Honeysuckle vines on chicken yard...safe?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Carrie Lynn, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to grow honeysuckle on the outside of my chicken yard. I just read the berries are poisonous to people.
    The vines I have grew very few berries.
    The hardware cloth I used for the yard is small, 1/2"x1/2". I'm not sure the chickens could get at the berries if there are any.
    Has anyone had experience with chickens and vining honeysuckle?
    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  3. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays Premium Member

    There's a huge honeysuckle thicket across the road from our house and I always have several of our free range hens hatch out eggs they hide in there every summer. All of the chickens scratch under the vines looking for bugs or whatever they can find and I've never had any problems.
     
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  4. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The short answer is it's probably not a problem. The slightly longer answer is, there are many different types of honeysuckles and plants that are sometimes called honeysuckle. I looked around and found some claims that the berries are posionous in some species and fully edible in others. I couldn't find any references saying what the specific compound was which may be harmful so I can't say if it would adversely affect chickens. Most references listed the berries as a mild stomach irritant in humans. I found one study which specifically found the toxic level in mice, but that would be huge in larger animals. So, the slightly longer answer is it would probably be fine assuming they aren't subsisting for an extended period of time on the berries alone.
     
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  5. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too have a thicket of honeysuckle bushes. That species is undoubtedly safe for birds as wild birds flock to it when they ripen, as do chipmunks and squirrels. The vine I have is the Japanese variety, with lovely-scented flowers on and off all season, but the berries were my concern. It would be nice to use as it grows quickly, and so far it is still green, even with the cold Michigan winter.
    After reading the responses, I don't think it will be a problem, and it will "dress up" my pen.
    Thanks for your help [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
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  6. SGM

    SGM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't recall seeing many berries on honey suckle vines and I have to admit that the goats I have eat those vines like crazy and I've never had one so much as get sick from them. So I don't think that's true.
     
  7. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was curious about the toxicity so I did a little more research and found that they have two toxic compounds in the fruits, leaves and stems. The two components are cyanogenic and saponic glycosides. They are mildly toxic, and don't usually cause more than mild nausea and stomach irritation in humans. However, they are highly toxic to dogs. I still think they would be fine, but I would have a concern if the chickens foraged on the leaves frequently.
     
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  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Very little is going to be toxic to chickens in limited doses - after all how can you keep them from eating anything they find.
    I wish I didn't have it, but invasive japanese honeysuckle is everywhere here, crowding out most native plants except the older trees. The wild birds don't help - they eat the berries and crap the seeds.
    My chickens love Pokeweed berries which I heard are toxic.
    I can't keep the chickens away from them.
     
  9. kla37

    kla37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. Moabite

    Moabite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2010
    Utah
    I've got an overgrown trumpet vine on my back fence and the girls loved it, they trimmed each and every leaf off of it they could reach. This was the first year the thing wasn't out of hand. It attracts lots of other birds, and bees and wasps too. I don't believe that honeysuckles are poisonous either.
     

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