Chickens and Shade Plants

HippieWolf

Chirping
5 Years
Aug 25, 2014
21
0
60
North Carolina
I currently have my chickens in a run covered with wire and I have scrap metal leaning against the run to provide shade. My problem is that it's an eye sore. I thought about planting something that would grow over the run and provide food but thought it could get too heavy and come crashing down. So, can someone tell me something i could plant near my run to provide shade for my flock and if possible food.
 

Ifish

Chirping
Feb 28, 2015
291
40
98
PA
Planting a Green Fence on the outside of the run would create shade, but not add much in the way of food. Which could be a good thing as little maintenance would be involved. Pencil Pines or a smaller upright Arborvitae would work well. Skypencil Holly is another good one. The shrubs would attract insects which would in turn fly into the pen.

A single Crape Myrtle would also add shade in the heat and allow warm sun to hit the run in winter. Look nice to.

I to would be worried about the weight of an Ivy that's wet, or gets snowed on.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,191
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
I currently have my chickens in a run covered with wire and I have scrap metal leaning against the run to provide shade. My problem is that it's an eye sore. I thought about planting something that would grow over the run and provide food but thought it could get too heavy and come crashing down. So, can someone tell me something i could plant near my run to provide shade for my flock and if possible food.

The bad news is that every plant that chickens eat provides shade and that every shade plant known to man chickens like to eat.

If you have a paper company plant close by and you know someone who works there, the big mats or screens that the wood pulp settles on to become one big continuous sheet of paper makes great shade, wonderful windbreaks, and although they are not water tight, they breakup the rain drops and provide shade at least as well as the triple jungle canopy that the Wild Jungle Fowl evolved in. They work best for this purpose when laid over a semicircular or arched frame of concrete reinforcing wire.
 
Last edited:

Gallo del Cielo

La Gallina Resort & Spa
9 Years
May 6, 2010
5,230
468
306
Tucson
My Coop
My Coop
We really like the grape vines growing up and over the top of our run and the chickens do too. They provide excellent shade and leaves for the chickens to eat. By late summer they completely cover the run, so well that you wouldn't know the run was even there. We haven't had problems with them being too heavy, but if you're concerned about that you could grow them on a trellis just outside the wall of the run. Check with your local cooperative extension or nursery to find out which varieties do well in your area.

Early spring as the grapes start to grow:



Early sumer as they completely cover the run:

 

CrazyTalk

Songster
5 Years
Jun 10, 2014
1,384
336
148
@Gallo del Cielo - did you plant the grapes inside or outside the run? I want to do the same thing - but between the chickens inside the run and the sheep outside it, I need to figure out a good way to give the vines a fighting chance.
 

rides2far

Songster
5 Years
Dec 9, 2014
842
81
126
Bakersfield California
Wow, that looks nice! Where are you located? I'm in Bakersfield, Ca. and it gets hot here. I think I'm going to have my husband build a planter & do the same. It looks really great
1f600.png
.
 

Gallo del Cielo

La Gallina Resort & Spa
9 Years
May 6, 2010
5,230
468
306
Tucson
My Coop
My Coop
@Gallo del Cielo - did you plant the grapes inside or outside the run? I want to do the same thing - but between the chickens inside the run and the sheep outside it, I need to figure out a good way to give the vines a fighting chance.

I built the run over existing vines during the late winter when they were dormant, so they are inside. You should be able to find grapevine plants at your local nursery that are tall enough for the tips to be out of chicken jumping height so that you can plant them inside the run. If you can't find them that tall, a 4' tall cylinder of hardware cloth around the plants should protect them well enough from the chickens until they grow to a safe height. They grow very fast so it won't take long. Make sure that you prune the canes the following winter to a height that the chickens can't reach the new shoots in the spring.
 
Last edited:

Gallo del Cielo

La Gallina Resort & Spa
9 Years
May 6, 2010
5,230
468
306
Tucson
My Coop
My Coop
Wow, that looks nice! Where are you located? I'm in Bakersfield, Ca. and it gets hot here. I think I'm going to have my husband build a planter & do the same. It looks really great
1f600.png
.

Thanks! I'm in Tucson, AZ, probably just a tad hotter than it is where you are, but not by much. You'll have several options for table grapes that do well in your area, e.g. Thompson seedless, flame seedless, Cardinal, black mannuka, Perlette, among others.

ETA: grape vines have very deep roots, so if you plant them in a planter, make sure the roots can go down into the ground.
 
Last edited:

HippieWolf

Chirping
5 Years
Aug 25, 2014
21
0
60
North Carolina
I'm in north carolina so my main concern with weight is when they get wet or have snow on tthem. Would i have a problem if i planted the vines outside the run and the chickens peck the vine as it grows?
 

rides2far

Songster
5 Years
Dec 9, 2014
842
81
126
Bakersfield California
Thanks for the tip! I live in Kern County & grapes are # 1 or 2 in our economy. I may have to rethink the grapes since a planter box is my only option. Well, yours looks great & I liked the sunflowers, too.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom