1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Toxic plants

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mrott91, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. mrott91

    mrott91 In the Brooder

    Jul 1, 2011
    Hi I'm very new to raising chickens (started this spring 2011 with 8 baby chicks) and noticed my chickens love to eat ferns when I let them out to free range. They find quite a few as they are quite accessible because my house is surrounded by woods. My chickens eat them like candy. Searching the web for toxic plants to poultry, the fern is shown on the lists.

    My chickens seem fine, but I also read that it takes time for them to die as organs are affected over time. Not a pleasant thought!!

    Should I be worried??? Has any others had this problem? They are not producing eggs being only 3 months old. Should I also be worried once they do start producing that I could be poisoned/affected as well by eating the eggs?

    Thank you in advance for any advice!![​IMG]
    CanadaEh likes this.

  2. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Songster

    Feb 7, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    Try to find actual proof on how the plant is toxic, not just a list that says it IS toxic. We almost trashed a bunch of house plants because they were on toxic houseplant lists, and I was terrified that my 3 year old would eat them. Then I did some research. A lot are listed as toxic because of things like, "This is eaten as a vegetable in (some country), but can cause a mild allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it."

    Very few plants are actually deadly. Most are listed as toxic because they cause diarrhea.

    Another example: Onions are considered toxic for chickens. It is even on Nifty's list. But has anyone EVER reported a chicken dying from eating onions? Mine raided my garden and ate every single green onion. They didn't die. Their eggs tasted funny, but it might have been my imagination.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Songster

    Jun 9, 2009
    There are many different species of ferns, and it can be very difficult to identify them with certainty. Some may be poisonous to chickens, but more than likely, others are not. For example, humans can eat the fiddleheads of ostrich ferns, but not those of other fern species. I suspect your chickens have discovered one that is perfectly fine for them to eat.

    I never worry about what my chickens eat while free ranging. If something tastes bad to them or gives them an upset stomach, they will figure out they should not eat it, just like people do. I would not worry about something poisonous from plant getting into the eggs. Thousands (hundreds of thousands?) allow their chickens to free range, without keeping tabs on what they eat out there, and never get sick.
  4. kinsey228

    kinsey228 Songster

    Jun 28, 2011
    Chesterville, Maine
    My chickens would hate me if I made them stop eating the ferns around my house. They like them better than their feed. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by