Okay to eat Polk Salad berries....green ones??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pepperlady, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. pepperlady

    pepperlady Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 24, 2011
    I am new to raising chickens...I have 4 RIR and 3 Speckled Sussex (thanks BYC forum for informing me of that earlier today). I went out yesterday to see what my flock was into (I let them free range during daylight hours) and they were all eating the little GREEN Polk Salad Berries. Is that okay?? I was expecting them to want to eat them when they were purplish, but green? Really? My chickens are around 6 weeks old and growing beautifully, I would hate for this to make them sick. What is really strange is they haven't touched any of the blackberries that are still green too?? weird???

    Any input would be great!

  2. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    I am assuming you mean pokeweed berries? I would think it's fine. I let my chickens eat whatever they want while they free range. They seem to know what's good for them and what isn't. There is no pokeweed where mine forage, but I have seen them eat other kinds of berries (blue berries, autumn olive berries) while still green. As for blackberries, mine don't seem to care for them much even when ripe.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Just had a big conversation about this. Apparently, pokeweed is poisonous, including the berries. That said, I've seen mine eat the leaves on many occasions. I try to keep it pulled up, so I'm not sure they've eaten the berries.
  4. jcatblum

    jcatblum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2010
    Cement, OK
    Our place is full of poke. No way I could eliminate it all. My grandma would have been out picking it & serving it for dinner every day, but I haven't touched the stuff.

    I figure the chickens are not eating only poke & they are only taking in a small amount if they get too it. My chickens have ADHD they don't stay pecking at one thing too long. All it takes is a grasshopper in sight & the poke is no longer interesting.
  5. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I know the berries are poisonous to humans, but the wild birds eat them all the time & splat the results on everything. I would think they are ok for chickens, but I don't know for sure.
  6. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yes, wild birds can and do eat poke berries without ill effect, and there is no reason to think chickens are any different. I don't think it is unusual for birds and other animals to eat wild fruits and nuts before they are ripe. I mentioned above that my chickens eat green blueberries and autumn olive berries. Wild birds eat all the service berries from my trees before they ripen. Wild birds and mammals eat wild hazelnuts well before they ripen. Porcupines eat apples well before a person would consider them sweet enough for raw consumption. There is really nothing to worry, as long as you provide regular chicken feed, and they are not overdoing it on wild berries because they have no other option.
  7. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    We tried eliminating them last year because of the poisonous aspect. Dug up that monster root they have, but they still find a way to grow. Always heard they were no good for man nor beast. In fact, I've read the leaves are poisonous to humans and they suggest you wear gloves when touching them. Not sure what will happen to chickens. I guess they usually know what is good or bad for them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by