Can Chickens Safely Consume Citronella Plants: A Comprehensive Guide


Chickens are known for their curious nature and tendency to peck at whatever catches their attention. As a chicken owner, it is crucial to ensure their safety and well-being by providing a balanced and appropriate diet. This raises the question: can chickens safely consume citronella plants?

Understanding Citronella Plants

Citronella plants, scientifically known as Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus, are commonly used as natural repellents against mosquitoes. They possess a strong citrus-like aroma, which is believed to repel insects. While beneficial for humans in warding off bugs, it is essential to consider whether these plants are safe for chickens to consume.

Research and Expert Opinions

Current research and expert opinions lean towards avoiding the consumption of citronella plants by chickens. These plants contain essential oils, including citronellal and citronellol, that may cause digestive issues, toxicity, or even allergic reactions in chickens.

Potential Health Risks

The essential oils in citronella plants can irritate a chicken’s digestive system, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal discomfort. In severe cases, it could result in more severe health issues and impact egg production. Furthermore, chickens may exhibit allergic reactions, ranging from skin irritations to respiratory difficulties.

Preventing Access to Citronella Plants

To ensure the safety and well-being of your chickens, it is best to prevent their access to citronella plants. This can be achieved by creating physical barriers around the plants or keeping chickens in enclosed areas away from these plants. Additionally, providing a well-balanced diet rich in chicken feed, grains, vegetables, and other appropriate treats will keep your chickens healthy and content.

Alternative Natural Pest Control Methods

If you are interested in using natural pest control methods that are safe for chickens, consider alternatives to citronella plants. For example, herbs like lavender, mint, or lemon balm can naturally repel insects while providing a safe and enjoyable environment for your chickens.

Consulting a Veterinarian

If you suspect your chickens have consumed citronella plants or are experiencing any health issues, it is essential to consult a veterinarian who specializes in poultry health. They can provide specific guidance based on the individual needs of your flock.


While citronella plants may serve as effective mosquito repellents for humans, they are not suitable for consumption by chickens. The potential health risks associated with these plants make it necessary to prevent chickens from accessing them. By prioritizing their safety and providing alternative natural pest control methods, you can ensure a happy and healthy flock.

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