Question about toxic plants...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by amgreen1980, May 7, 2011.

  1. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    We have 7 chicks right now that will move to the coop in about a month. We plan/planned to free range as much as possible on our 10 acres, but I am worried about them eating something harmful to them. I have just planted lily of the valley plants as well as a clematis and both are said to be toxic to chickens. Are these things I need to remove, or do chickens naturally avoid things harmful to them? They aren't in the direct vicinity of the coop, but are definitely accessible. We have about 5 acres of woods and another 5 of lawn/field.
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I have Lily of the valley shrub(not the little ground plant), and clematis in the yard with the chickens and they have never eaten either. Plus many other plants supposed to be toxic. I've given up worrying about it. I've had chickens die for no apparent reason, but I don't think it was because of the plants.

  3. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    Quote:Cool! I was really getting discouraged trying to find things to landscape with that were ok for the chicks. They will have MORE grass and weeds than they could eat in a lifetime, so hopefully they will just steer clear of the plants and flowers!
  4. Up-the-Creek

    Up-the-Creek Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2008
    West Virginia
    I have noticed my chickens don't eat much as in plant material anyway,...they dig and scratch mostly looking for bugs and such,...but I am sure a chicken wouldn't eat anything that was toxic,....I think most animals have the "sense" not to eat bad stuff.
  5. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    From my experience, hungry chickens will only eat toxic plants if there are no other better choices to forage on. As long as there is plenty of grass or other non-poisonous plant choices around the yard, they won't touch the bad stuff like your Lily of Valley or Clematis, beyond a nibble or two. I grow a number of toxic plants, and the chickens leave them alone in favor of non-toxic stuff.

    There are varying degrees of toxicity in plants and not all toxic plants are deadly. Toxicity in plants ranges from mild dermatitis to serious illness or death. This link explains plant toxicity types and has other links to common plants with their type of toxicity, rather than just listing them as toxic:

    have more on keeping toxic plants around chickens at my blog:
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I suppose if chickens were confined to a pen with little else to pick at, their boredom might override their instincts and they would go for poisonous plants, but I don't think its a problem in a free range situation.

    My birds free range on 80 acres. More poisonous plants and fungi than I can count. Haven't had a poisoned chicken yet.
  7. Blue

    Blue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2010
    As others have said, I wouldn't worry about the plants too much. We have many plants in our yard that are said to be toxic (rhododendrons -SP?, azaleas, etc.), and we've never had any animals (or people) die due to the plants. Our chickens don't really seem interested in any of the decorative plants, just grass and clover. The dogs we've had in the past were never really interested in most of our plants, except for one dog who loved helping herself to our grape vine and tomato plants (both of which are supposed to be toxic to dogs). She never had any ill effects from her tomato and grape love, though, so possibly their toxicity levels are overrated.

    Now, however, we have a crazy dog who, though he doesn't really seem interested in our plants outside of nibbling on grape leaves and doing his business on the new Asiatic lillies in the front yard (which I just found out are also toxic, so apparently I'm just drawn to plants that inevitably wind up being poisonous when I learn more about them ^^; ) , he does things I don't expect on a regular basis. We recently planted 2 foxgloves (which I also didn't know were like the MOST poisonous plants ever) in the back yard, and they will soon be moving into the flower bed next to the carport, where they'll be behind a fence where the dog (and the chickens) can't get at them. I doubt the chickens or the dog would mess with them, but since they are so poisonous, I'll move them to an enclosed flower bed just to be safe.
    Last edited: May 8, 2011

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    They have thousands of years of instinct telling them what to eat & what not to. I have never heard of a chicken eating something that was actually toxic to them. They will eat lots of things that people on this board will tell you are toxic but it's not the chickens who are wrong in those cases.
  9. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
  10. fresheggsdaily

    fresheggsdaily Out Of The Brooder

    May 12, 2011
    Suffolk VA
    What are some good plants/shrubs to add to my run that the chickens won't eat ?

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