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Plants Chickens Dont Eat

Chicken Resistant Plants
Gardening with chickens can be a pleasure as well as a frustration and challenge.  Here is a list of plants from my  garden (USDA zone 9 - 10/ Sunset zone 22) that I have had success with my chickens leaving alone.  For a dramatically different climate, consider looking into deer resistant plants for your zone.  A lot of these are also drought tolerant due the water restrictions we have locally.  They are not in any particular order so far.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the list based on reports from other BYCers, members at the, or
Chickens will eventually eat almost any plants if there is nothing else to forage around or no other food source. 




The List From my Yard 

Salivias ( a lot of varieties!)
Four O'clock (not pictured yet)
Nandina Domestica (heavenly bamboo) 
Caution:  This is considered mildly toxic, but not deadly.  I cut off the berries to keep the chickens from eating it if they fall to the ground.

Clivia (mildly toxic-not deadly)

Purple Heuchera (coral bells, but they ate my green leafed coral bells)
Lambs Ears

Leather leaf ferns

Calla lilies

Asperagas fern

Japanese Anenome

Amarillys Belladona "naked ladies"  (Mildly toxic-not deadly)

Mother in Law's Tounge
Limonium (sea lavender)  My neighbor's chickens did eat it.
(not pictured yet)
Mexican Sage
Sedum "Autumn Joy"
Jade (not pictured yet/ Mildly toxic-not deadly)
Citrus (not pictured yet) *my neighbor's chickens eat it because there is nothing else green in the yard.  Mine don't touch it.
List based on other gardeners reports:
plants in the mint family (salvias, sages, and mints)
virginia creeper
autumn clematis
creeping phlox

Some of my other advice if you are just starting out with chickens in your garden....

I always put out lots yummy treats a couple of times a day and give them constant access to their feeder and waterer.  My chickens spend a large part of their day foraging on grass on the small backyard lawn.
My veggie garden and other fragile plants are fenced off from the area the chickens get to occasionally roam.  I do allow them access to those areas either in their pen (a dog exercise pen with bird netting) or when I am able to supervise.  At the end of the growing season, I allow them in to help "clean up."
I have also been using chicken wire around the base of the root zones of plants when I first put them in the ground.  I lay it on the ground with any sharp parts trimmed off or poked in the ground.  Then I put landscape staples through it to hold it in place and cover with mulch.  The chickens avoid scratching over it, but are able to walk on it. This prevents the chickens from digging the plants out before the plants are firmly rooted in the ground.  I do still leave many areas open for digging and dust bathing.

Not everything in my yard has been chicken proof.  The chickens did dig out all of my narcissis bulbs, destroyed that area and ate the lower grape leaves on my vines, ate the alstromeria flowers blossoms (my favorites!), the Fushia flowers, and any raspberries they could reach through out the yard.   A lot of my other backyard plants are larger and established so they could handle more abuse. 


*For tons of more pictures, how I garden with chickens around, or other details of my urban gardening, hobbies, and coop, visit my blog @














Comments (53)

wonderful list thank you
Also found a book at Amazon on chicken proofing your yard. Maybe it covers more zones. Only 12 ones hee hee
Forgot to say my chickens like anything young enough to be tasty too so the iris leaves are gone. That being when I get back to giving them yogurt they might not. Young rose leaves as well. I am feeding watermelon soon since i read it on this site. So have fun with that.
five comets laying and one rooster (Cuckoo Moran) a growin'
One of our hens eats the Hostas. They also sit on them in the shade to stay cool on a hot afternoon. Hope they are "safe". Any thoughts?
Hi Flos
Would you be giving them enough variety of fresh veggies that she would not be going after Hostas? Mine don't touch Hostas because they are full grown plants. Young shoots don't have a chance haha I grow organic sprouts. Grow it like wheat grass and they swallow it like it is spaghetti haha Funny They get the younger sprouts also. I have just set up for more intensive growing. Something they can have fresh during the winter with less bugs and flora.
Congratulations, GardeNerd! Your article is featured on the homepage! Thank you for writing it and sharing it with our community.
My chickens wont eat zinnias
My chickens LOVE jade - they destroyed all of my jade plants. -.-

I think some chickens will eat anything *rolls eyes*.
Mine have destroyed the hostas in my I don't think those are safe to plant as un-edible
So anyone have anything in zone 5 of NY that chickens dont eat??? Mine seem to eat everything! I would like to plant blueberries and a small garden as well as flowers. I would fence these off of course until they are established.
My birds don't eat the plants (which the plant might recover from) they dig up the roots and kill the poor plants. I would like to fence the area, but the person who weeds that garden says "no".
My chickens might not eat my Irises but I keep having to bury the rhizomes because they dig them up! It's the only thing planted besides grass in their part of the pasture and i keep having to re bury them! I guess I will have to move them when it cools off!
Mine don't like mint and really anything that has fuzzy leaves. There is a book called Gardening with Chickens (or something like that) and she has lots of plants that they won't eat and beautiful pictures of gardens with chicken happily free-ranging. But frankly, I heard the author talk and I don't believe it. I only have four chickens; they free range in about a 1/4 acre and most everything garden like is gone. Oh, one big plus - they destroyed the English ivy which is invasive in this area.
Mine have also left my citrus trees alone but they are sifting threw the ground for worms and thank god the slugs love the trees . Good little hens too.
We planted onions, beets, carrots, green leaf lettuce, arugala, beans, and jalapenos. While there were still dandelions in the yard everything else was safe, but once they were gone there were few survivors. They learned they didn't like jalapenos (so funny to watch them try the first one!) and have left the mint and basil untouched. Now they love to dust bathe in the empty beds, as though they are rubbing their voraciousness in our faces.
I plant Zinnia's and Dahlia in my annual flower beds and my chickens do not bother them. They do like to walk around and smash them looking for bugs but will not eat any part of the plants, not even the seeds. I mix in annual Dahlia flowers to fill in the spaces between the Zinnian's to block there little trails. Both plants come in a very large selection of color, shape, and size.
So, I don't think my chickens ate them so much, but I had a duck that LOVED to break the leaves off our Iris plants and eat them. I saw a couple chicken gouges in them before too. They don't touch the foxglove, any of the herbs really, (except my ducks love basil) They dont eat lillies and they don't seem to bother the bleeding heart or the malva, just digging around the base for grubs.
My chickens won't touch mint. Is that true for anyone else?
My chickens ate absolutely every Iris I had planted...they did leave the bulbs :)
I give my chickens oregano leaves and oriental basil in the pot.Then move to safety and it grows again. They are indoors. Watermelon,tomatoes and pumpkin, they love it
havent had to much trouble give them alot veggie sraps seem happy
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