Can chickens have cherries seeds?

Answered by Jason Smith

Chickens can technically eat cherry seeds, but it is not recommended to feed them in large quantities. Cherry seeds, also known as cherry pits, contain a compound called amygdalin. When metabolized, amygdalin releases a chemical called cyanide. While the amounts of cyanide released from cherry pits are relatively small, ingesting a large number of pits can be harmful, and in extreme cases, even fatal to chickens.

There is some debate about whether chickens can actually metabolize amygdalin and release cyanide from cherry pits. Some people argue that chickens do not have the ability to break down the tough outer shell of the pit, and therefore, the amygdalin remains intact and does not pose a risk. However, it is important to note that chickens have strong beaks designed to crack open a variety of tough food items, including seeds and nuts. While they may not fully chew the cherry pits, they can still consume them and potentially be exposed to the amygdalin within.

To err on the side of caution, it is generally recommended to remove the cherry pits before feeding cherries to chickens. This minimizes the risk of any potential cyanide exposure. Additionally, cherries themselves can be a healthy treat for chickens in moderation. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, as with any treat, it is important to provide them in small quantities and as part of a balanced diet.

It is worth mentioning that different chicken breeds may have varying tolerances to certain foods. Some chickens may be more sensitive to the compounds in cherry pits than others. Therefore, it is always a good idea to observe your chickens’ behavior and health after introducing any new food item into their diet.

While it is possible for chickens to consume cherry pits, it is not recommended to feed them in large quantities due to the potential presence of amygdalin, which can release cyanide when metabolized. To minimize any potential risks, it is best to remove the cherry pits before offering cherries to chickens. As with any treat, moderation is key, and it is important to consider individual chicken sensitivities and overall dietary balance.