I am fortunate enough to have a pear tree on my property. While its great for the family when in season and providing fruit, it got me to question whether or not these would make a good treat for my chickens. Are pears healthy for them, is there anything to watch out for such as the seeds? I spent some time researching to find out for sure.
So, can chickens eat pears? Chickens can eat pears, although should do so as a treat and in moderation. Despite containing many nutrients, chickens should primarily consume a balanced feed. So, once or twice per week, and half a pear at a time per chicken is a good serving size to aim for.
Whether you have pear fruit trees on your property, have considered these at the store or even have some left over – this is definitely a treat to consider for your birds.
But just like any treat; variety is key.
This is not just the only fruit you should look to offer. In fact, a mixed fruit salad is perhaps one of the best things that you can provide from time to time.
Nevertheless, there is certainly nothing wrong with serving just the pear alone.
So, let us know take a closer look at the nutritional breakdown of pears, before turning to how you can look to feed them.
Are Pears Healthy For Chickens?
Pears are considered to be a healthy food for chickens, so long as they are given in moderation.
Equally, it is important that a pear is offered fresh, and raw. Canned pear, along with dried pear, is not going to be as nutritious for your birds.
Let us now take a closer look at the specific vitamins and minerals found in pears, before we turn to how these can benefit the health of your chickens
Nutritional Content Of Pears
|of which sugars||14.4 g|
|Vitamin E||0.17 mg|
|Vitamin C||6.36 mg|
|Vitamin A||25 IU|
As you can see in the table above, even in just one small pear, there are a lot of vitamins and minerals up for grabs!
If we look consider the macronutrients, pears are quite low in calories and fat, while also providing a decent amount of fiber!
Fiber is essential for promoting optimal digestion, and plays a key role in other aspects of poultry nutrition, such as utilizing the vitamins and minerals found in food and preventing chickens from pecking at one another.
And look at the water content; 124g of a 148g pear is water. They are therefore a great way to provide natural hydration to your flock, and to ensure they are getting enough water. (with each chicken requiring around 500ml per day!)
So, compared to some other treats, pears can help your birds to keep a healthy weight.
And now onto the specific vitamins and minerals.
In particular, Calcium, Vitamin A, Potassium, Iron and Copper. All of which help to:
- Boost immunity,
- Improve blood circulation,
- Improve heart health,
- Reduce inflammation
And there there are the flavonoids found in pears, which are antioxidants which play important roles in maintaining chicken health [source] and can help to protect against certain diseases.
It comes as no surprise to learn that in a systematic review of pears on health, positive health outcomes were observed. Even in the animal studies!
How Many Pears Can Chickens Eat?
Pears should be offered to your chickens as a treat, no more than 1-2x per week. You should also not look to offer more than 1 pear per bird at a time.
Considering the pecking order (where birds at the top will eat first), and if your birds have access to pears from a tree nearby, this may be harder to achieve for some keepers than others.
In such instances, it is important to keep an eye out for what your birds are consuming, when, and how much.
So, you are going to want to ensure that all your birds can eat the pears you put out.
There are certainly risks involved with offering too many pears; either over the course of the diet or during one serving.
While pears certainly offer a lot of nutrition and have many benefits, they do not provide complete nutrition nor everything these birds need, such as protein and healthy fats.
Equally, if your chickens were to consume too much at a time, they are likely to experience bloating, pain and even diarrhea.
This is for three reasons:
- The high water content,
- The high fiber content and
- The type of carbohydrates they contain.
For the high water and fiber content, consider that they can fill your chickens up, and easily start to displace other foods in the diet.
It can prevent them from eating their more balanced feed, which needs to serve as the basis of the diet.
Then, onto the specific carbohydrates they contain.
Pears are quite high in the fruit sugar, fructose, and are considered a high FODMAP food.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These have been identified as specific carbohydrates that are more likely to cause digestive issues, especially if consumed in excess.
So, you need to be careful here.
Or otherwise there will be a lot of mess and cleaning up to do. Besides, diarrhea is not good for your birds either.
Remember, chickens are often quite gluttonous and will eat what you put out.
So, take the onus away from them and limit the serving sizes.
How To Feed Pear To Your Chickens
Feeding pears to your chickens is relatively simple, but there are some things you may want to consider first.
Organic pears, or those grown naturally on a tree, should always be preffered.
Otherwise, it is generally a good idea to wash them thoroughly prior to serving.
Then there is the state of the fruit itself.
Unripe pears are hard and challenging to digest.
Chickens can and do choke on foods that are too difficult for them to swallow.
So, you are going to want to ensure that the pears are soft prior to serving, if you can.
Thankfully, ripe pears are more sweet so your birds will actively seek them out.
Leaving pears at room temperature is a good way to fasten the ripening process if you do have some not quite ready.
So, with these factors in mind, its onto serving.
Its best to cut up the pear into small and more manageable chunks. Remove the core, and take away any seeds.
There is not much benefit to offering the seeds, and some sources report that they contain low levels of cyanide.
While the odd seed will not pose much of a risk to your birds, in excess is where the problems can occur.
Then, you can offer the small chunks of pear to your birds.
You can toss them on the floor and watch your birds eat them freely.
Just be sure to take away any leftover pear at the end of the day.
You do not want to attract any predators, nor do you want the fruit to rot, begin to smell, or attract flies.
Chickens can eat pears. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to offering them as treats.
There are a lot of nutrients on offer, and they are a great way to add variety and to supplement the diet.
There are many reports from keepers whom swear by this fruit, and that their chickens simply go crazy for them.
So better yet if you do have a pear tree on your property and the pears fall naturally in the path of your flock.
That being said, this is definitely a food to offer on occasion.
Be careful of the serving sizes, cut it up appropriately before serving, keep an eye on your birds while eating, and be sure to take away any leftovers.
Remember, the basis of any chicken’s diet, should be a high quality feed.
If you did want to learn more about feeding chickens, or raising them in general, be sure to take a look at our eBook.
Can Chickens Eat Whole Pears?
Chickens can generally eat whole pears, so long as they are sufficiently soft and ripe. Chickens will be able to peck at the flesh, and obtain the nutrition they need. Although, it is still advised to cut up a pear to your chickens prior to serving.
Pear seeds are only poisonous to chickens in excess, although it still comes recommended that you do not offer them to your birds, or let them eat them where you can. The seeds found in pears, along with those of apples, contain amygdalin, a glycoside that can release cyanide. Thankfully, a chicken would need to have to eat a lot of seeds before suffering from cyanide poisoning.