their food.
Often, not always, chickens know when something isn’t good for them, and they will avoid it like the plague. If your chickens do consume the poisonous parts of the avocado plant, you should call your vet to see if anything can be done. They may suggest bringing your chicken in to see them.
If your chicken ate a small amount of avocado flesh, your chicken may weather the storm just fine. Even a little taste of the skin may not be enough to cause distress or death. You can either call the vet or practice watchful waiting to see if you’re chicken is having a reaction.
The moral of the avocado story is to only give your chickens the fatty flesh of the fruit, and only if you have to. It’s better to just avoid it altogether because there’s plenty of other tasty treats out there to give to your beloved hens…and they aren’t toxic.