can-baby-chickens-eat-watermelon

Can Baby Chickens Eat Watermelon?

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Well folks, let me tell ya, I learned through an absolutely wild experience that baby chicks totally go bonkers for watermelon!

It was a scorching summer day on my little farm here in Texas.

I had just brought home my latest batch of fuzzy baby chicks, fresh from the local feed store, and got them all settled into the coop when I spotted a spare watermelon leftover from our trip to the farmer’s market.

This juicy red beauty was perfectly ripe and sweet and on a hot day like this, a refreshing bite sounded pretty dang good to me.

Then I thought – hey, I bet these little baby puffballs would love some too!

What better way to hydrrate and cool off?

Without thinking it through too much, I sliced up that melon into little chick-sized bites and popped a few chunks straight into their feed tray.

Oh boy, that’s when the chaos ensued!

Those fluffy little dinosaurs came barreling over, chirping and squeaking up a storm, diving beak first into the sweetness.

They scratched and flapped and flung teeny melon bits everywhere!

Their little fuzzy faces were dripping with red juice and black seeds as they gobbled down every last scrap.

It was an absolutely adorable, sticky, feathery mess.

And from then on, I knew that watermelon had become their favorite summertime treat!

But why do baby chicks go so crazy over watermelon exactly?

And what do you need to know to serve up this sweet snack safely?

Is Watermelon Good For A Chicken’s Health?

can-baby-chickens-eat-watermelon

Alright, here’s the straight skinny – watermelon is A-OK for baby chickens as an occasional treat.

That’s cause watermelon is pretty much all water, about 92% to be exact.

And on a hot summer day, nothing cools down a chick better than a sip of H2O.

The vitamins and minerals in watermelon are gentle on their tiny tummies too.

Now watermelon provides some key nutrients chickens need.

First off, it’s full of hydration like I said.

Second, those red flesh is loaded with antioxidants lycopene and carotenoids.

These protect cells from damage.

Watermelon’s also a good source of vitamins A and C.

Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy while C supports immune function.

Folks may not realize but chickens actually love sweet flavors.

And watermelon’s natural sugars satisfy that craving without being too rich.

Sugars are an easy energy source for growing chicks.

The best part is all that liquid and natural goodness helps prevent dehydration, which is dangerous for poultry in hot weather.

Why Chickens Love Watermelon

can-baby-chickens-eat-watermelon

For starters, watermelon is more than 90 percent water, making it an incredibly thirst-quenching, hydrating treat, especially on blistering hot days.

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That sweet sugariness hits their little tastebuds hard too – fruit sugar is like candy to these kiddos!

But beyond tasting great, watermelon has some stellar nutritional benefits for rapidly developing baby chickens.

All that vitamin A helps their vision, bone growth, and healthy immune function – critical for these youngsters.

That big ole dose of Vitamin C aids in collagen production, helping cartilage and connective tissue form properly as they grow.

Plus potassium for proper muscle and nerve function, which they need as they zoom around the coop!

And don’t forget the antioxidant Lycopene for increased heart health.

Pair that with some lean protein from bugs and normal chicken feed, and watermelon makes the perfect supplement to support early development.

No wonder they go cuckoo for watermelon!

It ticks all the boxes nutritionally by providing stellar hydration plus key vitamins and minerals.

For rapidly growing baby birds, that bright red flesh is an ideal snack!

How To Prepare Watermelon For Chicky Wikis

can-baby-chickens-eat-watermelon

Alright now, before sharing your watermelon, you’ll want to pick out any seeds or rinds.

We all know chicken eggs come from hens, not watermelon seeds! Swallowing a seed by mistake could cause a block in their digestive works.

It’s best to cut the watermelon into teeny slices, no bigger than a blueberry.

This prevents any choking hazards.

Use a sharp paring knife to get clean cuts.

Don’t forget to wash your hands and any surfaces after handling the melon too.

Another thing – go ahead and remove any green or unsightly bits on the rind side.

Chickens don’t care what color their food is, but you want only the sweetest, most delicious parts for them.

Once cubed up, transfer the pieces to a small dish or plate so they don’t get lost in the coop.

Speaking of the coop, be sure to serve where it’s clean, dry and dust-free.

Don’t want any food borne germs hitching a ride on that watermelon! Location is also important – avoid drafts but provide some shade.

We all know them chicks love to peck in peace without scare from fly-bys.

Comfort makes for happy eaters!

Be Aware of Choking Hazards

Now watermelon flesh is pretty soft and easy to nibble.

But baby beaks are tiny, and aggressive eaters may go a bit overboard with their excited chomping.

Large chunks can pose a choking risk if one tries swallowing too big a bite in their frenzy.

I recommend standing by to supervise snack sessions.

Make sure no one is struggling or making choking sounds while you introduce this treat.

Pay attention for signs like gaping beaks, drooping wings, or difficulty breathing.

Small pieces are safer for that reason.

If anyone seems to be struggling, remove melon immediately and address symptoms.

Call that little glutton Poulet 9-1-1 if needed!

Avoid Rind and Seeds

While watermelon flesh is perfect for them, steer clear of offering rinds or seeds.

That thick outer peel is way too tough for their tiny beaks to manage.

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They just can’t break it down enough to digest it properly.

And hard seeds could potentially cause intestinal blockages or damage if swallowed whole – yikes!

So stick just to the soft, seedless red middle part.

If your melon does contain seeds, scoop them out before slicing it up.

Rinse well to avoid any stubborn sticky residue that could impact their feather cleanliness or digestion.

For easy clean up, I like to follow watermelon snack times with some run around foraging sessions on fresh grass.

This lets them wipe those sticky beaks and feet off on the lawn before returning back to the coop environment.

Prevent Messy Residue Build Up

Sweet, juicy watermelon equals guaranteed mess as excited chicks dive in beak-first!

While a little sticky residue on feathers or beaks won’t hurt them as they explore this yummy new snack, too much sugar sitting around can attract pests.

Excess dripping juice or uneaten fleshy bits on the floor can leave a residue build up over time.

This gooey sugary coating is a recipe for ants!

Not to mention it mixes with poop, feathers, and dirt into a nasty gunky flooring if ignored.

To curb mess, I recommend only offering watermelon in one dedicated area you don’t mind hosing out after.

Their outdoor run area works great for this.

Just scatter small chunks in a patch of grass or dirt.

This contained space contains the excitement – and the inevitable aftermath.

Bonus if you have a smooth cement slab patio or feature they can easily nibble bites on.

Then after snack time fun, bag up leftovers, rinse the area, do a quick coop tidy, and replace any soiled bedding to keep things fresh.

Easy peasy clean up for endless watermelon joy!

Well folks, there’s my crazy chicken watermelon adventure plus everything ya need to know to offer this sweet treat safely.

Cool down your flock with hydrating, happy bites!

But stand by to supervise in case your kiddos get a little too rowdy in the excitement.

Other Tips For Chickadee Watermelon Parties

  • Offer watermelon when it’s hot outside to prevent dehydration.Aim for temperatures over 80 degrees F.
  • Only feed watermelon treats to chicks at least 4 weeks of age once their crop muscle matured fully.
  • Store any leftover pieces in the fridge and toss within 24 hours.Don’t risk spoilage.
  • Have a shallow dish or plate on hand for easy access.Chickens tend to peck at ground level.
  • Watch for aggressive eaters – separate any bullies so all chickens get a fair share.
  • Consider seedless varieties if worrying about seeds.But removing them yourself works too.
  • Wash hands and surfaces after prep to fight any Salmonella risks from raw melon.

Pick the Perfect Watermelon

When selecting the prime watermelon for your flock, go for a classic round shape with a creamy yellow underside.

Avoid pale white spots or bruising which indicates under ripeness.

The iconic dark green rind should feel heavy for its size.

Gently tap and press to confirm ripe sweetness.

A hollow or dull thud means disappointment inside.

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But a sharper plunk promises juicy red joy!

Sniff the stem scar – an intensely sweet aroma screams flavor town success.

And most importantly, heft it up – a good 10 plus pounds promises hearty hydrating happiness for days of chick snacking!

Expand Treats As Chicks Grow

When chicks first hatch out, start super small with treats.

Just a bite or two of soft flesh daily to safely introduce flavor.

Their digestive systems are still developing, so don’t overwhelm them.

But as they grow into active, energetic feather balls around 4-8 weeks, scale up melon amounts.

Bigger bodies can handle more fruit sugar and increased fiber.

Watch closely though – some flock members may show less interest than others based on unique preferences.

Respect that by adjusting individual portion sizes to their liking.

Store Leftovers Properly

Leftover melon needs proper storage between snack times.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap directly on the exposed flesh.

This prevents oxidation which saps sweetness and nutrients.

Chill right away – fridge temps below 40 degrees F safely halt bacteria growth.

The cold also maintains texture and moisture better.

Just know watermelon only lasts about 5 days once cut.

So plan to use up all leftover chunks within a few days.

And always rely on sight and smell before serving again.

Discard any brown splotches or funky odors.

A Fun Cold Treat Alternative

Try freezing watermelon chunks for a fun cooling chick treat!

Just snip bite sizes and lay in a single layer on a sheet pan.

Freeze until solid, then transfer to a sealed bag.

Pull a few out as needed for high heat hydration and enrichment.

They’ll chip away slowly as the melon thaws.

This makes a great boredom buster on a lazy afternoon too!

Combine With Other Favorites

Mix watermelon slices with other healthful produce for more treat fun.

Some combos to try:

– With fresh chopped mint and feta

– Alongside diced mango or pineapple

– Tossed with chopped hard boiled egg for extra protein

– Sprinkled with fresh juicy blackberries

– With a spoonful of plain yogurt

Watch Out For Pests!

Backyard chickens attract pests even on the best days.

So leaving leftover juicy watermelon out risks inviting more.

Flies, ants, and wasps catch a whiff of sweetness and come running!

So store promptly after use, and remove rinds immediately.

Consider placing mesh covers over run areas if pests persist.

This keeps flyaway bugs from crashing the watermelon party.

Host a Flock Fruit Party!

Gather up all your chicken-loving friends and host a special fruit party.

Make it a potluck with everyone bringing chicken-safe produce to share.

Think watermelon, berries, coconut chunks, lettuce leaves.

Scattered in the run area, this allows chickens of all ages to forage together.

You provide fun fruit enrichment.

They provide adorable entertainment and Instagram-worthy photo ops!

Capture those messy smiling beaks and feathered fruit chaos forever.

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