Chickens and Tomato Plants

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bluey, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    About a month ago I put about 15 cherry tomato plants in the ground. Last year I had one hen and the tomato plants were fully grown and she didn't mess with them. This year, the plants are younger and all five of my hens seem to like pulling off the leaves just to get my goat because the only time the hens seem to go near them is when I'm caring for them (watering and weeding).

    My question:

    Do chickens actually like eating tomato plant leaves or do they do it just to bust my chops? I figure that if they really liked them, they would have destroyed all of the plants by now. The plants are doing fine except for some random damage by the chickens (the two closest plants especially).

    I realize that I can protect the plants with chicken wire but I was just wondering if anybody else has experience with chickens eating/pecking tomato plants.
  2. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Can't speak for other chickens, but mine LOVE tomato plants, leaves, stalks, and especially the tomatoes. I found this out last year when I was working in my garden and a tomato fell off a plant and rolled over to the fence between the garden and the yard that the chickens roam in. They pecked the whole side of it before I knew what happened. [​IMG]

    So at the end of the season I took down the netting and within 2 days there was no sign of tomato plants - totally consumed.

    Needless to say, the netting is up again this year.
  3. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Chickens do love tomato branches, but if eating them busts our chops at the same time, all the better for the chickens.

    Can anyone address whether eating tomato leaves in quantity can build up toxins in chicken's guts? I think I read that somewhere, but am not sure.
  4. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    Yep - they love them. Mine love the plants, but their favorite is the fruit!
  5. flock-mama

    flock-mama Songster

    May 30, 2008
    Bayfield colorado
    I was told once, tomatos are not good for chickens, but I don't know why. Mine love them but I only give once in a while.
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I've heard the leaves are toxic so I don't let mine eat them. They do love any tomatoes I decide to share with them tho!
  7. Mine love the plants and esp the tomatoes,so when they almost stop producing, I just pull up the plant and toss in the run, then they run to eat it. So I have both tomatoes and squash wired to protect my plants. [​IMG] marrie

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