Oleanders...will my chickens eat them and get sick?

mscory

In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
12
1
22
Phoenix
Thank you to everyone who provides help to us newbies!

I live in Phx Az and my property has a lot of shade from oleanders. I understand oleanders are poisonous to chickens. I was hoping to free range at least part of the day. Will chickens stay away from oleanders if I provide enough feed?

Cory mother to one human son, 9 yrs old, 2 inside cats, 4 outside cats, 3 black australorps and one I don't know what colored for Easter just over a week old now.
 

Gersbud

Songster
12 Years
Apr 25, 2007
217
0
139
Central Michigan
I am not so sure that the chickens will stay away from the oleander. When mine are able to free range they don't bogther to eat any of the feed I provide until them come back in for the night. I don't think I would let them free range near oleander. I would feel awful if something happened to my girls if I knew it was something I could have prevented
 

mscory

In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
12
1
22
Phoenix
Thanks Gersbud. I guess I will free range them under supervision and keep them in the tractor most of the time.
 

meadow house

In the Brooder
12 Years
Jan 21, 2008
12
0
22
Just wnated to share my experience:
I have a big oleander bush and 4 very healthy hens that are 11 months old. At first, I was very worried about it and I would chase them out from under the oleander. We thought about putting up a fence or removing the bush since they seemed drawn to it for shade. I ended up trimming all of the branches that had green leaves anywhere in reach of the girls. They hang out and scratch under there during the hot part of the day all the time. I have not had any issues. They also seem to leave the rosemary, sage, and lavander alone (but have done an amazing job clearing all the clover and weeds around these established plants). Maybe they stay away from those harder strong smelling plants?
 

digitS'

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
2,119
23
201
ID/WA border
Thank you Meadow House,

I was once told by a knowledgable forager of wild edibles that you don't have to know everything you can't eat, you just need to know what you can eat. With keepers of livestock, I guess it's the opposite . . . so how's that possible
??

It's really good to know when things don't go wrong
.

Steve
edited to say, I don't mean to imply that oreanders are not toxic. The last time I checked, they are. But, they are, at least, described as "extremely bitter and nauseating" - that's good!
 
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mscory

In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
12
1
22
Phoenix
Well, I'm getting less paranoid as time goes on about the oleanders. I'm going to provide LOTS of good feed and reduce free range time. I have a larger run covered 1/2 with shade screen now so that's good. I love my chickens! Cory and Nate (my son 9yrs old)
 

Bahachick

In the Brooder
9 Years
Dec 21, 2010
71
1
39
Nassau
How did this turn out? Did they eat it? I got tons of oleanders and am worried about the same thing.
 

digitS'

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
2,119
23
201
ID/WA border
Well, after all this time - I still live where oleanders only show up as house plants. However, I have come across a couple of things:

One is a citation in Diseases of Poultry, American Association of Avian Pathologists, regarding the poisoning of geese by oleander.

Another is information on the Colorado State University Guide to Poisonous Plants with information on poisoning of cattle and horses. Of course, information and knowledge about grazing animals and oleander poisoning was common in 2008, as it is now.

It was probably not very wise for me to comment back in April of 2008. This is an effort now to balance some of what I said then but in the interest of full disclosure, I won't go back and delete anything.

Steve

Edited to add: that Colorado State University website is a good source of information for livestock owners. You can do an easy search of a good number of toxic plants here (click).
 
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Chick Charm

Songster
9 Years
Very educating.

My experience:
I don't have an oleander bush, but my experience is that chickens do tend to avoid the things that are not good for them (for the most part). For example I have three large avocado trees in the free range yard and I also grow potatoes for us to eat. I have never had any issues with either of these even though the girls have access to the compost pile with the avocado peelings and pits along with some of the skins and plants from the potatoes.

All that being said, I still watch them when I can to make sure because of my concern. 2 years with the last batch and no issues.
 

K8tieCat

Songster
13 Years
Jan 15, 2007
589
33
186
Northern California
I worried a lot in the beginning about my girls getting into the Wisteria as I read that it was also poisonous. I have observed that they avoid things that aren't good for them so I don't worry anymore. On more than one occasion, some of them have actually nipped at the Wisteria leaves a bit before I could get close enough to move them along. They suffered no consequences. For being so such dummies, they really are a lot smarter than we like to give them credit.
 

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