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Are these flowers safe for my chickens????

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sunny Chook Farm, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Sunny Chook Farm

    Sunny Chook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Marigolds and Zinnas.. I putting a flower beds around my 2 small coop and want to make sure these flowers would be safe...

    Thanks
     
  2. Must Be Losing It

    Must Be Losing It Lost It

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    And while the question is out there, how about Thunbergia - a wicked pretty vine like annual?

    Sorry I glommed onto your topic.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Most things are toxic if enough is eaten. It's mostly a question of 'are chickens likely to eat enough to hurt themselves'. For animals in general, and I would guess chickens as well but remember this is just guessing, marigolds and zinnias (and I *think* Thunbergia too) are among the safer plants. Personally I would not worry much about 'em.

    For pets and livestock in general (I do not know whether there are any 'twists' to this that are poultry-specific), the things to worry most about (because they're toxic in lower amounts) are:

    -plants with very strong toxins in them such that even just an experimental mouthful or two can be deadly (such as yew, oleander, water hemlock or poison hemlock [the latter two are queen-annes-lace type plants])

    -plants with strong toxins concentrated in the seeds such that even just a seed or seedpod can be deadly (such as castor bean, daphne, laburnum, mistletoe)

    -plants with a great deal of oxalic acid and similar compounds in the foliage (such as rhubarb leaves, Oxalis, daffodils, elephant ear [Colocasia])

    You would probably also want to stay away from plants with large amounts of other toxins, such that you don't have to eat all *that* much to experience at least severe digestive upset, kidney failure, neurological problems etc (the other 'classic' poisonous garden plants, such as monkshood, foxglove, lantana, larkspur, etc).

    Generally, the more of it an animal has to eat before getting poisoned, the less of a problem that plant is likely to be.

    When livestock are poisoned by the less-hugely-deadly types of plants, it is almost always because they have not got much else to eat (picked-clean pastures without enough other food being provided). As long as animals have plenty else to eat, and you stay away from the 'kill ya fast' things, there will very seldom be any problems. Most poisonous plants are also nasty-tasting, and only the rarest of animals will just up and decide they're an obscure gourmet treat when other things are available [​IMG]

    There are lots and lots of lists of the 'usual suspects' of poisonous garden plants available in books and the web (try google).

    Hope this helps,

    Pat
     
  4. Sunny Chook Farm

    Sunny Chook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Pat.. I thought they be ok but just wanted to be safe and not sorry...

    Thanks again... [​IMG]
     
  5. Must Be Losing It

    Must Be Losing It Lost It

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    Uxbridge MA
    That was a wealth of information!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. eggsucker

    eggsucker Out Of The Brooder

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    So should I remove my elephant ears out of the garden or will they be fine if they peck at it once in a while?
     
  7. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. eggsucker

    eggsucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the link but it still doesn't answer my question. In the reply above it says that elephant ear IS toxic, but not how toxic. Lots of things are toxic if you eat enough of it. I guess I am trying to figure out if the elephant ears have to go or they can stay as long as the birds have plenty of other greens to munch.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    That's a personal decision. It doesn't take a *whole* lot of that type of plant to kill a small animal; OTOH most will not eat 'em; OTOH you do sometimes get the individual with odd 'gourmet' tastes.

    Personally I'd probably leave it but just keep an eye to see if the chickens are starting to peck at it (which except when the leaves are first coming up in spring, the chickens probably won't). But that is not a foolproof approach.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    I have plants growing wild around my place that I know are toxic. Some acutely so. I've never seen my birds so much as sample any of them.

    Generally speaking poisonous plants taste bad. The ones that do not may not be poisonous to birds. Pokeweed is a good example. The entire plant is toxic, some parts more than others. The young leaves and shoots are edible if fully cooked, but not so raw. It's always grown wild here and my birds ignore it completely. UNTIL the berries ripen. Those they will eat. But so does many other (wild) bird species around here.

    Last year I had so much scarlet morning glory growing around the corner of my hen yard fence I used it to shade their water. They never touched it though it was in easy reach.

    I let the birds figure out what they want to eat or not. So far as green plants go I've yet to see them eat anything that made them sick.

    .....Alan.
     

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