You may think that this post is going to be a recipe. On the contrary, it is a recipe for disaster!
Now if you or I ate about 25 green jalapeno chillies, we would be sore for a month. Not only would it burn your lips, throat, stomach, and the nether regions, it would burn if you rubbed your eyes, nose, and any other sensitive area of skin. You would think that this would be the same for most animals. But I did not take into account the remarkable consitiution of the humble backyard chicken!
You see, up until about 3 hours ago, I was the proud owner of two heavily laden jalapeno bushes, with chilies just about to go from green to black, then to firey red. This is what they look like now.
As you can see, picked clean. No chilies or leaves for that matter, only a few flowers up high! If it was not Teddy (in the background), then who was it?
Here is one of the culprits.
Esther the chili chomper! Her and her flock were helping me keep the cooch grass at bay, but decided on a more tasty morsel, being my chili bushes.
So how do they get away with eating a plant that would have us swollen and sore? I searched the interwebs and stumbled on this fact from New Scientist.
“Research reported in July 2001 suggests that the chilli’s fiery taste deters creatures who are poor at dispersing the plant’s seeds. Fortunately for the poultry industry, this does not include birds. Birds appear not to have the receptors to the hot pungent part of the peppers. It appears not to affect them in any way.”
Then I found this from The Straight Dope;
“The reason chilies incorporate capsaicin in their fruits (and red/green peppers of course are fruits in a botanical sense, not vegetables) seems to be to ensure that their seeds are dispersed properly. When small birds consume the fruits of wild peppers the seeds pass through the gut undigested and, due to the birds’ flight range, are deposited in distant places where they can grow with less competition. If the fruits were consumed by larger mammals the seeds would either be digested, or deposited much closer to the parent plant. Studies have shown that the seeds of wild peppers are in fact dispersed almost exclusively by birds.”
Natures way of ensuring the survival of the chili gene!
Cat J B says
Oh dear, trying not laugh over here. I never would have thought the chooks would go for chilies. We got 4 chooks at Christmas, bantams, haven’t tried them on chili though.
Sorry to hear about your chillies Gavin. I have to admit I wouldn’t have thought your chickens (or any livestock) would touch them. I guess the upside is that by feeding your chickens some chillies every once in a while it’ll help keep them healthy by keeping the Salmonella at bay. Serendipity strikes again. 🙂
Bruise Mouse says
What a shame, Gav, but I must say, this story really made me giggle. I wonder if it will do anything to the next lot of eggs?
No worries , Gavin, you may well have more chilli plants coming in the chook manure.Chilli seeds can be difficult to get to grow in cooler areas like mine, but after our chooks have been eating chillis, we often get a seedling come up in the chicken tractor bed. There is something in their digestive system that actually activates something in the seed and encourages it to grow.
At least you now know that your girls will be worm and parasite free! They cheeky little buggers but you gotta love them.
I’ve had chilli defoliated before, but there weren’t fruits on it at the time. I’d better be careful, I bought a new chilli plant a few weeks ago and it’s within reach….
I watched one of our girls eat an adult mouse the other day – that was quite a surprising thing to see too. Swallowed it whole after beating it to death on the ground. Gross but fascinating.
Now I’m wondering how much things like chilli and mouse affect the taste of their eggs….
Marijke and Sander says
I feed my chooks chilies all the time, having planted most for them. I’ve been told that it keeps the parasites at bay.
We inherited a potted chilli plant when we bought the house last year, it keeps giving chillies, it’s at least a year old. I always assumed it was an annual, forgot all about it, didn’t water it. And now it’s loaded again. Is it a perennial after all?
Linda M says
They are in warm climates. Freezing kills them.
I never would have guessed that would happen. Unfortunate but funny. If you know what I mean?
No worming for a while then I presume Gavin?? Naughty girls LOL
Linda M says
My dog kept eating the chicken feed till I started drying & grinding the mash of seeds & skins leftover from making ghost pepper hot sauce & mixing it into the chicken feed.