Chicken owners know their feathered friends love eating whatever comes their way.
But, the problem is not everything growing in gardens is safe for chicks to consume.
That’s why one of the more popular queries among poultry enthusiasts is: Can chickens eat goldenrod?
You should avoid feeding your chickens goldenrod because it contains saponins that can reduce feed intake and decrease growth rate and performance in poultry.
What’s more, there are much better and nutrient-dense food items you can treat your chicks to.
For example, weeds like oxalis, plantain, and clover make for much better snacking options for poultry.
If you’re looking for more in-depth info on why you should keep your chickens away from goldenrod – you’re in the right place.
Stick with us as we break down the science behind a wholesome chicken diet and to keeping your chicks hearty and hale.
Are Any Weeds Poisonous To Chickens?
The term weed is used pretty extensively for different types of foliage.
For instance, a plant growing in the wrong place may be referred to as a weed.
Invasive plant species that grow aggressively are also called weeds.
More often than not, weed is collectively used for species falling outside the plant kingdom that are hardy and reproduce quickly.
Plants that are intentionally grown by gardeners also fall within this bracket.
For example, dandelions and daisies both qualify as weeds.
That means a lot of flora falls under the heading of weed, and some of them aren’t at all safe for your chickens to consume.
Here’s what a few of them are:
Can Chickens Eat Carelessweed
Also known as Pigweed, Carelessweeds are members of the Amaranth family and grow annually.
These weeds are toxic for poultry to consume as they’re known to accumulate nitrates from the soil.
Besides bloat, chickens eating Carelessweeds can also cause weakness, unsteady gait, rapid pulse, or in severe cases, death.
Can Chickens Eat Bull Nettle
Bull nettle is a hardy perennial plant native to Florida and grows in most parts of that state.
Besides being toxic to livestock, including chickens, this weed is also renowned for causing humans dermal pain, rashes, or itching upon dermal contact.
Can Chickens Eat Foxgloves
Foxgloves are native to some areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
These weeds are biennials and are famous for their colorful tubular flowers.
However, no matter how beautiful the plant looks when it flowers, it’s best to keep your chickens away from it because it contains digoxin, a compound that can cause death – in animals and humans.
Can Chickens Eat Curly Dock
Curly Dock (aka Rumex Crispus) is a perennial weed that prefers growing in moist soil conditions.
But like most other weeds, it can grow in less than ideal conditions.
You can identify the plant due to its spatula-shaped leaves that display reddish patches.
The plant is toxic to most types of livestock because, like the carelessweed, it accumulates nitrates and can lead to poisoning.
Is Goldenrod Good For Birds?
The Goldenrod plant belongs to the Solidago genus and is native to North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
The plant does well in well-drained and somewhat dry soil and thrives in sunny conditions.
If you’re not too sure about what the Goldenrod weed looks like, it comes along with beautiful, yellow flowers atop woody stems.
The flowers tend to bloom in bunches and generally grow no bigger than one-fourth of an inch.
It’s not uncommon for bees to feed the plant’s nectar and birds like sparrows, juncos, etc., to eat the seeds – making it a popular choice for the gardens of birdwatchers.
As beautiful as the Goldenrod plant is to look at, it’s not something you want your chickens munching when they’re out free-ranging.
Besides the fact that the plant contains saponins that can inhibit growth rate and performance, there’s also the troublesome presence of the toxic agent tremetone.
Tremetone is a chemical agent that can accumulate in the plant’s leaves and cause poisoning in livestock (including poultry).
Once there’s enough toxic compound in an animal’s system, it can lead to death.
Does Anything Eat Goldenrod?
Chicken enthusiasts can be surprised when they discover chickens can’t eat Goldenrod because the plant has certain medicinal properties.
For example, Goldenrod tea is said to reduce pain and inflammation.
The tea also has diuretic qualities and can help in reducing muscle spasms.
Plus, bird watchers also grow the weed in the gardens to attract birds like juncos and sparrows.
But, here’s where the plot thickens.
Goldenrod tea is made from the weed’s flowers, and the birds eat the plant’s seeds.
The plant’s problematic compound – tremetone – is found in the weed’s leaves, making it a bigger concern for grazing and foraging livestock, including free-ranging chickens.
So while some birds do eat Goldenrod, they generally stick to consuming the seeds, which is why they’re kept safe from the toxicity of tremetone.
What Wild Plants Can Chickens Eat?
If you’re on the lookout for wholesome vegetation that your chickens can eat safely when they’re out and about – we can help.
Below is a list of wild plants commonly found in most gardens that your chicks can safely consume.
Can Chickens Eat Bittercress
Bittercress has a bunch of names, but its scientific name is Cardamine Hirsuta.
The plant hails from the Cruciferae family and is an edible salad green.
That also means you’re chickens can snack on bittercress to their hearts’ content.
Can Chickens Eat Wormwood
Wormwood is a pretty safe plant for chickens in small quantities.
It can help boost your chicks’ immunity and take care of parasite issues.
However, too much wormwood can negatively impact an animal’s health and lead to side effects like abdominal pain or stomach convulsions.
Can Chickens Eat Dandelions
Not to be confused with daffodils, dandelions are entirely edible by chickens.
The plant is also jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals – making it perfect for chicks too.
We’ve reached the end of another one of our chicken-friendly articles and hope our readers have all the answers they were looking for.
Keeping track of all the plants, herbs, and weeds in your garden can be a bit of a task.
But, when it comes to looking after your chickens’ health, it’s always best to make sure whether a plant’s safe for your birdies to consume.
That way, you can help the chickens avoid any unpleasant side effects and add to your knowledge-base of plants safe for chickens to eat.