Elephant Ears??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wendyrun, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. wendyrun

    wendyrun In the Brooder

    May 25, 2010
    Gainesville, FL

    We finally got our girls yesterday! They went from free-range to here, where we have them in a coop w/small run. They started getting antsy this morning, so I put the dog's pen around the space so they could scratch in the dirt. We did that yesterday and they took off when I tried to shoo them in the coop - lesson learned!

    They have loads of grass access and layer crumble but after tearing up the roots and digging around the elephant ears, they have started EATING THEM. I know that plant is on the toxic list for finches, but didn't see it on the chicken no-no list. Why are they not eating the grass instead? It's all under shade. I'm thinking I need to scoot them out from under the plants b/c they are going to get sick. The dog barrier doesn't have a top, and I felt they were safe to forage b/c the tallest plants are over 6 feet but they are having a hay day out there.

    what's the verdict on Elephant Ears?? bad?? move them away??

    any advice appreciated!
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I have plenty of elephant ears and the chickens love digging/scratching around them, they provide excellent shade for them as well. Mine free range throughout the yard all day and I've never seen them eating any part of the plant. Maybe you could hang a half head of cabbage in their pen, just out of reach from their head. That will distract them and cabbage is good for them.Edited: At PoultryHelp.com..... it states that the stems and leaves are toxic. The toxicity are naphides. Naphides are needlelike calcium crystallines, believed to be a defense mechanism produced by the plant to irritate the throat of predators when eaten. It didnt say anything about the roots, I suppose they're safe.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  3. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Songster

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    elephant ears (alocasia and colocasia) can have an irritating sap in them. Even people who make poi from the Taro (elephant ear) root have to cook it thoroughly or it can be irritating to the mouth and esophagus. Most chickens aren't dumb enough to eat them but the ducks are. I have numerous different kinds of elephant ears and the chickens don't eat them they just scratch around them. The muscovy ducks on the other hand will tear them up completely. You could plant bananas as an alternative they are edible. There are some varieties like Basjoo that are hardy to horticultural zone 4 with protection. Some gingers are hardy to zone 7 and nontoxic as well.

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