Poisonous Plants

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by digitS', Jan 15, 2008.

  1. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Disclaimer: This material is for informational purposes only . . .

    Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine has a web resource, "Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Pets." I see that it is cited by other universities and cooperative extension services around the US. There are 69 plants on Purdue's list but probably most of them are of little concern.

    The University of West Virginia has a "Poisonous Plants of the Southern United States." Between the two, most of the plants that could cause problems for our chickens must be covered. The U of WV singled out 5 plants as potentially dangerous to poultry:

    milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa and other species)
    jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)
    rattlebox (Daubentonia punicea)
    atamasco lily (Zephyranthes atamasco)
    black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

    Of these, I have 2 black locust trees growing on my property line. A fence squeezes between the 2 trees and about 5 years ago the neighbor informed me that the fence was 2 feet over on his side. That would mean that both trees are his so if my chickens get poisoned - it'll be his fault!!

    Actually, I doubt if either he or my chickens are in much danger. Certainly, with all the seeds those 2 trees have scattered about - if one of the hens was going to be poisoned, it would have happened by now. They were out frequently and certainly have come across the seeds thru the Summer. I'm not about to collect the seeds and carry them off the property. Nor, am I about to collect the seeds and dump them in the hen yard where they would be picked thru constantly out of boredom.

    Steve
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Here is another veterinary manual (Merck) with photo's and important characteristics of poisonous plants.

    In looking thru each of these lists, it is easy to see a very few plants make it on one but none of the other lists. A few make it on all 3 lists but Purdue rates their degree of toxicity as minimal.

    Steve
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Finally came up with a veterinary site specific to poultry at Cornell University!.

    One may note that Brassicas are on every list even tho' they are often grown specifically as foliage for livestock.

    Four of these plants are mushrooms and ergot, a fungus primarily in grain, shows up on every list.

    Only 14 in total and most aren't found in gardens, I'm happy to say. [​IMG]

    Steve
    I am stopping now . . .
     
  4. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    6,026
    15
    263
    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    I haven't seen crepe myrtles listed, so I'm going to take that and the fact that my chickens are still very much alive as good news. [​IMG]

    They have stripped the lower leaves and they're eating the berries.
     
  5. hooligan

    hooligan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2007
    Arkansas
    This was a good thread to start, esp since Spring is coming soon!
     
  6. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great timing, Steve! I was just thinking the other day that I need to refresh my memory on this subject!!!

    Lori
     
  7. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    Arkansas
    Maybe this is more complicated than I thought?..... :eek:
     
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Parsonswife, one of the points I've been trying to make is that there isn't a whole lot of dangerous stuff out there. Very little is in our gardens that could be considered unsafe. And, even when there are "dangerous" plants, the chickens seem to get by with them in my yard without killing themselves.

    Take a look at that Cornell veterinary site and those 14 "plants" listed specifically as toxic for poultry. Four of the 14 are poisonous mushrooms and 1 is ergot, a fungus that grows on grain. I don't think those 5 things are any surprise to anyone nor should they be hard to avoid.

    Then look at the brassica species: rape, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, and mustard. Seed mixes of these plants are sold and grown specifically for poultry forage. Well, how does that happen if they are toxic? Some plants (nearly all) are toxic when they are growing in certain conditions. Usually, those conditions are extremely stressful on the plants and they develop toxins. This isn't of much concern when you are looking at the plants growing in your yard everyday - if they look healthy, they probably are.

    There is an additional concern with regards to the seeds of the brassicas. They often cannot be consumed in much quantity without causing problems with digestion. Think about too much yellow mustard on your hot dog . . . [​IMG]

    By the looks of these authoritative lists of toxic plants, my thinking [​IMG] is that a free-ranging chicken, especially one that has some experience, isn't likely to get herself into trouble. On the other hand, if you are feeding her plants in her pen, you should clearly know what you are piling in there. She may eat them just from boredom when she would otherwise avoid them when out on her own.

    Steve
     
  9. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    Arkansas
    I saw someone else had this question...hope this link helps.
     
  10. tvtaber

    tvtaber Chillin' With My Peeps

    350
    2
    141
    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    I am perplexed that cultivated oats and mustards are on the list as being toxic to "livestock and horses" since most people feed oats in some form to horses. I also have feed oatmeal (uncooked) to chickens and they were quite fine afterward. I also see my chickens and goats chow wild mustard every day a with no ill effects.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by