I often get asked by new chicken keepers which plants in the garden are chicken friendly. I have been working on this list for over 10 years and think I’m getting fairly close to saying the list is accurate!
Chickens will, of course, scratch around and eat many plants in the garden, including tender vegetable and fruit crops that you will need to fence off to keep them out, but if you’re looking to put some plants in your garden that your chickens won’t touch, then this list of chicken friendly plants is for you.
These plants are what I’ve found (from experience) that chickens do not generally bother with. If you have any others to add, please leave a comment below to share your findings!
Trial and error
It can be a little bit hit and miss at times but every plant that grows above chicken head height seems to work, especially if underplanted by lavenders or similar.
Give climbers protection at first but once established, they are usually fine.
Chickens do scratch around and disturb the soil, but they also keep insects down and manure as they go! Pyrethrum daisies work well but tend to spread everywhere. Pyrethrum and Wormwood are great to grow around the yard, as they also repel insects.
Some of this list can be debatable – whilst some chickens won’t bother with a plant on the list, others may devour it! Sometimes a little trial and error are called for.
Chicken friendly plants list
- Rose of Sharon
- Most shrubs and bushes
- Hardy Geraniums
- Hardy Fuschias
- Alchemilla Molis
- Oriental Grasses & Bamboos once established.
- Honeysuckle (once established)
- Perennial Sweetpeas
- Petunias (mixed reports, some say they will eat them)
- Ophiopogan planiscapus ‘ Nigrescens’ (Black lilyturf)
- Purple Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata) ‘Purpurea’
Some chickens may eat:
- Pyrethrum Daisies
Fruit and vegetables
The following vegetables are mostly chicken proof!
- Garlic, Onions and Leeks
- Chives, Mint, Rosemary, Tarragon and Sage
- Rhubarb (they will occasionally eat the young leaves but don’t seem to get ill)
- Climbing beans once established
- Currant Bushes (established and without fruit)
- Asparagus (once in leaf)