Have I poisoned my hen by feeding sprouted 'dried' beans?


10 Years
Feb 17, 2011
I have a small flock (6) of layers- four chicks (one BCM, one BlueCM, one SW, one LB) one Cuckoo Marans pullet and one adult Black silkie. Recently, 6 weeks ago I rescued the one yr. old silkie hen and she faithfully laid a tiny, but fine, egg every other day. The two hens free range during the day. I offer grit and oyster shells freely, feed organic layer crumbles, sprout wheat, oat groats, and barley. They also get yogurt, fresh goats milk and some leftovers. Then I sprouted a pkg of mixed dried beans (from grocery store, like one might buy for soup.) The only thing that didnt sprout was the spit peas.

The pullet and silkie ate some of the sprouted beans the first day, not so much the next day or two. Several days passed, and the silkie stopped laying for a few days, then produced a soft shelled egg every 3rd or 4th day (have gotten 2 now, and no hard shelled ones.)

I began researching online and learned about the toxin, Phytohaemagglutinin, in dried beans.
One thread in BYC forum suggested that the sprouting process negates this toxin, but I cannot find any online information to verify this. Two weeks have gone by and she has not begun either laying regularly or produced a solid shelled egg. Have I hurt my hen with those sprouted beans? Any information would be much appreciated, as I have searched the internet, to no avail.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.
I very much doubt that you "poisoned" or in any way irrevocably damaged your hens. For one, the course of the poisoning is very rapid--if it even happened, it should have resolved by now. And I have found no reference of poisoning through sprouts--only soaked and undercooked beans, which is very different!

It sounds like the silkie had some issues with egg-production anyhow--I would focus on that and not worry so much about the sprouts. I think we as chicken fanatics often tend to worry and obsess a bit more than is useful. Perhaps someone can explain the causes of poor egg production and how to remedy soft-shelled eggs.

I am sure that you haven't hurt your bird.
I know you are feeding shell, but some silkies just need more calcium than other birds. Try mixing the shell in with her layer ration to get more down her, or see if you can find a source of unadulterated bone meal and add that to her ration. Some birds prefer the bone meal, it has a better calcium to phosphorus ratio, and it clings to the ration so they get more even if they're picky eaters. Hope this helps.
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Actually... I'm going to say yes, I think it is possible. Early on in my natural feeding enterprise I bought some lupini beans thinking they were lupins (they were labelled 'lupins').

My birds didn't go down suddenly but certainly I saw a fast reduction in eggs and in shell quality. These beans were quite toxic, not just 'anti-nutritional'.

Having said that, the calcium advice sounds good and I also feel it's unlikely a small amount of beans could cause permanent damage. I was stupidly feeding sprouted lupinis for quite a while...


Edited typo.
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