What happens when chickens eat potatoes?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Pheonix, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Pheonix

    Pheonix Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2010
    San Jose, Ca
    I just got a few chickens and they get to run around the yard. Well, their new favorite place to hide is under a lemon tree which has potatoes growing under it. I see them pecking at the greenery of the potatoes all the time now. They are now starting to get runny noses and loose stool. One also seems to want to sleep all day. Another has oily feathers. I didn't know if it was the potatoes or if they just have a resp infection.
  2. pookiegoldman

    pookiegoldman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2010
    Grand Isle, Louisiana
    It could very well be the potato plants... I know potato plants and peel contains solanine, a chemical which is toxic to chickens.. Try googling Solanine effects on chickens and check out what they have to say here...

  3. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I feed my chickens potato peels all the time and they are fine. They love them. I don't know about the potato plants though.
  4. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    I planted potatoes in a raised bed in the chicken yard, hoping they'd eat any potato bugs. However, they started eating the potato leaves, instead. I mean, they were stripping the leaves off the stems, and every time, I tried to cover or protect the plants, they'd find a way to eat them again. Finally, I had to was able to successfully "fence" out the chickens from the potato plants. They were eating the plants for weeks, if not a month or more, and they are still alive and well. They were about 3-4 months old at the time, and were also eating grass, bugs, kitchen scraps, chick grower, etc. Now, they're 22 weeks old or a little over 5 months old, and they don't seem to have any ill effects. Thankfully, the chickens didn't kill the potato plants and they're now green and lush. And thankfully, the potato plants didn't kill the chickens, even though, I knew they "couldn't eat raw potatoes".

    But, even though, there were no ill effects on my chickens, I would put a fence or something around the potato plants, just in case they are causing your chickens to get sick.
  5. billfields

    billfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2009
    East Tennessee
    The issue with chickens---and anything else including people is when the potatoes themselves, are green. Some people call it "sunburned". That's when the the solanine is present. I would expect like most poisons the effects would be gastrointestinal and/or neurological. Far as I know regular brown potato peals are fine for chickens (or anything else to eat). Growing up our chickens or pigs ate all the potato peels from our house.
  6. berkeleysprings

    berkeleysprings Chillin' With My Peeps

    Now I am thinking citrus is a bad thing for chickens is what i always saw told but i am not sure
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    The potatoes them selves are not bad but the potato plants (the part that grows above the ground) is toxic. Potatoes are in the Nightshade family along with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Morning Glories just to name a few.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Some potatos are more toxic than others and some varieties will grow above ground seed pods which are the most toxic. Length of exposure is also a factor. Somethings you could eat once and be fine unless you ate yourself full all day on it but if you eat it a little of it for weeks you can get very ill. chickens are also pretty durable against toxins so it would probably take something extra to get symptoms.

    I'm not sure this really sounds like poisoning though. I suppose the only way to know would be to lock the chickens up and if it doesn't clear up quickly or gets worse you have an illness on your hands instead. If it goes away and then returns when you let them out again then something is poisoning them but it's not always the obvious things you see them eating.
  9. Pheonix

    Pheonix Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2010
    San Jose, Ca
    Thanks all.

    I fenced off the area that has the tree and potatoes and the sickest and oldest is doing better. She was lethargic and not moving very fast but is now moving ok and eating snacks like usual. The youngest one still has discharge from the nose, but I will check it in a few days.
  10. Pheonix

    Pheonix Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2010
    San Jose, Ca
    ok, that's what it was. All of the chickens have stopped having running noses and seem to be back to normal. Thanks all.

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