My chickens ate berries that could be poisonous

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bob505, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. bob505

    bob505 In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2009
    Earlier today my mom went to pick some wild berries at a friends house, for decoration. But when i looked outside right after my mom came home and put the berries down, i saw that 2 of my roosters were pecking at them and possible eating them. I then went outside to chase them away from it and noticed that they could have spitted them out. So could it hurt them?
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009

    VTGIRL In the Brooder

    Aug 26, 2009
    I would think the birds would be smart enough to know what is good for them (or not). Sounds like they free range and they've made it this long. [​IMG] They should be OK.
  3. Preservation Acres

    Preservation Acres Songster

    Dec 31, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I never worry about what my chickens eat. They know what to eat and what to leave alone. If you watch them when they're free ranging, they'll always taste something and spit it out if it's something new before they actually swallow it.
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Bob, the answer is probably, "not likely."

    I was looking at a list of plants the other day that are considered by University of Alabama poultry specialists as dangerous to poultry. Here's what they said about one of the most toxic, Crotalaria spectabilis: "Chickens can die from eating as few as 80 seeds."

    The question comes to mind, how likely is it that they will eat 80 seeds of this toxic plant? Perhaps, it isn't likely that they will eat more than 6 or 7. Will that cause them any harm . . . maybe not.

    Just because a plant is toxic does not mean that it is highly dangerous.

    They might get a stomach ache and you may never know about that. It is best to keep them away from anything toxic. I certainly wouldn't give chickens credit for being "smart" about much of anything. A dog might be considered "smart" and yet the vets are busy every day treating dogs for eating something that made them sick.

  5. ldemmert

    ldemmert In the Brooder

    digitS': I think there are many kinds of intelligences. Dogs have a certain social intelligence that lets them read our minds. Chickens have a stomach intelligence that lets them know what to eat. The 2 kinds are equally valuable, but not interchangeable.
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Leaving aside the telepathic powers of dogs for a minute: over 35 separate plant poisoning incidents of poultry are cited in Diseases of Poultry, 11th edition, American Association of Avian Pathologists from reports in professional journals.

    Those are 35 different plants that have been eaten which caused signs of poisoning and physical lesions. They are listed from avocado to yew and include such common yard plants as black locust and sweet peas as well as wild hemlock and jimsonweed.

    Chickens often eat "hardware" that causes damage to their gastrointestinal systems, as well.

  7. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Songster

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    It might help to know what kind of berries. My chickens love dogwood berries, but I only have flowering dogwoods which are edible. Other types are not, some berries from some weeds are also edible. Holly berries are extremely poisonous to humans, though wild birds eat them. I have never seen my chickens attempt to eat the holly berries, but they will jump and fly to get into the dogwood trees for berries. My dogwoods have a nutty taste but leave a very bitter after taste, some people make jelly out of them, wild birds will aggressively defend a dogwood tree, even taking on my gamecocks to get them out of the trees.
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Yeah, that's been my experience too. They know what to eat and what not to eat.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  9. sunnyflowerdays

    sunnyflowerdays Hatching

    Jun 27, 2009
    Well, mine got into my decorations which had pretty holly berries in it. I'm so mad I could spit nails and if these stupid things end up with a tummy ache or worst, GOOD! Serves them right! All but 4 of our chickens are in a pen. These idiots about killed my hens so they had to be put out of the pen till I can put 'em in the freezer. They are the reason I will ONLY have ONE rooster! I don't care how free they are when people drop them off!
    I won't buy that they are very smart in any way. I have to say, I've never seen a chicken with any personality, only all instinct. And I certainly would never compare them to having even a pinch of the same intelligence of a dog. Now some may think my rooster doesn't bother me because I feed him, well, that's instinct if you ask me.
    I'll let you know if the berries are poisonous or not, they ate a good many.

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