Making a Planter FOR my chickens - what would you plant?

SFChickens

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 22, 2015
23
1
74
Hi All!

We have 5 girls in our yard - 4 new this year, and 1 legacy chicken (a survivor of the great raccoon attack of December 2016 :hit). Anyway - I am working on a project to build a planter/roosting structure for the girls - so they can chill out doing the day (they have a decent amount of fenced in run area, but the coop is pretty small, so trying to add space to maximize their footprint), and I was wondering what you all would plant in an area accessible to the girls?

We have some garden space outside their run, and the few times they have escaped over the fence, they have thoroughly destroyed my plants - so I am not expecting to plant anything in their run for *us*, but something for them.

I was thinking of grass as a good "resilient" planting which would bring bugs and stuff for them to pick at - but doesn't seem that tasty.

Feedback or ideas are welcome!

For those curious about the project, I plan to upcycle a pallet, set it at an angle, so the slats can be roosted on, and enclose the back so that I can plant in between the slats!

Thanks in advance for the feedback!!!
 

21hens-incharge

Nuttier than a squirrels stash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
24,921
102,936
1,652
Northern Colorado
It is a lovely thought. Many have tried to give their birds a little something.

I find that what works better for me is to have a large pot or two just outside the run. I pick a few leaves as often as the plants can handle. I grow swiss chard, strawberries, spinach, cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon and cherry tomatoes for my girls. Some in pots some in the human garden. Not all things are ready every day. They get what I can give them along with organic produce from the market.
Much of the garden is for the birds.

The problem with trying to grow IN the run is they cannot resist it. What they don't eat they scratch up.
 
Jun 9, 2017
54
19
56
Utah
I have a little garden for my chickens and ducks ( just for them ) I plant Swiss chard, lettuce ( any kind ) tomatoes, cabbage, and peas. I fence it off from them until the plants start growing enough to hold up against the chicken frenzy. They love it!
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,023
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
While the pallet idea is nice, I think you're going to have a lot of poopy plants, as well as need to do a LOT of watering. I think that instead, I'd go with a grow frame on the ground, covered with chicken wire or hardware cloth so the birds can eat the green that grows up, but can't dig into the soil. However, from your post, you may not have enough room to do so??? Plants: grass, wheat, barley, oats, clover of any kind, kale, lettuce, chard, spinach, collards. You might also consider growing some cucumbers up one wall of their run, or grow a zucchini as an accent plant. If you place it "away" from your run, you should have all of the tender zucchini you need for yourself, and the birds can eat any baseball bat sized ones that happen to escape your notice.
 

SFChickens

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 22, 2015
23
1
74
While the pallet idea is nice, I think you're going to have a lot of poopy plants, as well as need to do a LOT of watering. I think that instead, I'd go with a grow frame on the ground, covered with chicken wire or hardware cloth so the birds can eat the green that grows up, but can't dig into the soil. However, from your post, you may not have enough room to do so??? Plants: grass, wheat, barley, oats, clover of any kind, kale, lettuce, chard, spinach, collards. You might also consider growing some cucumbers up one wall of their run, or grow a zucchini as an accent plant. If you place it "away" from your run, you should have all of the tender zucchini you need for yourself, and the birds can eat any baseball bat sized ones that happen to escape your notice.

Thanks, Lazy Gardener! Man, that's a sweet handle :)

I agree about the pallet - though I am hoping that a relatively steep angle may make it more water-efficient (more like a vertical garden, less like a crappy raised bed?)

Thanks so much to everyone for the feedback - I am now thinking I should add a "removable" hardware cloth "cover" for the spaces between slats, so that the girls only get what grows up a few inches?

Also, was hoping the chicken poop might help with the soil nutrients over time - but maybe that's being too optimistic?

Thanks to everyone for the advice!
 

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