Shade plants to grow for chickens?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
Medford, Oregon
I am looking for plants you can grow in 90% to 100% shade. To be clear not ones to produce shade but ones that can live in shade.
What I am having trouble with is most of my backyard and a large section of my side yard is total shade. I grow stuff mainly for the chickens and to prevent flooding.
What I would like to grow over there is at least some stuff they can eat. I figure I can put some ferns in there for them to peck around and sleep under but what fruit/nut plants can I put in there?
I am really just looking for a large list of stuff I can go and pick through and figure out what will grow in my zone. (8b)

Ferns are all I have came up with so far. Just looking for some suggestions. Anything the chickens will eat would be what, I want. I started to look but all I can find are ornamental stuff, and lists to make the area pleasing to the eye, which isn't my goal. it would be nice if it worked out that way but I really could careless about the aesthetics of it.
Anyhow help would be great. I tried to search around but all the threads seem to be about protecting your garden or creating shade for the chickens.
'Prevent' flooding is your main goal? Maybe we need a bit more clarification on that.
Not sure any fruit or nut tree would even grow let alone produce in the shade.

Just about anything you plant in a chicken yard will be decimated in short order, they will tear it up scratching the ground.
If you have excessive or standing water problems you may well need to find another solution than plants.

Sorry if I misunderstood your question.
Yeah right now it is just plain dirt, no plants, so any water just floods the area. I just need to plant some stuff over there but I don't know what to plant. the chickens don't ruin anything else in the yard just pick around and eat what falls.
The water falls hard but for short periods around here. There are lots of plants that grow in shade so many that it's hard for me to dig through the huge lists I can find, and to top it off the lists are based on colorful plants or ornimantal plants which is fine, but not really my goal. I am looking for something the chickens can eat/hide in lay in and what not. Flooding is up there in what I need but that will be taken care of with any plants at all. So kinda' besides the point.
I don't coop up my chickens they are free range on about an acre of space. (they have a coop but only go in at night, and to lay.) there are only three so they don't destroy anything. I understand how to get things started so they don't dig up the fresh starts, it just takes some temp fencing or laying some netting on the ground to prevent scratching while the plants are young and weak.
I assumed (I know assumption is the mother of all screw ups.) probably my first problem that at least some of you would have shade garden area's and may be able to give me some list of plants you grow there that won't poison the chickens and will provide some food/hiding for them. Maybe I am wrong? dunno.
Anyhow hope this makes my intentions more clear. I picked up a book called gardening with chickens the other day and that is going to be helpful for most of my yard but not so much for my shady parts. :(
I am in growing zone 8B,(As noted in the first post.) but really just any list of plants would be fine, I can pick through and figure out the ones that work in my area once I have created or gotten a list of plants.
I live in medford, Oregon. If you are not from Oregon you probably think of Oregon as wet and cool, but most of it is a desert. but a high desert. I kinda' live between the two.
well just bumping this up too see if there is any more interest. I have started putting in the ferns but still am looking for something to grow that will provide some thing for them to eat, it doesn't have to be a fruiting plant or nut bearing plant, maybe one that produces seeds each year, or just vegetation they will like.
Cool I picked up a couple hostas last night. :) between those and the ferns I think it will be planted well enough. I am going to look for some other stuff that comes up randomly during the year to fill in the blank spaces.
I have been searching for an answer to this for weeks! I live in Portland, Or (growing zone 8b). My chickens have their own little gated portion of the yard, and a big portion has 80-100% shade from a large tree. I would love to get some bushes/ plants in that area that can withstand chickens and the shade. I have read that ferns can be toxic, and I worry about planting them in there little zone. I have a few Hostas planted... but do you have any other recommendations for plants that they can eat/hang out around that grow in such shady conditions? Thanks!!
Many ferns are toxic. Chickens will eat your hostas to the ground. Viburnums are great shrubs, and will flower and fruit in shade. Some mints might live too. Wintergreen? My coop is at the edge of a spruce boarder, with mulch under, and the chickens love it there. Back to viburnums again. Dogwoods? Any understory shrubs that aren't toxic (no Andromeda, for example). I'm in Zone 5, so that's what comes to mind here. Mary

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