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Rhubarb ruse?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hillbillygreen, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. hillbillygreen

    hillbillygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2008
    Central Illinois
    Okay, you know the big no-no about rhubarb and chickens (poisonous all parts). Well I've had some in my yard and didn't worry too much about it since they seemed to leave it alone.... up until recently. Something has been picking the leaves clean! I have not witnessed the deed, but I have seen the girls going back there this fall! And no one seems even a little ill. Perhaps I'm a bit premature in this prediction, but it's been two weeks!

    Could this old adage be a misnomer?

    What do you think?
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Rhubarb leaves are a danger to humans. I have no clue their level of acid toxicity to chickens. I do know stewed chicken with rhubard is delicious!
     
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I don't think I'd worry too much. the first day I had hens They jumped the fence and 3 of them ate about 7 large rhubarb leaves in about 1 min. I was sure having hens was going to end up being about a 1 day adventure with a bad ending. But luckily no problems. I think they must be OK eating Rhubarb.
     
  4. Village Farm

    Village Farm Out Of The Brooder

    Rhubarb leaves contain lots of oxalic acid, which can combine with calcium to form calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys.

    Low serum or urine calcium levels will help reduce the formation of calcium oxalate, so it's possible that laying hens that are directing more calcium to shell production may be relatively protected. It's also less problematic on a single ingestion than with chronic intake.

    Oxalic acid is present in lots of plants, especially sorrel (it's named after wood sorrel, Oxalis) and camelias (including tea, Camelia sinensis). It's tasty and harmless in small amounts.

    I would try to keep my chickens from eating large amounts of rhubarb, but I wouldn't panic if they got into some.
     
  5. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    Mine eat the rhubarb - but they eat lots of other things out there, too, they don't focus on the rhubarb. Next summer the veggie garden will be fenced in (oh woe is them!) so hopefully the point will be moot. [​IMG]
     

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