Shade Plants That Are Chicken Friendly

PartyChick

Hatching
Jun 5, 2020
4
2
5
Good Morning!!
I apologize but, I'm slightly new to the joys of chicken raising. I had chickens in the past but, I'm starting all over again after years. I did the typical new chicken owner thing and went to the local feed store and bought a handful or two of baby chicks. I've read tons of advice and forums and out of the orginal 9 I have 6 3 month old healthy and very spoiled pullets. Each one ended up being a different breed. What's the odds? I have recently built a coop and run. And they are loving it!! But, my run doesnt have alot of vegiation. I have read multiple article about the importance of green and plant based foods in a chicken's diet. But, in effort to keep my girls cooler, in the Texas heat, I placed their run and coop in the shadest part of my yard. Therefore, not much is growing in their run. I am considering building them a raised garden with chicken friendly plants that they can snack on at their leisure. However, finding plants that will grow in the shade and Texas heat has proved to be quite challenging. I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction?? Any suggestions??

I apologize for the long post and appreciate any assistance. I want to keep my girls healthy and happy.
 

The Happster

Happs
Premium Feather Member
Apr 5, 2020
7,713
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Cloud Nine
I may keep going on about this, but mint is super easy to grow, and it spreads. It's not too tall but it might make a nice chicken forest once it's established. I'm thinking about starting some in my pen, as I have it growing just outside my coop, and it's gone crazy.
 

Quahog

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 1, 2012
46
10
87
Cape Cod
I'm about as far away from you that I could be but still be in the same country so I can't speak for what will grow well in your area. However nothing that they like to eat or really anything at all is likely to grow in the run. At least in my run the landscape changes daily, they can bury a volkswagon in a matter of hours and dig it up four days later! Grow a treat garden or just give them the scraps from your vegetable garden and kitchen scraps.
 

PartyChick

Hatching
Jun 5, 2020
4
2
5
Thank you! I was just hoping for something that would allow them the opportunity to forge. I guess I'll just continue to pick greenery and place it in their run.
 

PartyChick

Hatching
Jun 5, 2020
4
2
5
Yes.. That's what I was hoping to build.. A raised frame with the chicken wire over the top. So that the girls could eat everything but the roots. It's been challenging to find safe shade plants.
I might try my hand at a chicken tractor.. That's a neat idea.
 

kerbotx

Songster
Aug 29, 2016
256
443
201
Northeast Texas
I've been wanting to try this for ages, but just haven't gotten around to it: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Barenbrug-1-lb-Premium-Chick-s-Mix-Forage-Seed-Mixture-25490/308656907 Says it can be grown in trays, or I was thinking a grazing frame. Hosta grows great in shade, and chickens can eat it - base plant would have to be protected by a wire cage, but they could eat anything that grows beyond the wire. Strawberries? Maybe nasturtium. This year, I'm trying loofah vines to go up & over the run, and it's supposed to be able to take full sun, but it's proving to be a little sensitive, at least in its early stage.
Most folks want to know about plants chickens WON'T eat, so this is a nice change :)
 

PartyChick

Hatching
Jun 5, 2020
4
2
5
Thank you for the ideas!! My girls love plants. I find myself forging the yard with clippers and goggle.. It ensure it's safe to eat. LOL. I know I've read countless times chickens typically wont eat things that are toxic. But, honestly I worry if I offered them something they might take it anyway, because they are so accustomed to hand feedings.

What about oramental grasses??
 

The Happster

Happs
Premium Feather Member
Apr 5, 2020
7,713
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936
Cloud Nine
I really don't believe in chickens only eating what's safe. The amount of times I have gone out and they are eating polystyrene.
I have no idea how they even find it.
Maybe with plants they know better though. It's natural that they would.
 

Jackschicks

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 21, 2015
72
23
84
Pearland, Tx
Purslane is either a weed or an herb which will grow almost anywhere here in Texas - shade or sun. Great for the chickens because it is high in the Omegas. I grow a bed of it back behind the chicken pens for them to forage in when they are out and also give them what I weed out of my gardens. We eat a little of it raw in salads (it has a lemony flavor) but most of it goes to the chicks. I have heard you can cook it like greens but I have never tried it. I've never been successful growing anything inside the chicken runs for them to eat. Good Luck!!
 

MANNA-PRO

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