18 Toxic Plants Your Chickens Must Avoid (Must Read!) - Agrolearner.com
18 Toxic Plants Your Chickens Must Avoid (Must Read!)

18 Toxic Plants Your Chickens Must Avoid (Must Read!)

Absolutely, providing chickens with free-range access can be beneficial for their overall well-being and natural behaviors.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that the environment they roam in is free from toxic plants that could pose a danger to their health.

To ensure the safety of your chickens, regularly inspect their environment for any potentially toxic plants and promptly remove them.

Additionally, consider providing alternative foraging areas with safe vegetation for your chickens to explore. If you suspect that your chickens have ingested a toxic plant or are displaying symptoms of poisoning, consult with a veterinarian immediately for appropriate treatment.

In this article we will be looking at 18 Toxic Plants Your Chickens Must Avoid. Some of this plants already exist in their environment and some are not yet.

18 Toxic Plants Your Chickens Must Avoid

Here are some common toxic plants that chickens should avoid, and steps you can take to remove them from the environment:

Azaleas and Rhododendrons:


These ornamental shrubs contain toxins called grayanotoxins, which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness in chickens if ingested. Remove these plants from areas accessible to your chickens.

Lily of the Valley:

This fragrant flowering plant contains cardiac glycosides, which can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiac arrhythmias in chickens. Remove any lily of the valley plants from your chicken’s environment.

Nightshade Plants (e.g., Deadly Nightshade, Black Nightshade):

Nightshade Plants

Nightshade plants contain toxic compounds such as solanine and glycoalkaloids, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, neurological symptoms, and even death in chickens. Remove these plants from areas where your chickens roam.


Yew – Pixabay.com

Yew trees and shrubs contain a toxin called taxine, which can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and even death in chickens. Remove any yew plants from your chicken’s environment.

Read Also:  20 Common Diseases In Poultry Farm



Pokeweed contains toxins called saponins and alkaloids, which can cause symptoms like gastrointestinal upset, weakness, and respiratory distress in chickens. Remove pokeweed plants from areas accessible to your chickens.



Foxglove plants contain cardiac glycosides, which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiac arrhythmias in chickens. Remove foxglove plants from your chicken’s environment.

Castor Bean:

Castor Bean

The seeds of the castor bean plant contain ricin, a highly toxic protein that can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms and organ failure in chickens. Remove castor bean plants from areas where your chickens roam.



Oleander plants contain toxins called cardiac glycosides, which can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiac arrhythmias in chickens. Remove oleander plants from your chicken’s environment.



Apricot fruits are okay for chickens, but their leaves and pits are a no-go. They have something called cyanogenic glycosides, which can make chickens sick with seizures, trouble breathing, and low blood pressure. Especially when the leaves are stressed from frost, drought, or disease, they become even more toxic. If you’re growing apricot trees, make sure chickens can’t munch on the leaves or pits by putting up fences or other barriers.



Raw beans are bad news for chickens because they contain something called hemagglutinin, which can hurt them. You don’t have to avoid planting beans in your garden, just make sure your chickens can’t snack on them. And never give them raw or undercooked beans to eat.

Bulbs (Daffodils, Iris, Narcissus, Tulips):

These are the pretty flowers that pop up in the spring, but they can cause trouble for chickens. Their bulbs have stuff called alkaloids that can give chickens tummy problems, shaky legs, and diarrhea. It’s best to dig up these bulbs and either throw them in the compost or plant them in spots where chickens can’t get to them.

Ferns (Bracken Fern):

This fern can make chickens sick, causing them to lose weight, feel weak, and shake. It’s mostly found in places like pastures and forests, so keep an eye out for it and get rid of it if you see it growing where your chickens roam.

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While holly bushes might look nice with their shiny leaves and red berries, they can upset a chicken’s stomach because of something in the leaves called saponins. These can make chickens vomit, have diarrhea, and drool. Since holly grows fast, it’s easier to trim it back and keep it at least 5 feet away from where your chickens hang out.


These pretty flowers can cause problems for chickens, making them shaky and weak. If you’re planning to let your chickens roam around, it’s better to remove these flowers from your garden.

Oak Trees:

The leaves and acorns from oak trees can upset a chicken’s stomach, making them lose their appetite, pee a lot, feel super thirsty, and get the runs. Instead of cutting down the trees, just keep your chickens away from the areas where there are lots of acorns.


Found more in mountainous areas, these plants can make chickens feel sad and twitchy. Keep your chickens away from places where these plants grow to avoid any problems.


Also known as creeping myrtle, this groundcover can be bad news for chickens. It contains something called cardiac glycosides, which can give chickens seizures and make them shake. To keep your chickens safe, make sure they can’t get to areas with periwinkle.


Even though rhubarb makes yummy pies, its leaves can make chickens sick. They contain something called oxalic acid, which can give chickens jaundice, shaky legs, and make them drool. Just make sure your chickens can’t get into the rhubarb patch.

Read Also: 10 Things to Know Before Keeping Yaks

Can chickens eat poison Ivy?

Chickens can technically eat poison ivy without suffering ill effects, as they are generally not affected by the urushiol oil found in the plant, which causes allergic reactions in humans. However, it’s essential to exercise caution if allowing chickens to consume poison ivy for several reasons:

  1. Risk of Transmission: While chickens themselves may not be affected by poison ivy, they can transfer the urushiol oil from the plant to humans through contact with their feathers, feet, or beaks. This can result in allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to poison ivy.
  2. Other Dangers: Although poison ivy itself may not harm chickens, the environment in which it grows could harbor other hazards, such as insects or parasites, which could pose risks to the health of the birds.
  3. Selective Feeding: Chickens may not naturally gravitate towards eating poison ivy, especially if other food sources are available. While they may peck at the plant out of curiosity, it’s unlikely to be a significant part of their diet unless they have no other options.
  4. Environmental Control: Allowing poison ivy to grow in areas accessible to chickens may encourage its spread, potentially leading to increased exposure for humans and pets.
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Overall, while chickens may consume poison ivy without immediate adverse effects, it’s best to prevent their access to it to avoid potential complications for humans and to maintain control over their diet and environment. If you need to remove poison ivy from your property, consider using gloves and protective clothing to avoid contact with the plant’s oils.

Are all plants safe for chickens to eat?

No, not all plants are safe for chickens. Some plants contain toxins that can make chickens sick or even be fatal if ingested.

How can I tell if a plant is toxic to chickens?

It’s essential to research and identify plants in your area that are known to be toxic to chickens. Look for resources online or consult with local agricultural extension offices for guidance.

What are some common toxic plants that chickens should avoid?

Some common toxic plants include azaleas, rhododendrons, oleander, foxglove, yew, and nightshade. Additionally, certain parts of commonly grown plants like tomatoes, potatoes, and avocado can also be harmful to chickens.

What are the symptoms of plant poisoning in chickens?

Symptoms of plant poisoning in chickens can vary depending on the plant ingested but may include vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, seizures, weakness, and in severe cases, death.

How can I protect my chickens from toxic plants?

To protect your chickens from toxic plants, remove them from areas where these plants grow or fence off those areas. Additionally, provide plenty of safe foraging areas with a variety of vegetation that is known to be non-toxic to chickens. Regularly inspect your chicken’s environment for any potentially harmful plants and promptly remove them.

In Conclusion

To sum up, it’s vital to know about plants that could harm your chickens to keep them safe and healthy. Learning about common toxic plants in your area helps you take steps to protect your flock. Regularly checking their surroundings, removing any dangerous plants, and providing safe areas for them to roam are all important. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from local experts or poultry enthusiasts for additional guidance. With these precautions, you can create a secure environment where your chickens can flourish.


Author: Adewebs

David is a seasoned farmer with over 8years experience on the field and teaching. He has about 20 acres of Palm farm, 10acres of livestock farm where he spent most of his time tending and caring for his farm. He offer profffesional services and consultancy services to clients who are interested in venturing into farming.

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