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#20452 - 09/08/02 02:29 PM Plants Chickens can eat
Anonymous
Unregistered


Does any one know of a site where I can get info. on the type of plants birds can eat?

What about most vegetable garden plants?

Thanks,
Craig

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#20453 - 09/08/02 03:49 PM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Laurie Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 169
Loc: North Carolina
Craig,

There is a LOT they can eat. Maybe not tomato PLANTS, or plants in that family (white potatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are all Solanaceae.) Sometimes plants are not healthy but the veggies or roots from the plants are edible.

Usually an adult chicken can tell if a food is safe, but I hope someone with more experience can tell us what is NOT safe to feed them, because I don't know.

(Hmm, I just switched from a custom-mixed deluxe game bird feed to Blue Seal Layer which has a good reputation and I can get delivered for free, but my ladies HATE it and are begging for food when the feeder is still half full. Guess they also know what they LIKE, LOL!)

I live in northeastern North Carolina, and tomorrow I will be happily planting six kinds of collards, three kinds of kale (including Russian red kale), Swiss chard, a bewildering variety of shapes, flavors, and colors of lettuces, oriental veggies (mostly bok choy, but also the incredibly delicious mild Osaka Purple mustard), turnip greens (for my handyman's elderly momma), celeriac (celery root) and probably some carrots. The sugar snap peas are ALL for ME, I eat them all so greedily, there is nothing left to share. I may not be too generous with the celeriac either, the chickens can have the stalks and tops. 8->

The garden (after only 5 years and literally three or four large dump trucks worth of amendments) is good soil and mulched only with hay, which gets turned in and further enriches the soil (I use pine bark nuggets on the floor of the chicken house as litter, and change it several times a year, putting the used stuff into the garden. In many kinds of soil, pine bark nuggets, even if not enriched by -erm- "natural" amendments, are often used to improve soil texture.)

The chickens eat ALL these veggies all fall and winter and well into the spring (in that time, we get several ice storms or up to 8 days in a row of temps in the 20s F, but so far, not one plant of these kinds has died of winter weather).

The chickens get fresh greens of all kinds all spring and summer too, plus tomatoes, squash, cukes, and bell peppers and melons of all kinds. Whatever is in season (I get imperfect stuff free at the Farmer's market for the seasons when I don't plant the garden. I won't use chemicals, so I don't bother to plant stuff when bugs will be out).

Collards are especially healthy for hens because they have plenty of calcium, not enough to substitute for oyster shell, but a good digestible form for those hens who don't get full benefit from oyster shell. My ladies feast all winter to be in good shape for spring laying.

I don't feed the birds (or myself) white cabbage or iceberg (head) lettuce because they lack vitamins and nutrients compared to leafy green foods. When I get them free or cheap (or grow them) they do get red cabbage, though.

When the garden is weeded, the chickens eat many weeds, but not all. They ignored the incredibly prolific pigweed (wild amaranth) this year, maybe didn't like the stickers on the stems. Which is a real nuisance, because they left the stickery stems all over their yard, and I get little ouchies on my ankles.

They LOVE grass, so they get grass clippings whenever the grass gets tall enough before a mowing to be raked. Of course, if I used ANY chemicals on my lawn besides water, I would not feed the grass to the birds. I have centipede grass which only gets fertilized (without a weed killer) in fall just before it goes dormant, and it greens up late in spring, so the fertilizer is long gone before the ladies get a bite again in spring.

In the fall, if you can find someone who raises pumpkins BEFORE they have theirs harvested, get permission to haul away some of the imperfect ones the harvesters leave behind (just don't take any that are damaged in any way or cracked, but lopsided and small ones are just fine).

I rinse pumpkins (or any kind of hard winter squash: hubbard or butternut or acorn, turban, etc.) in bleach water and let dry in the sun for as many sunny days in a row as you happen to have. Store in a cool dry place that does not freeze (and has no rodents) and serve as a nutritious treat. Chickens will go crazy over a big ol' pumpkin (or other squash) dropped to bust it open for them to get into. In dry cool or cold weather part of a pumpkin can last a couple of days without spoiling if you have more pumpkin than birds.

When the apples start to be harvested, I can get a case of bruised apples (40 lbs) for $5 at the Farmers market, and the ladies love apples too.

Not that I spoil my chickens, you understand.
_________________________
Laurie

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#20454 - 09/08/02 05:21 PM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Anonymous
Unregistered


I just added a plant toxicity link to the link page of the online genetics pages if you would like to see what the vet school recommends.

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#20455 - 09/16/02 09:00 AM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Anonymous
Unregistered


Great info Laurie,
My chooks love those pumpkins, but seem to also love the leaves...I presume they are OK? They are still alive. Just wondering if you knew if they were good. I have many I could give them.

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#20456 - 09/16/02 10:14 AM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Anonymous
Unregistered


Heres a list of plants that are safe for birds
http://www.avianavenue.com/infocenter/safe.html
Heres a list of plants that are toxic to birds; sort of the bass ackward of what you ask for.
http://www.parrothouse.com/toxplant.html
Hope this helps.
Janet Tallon

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#20457 - 09/16/02 10:12 PM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Laurie Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 169
Loc: North Carolina
Seaknuckles,

If they are eating them with enjoyment and not getting sick, then the leaves must be safe!

Hi Janet,

The link you posted lists mostly house and landscaping plants. The original poster asked what farm or garden leftovers can be fed to chickens. I imagine a lot of list members would like to know that. For instance, tomato, white potato, eggplant, and bell pepper plants are all in the Nightshade family, the fruits are edible but the plants are not.

I remember from another list that parrots and chickens can sometimes safely eat very different things (for instance, many parrots ADORE hot peppers, the hotter the better, but people often put hot pepper into an egg to stop chickens from eating eggs.

And in the research report about using cayenne in chicken feed to reduce salmonella or coccidia, the report called for a VERY tiny amount to be used, because higher amounts might blister and damage the intestines (even scar them). So it looks as if what is safe for parrots may not be safe for chickens in all cases.

HAs anyone looked at Leee's link yet? It lists plants dangerous to pets and to livestock, but I am not sure which plants from those separate lists would be dangerous to chickens.

I fed mild garden (not wild) mustard leaves to the birds last year with no problems (but will be happy to keep them to myself if they really aren't good for the birds, the illustration was of wild mustard....)
_________________________
Laurie

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#20458 - 09/17/02 06:21 AM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Anonymous
Unregistered


HI, sorry Lauri I didn't mean to waste your time frown with that list. I thought that Craig must have had his ? confused answered by one of the lists since he didn't repost. As for your question, Leee's list is great laugh , his whole site is very useful in fact. Since you are still looking for answers here are a few more sites with lists of various plants and even household products that can be poisonous. If they aren't what you are hunting, just ignore them. As far as whats poisonous, my birds eat poke berries and haven't lost any of them. I also yank the last of the tomato plants out and toss them whole over the fence to the chickens, so far they haven't keeled over. It may be a matter of degree of toxicity and amount ingested. Like vitamin B17 :rolleyes: -a few apple seeds will not kill you, however a cup will and has done just that.
Janet Tallon
http://www.dashlink.com/~rockingt/toxic1.html
http://envhort.ucdavis.edu/ce/king/PoisPlant/SAFE-COM.htm
http://www.toolady.com/articles/safeplants.html
http://www.penmarric.ns.ca/catcare/usefulinfo/goodplant.htm
http://www.library.uiuc.edu/vex/toxic/intro.htm

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#20459 - 09/17/02 08:42 AM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Nancy Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 08/12/02
Posts: 315
Loc: Michigan
How do I get to Lee's site?
_________________________
Nancy

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#20460 - 09/17/02 09:52 AM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thank you for your note, Nancy. Click Here to get to the online genetics pages.

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#20461 - 09/17/02 10:08 AM Re: Plants Chickens can eat
Nancy Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 08/12/02
Posts: 315
Loc: Michigan
Thank you very much Lee...I added it to my favorites so I don't have to ask again.
Great site!
Nancy
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Nancy

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