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Feeding Aquatic plants to poultry

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Cap'n Kirk, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. Cap'n Kirk

    Cap'n Kirk Hatching

    Nov 14, 2008
    Grass Valley, CA
    I've got a pond overflowing with what I'm pretty sure is American waterweed (Elodea canadensis). Anyone feed this to their poultry? I hate to experiment with it, but there's so much available I really want to see if my chickens and turkeys will eat it and if it will benefit them.
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I was surprised to find a little info while searching for Elodea canadensis.

    The "Maximum Recommended" by a Canadian veterinarian specializing in poultry is 3 to 5%. He lists no toxins. I don't know what studies he draws from for his recommendations. There's a related invasive plant from Brazil - Egeria, that has been studied for its use as livestock feed. It also isn't recommended in very high percentages.

    Elodea is apparently a common part of the diets of ducks and geese. It could be that the composition of the plant changes with the seasons.
    3 to 5% isn't much [​IMG]

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2008
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Interesting question, I look forward to seeing what if any other info turns up (thanks Steve for the above reference).

    One thing to ponder, as a theoretical concern, is that some (many? not certain) aquatic plants tend to bioaccumulate toxins in the water... typically toxins that will also accumulate/concentrate in the tissues of whatever's eating the plants (thus delivering an increased load to whomever eats them, or their eggs). In the absence of any firm information, I would personally be leery of feeding much pondweed in proportion to the chances that heavy metals or organic toxins (herbicides, pesticides, etc) may be present in the pondwater.

    I realize that's not an answer; but it's a consideration on theoretical grounds anyhow.

    Good luck, lookin' forward to see what else turns up on this thread,

    Pat, an aquatic invertebrate ecologist before turning stay-at-home mom and BYC addict [​IMG]
  4. Cap'n Kirk

    Cap'n Kirk Hatching

    Nov 14, 2008
    Grass Valley, CA
    Thanks for looking into this; I looked for a long while myself and couldn't find any sites that shed any light on the subject. Your thoughts about potential harm from a high accumulation of toxins in aquatic plants in general has made me reconsider feeding this to my chickens for now. I also started to wonder if any snails or other pond life attached to the plants could somehow be bad for the chickens.
    It would be great to find a productive use for all those bright green plants, but I'll wait to feed them to my poultry until I hear more on the subject.

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