what to plant for shade for chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sdshoars, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. sdshoars

    sdshoars Songster

    May 12, 2008
    well our lovely ladies have decided they are not happy with our fenced acre, and they like to go visit the neighbor's garden. which is fine with them, but once they get out of our fence, they are on their own predator wise, which is not ok with me. we will be building them a big run, but there is not shade! i can't plant a tree there either, so i am thinking some sort of bush? what would you plant?
  2. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing Premium Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Any bush or plant will be useless because they will just devour it! We used an old trampoline mat to cover part of my run that was in the shade. It works really well! Try thinking about what you can cover the run with, versus planting things. You will feel like this if you try to plant something. [​IMG]
  3. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I planted a 'Three Sisters' garden this year for the crops it would bring and the way the 3 plants work together- this is just a ground crop (squash, melon, etc.) a corn crop, and a vining bean crop. Th corn acts as the stakes for the beans, and the squashes keep the feet of the beans and corn shaded. Very nice, just plant the corn a couple of weeks before the beans.

    My girls ate the leaves of the squash, cantaloupe and watermelon, but I got fruit, anyway. What really resulted was the beans ended up 8+ feet tall with less density at the base and it became a chicken spa! The girls loved hiding in the big, shady pockets and dirt bathing. It was the best accident ever, as it also gave them a great place to hide from the hawks that discovered a potential chicken-dinner-waiting-to-happen.

    I'm going to give them a real run next summer- they just free-range around our 40 x 300 backyard. I'm going to plant purple, green and white beans all over the perimeter of it. It's just gorgeous, plus the girls don't really like the beans! Also, I didn't really have to water, even though we get HOT and DRY.

    Best of luck!
  4. sdshoars

    sdshoars Songster

    May 12, 2008
    will they eat boxwoods? that doesnt seem palatable to me, but then again i am not a chicken. i dont eat mice and grasshoppers... ugh.... what to do?
  5. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    There was someone posting pics today of their new run and I noticed their tall ornamental grasses were still intact. The tops are high enough that the birds can't reach them.
  6. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Climbing thorny old fashioned roses. Don't trellis them, just let them fall. It will create a canopy chickens can hide under. But because of the thorns, they don't dig.
  7. seedcorn

    seedcorn Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    NE. IN
    horse radish......huge leaves they can hide under during summer/fall. Will be gone in winter and come back next spring. Chickens can't kill and won't eat it. or at least mine don't.
  8. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing 9 Years

    Oct 16, 2008
    If it is in the hicken yard the chickens will destroy it.. I fenced in a thick well established blackberry patch last year.. this year there are two (2) dead stalks standing in a completely barren yard.. If you are planting something for shade, plant it outside the yard and close to the fence.. I would recommend grape vines.. my brother did the grapes around his dog kennel and they completely covered it is a coupe of years.. now you cannot even tell if there is a kennel there.. lots of shade and grape wine for a bonus.
  9. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    It would have to be something they don't like to eat. You thought goats were bad! Chickens eat everything.
  10. pasofinofarm

    pasofinofarm NONESUCH FARM CONROE TX

    Mar 22, 2007
    Near Houston, TX
    We planted muscodine ?sp grapes over the runs. The vines are woody and the chickens don't mess with them. They provide shade and when the grapes ripen they drop snacks for the chickens for a couple of months.

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