Oak leaves making chickens sick

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by emmyb58, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. emmyb58

    emmyb58 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 30, 2011
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    Hi all, I am trying to figure out what made my flock sick. We did several things at the same time so it is hard to narrow it down. We let them free range, put oak leaves in the run so they could kick them around. Well someone said they thought they had heard that oak leaves had a oils that might be harmful to animals. Anyone else have any experience, or heard of that? When I looked at a list of dangerous plants I saw our property had several, columbine,rhubarb, azaleas and much more So I don't think we can let them out of their run.
     
  2. looptloop

    looptloop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine scratch around in CA Live Oak, Blue Oak and another type of oak that is excaping me, never had any sickness because of it. I wonder about some of the other toxic plants???
     
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

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  4. emmyb58

    emmyb58 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 30, 2011
    Silverton Oregon
    Looptloop and Humble,
    Thank you for the input. I did check out the list of poisenous plants and I have several of them. I had no idea that the flowers I enjoy in my yard would be a problem for chickens. I really would like to let them really free range, but I don't want to lose any more. Their run is good size it is just bare. Do you put anything in your runs? Or is good old dirt just fine? Thank you,
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

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    For the most part, chickens instinctively know which plants etc...are edible or inedable. I've seen mine eat wisteria flowers that have fallen onto the ground without ill effects. I dont know if they are poisonous or not though, havnt looked it up. I figure they'd already know or will know if they are toxic lol.
    Putting sand in your pen would be best. Sand dries out much quicker than dirt and doesnt runoff like dirt in a downpour. Sand also helps deter flies, other insects, and helps keep down the parasite load. A cubic and a half yard (about a pickup truckload) here costs $25. I have about a 5-6 inch layer of sand in my pens. It's also easier to scoop poop. Keeping the soil dry is key, it helps keep the parasite load down, sand will do this for you.
     
  6. mine peck around most of the plants on the toxic list with no problems. They have picked my rhubard for a few years. Scared me to death, but they are just fine. I did however loose a hen this spring to what we think was from the old oak leaves. or what was in/on them. who knows and we probably never will. I wouldnt rule out letting them freerange.

    I have heard from others that oak leaves can be fatal to them though. I would do some research on it. I think Animalscomefirst lost a hen to them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  7. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

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    I am somewhat of an amateur expert on oak since I'm surrounded by gambel oak and have been trying to eradicate it for the last twenty years.

    Cows also graze the surrounding area, as do deer and elk and all kinds of other animals that eat oak leaves, including black bear. They all know to avoid oak leaves when in the early pink stage after emerging from their dormant winter state. During this pink stage, oak leave are highly toxic.

    Do you recall if the leaves you placed in your run were completely green or were they pinkish with very light green mixed in? If they were the latter, there is your problem.
     
  8. emmyb58

    emmyb58 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 30, 2011
    Silverton Oregon
    Thank you. In answer to your question, they were fallen leaves then end think they were pink or green. Because we put the leaves in the run about the same time we started letting them free range, I have never been sure what the source of the problem was. We had 10 healthy productive hens and one rooster. Within 6-8 weeks we were down to 2. We tried antibiotics, talked to our farm store and just felt almost like giving up. But the reamaining 2 and 2 more that I have added are doing good. So I am just worried about letting them out again. I do thank all of you for your input.
     

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