Why are Guineas eating the charcoal ashes from the grill tray?


"Draft Apple Ridge" a Bit from Heaven
12 Years
Jan 10, 2010
UP North WI
I"ve noticed that all of my guineas are eating the charcoal ashes that fell into the tray beneath the webber grill. What gives????
The chickens don't do it.

Any ideas? Are they lacking something in their diet or something????



10 Years
May 11, 2009
Orange, Texas
http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/5/5-2/herbs_for_spring_eggs_and_breeding.html :

Creating wood charcoal and ash from native wood can be a very beneficial and important supplement for your poultry. Charcoal can absorb toxins and is capable of absorbing up to two hundred times its own weight. Animals in the wild would come across charcoal after forest fires or lightning strikes and they would be drawn to these places to consume charcoal. Charcoal has minimal nutritional value, but research suggests that animals consume it for its medicinal, toxin-binding properties. The charcoal is also a laxative and so then can work twofold and move the impurities it absorbs out of the body. If worms or worm ova are present, it can to some degree help move them out of the body as well.

Your poultry will also eat wood ash as well as charcoal. Wood ash has a very nice texture to aid in dust bathing and adding it to their dust bathing pits to eat and dust in will give your poultry a double-benefit! Wood ash is highly soluble in vitamin K, followed by calcium and magnesium. Vitamin K is useful for blood clotting in poultry.

Charcoal can be made from dry, clean branches or tree stumps burned slowly in a deep pit. Or throw an un-split log on a bonfire or fireplace as the fire is winding down in heat and intensity. Slow burning is essential to charcoal making. You can damp down a fire that is burning too quickly with some water. You can build an outdoor bonfire with brush, and leave the remains of a fire pit where chickens range, allowing them to eat it free choice.

Having a woodstove makes it quite easy. By morning the fire dies down quite a bit and there will be embers or coals at the bottom of the woodstove. Local wood is preferred, like walnut, oak and locust. Before stoking the fire back up again for the day, smooth the coals out. At this time, the ash settles to the very bottom and chunks present themselves. If the fire has gone completely cold, you can pick out chunks of charcoal barehanded and they are ready for use immediately. If, in the morning, you have hot coals, then of course take care removing good chunks to use. Most of us who have woodstoves also have an accessory kit of sorts—the poker, brush and small shovel. Use that small shovel to remove what you wish to use and place those chunks in a safe place to cool completely. In a few hours or less the charcoal chunks can be handled safely. If you have young or inexperienced pets or children, consider the careful placement of the hot coals. Charcoal is a good spring "internal" cleaning, but in reality, charcoal and ash can be beneficial year-round.

Starting with healthy hens, keeping them healthy during the mating, egg laying, and brooding process will keep those little chicks hatching all season long. And, in turn, will insure the chicks have a good start to a long and productive life themselves.

Susan Burek is owner of Moonlight Mile Herb Farm in Willis, Michigan. Find Susan's website at www.moonlightmileherbs.com. Laura Corstange is owner of The Wishing Tree in Plainwell, Michigan. Find Laura's website at www.wishing-tree.com. Both herbalists advise on Blue Moon Forum, an herb forum for people and critters, specializing in poultry, at www.members.boardhost.com/bluemoon.​


9 Years
Apr 2, 2010
Not the brightest bulbs in the box. I suspect that they smell some of the drippings from your barbeque. I don't think it can hurt them, the vet use charcoal on my Cuckatoo when we thought she ate some thing she shouldn't have and any lighter should have burned out.


10 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Kingman Arizona
I noticed recently that my chickens do the same when they are out in the yard. We had a campfire a while back and the charcoal is still out there on the ground, and the chickens were gathering around and eating it. I figure they know what they need, so I let them have it.


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Ahhh, but what is in STYROFOAM that makes them scarf that stuff down??? They peck it, to begin with, because they peck everything to check it out. But then they continue to peck at it and eat the bits that break away. Do they keep pecking because it makes an odd sound when their beaks connect with it? I just don't understand why chickens are so drawn to Styrofoam.

Plus, I have found that reaching for ANYthing a chicken is interested in will result in that chicken's snatching up said object and dashing away, whilst simultaneously swallowing it.

Especially small, metal nuts you need to put on the end of a bolt.....

Cat Water

That Person
9 Years
Jul 4, 2010
Mid Coast Maine
That Backyard Poultry article was EXACTLY what I was going to post, but you guys beat me to it.


13 Years
Mar 25, 2009
South Alabama
I may be mistaken, but I think that charcoal derived from slow smoldering of wood versus the ash of charcoal "briquettes" are two entirely different things with the briquettes not having the cleansing/purifying attributes of the wood coal.

I don't know if the ashes will hurt them but I would think that they're going for meat drippings in the ash and not the ash itself.


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