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Dragon fruit is a popular exotic fruit found in Southeast Asia and southern China. This small red or yellow fruit has a firm texture and an almost jelly-like consistency as well as a sweet flavor that is reminiscent of pineapple. While it doesn’t look like much on its own, it has an interesting plant that is worth trying out if you come across it at a market or nursery. However, if you already growing this edible succulent plant you may be wondering whether backyard chickens can eat this fruit as well. Is it safe for them or is it toxic?
Chickens can eat dragon fruit safely and it is known to be quite nutritious for them as it contains a wide range of nutrients and minerals that will help the chickens to remain healthy. However, when you are feeding them this fruit you will need to remove the skin on the outside of the plant to ensure that they can access the flesh relatively easily.
The easiest way to do this is to simply cut the plant in half and leave it lying on its back for the chickens to get into. If you have relatively young chickens it is also not a bad idea to remove some of the spines on the outer part of the fruit to ensure that there are no problems with the chickens.
Will Chickens Eat Other Types Of Succulents?
The answer to this question is yes. Chickens can eat a range of other succulents such as prickly pear and sedums. However, due to the prickly nature of these plants they need to be prepared by cutting them up and removing the spines before they can be given to the chickens.
However, not all succulents are suitable for chicken so you do need to check the specific variety but the ones that should be avoided. Euphorbias are particularly dangerous because they contain a caustic sap that will severely affect chickens if they ingest the sap or even get it on their skin. This latex sap has much the same effect on humans and is responsible for numerous hospitalizations.
It is common for many euphorbias to be confused with cactus but the easiest way to tell is as soon as they are cut white sap appears. If this happens you should not touch the sap or feed it to any chickens.
In addition to euphorbias, the other common succulent which has raised concern is aloes which have been shown to be carcinogenic to certain small mammals such as rodents. While there has been no specific study relating to the effects on chickens it is far better to be safe than sorry because it plenty of other things that the chickens can eat from the garden.
Can You Feed Chickens The Foliage Of Dragon Fruit Plants?
The foliage of dragon plants is quite tough and not very appealing for consumption for chickens. The skin of the fruit at the least does contain some toxic chemicals which do leach into other parts of the foliage. We, therefore, do not recommend feeding chickens so it is best to avoid feeding chickens anything other than fruit.
Can You Feed Chickens Too Many Dragon Fruit?
As dragon fruits have relatively sweet sugary flesh, it is generally recommended that you do not feed them too many dragon fruits at any one time. It is important to ensure that you mix it up with a range of other food sources.
As a general rule, it is a good idea to base the chicken’s diet around commercially purchased grain or chicken pellets and then supplement this diet with a range of fresh vegetables which can include some relatively sweet fruit provided that it forms a small part of the diet. Spreading the resources of food will ensure that the plants get a wide range of nutrients and remain healthy for years to come.
What Types Of Plants Should Chickens Be Eating?
Chickens should be eating plants that have chlorophyll and are rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. All of these plants are also low on the glycemic index which means they won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels or insulin production when eaten by your chickens.
As a general rule, it is best to feed chickens the fresh scraps of food that come from your kitchen which consist of only foods that you would be comfortable eating yourself. Many people also give the chicken a range of different weeds, however, you do need to be a little bit careful if you are giving them scraps of ornamental plants because many of the plants that we grow commonly are extremely toxic and will kill your chickens. If you are unsure about the toxicity of a particular plant it is best to not give that to the chicken.
Can You Feed Chickens Stale Or Moldy Food?
Chickens can eat stale food but I would not recommend that you give them moldy food as it can make them sick. It is generally a good idea to provide them only with relatively fresh food simply because if they don’t eat the food immediately it may sit in their pen for a little bit of time before they have a nibble.
If the food is already a little bit old or even starting to grow mold it is likely that if it is not eaten immediately it will turn very quickly and become quite toxic for the chickens. As such I would not recommend supplying the chickens with anything but the freshest food possible.
Yes, chickens can eat dragon fruit and also other types of succulents, as long as they don’t have too many leaves. It is not preferable for your chickens to eat the foliage of Dragon Fruit plants. Dragon fruits should be fed to them as a part of a balanced diet which should include a range of vegetables, fruits, greens, and herbs.