will chickens eat poison ivy, and is that ok?


11 Years
Mar 10, 2008
central VA
my back "woods" as my boys call it-- really, it's just some trees-- is full of poison ivy. Is it going to harm my chickens? I had 3 hens out there last fall, but this summer, I'll have about 28 pullets wandering through the trees. will they eat the poison ivy? if they do, is it ok? is there a good way to get rid of it that is safe for my girls (if them eating it is not)?
Chickens tend to know what they can eat. Most animals have a built in sense and know what they can and can't eat. There are animals that ingest things that are poison but for the most part you don't have to worry about it.
Chickens tend to know what they can eat. Most animals have a built in sense and know what they can and can't eat.

that's kinda what I figured. Do they eat it though? unfortunatey, my boys aren't as bright as the chickens, and WILL get into what makes them sick:lol: wondering if we may not have as bad a poison ivy problem with the girls out there. If they don't eat it, is there a chicken safe way to get rid of it? I know you can pour boiling water on small areas, but this is a large area.​
Whatever you do, don't burn it!!! A friend of ours did that (moron) and ended up in the hospital with it in his esophagus, lungs and his eyes were completely swollen shut. He had to have steroids to get over it.
If the girls won't eat it you may try borrowing a couple goats. Many goats will eat it and they do fine. If you can borrow those goats a few times through growing season it may eventually kill it off.
my mother has warned me about burning it (my father did that once)-- and I have to keep reminding dh that he CANNOT burn it. I'm wanting to get a couple of goats anyhow...
If your animals get in it and the oil is on their feathers or fur--they might transfer it to you or your boys when you handle it. I could beleive it when I got it and my doctor told me that could be where I am getting it. Our dogs run in the woods..and bring it home to momma...
If my chickens got into it and then I petted them It would transfer to me!!! I am very allergic to it. I don't even have to tuch it just get close to it and it LOVES me. I would just be careful with the kids. It gets on my face and in the corner of my eyes and the only solution is steriods from the doc.. edited to say we posted at the same time about spreading it!!!
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I read some farmers wisdom kinda book once that said drinking the milk of poison ivy eating goats will build up your immunity to poison ivy. Not sure that I believed it, then at an old-timey pharmacy I saw poison ivy pills! You were supposed to take them to build up immunity. So maybe eggs from ivy eating chickens isn't a bad thing?

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