Can chickens eat moss and tree barks?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bbecca, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. bbecca

    bbecca Chirping

    May 24, 2016
    We had a big storm and have some trees that fell down on our property, we have so much firewood already I thought I'd put a few pieces of wood in the chicken run for them to play and stand on. They had lots of moss on them. I came back the next day and they were completely stripped, bark and all! Is this ok?
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Songster

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Mine pick at moss if they can get it, seems to be fine and they do seem to like it. Not sure on the bark but I guess if they're all doing okay after a few days then it's all right, though I don't think I'd want them to have bark on a regular basis.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Maybe they are finding bugs in the moss and bark, and get so carried away they eat it all, [​IMG] I would worry that the bark could cause impacted crops.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'd guess they didn't ingest it all, more likely they scratched it off and it's laying in tiny pieces in the run. That stuff is teeming with bugs as a rule, and yep chickens will quickly strip a piece of wood of all the bark to get the yummies underneath.
  5. I put a large rotted stump in the run. Chickens hopped on it and stood on it and then they tore it apart. I figured I was "inoculating the forest floor" of the run with the stump ( micro-organisms) and they got the bugs. It all just disappeared in about a week...
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    To the OP - please tell us what kind of trees were the stumps from?

    Chickens eating tender moss is a given, but there are varying thicknesses and hardness of bark depending on the species of tree. There are thin, tender barks such as aspen and willow and very thick, woody barks such as ponderosa pine and redwood and cedar. In dead and downed trees, it's a given that bugs will be lurking underneath bark, and chickens will enthusiastically peck away at the bark to liberate them.

    They may eat bits of thinner bark, but it would be rare for chickens to make a meal out of it. If they do, it shouldn't harm them any more than when they eat wood shavings that they find in their coop as bedding. As long as chickens have plenty of fresh water, they shouldn't have any crop problems from it.
  7. bbecca

    bbecca Chirping

    May 24, 2016
    @azygous I do not know my trees well enough to tell you what it is. But it is a thinner bark and I know for sure what pines, cedar and redwood are and it wasn't. Thanks for your input
  8. Lisadarby

    Lisadarby In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2017
    I also put an old stump in the chicken yard. I recently moved it to a different location and now they are all eating away at it! I'm pretty sure it's from a maple tree. The bark has been gone for a long time and what's left is crumbly. Does anyone know if maples are toxic?
  9. Should be okay or my Birds would be dead too..

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