The difference is that peas have less of the inhibitor in them then soybeans and such. If you read the data, they are safe to feed, as are lentils. Nothing eats the soybeans in the field here, NOTHING. The farmer didn't cut them until Christmas 2 years ago and they stood intact until then.
For the person who asked, the reason soybeans are OK in poultry feed is that they go through a cooking process before they are ground. Cooking at a high enough temperature and for a long enough period greatly decreases the "hau" level (which is why cooking raw, red kidney beans in a crockpot isn't such a great idea -- they might not get hot enough).
I did some more reading and also learned that the previous example of red kidney beans is the most extreme (and commonly cited) example of raw bean toxicity. White kidney beans contain only a fraction of that level of the toxin so I'm guessing that the little white beans in the garden aren't making the chickens sick because they contain very little (much like the acorns they favor that are low enough in tannin to be palatable to a human right from the shell).
And my comment concerning the saccharin scare was a serious response.
The evidence precipitating the FDA's 1977 ban came from a Canadian study in which saccharin-fed rats developed bladder tumors.
In reality, and I'm just guessing here someone in the FDA probably read a synopsis of that study and mentioned it to his boss who than sent a memo to his boss and before you knew it, saccharin, which had been around since the 1870's was banned in the U.S. It wasn't until later that someone noticed that the dose of saccharin used in the study was equivalent to a human consuming 800 diet sodas a day for a lifetime.
My point being that chickens have survived for a long time (about 8000 years as a domestic fowl) without us carefully selecting their diet for them.
Quote:I didn't ask if humans can eat saccharin. My concern was what ill effects I might see from consumption of raw beans. And chickens can and do eat things that make them ill. Moldy grain would be a fine, relevant example.
And yes, chickens as a species can surive quite a lot. That doesn't mean a small backyard flock that didn't even get the benefit of being reared by their own species posesses the wisdom of the ages. If they all died eating moldy food, it wouldn't make a blip in the overall chicken population. But it would matter to me.
Taking all the current information we have on hand into consideration, I'd never feed them raw dry beans on purpose. Why ask for trouble? But if they ate some and seem fine, then no worries. For every statement I've seen here as to something being toxic to chickens, there's always someone that has chickens that ate the same thing and didn't die from it so they figure it's "fine" for them to eat it. Myself, I err on the side of caution.