8 Poisonous Plants Chickens Shouldn’t Eat

Most plants you put in your garden beds are healthy for hens, and they will eat them even if you don’t want them to. Chicken owners, on the other hand, must be wary of toxic plants that might hurt their flock.

Poisonous plants are avoided by free-range hens in most cases, but that doesn’t imply you should keep them close. Always avoid feeding these plants to your hens and cultivating them in an area where they could be restricted.

Ready? Let’s take a look at some of the toxic plants that your chickens should avoid.

  1. Bulb Flowers
    You’re probably picturing flowers that bloom from bulbs when you think of spring blooms. Unfortunately, many of these plants are toxic to hens. Daffodils, iris, tulips, and narcissus are examples of bulb blooms that your hens should avoid eating.
    Why are hens poisoned by bulb flowers? Alkaloids, a substance found in them, cause low blood pressure, tremors, and diarrhea. Make sure these flowers are planted far away from the foraging area of your hens.

2. Ferns
Although not all ferns are harmful to hens, bracken ferns are. These plants cause anemia, weight loss, and muscular tremors in chickens, but they must ingest significant amounts to do so.

The issue with bracken ferns is that they are a perennial, invasive fern that may be found over most of the United States. Because it grows in pastures, woods, and rangelands, it’s conceivable that your free-range hens will come into touch with bracken ferns.

You must be diligent and ensure that any bracken ferns found on your property are removed.

3. Oak Tree
Watch out if you have an oak tree on your property; these plants are deadly to hens. The canopy of mature oak trees is about 100 feet wide and 80 feet tall, which means the leaves will spread over your land.

Tannic acid found in oak leaves and acorns causes a loss of appetite, frequent urination, excessive thirst, and diarrhea. I’m sure your hens don’t want to go through that, but there’s no way to stop it without chopping down trees. Attempt to keep them from running into acorns.

4. Rhubarb
The oxalic acid in rhubarb leaves is known to be harmful to hens. This herb causes jaundice, tremors, and increased salivation when consumed.

If you have hens, don’t stop planting rhubarb; simply use fence to keep them out.

5. Yew
Yew is also known as the “Death Tree,” and with a moniker like that, you know it’s dangerous. The Japanese yew is the most prevalent type in the United States, and hens are poisoned by all portions of the plant.

Taxine alkaloids found in yew plants are cardiotoxic, causing cardiac arrhythmia and death. This chemical is fast-acting, and even little doses cause your hens to die quickly. It has the ability to kill cows, horses, dogs, and even humans.

This is one of the plants you should completely eliminate from your yard. While many other plants can create issues, they do not cause mortality when consumed in little amounts, whereas yew can.

6. Elderberries
You may have heard that elderberries are poisonous to hens, but this is not entirely accurate. In moderation, elderberries are safe for hens. Although this is a poisonous plant, offering a few berries to your hens will not harm them.

It can, however, harm your poultry in excessive quantities.

7. Azaleas
Azaleas are one of the most frequent blooming deciduous shrubs. Because they produce vividly brilliant flowers in the spring, they may be found in landscaping all across the United States. We used to have around ten azaleas in front of our house, and they were stunning!

The problem is that your hens are very poisonous to all sections of the azalea plant. It causes gastrointestinal issues, general weakness, coordination difficulties, and heart damage. Keep your azalea shrubs away from your flock at all times.

8. Foxglove
Foxgloves are a perennial or biennial plant with lovely tubular-shaped blooms with speckled interiors that may grow up to 8 feet tall. These blooms bloom throughout the summer and provide a beautiful touch to your flower beds.

There is one major drawback to foxgloves. Chickens are poisoned by the entire plant, including the seeds, blooms, stems, and leaves. Because these plants reseed quickly each year, you must ensure that they do not grow in an area where your hens might be able to get them.

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