Can chickens eat pears?

My egg flock eating windfall pears.

Chickens can eat pears and you do not need to worry about the seeds. Your flock can have a few pears a week without suffering any sort of problems at all. Pears can be given to chickens whole or chopped as well as cooked or raw. Chickens will eat the skins as well so there is no need to peel.

As ripe pears contain quite a bit of sugar and fibre they should be given sparingly. If there is treats lying around after the hens have finished eating then you are giving too much.

Below: A video of my egg flock tucking into some windfall pears from the orchard.

My egg flock spends a lot of time in the orchard all year feeding on fruit and insects. Planting a pear tree in the run is one way to help feed for flock for nothing.

Are pear seeds poisonous to chickens?

Pear seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. You would need to save up a couple of bushels worth of seeds, grind them up to a powder, and eat them all at the same time.

Below: My hens have had a lot of pears over the years and the seeds have never bothered them.

The body can deal with trace amounts of cyanide and the same is true for chickens. There is some evidence to suggest that it is beneficial as a bio-fumigant, helping to keep internal parasites at bay.

Are there any health benefits to feeding pears to chickens?

Not as much as you might think.

Pears contain vitamin C and a small amount of vitamins A and K as well as some trace minerals like Potassium and Copper. They are less than 1% protein which s not good for the long term health of your flock if you overdo it.

Cooked pears: Provided the pears have not been poached in wine or cooked with added sugar it makes no difference to the hens whether it is cooked or not.

Pear preserve or jam: Chickens should never have preserves, pickles or chutneys, they contain way too much sugar.

Asian pears: Asian pears are fine for chickens, again feed in moderation.

Chicks and baby chickens with pears:

I have seen more than one of my mother hens with her chicks in the orchard feeding on windfall fruit with her chicks. If you are raising chicks artificially do not introduce treats before three weeks of age.

A full A to Z list of all foods chickens can and shouldn't be allowed to eat.