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Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by welovechickens, Jun 20, 2010.
Just wondering if toads are poisonous to chickens.....I know they are to dogs.
Toads can make any animal sick, including chickens. The nodules/warts on their backs exude a whiteish milky substance when squeezed (or chewed). Toads have no natural enemies as far as I know, snakes even spit them out. My chickens pecked one to death recently and were running around the yard with it in one of their mouths. I chased the hen down and when she dropped the toad, I picked it up and threw it in the garbage. Luckily none of it had been eaten.
It depends on the species, most native toads are fairly harmless but the invasive marine/cane toad is the one you hear about causing problems,
Toads actually have many predators, many snakes, turtles, birds, coins, coyotes and the like will take one in a heart beat. Most aren't very poisonous and many predators have adapted. Like I said the cane toad usually causes the problems. Most of the time they're too small to cause issues or too big for the birds to bother much with them. Its just the glands on the side of their necks that secrete it, and many toads are very hesitant to even use it, preferring to puff up making themselves look big. Generally they are active in the evenings and when it rains. They pick off ants, mosquitoes, and and other worm or bug or insect they can find. Plus amphibians in general are a great key in reading how well the environment is doing. If the frogs and toads are healthy and plentiful then the land is good, they are the first to be affected by changed, parasites, chemicals and such.
The Eastern American toad secrete bufotoxin, a poisonous substance. The poison the toad excretes is mild in comparison to other poisonous toads and frogs,but it can irritate human skin and is dangerous to smaller animals (such as dogs) when injested. This includes the Southern toad, Fowler's toad and the Woddhouse's toad. The Cane toad found in south Texas and southern Florida, the Colorado River toad found near water in the southwestern U.S. are the most venemous toads in the U.S. If these toads can make a dog sick (which are much larger than a chicken) a chicken mostly likely would not recover.
I'm in south central TX....not sure what type of toads we have around here, but the baby ones are very plentiful right now! Cute little guys, but I don't want my chickens eating them!
Dogs have a hard time handling a diet of raw meat, many species out there have a tolerance to poisons and venoms. Many species makes toads and other amphibians the main part of their diet, and many of them will spit out what they know they cant eat. Baby toads hardly create enough to cause a problem anyways, its foolish to go erradicating them from your yard. Those babies have just turned into little toadlets from tadpoles and are out to face the world, you just happen to be in their path. Couple weeks and most will be gone, just a few stragglers passing through.
Dawg is just copying and pasting from Wiki but still confirms what I said, very few are actually dangerous - the cane toad and I guess the Colorado river toad. I have not heard a problem with anyone I know down south with toad poisoning in a long time. I dont know 100% whether or not chickens will be harmed by them or not, but I do know that eating a baby wont kill an adult bird but it will be unpleasant enough to discourage it. Personally I wouldnt worry about it at least until someone with actual experiance can say otherwise.
Yes TwistedSerpent, I copied it off Wiki. Dogs love raw meat and are kinda like chickens...walking stomachs lol. I know of no one here neither that has had their dog eat a toad. However, when I lived in Virginia many years ago, a neighbors dog tried to eat a toad and it's mouth foamed up and the dog spit it out. My neighbor flushed the dogs mouth with water and the dog turned out ok, but probably learned it's lesson. I dont know what kind of toads you have way up north in Montana or Minnesota...never been there, too cold for me. But here, and most of the eastern U.S., to me, they are just common toads. I know this; if you squeeze the upper back of one, the milky white substance comes out of its glands, I have no doubt that it's a defensive mechanism and I'm not going to test the theory whether it's poisonous or not. I know it is. It may or may not harm or kill a larger animal such as a dog...depending on size and weight. But with a chicken, it would most likely make it mortally sick that it would have to be culled. TS is correct, the little ones wont hurt your chickens.
Dogs love it but most dogs cant physically stomach it anymore, and some are like vacuums picking up bits of stone and twigs and other inedibles. The whole toad licking craze was basicly people licking cane toads in particular as their poison has a hallucinigenic effect. I dont know, it says a lot about a person who will readily both lick a toad and poison themselves just to see things for fun, but then agan the human species falls into some catagories nothing else does.
Either way I think if they were more of a problem accounts and warnings would have rizen already, but there is just nothing out there about them being that dangerous, unless its due to the actual overal decline of them in many areas. which is troublesome.
My girls are going crazy hunting and eating baby toads in our freshly turned over garden. Hopefully they have enough sence to know what's safe or I will be dealing with 11 hens with tummy aches tonight!
In my area more than a dozen species of frogs and toads can be found. I live very close to the Missouri River near center of Missouri so I am located at a nexus for frog and toad diversity (see link below). Most are likely to have different toad and frog assemblage. My chickens readily consume the toadlets and froglets of at least some as several species breed in my ponds. The only species I have seem them consume in adult form are leopard and green frogs even though adult toads are abundant on property where birds forage. Some species as juveniles may not have developed their toxic secretions. Some species may be toxic to some animals (i.e. dogs) but not be to chickens. Others can be detoxified by rubbing animal in grass or skinning it prior to consumption. My birds clearly abuse green frogs more than needed to simply kill them. Finally, some level of toxin input is simply tolerable. I have not witnessed any signs that would indicate such fare is toxic but with larger toads my birds make same similar sound produced when the encounter red beetles coming off milkweed plants. Sound I think means disgust.