can chickens eat loquats

Can Your Chickens Eat Loquats? This Farmer Found Out the Hard Way



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I still can’t believe what happened last summer on my little homestead.

You know I’ve been raising chickens for years now, but I never thought something as simple as a loquat tree could cause so much chaos!

I was doin’ my mornin’ chores like usual, feedin’ the animals and collectin’ eggs, when I notice something’s up with the chickens.

They were all clucked together around the big loquat tree in the corner, peckin’ at it like crazy.

At first I didn’t think nothin’ of it, figurin’ they just found a couple squashed fruits on the ground.

But when I walked over to get a better look, I about hit the deck – the whole darn tree was stripped clean!

Every last loquat was gone, cores and all.

I stood there with my mouth hangin’ open, unable to believe my eyes.

Then it hit me – my ladies had discovered their new favorite snack.

This tree usually bears hundreds of fruits every summer, so there had to be at least a few left.

Nope, those feisty hens had eaten the whole thing from bottom to top.

I starts rackin’ my brain tryin’ to figure out how in tarnation they got to every last one without leavin’ a single fruit behind.

Then I spotted the tell-tale signs – scuff marks and tiny claw prints all over the trunk and branches.

Those sneaky girls had worked together to hop, flap, and fly their way up that entire tree to pluck off every loquat.

I sure was impressed by their teamwork and determination but also worried about how all those fruits might sit in their bellies.

Can Chickens Eat Loquats Without Issues?

can chickens eat loquats

Now usually loquats are okay for chickens to eat in moderation.

They’re actually pretty nutritious – full of vitamin C, potassium, fiber and more.

Fiber is super important for a chicken’s digestion and overall gut health.

The fruits are also low in calories so they won’t cause your birds to get pudgy.

And the acidity in loquats helps sterilize a chicken’s crop and GI tract, fighting off bad bacteria.

Heck, many farmers even feed loquat pomace, the pulp leftovers after juice processing, to their flocks.

The one thing to watch for is the pits – those seeds can potentially cause an intestinal block if swallowed whole.

But as long as the fruits are crushed or pecked open properly first, the seeds usually pass through a chicken no problem.

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So in summary – yes, loquats are generally safe and nutritious for chickens when fed in moderation.

But as with any new food, it’s best to introduce them slowly and keep an eye out for any tummy troubles initially.

What Happened After the Great Loquat Feast?

can chickens eat loquats

Well lemme tell ya, things got weird real fast after that loquat binge.

Within about a hour, some of the chickens started actin’ funny.

A couple were pacing around all twitchy and flappin’ their wings, which I’ve never seen before.

Then the poops started hittin’ the fan.

I’m talkin’ litter-box lava shootin’ outta those hens – the biggest, greenest dumps I ever did see.

It was like Old Faithful up in there, geysers of poo sprayin’ every which way.

My poor ladies were in intestinal distress somethin’ fierce.

The coop looked like a crime scene, poop everywhere.

That’s when I began to worry those loquats might’ve done some internal damage.

A few girls were gettin’ lethargic too, just hunkerin’ in the nesting boxes with feather puffed out.

It was total chaos, and I started to panic – what if my flock was sick?

I had to get to the bottom of what was goin’ on pronto.

Taming the Tumults: How I Saved My Chickens’ Butts

can chickens eat loquats

By this point I was in full-on farmer fret mode.

Those hens are like family so I hated seein’ them so distressed.

I made some calls to some poultry-savvy homesteader friends for advice.

When that didn’t help, I sucked it up and took a trip into town to see Old Man Johnson, the local vet.

He took one look in the coop and chuckled, sayin’ it sounded like a classic case of fiber overload to him.

With their rumbly tummies not used to all that loquat fiber, things were multiplyin’ faster than bunnies if ya catch my drift.

As long as they were still eatin, drinkin’, poopin and actin spunky otherwise, he assured me they’d pull through just fine.

He told me to give ’em some extra digestive aids like probiotics and calcium/grit treats for a week.

That’d help bind everything up and get their guts back on track.

Whew, what a relief to know it wasn’t nothin serious.

Just a little too much of a good thing too fast was all.

With the vet’s guidance and lots of TLC, my flock was back to normal in no time.

It was quite the learnin’ experience, that’s for sure.


Picking and Prepping Loquats for Your Flock

If you want to feed loquats to your chickens, the first step is collecting the fruits from your tree or buying them locally.

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Ideally pick loquats that are bright orange or yellow all over with no bruises or soft spots.

Gently twist or cut larger clusters from branches so you don’t damage the tree.

Wash the loquats lightly under running water to remove any dirt or debris.

Then it’s time for prep – you can either partially dry the loquats in the sun or oven to help prevent diarrhea issues.

Or crack them open so the chickens can access the juicy insides more easily while also removing any seeds.

Cracking is safer than letting the birds eat whole fruits where they may choke on seeds.

Once prepped, store loquats in the fridge for up to 5 days until you’re ready to feed them.

Feeding Schedule and Portions for Loquat Treats

It’s best to only offer loquat snacks a few times a week as a special occasional treat.

Giving a handful to each chicken at their own feeding station is a great way to portion it out.

You can also scatter individual fruits around the yard for them to forage on slowly.

Shoot for no more than 1-2 loquats per small chicken or 3-4 fruits for larger hens each feeding.

Closely supervise initial feedings until you know their fiber tolerance.

Wait at least a few days in between loquat snacks to avoid tummy troubles.

Always have access to clean water, grit, and other usual feed whenever introducing any new foods to your flock.

Storing and Preserving Extra Loquats

If you end up with more fresh loquats than your chickens can eat right away, don’t let them go to waste!

You can freeze loquats whole after washing for later use within 6-8 months.

Or mash them up into a pulp and freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer to a bag once frozen for easy feeding portions later.

Dehydrating loquat slices in the oven at 150°F for 6-12 hours yields chewy fruit leather strips that store for months.

You can also make jam, jelly, chutney or juice from loquats – just reserve any scraps or pomace for the chickens to enjoy.

Properly preserved, your extra loquats can provide fiber-rich treats all winter long for the flock!

Using Loquat Trees Around Chicken Coops

Planting a loquat tree near the chicken run has benefits but does require some planning.

Chickens can eat fallen fruits to reduce waste but the tree must be fenced off if not wanting them in the branches.

Adding an overhang roof to the coop or run protects against potential loquat drops injuring birds below.

Pruning lower branches yourself prevents winged hens from accessing the whole tree at once.

Mulching well beneath the tree catches fallen fruits for easier cleaning up vs rotting on soil.

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Regularly supplied loquat segments or short supervised foraging periods reduce flock stress from being confined.

With a some precautions, loquat trees offer your chickens healthy enrichment plus fruits for you too!

Health Benefits of Loquats for Chickens

Beyond fiber, loquats provide many essential nutrients that support chicken wellness.

They contain good levels of vitamin C for immune and bone health protection against stress.

Potassium aids electrolyte balance and heart function while calcium builds strong bones and eggshells.

Antioxidants like carotenoids may prevent cellular damage keeping your hens looking youthful.

Low glycemic index prevents blood sugar spikes so chickens won’t overeat seeking quick energy.

Phenolic compounds give loquats natural anti-inflammatory properties relieving joint discomfort.

The acidity in loquats cleanse intestinal microflora while fiber feeds beneficial gut bacteria.

All in all, occasional loquat snacks provide multitudes of preventative health benefits for flocks.

Can Other Poultry Safely Enjoy Loquats?

If chickens can eat loquats, what about other poultry species on your homestead?

Ducks, turkeys, guineas and geese will also happily forage on fallen loquat fruits with no issues.

Being larger birds, it’s less likely they’ll overindulge causing tummy troubles like chickens can.

Just supervise initial offerings and look for signs of intolerance like diarrhea just in case.

Loquats are nutritious treats for all poultry in moderation as a supplement to usual feed diets.

Young keets, poults or goslings should start with just one or two fruits at first until sure their systems can handle it.

So if you raise other feathered critters, feel free to share the loquat love all around your homestead!

Can Chickens Eat Loquats in Moderation?

After livin’ through the Great Loquat Disaster of 2021, I feel pretty confident in sayin’ – yes ma’am, chickens can definitely eat loquats!

The key is moderation like with any new food.

In reasonable amounts and introduced gradually, those fruits are a tasty treat full of nutrients.

Fiber is sooo good for a chicken’s GI health when given time to adjust.

Just be sure to watch close for any sign of tummy trouble if they gobble too many at once.

And don’t let ’em strip your whole tree bare like mine did, ya silly birds!

With some guidance on amounts and keepin’ probiotics on hand, loquats can be a fun occasional snack for your feathery pals.

The bottom line? Loquats are a-okay for chickens as long as it’s not an all-you-can-eat buffet. Go slow, maintain gut health, and enjoy!

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