This morning I found my young avocado tree had it's cage knocked over and all the leaves were eaten. No prizes for guessing who did it. But judging by the 'set inness' damage, this must have happened yesterday. Luckily this morning my flock all seem fine. In fact when they noticed me fussing with the tree, the ran towards me, desperate to get more. They LOVE the leaves. But I think I just got lucky. I will rather move the tree to a place they can't get it - especially since they seem so keen on it.
what's the deal with chickens and avocados? - Page 3
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I have 6 Avocado trees with hundreds of Avocados. I started running my my 14 chickens in the trees about 2 months ago. The avocados have never looked better. There are number avocados that hang at head height of the birds. I will typically find find 1-4 avocados that have fallen on any given day. I made sure there was no fallen fruit prior to putting the birds in the trees. I would typically find 1 or 2 Avocados a day that for the first month that had been half eaten. Even some avocados that were complete gone excepts the pit... even the pit outer was almost gone. I walk through the trees daily and pick up any avocados that have fallen and toss those that have been pecked at or partially eaten. Now that 2 months have past, I still find avocados, but usually they only have a couple pecks at them and are not eaten. The Avocados are hard as a rock at this point so I can't imagine that they are appealing to any animal.
I have yet to see any ill effect on my birds. I would suggest always picking up any fallen fruit, but not hesitate to put Chickens in with Avocado trees. The only thing I possibly noticed was that the birds had black (tar like) craps when they were eating the hard avocados. This seems to have gone away for the most part. I think they have learned that avocados are not a good choice. Nature at work! I always made organic feed available as a choice so as not to force feed the avocados. I will update with any developments.
Avocado Update: 1 dead bird.
I had one of 6 trees that had small fruit. The avocados were the size of dimes. There were a number of these small fruit on low branches and on the ground. I think that I had one bird that decided to eat a number of them. She died with in 12 hours with the classic symptoms. I have since moved the birds from the trees for the next months while the fruit is very small and tends to fall. It is also good to give the trees a break from the birds. I plan on moving them back in when the fruit is larger.
Yes, every part of the avocado except the fruit flesh is poisonous. You would be very sick too if you were to eat avocado skins, and dead if you were to eat raw avocado seeds (there are ways to neutralize persin, but I do not know if it is cooking or fermentation). I use avocado seeds to control chipmunks around the house, though they never eat a whole one (maybe they die first).
So far, no ill effects at all from the avocados. But I'm not going to feed them anymore!
Buff Hooligans posted a list of treats and such here on BYCF. At the bottom is a list of don't feed foods. She mentions avocado seeds and skins as don't feed, but not the green flesh. http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-Treats_Chart
Some of the links she gives for additional readings are broken, but this one looked rather exhaustive: http://www.poultryhelp.com/toxicplants.html. It doesn't mention avocado at all, which I found strange.
It does....but it is under another name....Laurel
Edited by dthompson - 9/24/15 at 3:22am