Anyone lost their birds to poisonous plants or insects?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bawkbawkbawk, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. My EE is sick (see and I think there's a good chance she won't make it. The vet is keeping her over the weekend to give her IV fluids. If she dies, this will be the third of my four original hens. I lost one at about six months (she was fine on Christmas morning and we found her dead in the coop that afternoon), another last October, and now the third is sick.

    The vet ruled out all the usual conditions/illnesses with the second one in a series of visits over a three-week period. The hen died on a weekend so I couldn't take her in for a necropsy.

    It's entirely possible that each one had a separate issue, but I'm trying to figure out if there could be something in our yard they're getting into that's poisoning them. Do chidkens know to instinctively stay away from bad stuff? A friend suggested black widow spiders but from what I've read here they aren't poisonous when ingested. Is it possible for a Black Widow to bite a chicken?

    What about mushrooms? I know we have Death Caps in our yard although I don't know if they are in season right now. I think they tend to be more of a winter phenomenon, and I've never seen one of my birds eating one but I just want to consider every possibility. We also have a few foxglove and delphinium plants but they are in an area where I've never seen the chickens loiter.

    Has anyone here ever definitively lost their bird to poisonous plants or insects?

  2. totallytang

    totallytang Chirping

    Jun 8, 2011
    Quote:Hm I hope someone can help you… all I can say is birds are sensitive… I live in PA and I know last winter I lost two hens for no reason. At an APA show I had several breeders tell me that they also lost a lot of hens last winter… even the farm I was at last week told me that their pullets dropped like flies over the winter for no reason…

    do you think it could be a snake bite or metal poisoning?
  3. Animalian

    Animalian Songster

    Jun 18, 2011
  4. TinyBirds

    TinyBirds Songster

    Jul 9, 2009
    We had a perfectly healthy welsummer that dropped dead a few months ago with no signs of illness whatsoever (and no other birds affected), so I thought she might've nibbled on the milkweed in the yard. There's tons of it around (called Antelope Horns) and it's the only thing left right now in that area of the yard because the sheep ate everything else. There are probably lots of other poisonous things she could've eaten also.

  5. Our feeders and waterers are plastic, so that's one bullet dodged. I have never seen them chew on the pen - they free-range most of the time and when we leave for a fee hours and put them in the pen they just fly up on the ladder in there and stare into the garage window waiting for us to come home. Yes, they are spoiled.

    It helps to hear I'mnot the only one losing birds, but three out of four? I was awake last night worrying about my EE and I Googled chicken life expectancy - the average is 7 years and mine have died at 6 mo. and 18 mo. My EE just turned 2.

    Do your birds live 7 years?
  6. crawfordmama

    crawfordmama Songster

    Jun 29, 2010
    The Lakes Region, NH
    I'm so sorry about your EE! [​IMG]

    I know that both delphinium and foxglove are toxic. If seeds were to maybe drift across your yard, and the chickens ingested them, they could have problems.

    I don't think that they will instinctively stay away from poisonous plants and insects. If it looks good to them, they'll eat it.

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