Are Hazelnut Shells Safe for Chickens?


7 Years
Jul 16, 2012
Portland, Oregon
I am debating about lining our backyard with hazelnut shells as it looks nice and can protect plants pretty well. The only thing I worry about it that I have read online that the shells may be sharp and cats don't like stepping of them (which is a plus for us because we have an issue with all of the neighborhood cats using our backyard as their litter box). The only issue is that if it hurts cats, how are chicken feet with hazelnut shells? If it is only uncomfortable for the chickens and keeps them away from scratching up the dirt around the plants, we are okay with that as their feet are a bit stronger than cat feet-pads. But if they actually hurt/cut the chicken feet, we won't want to get it. Does anyone have experience with this?
Maybe you could try a spot first before committing to lining the whole yard. If the chickens stay away, then they won't get hurt by the shells. If you see a problem developing, then it would be easier to scoop up shells in a controlled area.

I know what you mean about neighborhood cats. I read where if you stick plastic forks in your garden, they will keep cats out as they don't want to squat and get their little behinds stuck by a fork. I bought several packages of plastic forks and decorated my garden. It helped a lot. Of all the animal poo in the world, cat poo is the nastiest and stinkiest, particularly when it is not even your cat.
Thanks for the advice, we only did the back part of the yard. We are testing the dogs first with the shells then we will bring out the girls. I am also very tired of the dogs eating the kitty-roca so we covered the area where the cats go... If the chickens develop any feet problems, I will post again to let you all know.

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