Chickens Consuming Nightshade

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    For some time I suspected my birds consumed the yellow fruit that looks like a smaller variety of cherry tomato. Yesterday I busted the birds in the act when moving pens over fresh grass. A given bird might consume what appears to be a handfull of berries. I have always assumed the berries are poisonus at least to humans. A month ago the chickens would not eat them but now they pound them down before consuming other greens. My guess is either not all types of nighshade are equally toxic or a hard freeze renders the fruit edible. Something must consume the fruit naturally otherwise there is no since in creating them. I will be watching for ill effects.
     
  2. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    Nightshade is very poisonous. Remove the plants or move the chickens to another area. When other vegetation is sparse, they will eat poisonous plants for lack of other options. If they don't seem to be affected, they probably didn't eat much of it.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Even the free range birds are eating the stuff and in fairly large amounts. I do not think it is bothering them. They would not consume any until after the first hard freeze of winter season. They are eating despite having access to other foods, formulated and natural, as well as scratch so they are targeting the stuff. They must have eaten it in years past without ill effects.
     
  4. marlo1968

    marlo1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Call your local county extension agent...they could have information regarding how or if a hard freeze would affect the plant.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    That I can do. My chickens clearly think something is different about the stuff. I looking on internet I came to see many species of nightshade exist. I will post pictures of what birds are eating shortly.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Nightshade consumed is a local species associated with disturbed habitats such as following soil turnover.
    [​IMG]


    Species is likely Woolly Nightshade Solanum villosum. Berries are roughly dime sized and yellow. Note thorns on stems.

    No birds observed to consume berries have died or appeared overtly sick.
     

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