Many animals can eat all sorts of plants that are not appetizing in the least to humans, or may even be harmful. Take eucalyptus leaves, for instance.
This hardy plant family comes in a variety of forms, and is most famously eaten by koalas. Maybe your chickens can have some too. Chickens eat many plants, but can they eat eucalyptus?
Absolutely not, all parts of the eucalyptus plant are harmful to chickens and most other animals. Toxic compounds present in eucalyptus plants can cause central nervous system depression, organ damage and death in relatively small quantities. You must never let your chickens eat any part of the eucalyptus plant.
So there you have it. There are precious few animals in the world that can eat eucalyptus leaves in any quantity, and only a handful more insects.
If you have eucalyptus plants on or around your property you must take great care to ensure that your chickens never try to nibble on them.
We will tell you everything else you need to know in the rest of this article.
Eucalyptus Plants are Toxic for Chickens
A quick search of the internet will reveal that there are many people out there who believe that chickens can eat eucalyptus leaves with no ill effects.
This is categorically untrue, as all parts of the eucalyptus plant are poisonous for chickens.
Chickens eating even a small amount of eucalyptus leaves can suffer from organ damage, central nervous system depression and death.
There are a variety of toxic compounds present in eucalyptus plants that make them so dangerous for chickens.
The most potent of these is eucalyptol, a monoturpenoid, which is also known as cineole. This compound can cause liver and kidney damage in chickens, as well as respiratory problems.
Other compounds present in eucalyptus plants that are harmful to chickens include polyphenols and tannins.
These compounds can cause severe gastrointestinal problems, and can also lead to organ damage in kind.
Allowing your chickens to eat any amount of any part of a eucalyptus plant is extremely dangerous and can lead to death, so you must take care to ensure that they never have access to these plants.
Can Chickens Eat Eucalyptus Raw?
No. Chickens should never eat eucalyptus in any form, and especially raw.
Can Chickens Eat Eucalyptus Leaves?
No. The leaves of all eucalyptus plants are highly poisonous for chickens and can cause serious health problems.
Can Chickens Eat Eucalyptus Bark?
No, again. The bark of a eucalyptus plants is just as toxic as they leaves in most species.
Can Chickens Eat Eucalyptus Flowers?
No! Even the flowers of eucalyptus plants are poisonous to chickens. Again, all parts of the plant are toxic to chickens!
Can Chickens Have Cooked Eucalyptus?
I am not sure why anyone would be so persistent in trying to figure out how to feed a wholly toxic plant to their chickens, but no, cooked eucalyptus is still just as toxic as raw.
Some toxins, namely tannins, might be leached out during the cooking process, but eucalyptol is not one of them.
Can Chickens Have Food with Eucalyptus Oil?
No, they should not. Even so, some animal treats and other products, including things for chickens, are marketed as containing “healthy” eucalyptus oils.
This is not good, and we’d recommend against giving your chickens any food or treats that contains eucalyptus oil.
What Will Happen If A Chicken Eats Eucalyptus?
Chickens that have eaten any part of the eucalyptus plant will start to show signs of toxicity within a few hours.
Symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, tremors, weakness, paralysis, and seizures.
In severe cases, these symptoms can lead to organ damage or organ failure (particularly the kidneys) and death.
If you think that your chicken has eaten any part of a eucalyptus plant, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.
There is no antidote for eucalyptus toxicity, but your vet may be able to provide supportive care to help your chicken recover.
Eucalyptus is Especially Deadly for Baby Chicks
Young chicks are much more susceptible to the toxic effects of eucalyptus than adult chickens.
This is because their liver and kidneys are not yet fully developed, and they also have less body mass.
For these reasons, it is especially important to make sure that your chicks never have access to any part of a eucalyptus plant.
Even a small amount of eucalyptus can be deadly for a chick, so it is essential to take precautions to prevent them from accessing these plants.
This includes keeping them away from areas where eucalyptus grows, as well as checking their food and treats for any eucalyptus oil.
How to Protect Your Chickens from Eucalyptus Plants
The best way to protect your chickens from eucalyptus plants is to simply not have any of these plants on or around your property.
If you live in an area where eucalyptus trees are common, it is best to build a chicken coop that is far away from them.
If you do have eucalyptus plants on your property, you must take care to ensure that your chickens can never get to them.
The best way to do this is to put a fence around the plants, and to make sure that the fence is high enough that your chickens cannot jump over it.
You should also regularly check your fence to make sure that there are no holes or gaps in it, as chickens are very good at finding ways to get where they are not supposed to be.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.