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Plants alongside chicken coop.

 
Posts: 62
Location: Quarryville, PA
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Any suggestions for plants to grow alongside our chicken coop? Obviously I want to avoid anything that may be harmful to the birds. Our garden service guys are damaging the wire when they weed-whack the area so I thought a flower or vegetable bed outside the coop, adjacent to the wire would fix the problem.
 
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I like the use of brassicas from this thread:

https://permies.com/t/147426/Chicken-run-perennials#1151483
 
pollinator
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I grow herbs next to the chicken run, rosemary, oregano, mint, sage, thyme and lemon balm.
 
gardener
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I think this is a great idea! Might be helpful to put some markers for your plants while they're getting established or something to make it look super intentional, lest your new plants be mistaken for weeds by the lawn service crew and get weed whacked.

I have hops growing near the chicken yard (hopefully they'll shade the coop). Also planning on chamomile, calendula, bee balm and lots of other herbs that could be beneficial for the chickens. Might also try roses or raspberries on the fence for food, beauty and climbing deterrent to critters. You might check out Edible Acres on youtube for inspiration. He has tons of plants in and around his chicken yard.
 
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I’d plant comfrey root cuttings in pots set on the ground so that they don’t get accidentally weed whacked and once the roots grow into the soil, you can slice through the bottom of the pot and get them growing elsewhere.  Our chickens love eating comfrey leaves - I hang bunches in their enclosed run. The leaves die back in winter but are a valuable protein source when growing.
 
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I grew tomatoes, buckwheat, comfrey, corn, & sunflowers around my previous coop. It was easier to give them their own garden than to keep them out of ours.
 
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There are some varieties of perennial wheat that you can buy. These would be great on the South facing wall and provide food for your chickens. '

https://landinstitute.org/our-work/perennial-crops/kernza/

One downside to perennial wheat is it can attract rodents, so you'll need to do something to deal with that potential problem.

Of course, it doesn't have to be just one plant, chickens prefer variety in their diets and will produce more nutritionally balanced eggs with a varied diet. If you let spinach go to seed, it will produce an abundant crop of seeds, and the spinach greens will also be good for your chickens. Chickweed, clover, miner's lettuce, there are all sorts of weeds and veggies you can grow that your chickens will love.
 
pollinator
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Location: South-southeast Texas, technically the "Golden Crescent", zone 9a
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Howdy!
I love this thread!
Some time ago, somewhere online, I had mentioned that I like gardening with my chickens (the geese can't be bothered), and really encourage them to come scratch around the established plants (I had to kick them out during a very wet day because they were tearing up the sweet potatoes).
When I get a new roosting area for them, I will happily plant all kinds of vining crops, flowers and herbs in the general area, and scatter more of whatever they eat out of the yard. Since I don't have a run to cover or protect, it's both easier and harder to keep them cool, and to provide shade/shelter.

I'm going to go look at the websites previously given, and double check a few things. I love the idea of an edible vining crop planted to take advantage of the chicken poop, and assorted grains and herbs to provide some differences in their diet.
Thank you for those amazing suggestions!
 
pollinator
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Mulberry trees.   as the fruit drops the chickens feast.
 
Kristine Keeney
pollinator
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Location: South-southeast Texas, technically the "Golden Crescent", zone 9a
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Howdy!
I can't agree enough.
I put our coop (apparently only good for laying in because chickens and stuff) under a mulberry tree that I planted roughly 10 years ago.
It provides amazing shade for the flock, as well as the spring berries (which has the chickens thinking I can call food down from the heavens.)
The two trees I planted also brought in a whole bunch of birds that are native to the zone, but haven't been seen in this area for decades.

Yes, Mulberry trees for Spring, whatever native blackberry bramble you happen to have around (my chickens will eat the small fruit, and the leaves), and some wild grapes, if they're in your area, or maybe one of the climbing Curcubits for random squash during the summer.
I'm slowly making the chicken night roost a site for at least part of the garden. There's a lot of good compost there right now.

Thank you for jogging my memory!  
 
Posts: 74
Location: Boondock, KY
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Was considering a hedge of Rose of Sharon or other cold-hardy mallow.  Could cut it back periodically.  Think the birds would like it.  Anybody try it?
 
gardener
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I have a mulberry tree dropping fruit on the chicken run fir the very first time this year.
It has been a disappointment!
I don't see them eating the fruit,  I've even tried to hand feed them.
That being said,  my chooks get a bunch of kitchen scraps every day, deposited onto a frequently turned compost pile, with free choice corn and pellets,  plus we are in the midst of cicada season...

I have a lot of rose of Sharon and have alway given them the leafy limbs that I prune but I have no evidence they actually eat it.

I have seen chooks that will eat anything , but they tend to be in a bare earth run, with limited rations.
Mine are rather more entitled, so seemingly choice bits go uneaten.
As long as they keep shredding what I give them, I'll be satisfied with thier work.

Other than the mulberry tree,  I have a hardy kiwi planted next to the compost run.
Will they eat fallen kiwi?  
I have a ways to go before I find out, no fruit yet.
They do love willow leaves.
Surrounding the run with willow could make for a nice little circle as the trees sucks up manure and produces carbonous materials and green leaves.

I won't plant them in my yard proper, I've seen too many root clogged sewer lines in my plumber past.
 
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I read recently that growing marigolds and mint around their run helps to keep bird mites away... Remember that mint goes crazy if not contained or maybe it won't matter in that area...
 
Colin McGee
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I do put sprigs of mint in the nesting boxes - and it certainly helps keep the flies down.

I ended up planting calendula alongside the coop. Looks pretty, and the chicks can eat the parts within reach.
 
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Where do you actually get these seeds? It seems like it’s impossible to find
 
J Nuss
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Maybe I should have actually looked harder before posting.  I found this…. I’ll order some, because why not! https://perennial-pantry.com/
 
Colin McGee
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I can't remember where we got seeds, it was a couple of years ago and they've self-seeded ever since. I know High Mowing carries them.
I just transplanted a few small plants. They recovered within a few days.
 
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Location: Southern Oregon
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Here's a couple things I did for mine a few years back..... built a bed INSIDE the pen that had chicken wire covering it on an angle. The chickens could get at whatever I grew in there - but not until it was big enough to handle being eaten.... Then on the outside I grew Daylilies on one side and Comfrey on another and they just ripped off the bits of leaves they could reach through the wire fencing.




 
Barb Allen
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Location: Southern Oregon
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I don't know if this is okay to do - but here is a blog post from my website that tells lots of other things I did for food for my chickens which you may find useful -- from sprouting seed and grains to raising Azolla on our small pond, growing an everbearing Mulberry in the big wild hazelnut grove pen, where I also dump the huge numbers of oak leaves from our giant trees each fall, for the chickens to turn into compost and worm food over the winter.       https://theholisticgardenblog.com/2015/08/30/feeding-my-chickens/
 
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If you put them too close the chickens will eat them. You may as well.plant something the chickens like, thats beneficial; or plant something you can eat or make tea out of thats sturdy and prolufic. I suggest dandelions because its very good for you. Comfrey is easy and can be used for compost tea/ fertilizer for other plants. It also improves the soil.
 
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