1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Cedar trees and chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dr.Doorlock, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. Dr.Doorlock

    Dr.Doorlock Songster

    Oct 21, 2008
    Garland, Texas
    I've read that cedar is poison to chickens. Actually, I read it just in time to change where the run will be in my backyard. I had planned to build the run aroumd a DEAD cedar tree.

    Do you know what it is about the cedars which is harmful? I was told it is the aromatic oil, but it is more likely they would be harmed by eating the needles that drop on the ground.

    I want to give my hens access to my vegetable garden so I can finally grow squash without bugs and tomatoes without catapillars. Will I be risking my hens by letting them into the garden surrounded cedar limbs? Would it be okay to clean the grounds under the dead cedar and build the run there?

    Please provide only answers you know to be factual.
    Thank you.

  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I have cedar's around my property. The tree's near the coop are probably less than 10 feet from the coop and I've had no problems.

    You will come into problems when you use cedar shavings, as the wood is chopped up so much and the aroma/oils are so availble to BREATH in for the chickens.
  3. Biddieacres

    Biddieacres Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    I just cleared cedars in the fall and built the run attaching to dead cedars and cleared land where the cedars were. Everything seems fine. I think it is more of an issue when cedar chips are thrown in as bedding. I am interested if anyone else has more knowledge on this.
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
  5. Personaly..I'd have to question who said that cedar was harmful to chickens.

    There is a cedar tree located beside my bedroom window that has had chickens roosting and scractching under it I know for the last 32 years.

    IF anything it might be harmful to the hens..cause it sure as jello has not bothered the roosters that have lived in for YEARS!
  6. Tn Gamebirds

    Tn Gamebirds Songster

    we have live cedar trees in two of our pheasants pens and we've never had a problem. And before breeding season we cut cedar branches and put in the pens for cover for the hens to hide under
  7. Mourningdove

    Mourningdove Songster

    Dec 17, 2008
    Cleveland, Tn.
    I had a rooster who used to roost in a cedar tree and never was there a problem. BTW chickens will eat your garden veggies along with the bugs.

  8. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I've had a couple of cedar trees over one of my runs for 30+ years. Hasn't hurt the chickens or the guineas that roost in them.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    A cedar tree won't be a problem. Using cedar pannels to build your coop isn't a problem. The only issue with cedar is cedar shavings, with high surface area, that leave the room smelling so strong that it burns the eyes and irritates the air ways. You can even use cedar on the floor if you have enough ventilation. With cedar, you just don't want the phenols to be so poweful in the air it irriates bird airways thus causing them to become more susceptible to respiatory infections. My birds climb up the branches of one old cedar tree.
  10. Chiiiiiiiiiickens!

    Chiiiiiiiiiickens! In the Brooder

    Dec 26, 2008
    Southern New York
    Hi all,
    We didn't know that cedar is toxic to chickens before we built our coop using some cedar posts! I decided that the posts weren't really any different than having cedar trees nearby and I just couldn't believe that cedar trees kill chickens since we have tons of cedars in our area and I have seen plenty of chickens running about. In any case, seeing as the coop was built and the chickens had already been living in it for a few months and all seemed well, I decided to let it go and see what happened. Well, 3 months later, nothing has happened. Our chickens are happy and healthy and laying all the time. I agree there must be a difference between having chips and having cedars trees around. Ours even pick at the bark a bit to no ill effect. Hopefully, I won't be eating my words, but I bet your chickens will be just fine. Just to clarify, I think we are talking about Juniperus virginina, or Eastern Red Cedar. There are many trees with the common name of Cedar.

    I'm not sure about the "growing squash and tomatoes without bugs" part of your post. Chickens like squash and tomatoes as much (maybe more) as they like squash bugs and hornworms!
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by