The Danger of Mushrooms for Backyard Chickens

August 26, 2013
This clump larger than my hand showed up a few days after heavy rainfall.

Backyard chickens love to free-range. They love to scratch in the leaves, sift through grass, explore secret spots under large shrubs and dig holes for dust baths. Unfortunately sometimes, without even realizing it there can be potential dangers hidden in these areas. One of those hidden dangers can be mushrooms.

Most times, flocks will avoid foods that are harmful for them. Yet, sometimes, they don’t realize that certain things are bad for them. As we all have been taught, never eat mushrooms except those found in the grocery store. The chickens missed this lesson.  They also missed a lesson about eating Styrofoam insulation in a coop but that is a different story for a different time.
A few years ago,  a dear chicken friend allowed her flock to free-range in her yard and neighboring woods. By the time it was too late, a few of her chickens had passed overnight and others were showing signs and symptoms of illness.  It wasn’t until she followed them into the woods that she made the connection. Her flock was eating wild mushrooms.
Wild mushrooms and fungi grow in all areas of the country. They prefer a moist environment and thrive in wet and humid conditions. In my yard, seemingly overnight mushrooms spring up out of the ground. It is important that you take the time to inspect the areas where your flock will be free-ranging.  Remove mushrooms at first sight to keep them from poisoning your flock. Wear gloves and wash your hands.
Ingesting mushrooms can cause neurological issues, kidney failure, digestive problems, bleeding and even death. Sometimes lingering side-effects can last for years and damage to organ systems can be permanent. Chickens are not immune. If you discover that your yard is plagued with mushrooms, it is best to keep the chickens from free ranging until you can properly discard of them.
Photo Credit: Tillys’ Nest


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8 thoughts on “The Danger of Mushrooms for Backyard Chickens”

  1. My chickens also kept trying to eat all the styrofoam insulation beads they could in their coop. We couldn't put the walls up fast enough. I found that they take popcorn as a substitute.

  2. My chicken got very ill. We thought she just might me dehydrated but it lasted over a week. We brought her inside the house to try and nurse her back to health. When she was inside some mushrooms sprouted and we decided that is probably what poisened her. She has now recovered and I’m wondering if it’s safe to eat her eggs or should I keep het separated and wait for a while ?

  3. I think my chickens have eaten a mushroom in the garden. They are not sick, but both are now blind. Has anyone experienced this before. They have been checked at vets for usual blindness issues, but they are clear of those. thanks

  4. We gave our chickens common mushroom bought from Tesco. They loved them. But they loved too much and stopped eating anything else. They were addicted to them so we had to ween them off to get them back on a more varied diet.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.