1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

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 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    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' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    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]

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2008
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    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 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    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.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by