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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by eggshell, Apr 29, 2009.
is it safe for my hens to eat radish leaves and leaves from my potato crop?
The radish leaves are probably fine.
The green parts of potatoes contain the toxic substance solanine (Plants Poisonous to Livestock, Cornell ). Not even cooking will destroy this toxin.
The leaves, green skin, and sprouts have much higher concentrations of solanine than the starchy parts of the potato.
So, neither raw nor cooked green leaves, green peelings, or sprouts should be fed.
I have some reservations about the list of poisonous plants cited above. Among the things I question are references to Alfalfa, Clover & Trefoil being poisonous to cattle. Where I come from these plants are the best feed possible.
There are also several references to wild foods I eat regularly that are listed as poisomous to humans.
Confusing since I would expect Cornell to be a trustworthy source of information.
Darn I just threw the radish leaves in the compost bed! But gald to hear that on the potatoes! Ours love lettuce!
It is the conditions that some of these crops may be growing in, NYREDS.
Over-fertilizing with nitrogen, flooding, drought and other things may cause almost any plant to become toxic. For grazing animals, eating a heavy load of these "altered" forage plants can be a serious problem.
This is why Cornell says, "IMPORTANT: Just because something is on the poisonous plants list doesn't mean it can't be a good food or feed, and just because it is absent from the list doesn't mean it is safe . . . "
Most chickens in this country never see a plant. Even those that are allowed to free-range in our backyards don't get a whole lot - their diet is still, probably, 70% or 80% commercial feed. They aren't quite so vulnerable to "plants that have gone bad" nor to being forced to eat contaminated hay or silage or go hungry - those kinds of things.
Of course, their commercial feed can and does sometime become contaminated with things like toxic weed seeds. Usually, that results in meat or egg production problems rather than outright illness or death. I guess, breeder farms even have problems with egg fertility that they blame on weed seed contamination.
Mostly, a chicken isn't likely to get itself into too much trouble - but, that's just my opinion. I still wouldn't even think about tossing potato vines into their pen.
The other way things get on the toxic list is when feed lot animals get fed entire truck loads of a particular food and have a reaction to it. That's what happened with broccoli. I remember reading about that incident, a few years ago. Plus, just what kind of shape would truckloads of broccoli have to be in, to feed it to cattle instead of people? Not good!
There are a lot of things that are bad for animals, chickens or humans in excess, that are nutritious and good for them as part of a well balanced diet.
I always try to read why something is on the toxic list and what part of the plant is toxic.