What Plants Are Toxic to Chickens?

Believe it or not, some flowers and shrubs are toxic to chickens! It’s important to know what chickens can and can’t eat before giving your flock any treats, so here’s a list of flowers that are toxic to chickens. This will be helpful to know when it comes time that you would like to  sprinkle some flowers in your hens nesting boxes or let them outside to free range for an hour or two. You’ll never begin to guess how many things they’re not supposed to eat in that hour! As I covered in my Happy, Healthy Birds from Day 1, chickens usually know what they can and can’t eat, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. I’ve caught chickens eating feathers, and other bad weeds before, so it’s best to make sure that everything you have in and around your run is chicken safe!


Which flowers/shrubs/vines are poisonous?

I only have two of these toxic flowers in the yard, and that’s azalea and hydrangea. Whenever I let my chickens out to roam for a little bit, I always make sure they never eat the flowers or bushes, though I’ve never had any of them try, even when the bushes were in full bloom. Just to be on the safe side, I make sure that they stay away from them!

  • Azeleas
  • Rosary Pea
  • Red Clover, White Clover, Alsike Clover: all leaves, although regular clover fed in small amounts (or letting your chickens free-range) is fine.
  • Hydrangea
  • Wisteria
  • Bracken Fern
  • Elderberry
  • Nightshade
  • Poinsettia
  • Milkweed
  • Yew
  • Wild Cherry
  • Foxglove
  • Holly
  • Bracken
  • Ivy
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Tulip
  • Castor Bean
  • Fern
  • Bloodroot
  • Hyacinth
  • Horse Radish
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Lantana
  • Ground Ivy
  • Hemlock
  • Cocklebur
  • Curly Dock
  • Carelessweed
  • Bull Nettle
  • Byrony
  • St Johns Wort
  • Delphinium
  • Mistletoe
  • Eucalyptus
  • Boxwood
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Burning Bush
  • Buttercup
  • Belladona
  • Poppy
  • Narcassis
  • Jack In the Pulpit
  • Daffodil
  • Chrysanthemums
  • False Jasmine
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Poison Sumac
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Morning Glory
  • Ragwort

    Hydrangea Bush (the flowers died)

Trees that can be Poisonous?

  • Red Maple
  • Oak
  • Box Elder
  • Apple (the apples themselves, the seeds contain cyanide)
  • Apricot (contain cyanide in the pits)
  • Avocado
  • Chokecherry
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peach (contain cyanide in the pits)
  • Plum (contain cyanide in pits)
  • Wild Cherry
  • Cherry (contains cyanide in the pits)

    This is a muscadine grape-vine, and is an example of a chicken-safe plant.

So many harmful plants!

This is a list of things that CAN be toxic or may pose a threat. It’s unlikely that these will show up in your well-groomed yard, but if you have woods on your land, checking over these plants would be a good idea. There’s a lot of chicken-safe plants out there as well that I’ll cover in another blog, but understanding the possible threat is important. Some of these plants will only be toxic if consumed in large amounts, but to be on the safe side, make sure that your chickens don’t have access to these plants. For links to the sites I used to pull my research, look below.

Don’t be intimidated by all of these plants, as like I said, chickens are generally good at what they can and can’t eat, but taking precautions never hurts! Your flock will thank you for planting safe plants in your yard, even if they aren’t allowed to free-range all the time, if you ever did, your yard would be chicken-safe! Until next time!

Dancing With Chickens

Here is a list of sites that I used. Further reading on the effects is offered on the sites. Remember, some of these plants are also toxic to humans, so planting safe plants should always be important.
Cornell Study
Fresh Eggs Daily
Veterinary Team
My Pet Chicken
Backyard Chicken
Chicken Keeping Secrets

© Dancing with Chickens, 2018.


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