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trees/bushes for chicken run!

Last post 11-06-2008 9:48 PM by Jan. 13 replies.

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  • 15/05/2008 06:08 PM
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    Hello, I would like to plant some trees/bushes in my chicken run to give the chickens a bit of interest and obviously don;t want anything poisonous or that they will eat! Does anyone have any suggestions or know if the following would be suitable: Rhododendrons, Camelias, Acers, Box? The plot is in shade. Many thanks!

  • 15/05/2008 08:05 PM
    • sue1002
    • Ipswich, Suffolk
    • 06 Sep 2005
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     Wouldn't they peck at the plants anyway?  btw Box is toxic.

    sue1002
  • 15/05/2008 08:51 PM
    • Digger
    • Northern UK
    • 18 Jul 2005
    • 5,230
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    Sue1002, is right the chickens will anhialate anything that grows in their run, i rotate chickens so that one piece of ground, get a chance to recover. the hens will not be interested in visual stimulus the way that people are they don't see flowers and think ooh thats pretty like we would do. if you wish to give your chickens something to occupy their time, try planting blackcurrant bushes, they really like those also chuck in a cabbage so they can peck away at it for hours, i used to go in and dig a couple of holes for the chickens about once a week, they will scrat and dig in the holes for ages looking for grubs and they also like to have a dust bath. They don't need grass beneath their feet but it does enhance their environment if you can provide grass for them.

    digger Devil Sage of the fells
  • 15/05/2008 09:58 PM
    • Phot's-Moll
    • The sunny South coast.
    • 06 Jan 2007
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    I used to have chickens and I think they'd destroy any plants you put in - unless the run is huge and they've got half an acre each.

    Digger's idea of giving them a cabbage plant is good. If you grow veggies, then they'll love your old brocoli plants, sprouts, cauliflower etc too. Just throw them in after you've taken the crop. 

    http://patsysplot.blogspot.co.uk/
  • 16/05/2008 12:52 PM
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    You could try the Siberian Pea Tree Caragana arborescens which was once I believe planted in chicken runs as its lentil-like seeds are said to be good hen food.

     Boggy

     

     

     

    Beware the bat-eared bogweevil
  • 16/05/2008 03:52 PM
    • Digger
    • Northern UK
    • 18 Jul 2005
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    That would be a very good idea indeed as the price of mixed grain has almost doubled in the last couple of months.

    digger Devil Sage of the fells
  • 16/05/2008 06:49 PM
    • Susiq
    • Northumberland
    • 16 Feb 2008
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    We started off moving the chicken run around the garden once they'd annihilated the part of the grass the run was on. Now, we just throw in all the grass cuttings, once the lawn has been mowed - they LOVE it. They can scratch away (what chickens like best) to their hearts content, and nibble any of the bits they like.

  • 16/05/2008 06:56 PM
    • Bog Myrtle
    • Southern Turkey
    • 07 Feb 2007
    • 346
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    Yes, I agree with the others, I don't think there are ANY plants chickens won't eat. We tried to find something to grow in the bit of our garden where the chickens are, (as well as grass) which they wouldn't eat, and failed - we even tried things like feverfew and mint, which we thought they wouldn't like the taste of, but they scarfed the lot.

  • 28/05/2008 09:21 PM
    • mick
    • Birmingham
    • 28 May 2008
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    Hi.

    I have had three ex battery hens in about 10 square metres of ground for the last three weeks and they have destroyed many of the plants I had in the area. I

  • 28/05/2008 09:44 PM
    • Digger
    • Northern UK
    • 18 Jul 2005
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    how many eggs have they laid?

    digger Devil Sage of the fells
  • 28/05/2008 09:58 PM
    • mick
    • Birmingham
    • 28 May 2008
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    Hello reddyreddy.

    I have had 3 ex battery hens in a run about 10 metres square for three weeks, as you say they tend to eat most things. My area was already planted and they have destroyed everything apart from, Phormium, a bamboo, a rhodedendron, and a hebe. All of these plants were well established when they went in, they totally destroyed the lillies and crocosmia and the bulbs are dug up, a 3 foot tall laverta has had all of the lower leaves removed but the upper leaves where the chickens cant reach are ok and flower buds are present. I have bought a small cordyline that I will plant, they dont seem to go for the thick strappy phormium so I thought I would give it a chance. I also had a tall fatsia japonica that the leaves were too high for then to get at.

    I think the trick is to buy larger plants and accept that the lower leaves will be eaten, I have a shrub rose in the area that I have cordoned off with a ring of chicken wire untill it gets a bit of height. I am going for some smaller shrubs that I will grow on in pots and put in next spring.

    The chickens seem to like digging around in a dense area of shrubs so I am going to thickly plant half of the area as densly as possible with taller plants, it also looks less messy and more natural. In the more open area I am ging to spead a wildflower mix with some robust grass seeds, I know a lot of it will be scratched up but I am going to give it a go, perhaps cordon off a metre or two to let some get root.

    Good Luck.

  • 03/06/2008 08:14 AM
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    Ours just love scratching stuff up -  they are now on a permanent run with a thick layer of horse-bedding which they really like scratching about in. You could add some cut branches for them to perch on, and hang older veggies for them to peck at. I'd give planting in the run a miss, though.

    Any flowerbeds they can get to I'd suggest putting chicken wire in after you've planted just below the soil level - then they can scratch without digging up bulbs and perennials. Anything deep-rooted will survive occasional attention from them, e.g. roses seem to do fine. BUT this is in flowerbeds which they can ocassionally access when out of the run, not somewhere they are all the time.

  • 03/06/2008 12:45 PM
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    Have you considered ducks - less destructive, more engaging  personalites and more eggs - I favour the khaki campbell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaki_Campbell 

     Boggy

     

     

    Beware the bat-eared bogweevil
  • 11/06/2008 09:48 PM
    • Jan
    • Notts
    • 05 Jun 2008
    • 14
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    Hi we find larger shrubs (larger than the hens) OK in the larger garden beds,  Quite a range of small plants the hens don't eat, such as polyanthers and primroses, violas, wallflowers, bluebell, lilly of valley, snowdrops, would get dug up in flower beds, but are ok in the lawn (which gets grazed) or in rockery or cracks between slabs. Round the near end of the lawn we have had to put raised stone slab edging to stop the dears tearing up the edges, and the occasional bit of temporary netting over bits of lawn to deter dust bath creation. But the lawn is manured and (mostly) cut for us and we rarely have to do weeding.

    In the chicken run itself hebes were OK for awhile but got poorly and died, but holly bushes and Mahonia survive splendidly! Rosemary is ok too, ours was in a pot. We keep these in areas each side for them to dig in, and the centre area is gravel and the odd slab. A climbing rose did very well too but I moved it because it just grew up and out above the chicken wire roof (anti-fox) of the run and flowered out of sight in the clouds.

    Aren't chickens great! I love them.

    jan