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Can Chickens Eat Nectarines? Are They Safe?

As a chicken owner, it is understandable that you want to double check which foods are safe for your chickens to consume. After all, while chickens are omnivores, they can’t be given everything off your plate. That raises the question: “Can chickens eat nectarines?” You may be wary of giving your chickens nectarines since they have pits, but the good news is that these juicy seasonal fruits are indeed safe. Now, here is what you need to know about giving nectarines to your hungry flock.

What are Nectarines?


Nectarines are a type of stone fruit closely related to peaches. They share similar characteristics such as a soft, juicy flesh and a sweet-tart flavor profile. One notable difference is that nectarines have a smooth skin, unlike the fuzzy skin of peaches. These fruits belong to the Rosaceae family and are believed to have originated in China thousands of years ago. Nectarines are widely cultivated today and are enjoyed for their refreshing taste and nutritional value.

Can Chickens Eat Nectarines?

Yes, chickens can eat nectarines. These sweet-yet-tart fruits are popular among chickens, particularly in the summertime when they need additional hydration, vitamins and minerals. That said, while chickens will often become very excited over nectarines, there are reasons why you should avoid overfeeding your flock a lot of fruit. Sugar, such as the kind found in fruits like nectarines, is not healthy for chickens. Too much fruit could lead to obesity. Their regular diet should consist mainly of balanced chicken feed to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

Can Baby Chicks Eat Nectarines?

While adult chickens can consume nectarines, it’s generally recommended to wait until baby chicks reach around 8 to 10 weeks of age before introducing treats like nectarines. Baby chicks have delicate digestive systems that are still developing, and sudden dietary changes can cause digestive issues. It’s crucial to prioritize a balanced chick feed formulated specifically for their nutritional needs during their early growth stages. As they mature, you can gradually introduce treats like nectarines in small amounts.

Can Chickens Eat Nectarine Pits?

fresh nectarine fruits background

You now know that chickens can eat nectarines, but what about the pit at the center? You wouldn’t gnaw on the pit of a nectarine, and neither should your chickens. The fact is that nectarine pits, like those of many stone fruits, contain a compound called amygdalin. When ingested in large quantities, amygdalin can release cyanide, which is toxic to animals. It’s essential to remove the pits before offering nectarines to your chickens to ensure their safety. Be cautious and dispose of the pits properly to prevent accidental ingestion.

That said, a little piece of a pit here and there is not going to be enough to hurt your chickens. Therefore, if your chickens manage to take a few pecks at a nectarine pit, you don’t have to worry.

Can Chickens Eat Dehydrated Nectarine?

If you make the dried nectarine yourself, then yes, they can have it. Keep in mind that store-bought anything, including dried fruits, means that they will most likely contain preservatives and other chemicals. Homemade dried fruit, however, is safe for chickens to eat. Fortunately, dehydrated nectarines retain most of their nutritional benefits, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a decent source of energy and can provide a variety of flavors for chickens to enjoy.

Are Nectarines Safe For Chickens?

When prepared properly and without the pits, nectarines (the flesh and the skin) are generally safe for chickens. However, it’s important to monitor your chickens for any adverse reactions after introducing nectarines or any new food. Some chickens may have individual sensitivities or allergies, so it’s always recommended to observe their behavior and overall health when introducing new treats. If you notice any signs of discomfort or digestive issues, it’s best to discontinue offering nectarines and consult a veterinarian with poultry expertise.

Also, as mentioned above, you want to avoid giving your chickens nectarines with the pits still inside. The pits contain the beginnings of cyanide, which will be toxic when consumed in excess.

What Are The Nutritional Benefits of Giving Nectarines to Chickens?

domestic chicken eating grass

Chickens loved nectarines for many reasons. They are juicy and delicious and also provide a decent amount of liquids. However, there are other benefits that your chickens will receive from eating this fruit, including:


Nectarines are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber plays a crucial role in promoting healthy digestion and supporting gut health in chickens. It aids in regulating bowel movements and can be particularly beneficial for chickens experiencing digestive issues or constipation. Adequate fiber intake helps maintain a healthy digestive system and improves nutrient absorption.


Just like you, chickens need a variety of vitamins to keep their organs and immune system functioning optimally. Nectarines are rich in vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B3 (niacin). Vitamin A is essential for chickens’ vision, as it contributes to the development and maintenance of healthy eyesight. It also plays a vital role in supporting the immune system, helping chickens fight off infections and diseases.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also supports the immune system and promotes overall health. Vitamin B3, or niacin, is involved in energy metabolism and plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, feathers, and nervous system function.


You want your chickens to be as healthy as possible, yes? Providing them with supplemental snacks like antioxidant-rich nectarines is a good place to start. Nectarines contain antioxidants, including beta-carotene and plant-based polyphenols. These compounds help protect the body’s cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In chickens, antioxidants support the immune system and contribute to overall well-being. They help reduce cellular damage and inflammation, promoting healthier organs and tissues. Antioxidants also play a role in promoting better egg production and overall reproductive health in laying hens.


Alongside vitamins, there are also numerous minerals in nectarines that support your flock’s well-being, such as potassium and copper. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a key role in maintaining proper muscle function, including heart muscles, and helps with nerve signaling. It also contributes to maintaining a healthy circulatory system in chickens. Copper is involved in various physiological processes, including the formation of connective tissues and the maintenance of healthy bones. It is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is crucial for strong bones and cartilage in chickens.


Being that nectarines are fruits and fruits contain sugars — the fundamental element of carbohydrates — these fruits are rich in carbs. Carbohydrates provide the necessary fuel for daily activities, including foraging, running, and egg production. They are converted into glucose, which is used by the body as an immediate source of energy. Adequate carbohydrate intake ensures that chickens have the energy they need to carry out their daily functions and maintain optimal health.

How to Give Nectarines to Chickens

Looking for some creative ways to offer nectarines to your flock? Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Halve the nectarine and remove the pit. Present these halves to your chickens. You can also hook the nectarine and hang it over head, giving your chickens some stimulating play alongside their tasty snack.
  • Chop up the nectarine into smaller pieces. Give to your chickens on a plate.
  • Alternatively, after chopping the nectarine into bite-sized chunks, put those chunks into ice cube trays and freeze them. You can then add these frozen segments of nectarine to your chicken’s water bowl or simply placed on a dish as a cooling treat.
  • Mix pieces of nectarine with other fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, lemon, pineapple, pepper, spinach, apples, bananas, and more.
  • Bake segments of nectarines to dry them out. Then add the dried pieces to your flock’s commercial feed, alongside other additions. Think of it as a chicken’s trail mix.

Prior to doing any of these things, however, it is important that you wash store-bought nectarines to remove dirt and pesticides. Also, do not forget to remove the pit. You want to ensure that any toxic substance has been eliminated before handing over juicy nectarine chunks to your feathered friends.

Final Thoughts on Nectarines for Chickens

Can chickens eat nectarines? Yes. Nectarines can be a safe and nutritious addition to a chicken’s diet when prepared correctly. They provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that contribute to overall health and well-being. However, it’s important to remove the pits and offer nectarines in moderation. Now that you know, be sure to treat your chickens to tasty nectarines today!