How much should I worry about my pullets ingesting weird things while freeranging?

May 28, 2020
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Mine don't seem interested in toxic plants. They're more likely to pick up random junk like screws, bits of plastic, styrofoam, etc.
Eesh, I haven't ever seen them try to eat metal! How big of a problem is that? (Obviously huge if they swallow it, but how often would yours try?)
 
May 28, 2020
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Poultry seems to be good at finding out what's bad for them as toxic things will be distasteful to animals. They have to taste it first though, so if you have anything that's deadly in one bite, you should definitely remove it permanently. The only toxic plant I have are lupines, and I often see young birds take a nibble, but never the older ones.
In the end it's up to you if you want to keep them away or let them figure it out on their own. There *is* of course a risk one will disregard their taste buds and get poisoned, but then again free-ranging have other risks like predator attack too.
Thank you! Super helpful. Do you know what plants are lethally toxic? Or know where to find that info? It seems like the toxicity level isn't clear in a lot of places.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
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My Coop
Eesh, I haven't ever seen them try to eat metal! How big of a problem is that? (Obviously huge if they swallow it, but how often would yours try?)
I've never actually seen mine eat metal, however I have a screw unaccounted for when I was doing work around the coop a couple years ago. Also had a wad of vet wrap disappear. The last thing they picked up was some plastic cap behind my shed but I grabbed that before anyone swallowed it.
 

OneHappyRooster

Crowing
Apr 5, 2020
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Mine won't even taste it once.
Maybe the smell puts them off.
I've seen them look at things and shake their heads. Well, flick them.

It helps if you have a broody raise the chicks. She can teach them.
 

gooberhouse

In the Brooder
Jul 10, 2020
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When I was doing research on lead poisoning I found one instance where a chicken died of lead poisoning because it had swallowed a lead shell casing :\
 

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