PSA: Found poisonous mushrooms in my chicken pen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by pixiechic, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. pixiechic

    pixiechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2008
    North GA
    A couple of weeks ago I posted about my 3-month-old chick, Peep, who was walking on his hocks. (I say "his," but not sure on gender yet). threehorses kindly helped me out with her vast knowledge, and we fixed Peep right up with Poly-Vi-Sol baby vitamins and B-complex. After about 10 days, he was all better and we put him back outside in our little halfway house, which is in a separate 40′ x 50′ pen from the rest of the flock.

    Peep was fine the first night, but then I worried that he’d be lonely and chilly out there by himself, so the next day we moved his big sister Lucky (5 months old) in with him. After about 24 hours, DH noticed that Lucky was starting to exhibit the same wobbly legs problem...although Peep is still fine.

    We figured that either Peep had something contagious after all, or there was something in the environment causing it. We took a careful look around the pen, and noticed nothing unusual…except for several different types of mushrooms growing.

    We collected samples of four different kinds of mushrooms. Two turned out to be harmless, but I recognized the speckled reddish ones right away as Amanita Muscaria (aka Fly Agaric), and there was another pearly-white mushroom that just felt evil to me when I picked it up. After doing some research I am fairly certain that the white one is Amanita Bisporigera, a type of Death Angel mushroom common in the eastern US. Both of these Amanitas are deadly poisonous to people, and as you can see in the pics below, both have been taste-tested by Peep and/or Lucky.

    Apparently Amanitas are not immediately fatal to chickens, at least in small doses. I can’t say for sure whether these mushrooms caused the wobbly-legs problem, but we are continuing with the vitamins and keeping a close eye on both chicks for the next few days. We cleared out all the mushrooms we could find, but will keep going back to check to be sure there aren’t more.

    I'm in North GA but these mushrooms grow on both coasts and the midwestern US. If you live in the vicinity of woods and the weather has been damp, you may want to take a look around and be sure that these Amanitas aren’t growing anywhere your chickens, dogs or livestock can get to them.

    I'm sorry these images are so big, but I wanted everyone to see them in detail:


  2. the Old Rebel

    the Old Rebel Rest in Peace -2011

    May 12, 2007
    Hendersonville NC
    Thank you sooooooo much for the pictures. I don't know if we have any of these uglies around here, but we have lots of mushrooms springing up everywhere, so tomorrow I will go on a thorough search. I don't want any of my "babies" to get sick or die.

    Again, THANKS for the info.
  3. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    Same thing happened to my daughter unfortunately she lost her favorite rooster Ozzie. We didn't find the mushrooms until he was too far gone. Now I check everyday. I can't believe how fast they spring up. You can check in the morning and not see them but wham they are there in the evening Great post with the pics. Hope it will help some other chickens.
  4. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    The ones I found in my yard are all white. I look for them in the morning before letting the chickens out to free range. Thanks so much for posting your information.
  5. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    young chickies without mammas tend to peck (and eat) anything that takes their fancy... this is why I restrict my motherless chickies to an area I know beforehand only has what I put in it for them to eat.
  6. TennesseeTruly

    TennesseeTruly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Church Hill, TN
    Thanks for posting this. The reddish mushrooms I had all over my front yard. As soon as we see any kind of mushroom we pull them out of the ground and immediately put them in the trash. With all the rain we've had here in TN we've had some huge mushrooms and they literally just pop up overnight.

    Thanks again! Great post!

  7. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    The weather is perfect for them in Virginia right now, too. I just saw a bunch of the Red Amanitas the other day.
  8. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A most valuable post and most timely. This time of year mushrooms of all sorts are popping up over every hill and dale and who would think anything of them. I'm betting you just saved a bunch of illness and heartbreak.

  9. pixiechic

    pixiechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2008
    North GA
    Sugar Sand Farm, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter's rooster. We've had a drought here for a couple of years so I never even thought about mushrooms being a problem for chickens, but it's been so damp for the past few weeks that - as you mentioned - they are popping up all over the place.

    kathyinmo, there are many types of all-white mushrooms out there, but the ones in these pics look a little luminous on the top. They had very distinctive filmy "wings" under the cap when I first picked them...probably why they are called Death Angels.

    I'm sure I don't have to say this, but be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any unknown mushrooms. Or wear gloves when you gather them. Or both! You probably wouldn't get sick unless you actually eat the mushrooms, but you really don't want to take a chance. These babies can shut down your liver and kidneys and make you really miserable...and a. muscaria causes hallucinations in the process.
  10. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    wow my roo started limping after free ranging one day. I treated much like you did and he got better, I was never able to find an injury but do have lots of mushrooms here and there, I wonder....

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