Nightshade and ducks, errrr!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by chickboss, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. chickboss

    chickboss Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    We are having some serious water issues and so to make sure that I can take a shower and the ducks can enjoy water all in the same day (lol) I am moving their fenceing to include a spring. As I am making a path in the dense growth for the fence I see the most lovely purple clusters of flowers ever. I am just looking at it, pondering the best outline for the fence when I notice that the leaves and vines remind me of something... hmmm...Oh yeah! Tomatillos! I think "OH, crap!" Go inside to look it up and sure enough, it is nightshade. Errrr! There is a ton of it in there. Which probably explains why my goats suddenly stoped grazing that area even though on days like today it is much cooler over there. So, what to do? Will the ducks eat it? How poisonous is it really? I know most animals leave toxic plants alone as long as they have options.... Crud.
  2. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Songster

    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    Really, really poisonous especially the berries. I don't know how much your ducks would eat but I would seriously worry about them even sampling it.
  3. chickboss

    chickboss Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    If I could cuss on here I would. [​IMG] Thank you for the info. I have to figure something out Asap because I didn't even know and the fence has already been removed and they are in their house which is no doubt getting hotter by the minute. Okay.....
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Oh, that does suck. We get nightshade in our yard and I HATE that stuff. The berries are VERY attractive when ripe--deep purple, and I've heard they're even sweet--and extremely poisonous. I have never worried about the ducks because my bigger concern is my toddler. I pull it all out, however long it takes, and even that sucks big time because the plants are THORNY and they hurt, even through leather gloves. Luckily, the thorns are not poisonous, so it's just a hot uncomfortable job. Make sure you get every bit of the plants up off the ground, especially the berries/flowers, to prevent it reseeding (if it hasn't fruited yet, this isn't an issue, but nevertheless...).

    If the area is too large to contemplate doing that, you may have to resort to chemicals... I am not a fan of chemical usage, but sometimes... And yeah, goats leave it alone--maybe ducks will too--which just means that it grows even crazier because it has nothing to prey on it. Dunno... maybe you could import an infestation of tomato hornworms--do they eat nightshade?

    Sorry for the trouble... what a pain! I hate nightshade!
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I don't know if it is poisonous to ducks, but I know that many plants that a dangerous to dogs or cats aren't to birds. Their body metabolized food in a different way then those of humans or 4 legged friends. Another thing is that the ducks taste buds are extremely good. I would say as good as a dogs nose. They will taste everything, but only eat that they find to be ok with them. I have mine out in the field and they are rather picky when it comes to foraging around. There are plenty of plants they wont touch and I know they have tried it before. I have a night shade plant in my backyard and have a hard time getting rid of it. It multiplies with its roots. I don't want to use poison so I keep on pulling out what I can. It has worked so far stunting its growth, a lot.
  6. ninnylou

    ninnylou Hatching

    Jul 9, 2010
    I'm not certain about ducks but I know when I first got my chickens late last summer, they ate every stick of nightshade in the yard and it never affected them. I still give the ducks and chickens young weeds from the yard, but now they are mainly young tumbleweeds.
  7. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    That bites. Nightshade is on a list I read of dangerous plants for ducks and for chickens. [​IMG] I need to find that website for you.

    It is an extreme poison for sure...sweet berries and lethal. It was used for a "sneaky poison" ages ago and added to wine.
  8. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Quote:Someone once posted a link here to a site about poisonous plants to chickens. Turned out they took a list for humans. Yes, all of them are toxic to humans, but I found several plants on there, where I know for sure its not dangerous to ducks. I can't remember the link, but I would not be surprised if it is that website. I will recognize it, if I see it.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  9. chickboss

    chickboss Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Thanks for everyone's comments!! So after smashing around in blackberries and saw grass (if it isn't called that for real then it should be because I am all cut up) in the scorching heat (yes, I feel I have earned the right to be dramatic this a.m.) and sweating until I thought I could not possibly have any more moisture to spare, I was able to get the ducks on water. Hurray for me! I was able to use part of the area I first envisioned, but did a lot of smashing stuff around to try and make sure that there really wasn't any Nightshade there. The main bunch of it starts right behind the fence line I set up. I am much happier to have found it (can't believe I even made the association really) rather than to have a "mystery disease" killing off my flock later on. Honestly, if it was only a few plants, I don't think I would have worried, but it is a pretty dense patch.

    ninnylou~ Hurray for your chickens, getting rid of that stuff. I think it is dried Oak leaves that are supposed to be poisonous to horses, but where I used to board mine the horses relished them every fall [​IMG]
  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Talking about toxic stuff. We here in southern Oregon and northern California have toxic blue green algae in lakes and rivers. It kills dogs and young cattle every year. It can even kill children and makes adults very sick. Many end up in intensive care. Yet, waterfowl does not get sick from it at all.

    I've checked further and found an article in one of my books stating that duck love to eat young shoots of nightshade without any problems at all. It also states that they hate older plants and will not eat it. There must be something in the taste of it, and no deaths have been reported either. So, in my opinion, it is a good idea to remove the plants so they don't take over more area and as a precaution for all other pets you have.

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