Tree planting time here in the high desert. I am questioning whether I can plant apple and stone fruit (like apricot) trees in the chicken pastures? I am told the seeds are toxic to chickens. Will they leave the seeds?
There will be 5 pastures so I could limit access to one with fruit trees if needed but I'd rather they harvest their own food. Might it be better to keep the fruit trees out of the pastures? But if the chickens have access to most of the property at various times of the year...?
Patience with my ignorance is required as this new to Growies old lady tries to build a food forest in the arid high desert. Thank you for all the advice.
Seeds from fruit trees can be toxic because they contain amygdalin, which, upon decomposition in the digestive tract, can release HCN -- cyanide. Please note the important sentence in the wiki link:
This leads to an unpredictable and potentially lethal toxicity...
unpredictable because it depends on a bunch of other factors: was it taken on an empty stomach or a stomach full of food? If it was with other food, was it acidic food? What's the variability in the individual seeds? were the seeds whole or cut? were the seeds cooked or raw?
If a chicken ate a whole lot of apple seeds, which were cut open so that they could all be digested, and it had an acid stomach, and it didn't have any limestone or egg shell in its crop or digestive tract, and Jupiter was in the 7th house with Mars rising, you might end up with a poisoned chicken. But I'm with Su Ba, a couple apple pips here and there are no big deal.
Amygladin, Laetrile, Vitamin B17- Whatever you call it, it's not toxic unless taken in large amounts. Apple seeds have been also recommended in cancer treatments for many years.
No, they won't leave the seeds, but it won't hurt them either. First of all, they'll be eating only one apple, or a couple of cores before having a full crop and stopping. After 4-5 hours, it will have passed through their system, and they won't be any unhealthier for it. The average amount of seeds in an apple is about 5. Not even enough to kill a mouse.
Apple seeds, peach seeds, apricot seeds, pear seeds, almond seeds, etc... all contain small amounts of biological cyanide (in contrast to synthetic cyanide - which is deadly) in the form that is bound to a sugar molecule that binds to cancer cells only (does not bind to healthy cells). Some health folks refer to this as B-17, which has been shown to take out cancer cells. If you look carefully, many forms of vitamin B-12 also have cyanide bound to it (check your multivitamin).
Personally, I eat the seeds when I eat the fruit... you cannot poison yourself when you take this in small amounts. Chickens and other animals will have no problems when they eat this in small amounts too. Just don't give them a diet that is 100% fruit seeds, and they should be good.
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