With so many people getting serious about being self-sufficient with their own food sources, chickens are making their way into residential backyards across the country. These feathered critters will mostly range in particular areas through the day, so having free range chickens is not that difficult to accomplish. However, with chickens freely roaming your property, you do have to be mindful of things that can be harmful to them, specifically toxic plants. If you are planning to invest in a small flock of chickens that you will allow free access to your property, there are some trees that must be removed or you will need to make special arrangements to keep your birds protected.
Holly trees are a hardy fast-growing tree that develops colorful red berries and rich green leaves. Your chickens will most definitely go after the brightly colored fruit of this plant, but that is not the primary concern. The leaves of a holly tree contain a toxin known as saponins, which can cause all kinds of health concerns that affect the digestive tract of the birds. While the berries also contain some toxic components, your chickens would have to consume a large quantity to feel any effects. If you cannot keep your flock away from the holly trees, contact a landscaping service to have these removed from your property.
oak trees are common in many places across the country. These trees can grow to a massive size and offer great shade in the summer. However, the leaves and nuts from the oak tree can also contain a toxic component that is not good for your chickens. Acorns and oak leaves contain tannic acid. When consumed in large quantities, tannic acid can cause everything from diarrhea to weight loss. If removing an oak tree is not ideal, talk to your landscaper to ensure that the tree is properly groomed and the ground around it is kept perfectly free of leaves and acorns to keep your chickens safe.
Yew trees are a smaller, evergreen tree that grow quickly and come in several different varieties. These trees are an ideal implementation for homeowners that want mature trees on their property quickly, but these trees also are considered highly toxic to some animals, including chickens. This evergreen tree contains toxic cardiotoxic taxine alkaloids in all of its parts, including its branches and berries. This component affects the cardiovascular system of a chicken and can cause death, so it is best to have any yew tree removed before free ranging your chickens.