Chickens and Rhubarb Leaves

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tanekahachicken, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. tanekahachicken

    tanekahachicken In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2008
    Titirangi, Auckland, NZ
    Hi there,
    It's the Kiwi Chick again with another question.
    I have realised my chickens have eaten all the leaves off my rhubarb plants. I know that rhubarb leaves are poisonous to humans and the chickens ate the leaves before I knew it was them. (I thought it was the snails and slugs!!)
    They seem fine, very healthy and hungry and eating everything in sight...........but I was a little concerned.[​IMG]
    Does anybody know if rhubarb leaves are ok for chickens? If in doubt, I have no problem pulling the plants out or at least fencing off the garden so my little girlfriends can't get up there. They have also eaten all the leaves off the cauliflower plants as well and I thought I was doing so well this year growing my veges from seed. I will have to take a more "chicken aware" approach to vegetable gardening.
    Cheers for all you help everybody, I've not found anything in NZ that even comes close to this website. Even books on raising chickens aren't as knowledgeable as the people here.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2008
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    I think you should definitely keep them away from the rhubarb leaves in the future! Often a small dose of something toxic may have no effect, or make them mildly ill, but a continued intake of toxins will definitely screw up their systems. The toxins build up and cause damage to internal organs.
  3. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    Are the toxic substances able to make it into the eggs?
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I do not know anything about its behavior in the body, but the toxic principle in rhubarb is oxalic acid (about which there is lotsa information available, as it's problematic in many other plants as well). In case anyone wants to look it up.

  5. tanekahachicken

    tanekahachicken In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2008
    Titirangi, Auckland, NZ
    Thanks for your replys. I have blocked off the courtyard area so they can't get to the vege garden up there. (No chooky poo in the courtyard either) They are healthy and well and eating all the time still so hopefully the toxins in the rhubarb leaves won't have any effect on them. They are not laying yet so I don't know about toxins in the eggs. With a bit of luck by the time they are old enough to lay any toxins will have worked their way through the girls systems.
    Cheers for your help.
  6. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    I'm about to plant my rhubarb and am trying to sort out the best location. How are the chicks faring? Over by the coop was one of the choices.
  7. peaceful

    peaceful Songster

    Jun 24, 2008
    BC Canada
    My chickens have eaten our rhubarb leaves with no noticeable ill effect. (We had shielded the plants off but they broke through to eat the leaves). I have since heard that rhubarb leaves are toxic for humans but not for chickens. That in fact it is a natural wormer for chickens. Here is a link to that info
    If the chickens are desiring the leaves repeatedly, they may know something we don't...
    On the other hand I see that opinions on the internet forums vary tremendously, from it is toxic for chickens (oxalic acid leaches calcium and weakens their egg shells and can damage the chicken's kidneys) to it is not toxic for chickens (chickens seem to eat it with no ill effects, many people report chickens eating it when they can, and is a natural wormer).
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  8. Oh boy. Here I am thinking my chickens are getting vitamins or other health benefits from my rhubarb. I was letting them mow them down for the winter. I even hung a few leaves in their coop to peck on! I will remove the leaves and keep the birds from the plants next season. There have been no ill effects from these feedings at least.
  9. picky123

    picky123 Hatching

    Feb 16, 2015
    My flock of 18 chickens eats the rhubarb leaves Everytime I free range them. I've noticed no adverse effects.

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