Potato Peelings

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Shazmn, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. Shazmn

    Shazmn Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2014
    Hi all,

    I just got home from work and found that my husband had given my hens some raw potato peel and pumpkin skins which I had left out to put in to the compost.

    I am really worried as I have read everywhere that potato peelings and anything to do with potatoes is poisonous for hens. Please let me know if you have ever given your girls potato peel and they have been OK.

    I buy my girls fresh silverbeet, kale, spinach etc and do my best to give them the best possible diet and now dear husband goes and does this (he had no idea and now he is upset too).

    Won't sleep tonight as I am really worried. Please put my mind at ease.

    Thanks all
     
  2. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as I know potato peels are no more toxic to chickens than they are to humans, if the peels are not sprouting. If the peels are not green on the potato part and/or do not have eye sprouts, I think it's pretty safe to say you can rest easy. Green potatoes should not be consumed and should be composted.

    I think this is one of those chicken myths that get spread on BYC, the idea that ALL potato peels are toxic to chickens. Just don't feed green or sprouting ones.
     
  3. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2014
    Even green potato peels, the level where you deal with toxicity issues is so high that it's almost impossible for a human being to die from - you'd burst your stomach well before you ingested enough solanine to be an issue. I'd guess its the same for chickens.

    Toxicity is ALWAYS an issue of dose. Get enough of anything and it will kill you - drink a couple of gallons of water at once and it'll kill you.

    A lot of the the animal/plant toxicity lists are completely unverified (even the USDA one says it is out of date and that the plants haven't been verified toxic). They're often put on the list as a result of a farmer having a horse go down after eating nothing but that plant for days.

    The lists are also not species specific - what is toxic to ruminants isn't necessarily toxic to other grazers, which isn't necessarily toxic to birds.
     
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  4. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Much better said than I did. Yes, just about everything is toxic, given the right quantity, even water:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/16614865/ns/us_news-life/t/woman-dies-after-water-drinking-contest/

    Same goes for Poinsettia plants, thought to be highly toxic. An adult would have to eat something in the order of TWO POUNDS of poinsettia leaves before reaching toxic levels:

    http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/poinsettia.asp

    So, it doesn't surprise me that solanine in potatoes would fall in a similar boat. Of course, chickens aren't humans and have smaller livers to process alkaloids, but it hasn't harmed our chickens any.

    OP - hope you are resting easier now!
     
  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Smaller livers, but also smaller stomachs.


    The LD50 for solanine for mice is 42 mg/kg when injected into the abdomen - potato skins contain approximately 80mg/kg (20mg/kg is the threshold for the whole potato where they can't sell them, but concentration is higher in the skin). Solanine is significantly more toxic when injected than when ingested, because it's poorly absorbed in the stomach.. most of it just goes through you.

    That works out to you needing to extract the solanine from roughly half the bird's weight in potato skins and inject it into them to get a 50% death rate (if we assume similar LD50 to mice). And that's not even talking about them eating them.
     

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