question about vegetables
Tomato leaves and green tomatoes are poultry toxic. They should also not eat uncooked or dried beans.
Those are the only ones I am sure of.
I found it interesting when I researched this in the past that too many green tomatoes & raw beans are also toxic to humans.
I know, it shocked me. A lot of folks in my area of the country love fried green tomatoes. But it would take a large amount to get us ill.
It seems to me that the list of toxic plants is the same for all birds.
I haven't rechecked this one, but think I read broccoli is also toxic. That was after I tried to feed some to my hens and they refused it.
It is interesting to me that cabbage shows up as toxic, yet many use them to entertain flocks without any problem.
I think the problem is what is a toxic or lethal dose of anything. A tiny taste of most plants don't cause harm, but others like foxglove would be deadly.
You can use chicken wire to keep them away from the tomatoes. When the fruit ripens they will devour it safely. Guess that's why we have to pick ours as the tomatoes first start to ripen or lose them to wild birds.
Members of the nightshade family like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant I believe have a product in the leaves that is toxic to chickens and people. You have to eat a certain amount to get sick and even more for it to be fatal, but yes it is toxic. The good thing is that the leaves are also very bitter. Normally a chicken will take one or two bites, think that tastes awful, and quit eating it before it eats enough to harm itself. That’s not to say there is not some chicken out there with messed up instincts that won’t quit eating the leaves and eat itself to death. But that I extremely rare. I would not worry about that at all. At the same time, I would not throw those plants in their run. If there is nothing else green for them to eat they may be more tempted to ignore the bitterness and eat those leaves. They really like the fruit like peppers and tomatoes and that is not going to hurt them. It’s generally the leaves that is the problem.
Cabbage and other cole crops contains something that messes with the thyroid. But cabbage, broccoli, and other leaves are a great treat for chickens. The dosage of that chemical in the leaves is so small you or they would have to eat a tremendous amount over a period of weeks to harm yourself or them. That’s just not going to happen.
You’ll sometimes see warnings about feeding them potatoes. Potatoes do contain a substance that in large enough quantities can harm people or chickens. But the liver is pretty good about removing that substance from our bodies. A normal healthy adult human would have to eat more than 50 pounds of potatoes at one sitting to get enough to harm themselves. I just can’t eat that many potatoes at one meal. Chickens are a lot smaller than us so they would not have to eat nearly as much, but their crops aren’t that big either. Regular potatoes are not a problem.
There is a problem with green-skinned potatoes though. Green potatoes are green because they have been exposed to the sun. Exposure to the sun concentrates that bad chemical. Neither you nor the chickens should eat green-skinned potatoes, cooked or not. You’d still have to eat a fair amount of them for them to do damage but you can eat enough to get sick. Avoid green potatoes.
Dried beans contain a substance that is harmful. That can do more to you than just make you gassy. Some varieties are worse than others, I think red kidneys are the worst. When you cook dried beans you soak them, rinse them, then cook them well. That makes them safe, but they really need to be well-cooked. Don’t feed your chickens dried uncooked beans.
You’ll see apple seeds on the do not feed list. Most fruit seeds, including apple seeds, contain cyanide, a poison. But it comes back to dosage. There is not enough cyanide in an apple seed to harm something as a chicken. They’d have to eat a bunch to get enough to cause a problem. Go ahead and toss an apple core into them, they’ll love it. But if you make apple cider or apple butter and have a concentration of apple seeds, don’t feed them a huge bunch of the seeds. Mine forage in my orchard and eat a lot of fallen fruit. It doesn’t hurt them.
There are other things but to get back to the garden. There are several plants in your garden that could potentially harm them. If you let your chickens free range in woods, brush, or fields there are a lot of plants there that could harm them. But nature put enough safeguards in place, like a bitter taste, that hardly any chicken is going to eat enough of something poisonous to harm itself. It can happen but it is really rare.
Many people turn their chickens loose in the garden after the harvest is over and let them clean it up and get ready for next season. Chickens can do a lot of damage to an active garden, either eating or just from scratching. I think a good fence is a good investment. But to worry about a chicken accidentally getting in one day and eating enough of something that can harm it, well, I would not worry about that. It should find plenty of stuff that tastes good so it doesn’t eat dangerous things.
It’s a good question but the fence is there to protect your garden from the chickens, not the other way around.
Thank you for the quick reply.
I had heard tomato leaves were bad for parrots so I did worry about them being harmful to poultry as well. Maybe best I hang them up high so they can't be reached.
As for raw beans and green tomatoes being toxic to humans.. I would never have thought that.
I just had fried green tomatoes at an upscale restaurant this evening. I'm still here!
The heck with the chickens, you best worry about your tomato and bean blossoms, the chickens can take can care of themselves. But chickens will decimate your young Vegetables. I have in the past used small chicks instead of insecticide dust to protect my garden from cutworms and tater bugs but it better be a closely watched thing and you need to be ready to move those mobile pest destroyers before they find out that your garden tastes as good as the bugs in it.
Even bottled water is toxic if you drink enough that you flush the electrolytes out of your system. In which case the electrical impulses will not go through your nerves to your heart, it will cease beating and you will collapse and die.
I don't think that my chickens will eat dried beans if i held a cocked pistol to their heads.
Edited by chickengeorgeto - 9/27/15 at 8:45pm