Rhubarb

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Rhubarb

Postby crazypianolady » 27 May 2008, 13:52

There was a question on here a couple of weeks back about whether rhubarb leaves were poisonous to hens. Mine devoured three huge leaves (just leaving the ribby bits) between them over Saturday/Sunday with no apparent ill effects.

A chicken-keeping friend says hers make straight for her rhubarb plants when allowed out the pen - they seem to know what they can and can't eat.

So - juicy bits for us, the odd leaf to my hens!
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Postby jaydee67 » 28 May 2008, 18:56

My rhubarb leaves look like lace if the hens get near it - no apparent ill effects here either.
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Postby Gilly C » 28 May 2008, 19:25

mine too :D
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Postby Pekinout » 29 May 2008, 22:05

It is supposed to be poisonous
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Postby flump » 29 May 2008, 22:38

My girls don't touch mine at all,and it's near their coop.Mind you saying that i went out today and bought a new one,bet they eat it once it's in ! I would like to know if it is poisonous to them tho so i can make a guard around it.
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Postby Pekinout » 30 May 2008, 22:19

Found this on the net about rhubarb

Rhubarb -the leaves of the plant are poisonous, which is true. All parts of the rhubarb, including the stalks (also known as the petioles), contain the oxalatic acid which gives people the heebie jeebies.

But how poisonous is it? For a person about 145 pounds, 25 grams of pure oxalic acid are required to cause death. Rhubarb leaves are around 0.5% oxalic acid, so that that 145 lb person will need to eat around 11 lbs. of rhubarb leaves in order to get 25 grams of oxalic acid. However, excessive ingestion of leaves, even if they do not cause death, will make a person very, very sick.
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Postby Elly » 31 May 2008, 10:12

It might be that they are poisonous to humans, yet not all animals? Just think how ill we would be if we ate week old, squashed, dirt roadkill!
If your chickens are eating them with no side affects I cant see a problem. Most animals seem to know instinctively what is and is not safe to eat.

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Re: Rhubarb

Postby Warrenlady » 27 Jul 2010, 20:01

Not wishing to give anyone the heebie jeebies, but just read on another forum (sorry) that whilst chickens might not seem ill after eating rhubarb leaves, it can cause long term kidney probs, so I'm moving my rhubarb to be on the safe side. What's left of it is next to the run.
They ate the whole lot of leaves in one morning, having ignored them for 2 weeks. Little darlings!

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Re: Rhubarb

Postby Woodburner » 01 Aug 2010, 17:16

It's a natural wormer, so I'd leave it up to the hens whether to eat it or not.

I wouldn't put it in their run though, as they tend to eat anything green in there eventually, including stuff that isn't good, like ivy.
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Re: Rhubarb

Postby benboy » 02 Aug 2010, 22:09

Woodburner wrote:It's a natural wormer, so I'd leave it up to the hens whether to eat it or not.

I wouldn't put it in their run though, as they tend to eat anything green in there eventually, including stuff that isn't good, like ivy.


I have ivy growing through the fence from my neighbours garden. I was a bit worried at first but they don't touch it! They seem to like grey/green hostas but not the creamy yellow variagated ones. Ferns are growing well in their run too. It is like they know what they can eat somehow. There are other things like certain berries that are poisonous to humans which birds eat regularly.
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Re: Rhubarb

Postby Warrenlady » 25 Aug 2010, 14:15

Woodburner wrote:It's a natural wormer, so I'd leave it up to the hens whether to eat it or not.

I wouldn't put it in their run though, as they tend to eat anything green in there eventually, including stuff that isn't good, like ivy.


To be honest, mine did only eat it after their run became the half of the garden with the rhubarb in it - they did have the whole garden before that, but after it started looking like a minefield I decided enough was enough. Maybe there's not enough greenery in the run, I'll give them a few more plants to be going on with. They love tomatoes! And I've got billions, caould afford to sacrifice one or two plants.

They ate my potato leaves, too.

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Re: Rhubarb

Postby colwend » 20 May 2011, 10:30

One of my chickens (I have two) has developed yellow urates - a sign of kidney damage. She has been eating my rhubarb leaves past two years didn't think anything of her eating them as nothing obvious developed quickly. Think there is not a lot there can be done about this but feel really bad about leaving the rhubarb in for her to access :cry:
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Re: Rhubarb

Postby Woodburner » 26 May 2011, 17:54

colwend wrote:One of my chickens (I have two) has developed yellow urates - a sign of kidney damage. She has been eating my rhubarb leaves past two years didn't think anything of her eating them as nothing obvious developed quickly. Think there is not a lot there can be done about this but feel really bad about leaving the rhubarb in for her to access :cry:


Sorry to hear that, but it kind of makes my point about not putting it in the run. :(

If your run is almost bare, you should probably get rid of whatever is left, as it's the stuff they don't really like i.e. it's not good for them.
I have read an article that thoroughly condemns the use of 'chicken tractors' to clear ground. Summary: Once the nice stuff is gone, they eat the nasty stuff that's bad for them.

As long as they have plenty of greenery to choose from, and aren't in a rush, like when you put 'treats' in the run, they will eat what's best for them.
This seems like a good time to say, don't EVER give them avocado, ok it was all mixed up with lettuce and yummy stuff so they wolfed it down without checking, but someone reported (a while ago now) that two of her chooks dropped dead amost immediately after eating some.
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