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How do you feed apples to chickens?

Chickens love apples! Apples provide chickens with many health benefits and can be a tasty treat. When feeding apples to chickens, there are some important things to keep in mind to ensure the apples are safe and enjoyable for your flock.

Can Chickens Eat Apples?

Yes, chickens can eat apples. In fact, apples are a healthy snack for chickens. Apples contain vitamins A, C, B, and E, as well as minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. The fiber in apples can also help aid digestion in chickens. In moderation, apples make an excellent addition to a chicken’s diet.

Benefits of Feeding Apples to Chickens

There are many benefits to feeding apples to chickens:

  • Apples provide vitamins and minerals chickens need for good health and egg production.
  • The natural sugars in apples give chickens an energy boost.
  • Apples contain antioxidants that can boost chickens’ immune systems.
  • The fiber in apples aids digestion and can help prevent impacted crops in chickens.
  • Chickens enjoy eating apples, so apples make a good motivational or training treat.
  • Apples are inexpensive and widely available.

How Much Apple Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens should only eat apples in moderation, as too many apples can cause issues:

  • Too much sugar from apples can cause digestive upsets.
  • Excessive apple consumption could lead to obesity.
  • Apples contain cyanide compounds in their seeds, so chickens should not eat large quantities of apple seeds.

As a general rule, chickens should get no more than 1-2 small apples per chicken per day. Cut apples into small pieces so chickens don’t gorge themselves.

Can Chickens Eat Apple Core and Seeds?

Chickens should not eat whole apple cores or large quantities of seeds. Apple cores contain cyanide compounds that can be toxic in high doses. It’s fine for chickens to eat a few seeds, but avoid letting them eat more than 1-2 seeds per apple. Remove the core and seeds before feeding apples to chickens when possible.

Can Chickens Eat Rotten Apples?

It’s best not to feed chickens rotten or moldy apples. As apples start to rot, they produce ethanol, which can make chickens drunk if consumed in excess. Rotten apples may also contain mycotoxins from mold growth, which can make chickens sick. Only feed chickens fresh, unspoiled apples.

How to Prepare and Feed Apples to Chickens

Here are some tips for preparing and feeding apples to chickens:

  • Wash apples thoroughly before feeding to remove dirt and chemical residues.
  • Remove apple cores, stems, and seeds – these parts could be a choking hazard.
  • Chop larger apples into smaller pieces for easier eating.
  • Crush or puree apples for younger chickens who have difficulty swallowing.
  • Mix apple pieces into chickens’ feed or serve apples separately as a treat.
  • Scatter apple pieces in chickens’ run or pen to encourage natural foraging.
  • Refrigerate cut apples if not feeding immediately to prevent spoiling.

How Often Can Chickens Eat Apples?

Chickens can eat small amounts of apples daily. Limit treats like apples to no more than 10-15% of a chicken’s total daily food intake. For most chickens, 1-2 small apples or the equivalent per chicken per day is sufficient.

To encourage foraging behaviors, scattering apple pieces a couple times a week is recommended. Avoid feeding apples multiple days in a row, as chickens may start to avoid their normal feed in favor of the tasty apple treat.

Are Apple Leaves and Stems Safe for Chickens?

Apple leaves, branches, and young stems contain amygdalin, which releases cyanide when ingested. So it’s best to avoid letting your chickens have access to parts of the apple tree besides the fruit. The fruit is safe for chickens to eat, but don’t allow them to forage freely on whole apple trees.

Can Chickens Eat Dried Apples?

Dried apples are safe for chickens to eat and contain concentrated nutrition compared to fresh apples. Look for dried apple slices without added sugar or preservatives. To rehydrate dried apples, soak the slices in water for 30-60 minutes before feeding to your flock.

Start with small amounts of dried apples, as the concentrated sugar can cause digestive upset if chickens eat too much. A few dried apple rings per chicken is a good starting point.

Can Chickens Eat Apple Cider Vinegar?

Adding apple cider vinegar to chickens’ drinking water is safe and provides some benefits. A small amount of apple cider vinegar (about 1 tablespoon per gallon of water) can help:

  • Balance chickens’ gut pH
  • Improve digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Discourage harmful bacteria

The acidity and antimicrobial properties of apple cider vinegar make it a useful supplement. Just don’t overdo it, as too much vinegar can harm chickens’ esophagus over time.

Can Chickens Eat Applesauce?

Plain, unsweetened applesauce is safe for chickens to eat. Look for varieties without added sugar or artificial ingredients. Because the fruit is pureed, chickens don’t have to work as hard to break down applesauce before swallowing. This makes it a great option for chicks or chickens with health issues.

Try mixing a spoonful or two of applesauce into chickens’ feed to encourage reluctant eaters. The flavor and aroma can increase palatability. Just like with whole apples, feed applesauce in moderation to avoid overconsumption.

Apple Treat Recipes for Chickens

Here are some healthy apple treat recipes you can make for your flock:

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup water

Simmer oats and water together until thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in diced apples and cinnamon. Allow to cool fully before serving.

Apple Cranberry Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and sugar. In a separate bowl, beat egg then mix in milk, apples, cranberries, and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until combined. Scoop batter into a greased muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Apple Peel Snacks

Rinse and dry apple peels left over from making applesauce or pie filling. Spread peels in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 200°F for 1-2 hours until dried. Cool and serve to chickens for a nutritious crunchy snack.

Common Questions about Feeding Apples to Chickens

Can baby chicks eat apples?

Yes, but baby chicks’ digestive systems are more delicate. Steam and puree apples into applesauce consistency before feeding to chicks under 4-6 weeks old. Avoid pieces that could cause choking.

Do chickens like green and red apples equally?

Chickens don’t have preferences for different apple varieties. Both green and red apples are safe and nutritious for chickens. Mix it up by offering different types.

Should apples be cooked before feeding to chickens?

No, chickens can safely eat raw apples. Cooking apples can make them easier for chickens to digest. But raw apples are fine as long as you cut them to an appropriate size before feeding.

How long do cut apples last for chickens?

Cut apples will oxidize quickly after being exposed to air. For best freshness and nutrition, feed cut apples to chickens within 6-8 hours. Refrigerating extends this time to 24 hours.

Is apple cider safe for chickens?

Avoid letting chickens drink alcoholic cider, as ethanol is toxic to chickens. But unfiltered apple juice is fine as an occasional treat, no more than a tablespoon or two per chicken.


Apples make a nutritious, low-cost supplement to a balanced chicken diet. Chickens enjoy munching on crisp apple slices, and apple’s nutrients and fiber provide health benefits. Follow the feeding guidelines here to ensure chickens get the advantages of apples safely. With just a few precautions, apples can be a delicious way to provide variety in your flock’s meals.