Plants around the run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rguerra75, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. rguerra75

    rguerra75 Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2013
    I know the girls will peck and eat at them...but what are some bushes, vines, herbs, etc people have planted around their runs. We have part shade, part sun in NC clay ;)

    And I would prefer perennials...
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    My chickens like the grapevines. They spend almost the whole summer under those things. I have four.
  3. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    I like to go with plants that are tall enough to keep out of the chickens reach but still add shade. I have rose of sharon in my run. I also have a lilacs and bamboo in with them.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Blackberries. Not on purpose, they just grow wild here. The birds eat the leaves and leave dead stems sticking through the fence. They make nice shade, though.
  5. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I planted an elderberry tree near the run. When the chickens are out for the day, they spend a lot of time under the tree. It provides shade and protection from hawks. When the berries ripen, they spend a lot of time and energy jumping up to eat the berries.

  6. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2013
    In the run area, we created a little swampy area in a slightly shaded area, and planted mint then let it go wild. It was a huge hit.
    Our chickens laid and rolled in it in groups, searched for bugs which liked the swampy area, then nibbled on leaves and seeds. It is a hardy plant and comes back every year even after all the abuse. lol

    Also, the chickens LOVED spending time in the grape vines and flying up into the apple trees. We planted these specifically for them (ours are in a different area).
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  7. NerdDoc

    NerdDoc Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 21, 2013
    Eastern Washington
    One Chick Two,

    I love your idea of grape vines and apple trees. I'm trying to put together a list of perennials that we can plan in an area that we'd dedicate to free ranging our chickens. I'm hoping to have about 1/4 acre to work with that I can fence in with an 8' fence and then have my coop in there and let them free range throughout the entire 1/4 acre. Have you had good success with getting your chickens to return to the coop at night, or at least to lay somewhere where you can find their eggs? That's my biggest concern, since I'm trying to plan an area that will work with both meat birds and hens.
  8. farmkids

    farmkids Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2013
    We are getting our first chicks in the Spring, so take my input as you will, but I have read that chickens LOVE mulberries. I found that white mulberries shouldn't lead to poop that stains, so that is what I have and hope to plant this week.
  9. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2013
    Lobstrosity, I think in your area you could grow vines and apple trees very well in your area. You sound like you have a good set up for your birds.

    We are in No. Ca., and "Anna's Apples" grew HUGE and delicious here, and also very quickly. We hope to find more bareroots as they are inexpensive, but they do take a few years to fill out. Definitely try different varietals as they ripen at different times. No citrus though, bad for chickens. Also, chickens love strawberries too (they are perrenials), but they dig up the plant too much to keep them in with the chickens. The mint is a surprisingly great and easy addition that comes back every year- especially good in late summer when much of the garden dies down, and the chickens always smell good too.

    We supervise free range our 85 chickens (plus supplement feed, garden items, scraps and treats) too, and as a general rule they all still come back to the coop at night. Occasionally, we've had a straggler who stays out later than the others, then has a hard time finding the way back due to their poor night vision, so we always check (especially at disk), then always do a headcount as predators (especially ravens) are always an issue to be aware of. Our nest boxes are in the inside henhouse's wall, accessible from the outside of the coop. The girls had secret nests at first, now everyone lays in the henhouse after we put golf balls in the nests.

    We hope to expand the garden this summer. Add more Kale/ brocolli, snow peas, carrots, squash, pumpkins/ watermellon/ tomatoes- they love it all. Also, cover crops to rotate.
  10. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    You can also grow in your run if you have the space with a covered garden/living feeder area like this. Wheat, Barley, BOSS?


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