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Plants safe for chickens, but they won't eat too much for in run

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by goodolsurvival1, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 26, 2015
    Okay so we've upgraded our chicken setup.

    we plan on putting garden boxes (boxes with wires) in the chicken run area so they have fresh garden greens this summer, along with some boxes for specifically grasses that they can have (winter growing ones too etc. )...

    I want to also put greenery in the run areas so they have shade and that type of things with plants that are safe but they also won't fully destroy them.

    during the summer time they get grass cuttings with every mow, plus the compost area we do in their run of the scraps I put in that are chicken safe

    our chickens and hastas work to a point they nibble them but walk on them so it breaks them up , so those are out.

    I was told butter fly bushes are okay for them, we have two already and if I learn how to get a starting from them that could be an option or buy some specific for them.

    I was also told honeysuckle but have to be established, what does that mean and is it accurate?are there any ferns that are safe that they won't destroy in one sitting lol.. I know they are all about digging up anything and everything with scratching, so we plan on butting a stone like perimiter around the base of any scrub/plant we would like to be as a greenery in the runs. We'd prefer yrly plants, i'm the type of person for any plants outside of the garden if they don't come back every year or suppose to I personally feel they are a waste of money plus I'm not that great of a green thumb and do better with yrl plants that do it on their own lol.

    I have done some searching on the forum and have found mixed reviews or some old posts. i have figured out that chickens are different and quirky in their own way so why others chickens may not eat mine may lol... they love their leaves in the fall at a specific stage... anyways just want to see if there are any suggestions.. I know there are options to plant outside the runs fencing but for us not an option so say because our girls exp our 5yr old loves to pic the flower and mess with the leaves so they would do the same damage as the chickens, that's why id rather just put in the run and allow the chickens to do all the damages lol.
     
  2. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you looking for plants that are ok for the chickens to eat, or less likely to be destroyed?
     
  3. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any plants will be destroyed in the run. Chickens are good at that! When I first put in my run, there were some well-established vines, grasses, and weeds, very thick. They lasted less than a week...

    You could try planting some blackberries or raspberry vines along the outside of the run, and the vines would grow up the fencing so the chickens could only eat the berries and maybe leaves without destroying the plants. As the vines grow, they would provide some shade and protection. I've never tried it, but it might work!
     
  4. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    I guess in a sense something that they won't really be enticed to eat, but isn't toxic to them if they were to eat it.
     
  5. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 26, 2015
    I guess in a sense something that they won't really be enticed to eat, but isn't toxic to them if they were to eat it.
     
  6. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The problem is not just what they'll eat, it's what they will dig up as well. What ever you plant in the run will be subjected to serious scratching and digging and the odds of surviving are slim to none without protection.

    Consider a Maple tree, if you build a run around a 20yr old maple tree it will most likely survive anything they can throw at it. But plant a sapling of a maple in the run and the odds are very good that they will dig it up and kill it.

    That's why it was suggested to have the plants "well established". You could try surrounding the base and root zone of the new planting for a year or more with fencing to protect it till it's big enough to survive.

    Chickens are notorious diggers, it's just their nature. I have a neighbor with chickens who had to replace his pool liner because of chickens digging. They liked to dig up the hostas he had planted around his pool and they dug so deep they actually got under the pool wall and poked holes in the liner. And this was outside the run so they only got to it when they were let out, imagine if they have access to something the whole day in their run!
     
  7. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, I don't think anything but trees could survive in the run. Maybe a large, well-established bush that's been there for 10+ years if the run is really big.

    They ruined most of my irises just digging in my flowerbed to dust, and those had been there for a decade. They don't free range every day, either. My flowerbed is basically a dusting pit with a couple of old, resilient flowers.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. CountryChic95

    CountryChic95 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have seen great success with a sort of "raised flower bed", with 1/2" wire cloth over the whole thing for protection from the chickens.
     
  9. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have something like this that I use to grow grass for them in the warmer months. The grass grows up through the HW cloth and they can trim the ends but they can't dig up the roots. Once the grass starts looking a little old, I pull up the box to move it to a new location and start with fresh dirt and seed. They have a blast on the root mass that was inside the planter once it's exposed. The root mass only lasts a day or two before it's all spread out.

    But I think in this instance the OP was looking more for cover and shade plants for in the run. These would not work with a covered planter box.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  10. goodolsurvival1

    goodolsurvival1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Correct something for shade at a little bit of appeal to the run once they get all the grass removed from it.. We plan on doing the planter boxes, a few of them with different types of grasses and some that will even grow in the cold months. During gardening time we plan on having a box that has veggies planted in it that will grow up through the HW spaces.

    I was told butterfly bushes are safe and they won't eat them, but not sure how true that is. I was also told the same thing about honey suckle as long as is established it is safe (whatever established means lol)... also about rose bushes and rose sharon (spell?) once they are to a certain height they would only eat the bottom foot or too of leaves. Our soil butterfly bushes and I know for a fact rose sharon do good in it.

    we plan on doing a rock like (about the size of your hand) base around any bushes, or anything like that so they can't get to the root base as easily.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016

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