Pre-Emergent Herbicides and Chickens

Concern: Are there harmful effects on chickens exposed to pre-emergents?

Henrietta, Leghorn

I was introduced to pre-emergent applications years ago when the weeds on our ranch became an overwhelming challenge to control. We tried everything including Round-up, it was incredibly costly to spray our entire property and it wasn’t even very effective. After a month the weeds were all back.

Pre-emergent applications sprayed twice a year are virtually 100%, and a fraction of the cost too. We use a professional service here in Phoenix called Southwest Ground Control that guaranties we won’t see a single weed or they come back free of charge. To give you an idea of cost, it’s about $260 per acre.

However, now that I have some chickens that are retired and free range on my property, I had concerns about their exposure to my bi-annual pre-emergent treatment scheduled for this week.  After my research I decided to only partially apply herbicides, here’s why…

Are Herbicides Harmful to Chickens?

Herbicides are intended to kill weeds. While many herbicides are usually not as toxic as pesticides, herbicides may be dangerous to chickens… Read More


6 thoughts on “Pre-Emergent Herbicides and Chickens”

  1. As with most lawn products there is a gradual decay of the compounds used in the herbicide. I had the same problem on the ranch. I needed to keep the driveway from growing weeds (some would grow to 3 feet in height…golden rod etc). I kept the chickens in a small 15×15 foot fenced in area to free range in while the herbicide decayed in the rest of the area. After 3 weeks, I let the chickens back out (The mfg of the herbicide recommended 7 days of absence for humans and 14 days for livestock. I went 21 days just to be safe.)

      1. Should be but since the chicks veat off the sprayed ground, I’d wait the 3 weeks if possible. Of course your AZ sun would most likely break down the chemicals even faster than up in Ohio.

  2. As a Golf course superintendent, I have a fair knowledge of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, and I would have thought pre-emergent would be highly dangerous to chickens, specially free range.. their scratching and eating of seeds that have been coated with a toxic poison must have an effect on their digestive system… but then I am a bit anti GMO and what effect they are all having on everything, even to the now germinating super weeds, almost un-treatable with glyphosate herbicides.. (Roundup)

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