So, you have backyard chickens and want to create a healthy environment for them. One way to do this is by planting vegetation in their run.
Not only does it provide a natural source of food, but it also offers shade and shelter from weather elements. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of planting in a chicken run and provide tips on what plants are safe and beneficial for your feathered friends.
The Benefits of Planting in a Chicken Run
There are many benefits to including plants in your chicken run. For starters, they provide fresh greens that chickens love to eat.
By allowing your chickens access to various plant materials, you can supplement their diet with additional nutrients not provided by commercial feeds alone. In addition to providing nutrition, plants also benefit the overall health of your flock.
Certain plants contain natural properties that can help reduce parasites or improve respiratory health. And let’s not forget the benefits for you!
Plants add an aesthetic appeal to the chicken run while also improving air quality by reducing dust levels. Last but not least, planting can offer shade and shelter for the chickens during hot summer days or rainy weather conditions.
By placing shrubs or trees strategically throughout the run, you can create areas where the birds can cool off or take refuge from harsh weather elements. Now that we’ve covered some of the many reasons why planting in a chicken run is beneficial let’s jump into which plants are safe and beneficial for our feathered friends.
Plants that Chickens Love
A Chicken’s Favorite Snacks
When it comes to what chickens enjoy munching on, there are a variety of plants that they absolutely love. These include clover, alfalfa, and comfrey, which can be sown directly in the chicken run or grown in pots and moved around as needed. Chickens also enjoy eating grasses like barley and wheat, as well as herbs such as parsley and dill.
Nutritional Benefits of These Plants
Not only do these plants provide chickens with a tasty snack, but they also offer many nutritional benefits. Clover and alfalfa are both high in protein and fiber, which can help keep your flock healthy and active.
Comfrey is known for its healing properties and contains nutrients such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12. By planting these plants in your chicken run or providing them as treats regularly to your flock you’ll ensure they have access to vital nutrients for their overall health.
Tips for Incorporating These Plants into Your Chicken Run
To incorporate these plants into your chicken run successfully there are a few things to keep in mind. First off you want to make sure the soil is fertile enough for these plants to thrive by adding compost or manure if needed. Secondly, you want to ensure that any seeds planted have time to sprout before being immediately pecked away by hungry hens!
One solution is planting the seeds close together so that seedlings grow thickly enough that chickens cannot easily destroy them all at once while having access through grazing during harvest time. Always consult with an expert before introducing any new plants so that you know what quantity will be safe for your birds at each stage of development.
Plants that benefit chickens’ health
Prevention is better than cure – Incorporating garlic into the chicken run
Garlic is a natural parasite deterrent, and incorporating it into your chicken run can drastically reduce the chances of your flock getting infected. Studies have shown that feeding garlic to chickens can help keep internal parasites such as worms at bay. You can add garlic to their feed, or plant garlic cloves in the chicken run.
To plant garlic cloves, simply dig holes about two inches deep and six inches apart from each other in the soil. Place the cloves in the holes with their pointed ends up and cover them with soil.
A refreshing herb – Incorporating mint into the chicken run
Mint is another herb that has many benefits for chickens. It has antibacterial properties and can act as a natural deodorizer for areas where chickens congregate.
Mint also acts as a natural insect repellent, keeping mosquitoes and flies away from your flock. To incorporate mint into your chicken run, you can plant it along with other herbs or scatter fresh leaves around.
How to incorporate plants into the chicken run
There are several ways to incorporate plants into your chicken run. One way is by creating designated areas within the enclosure for planting, using materials such as wooden pallets or bricks to create raised beds for planting herbs and grasses that are beneficial to chickens. Another option is to use hanging baskets or planter boxes to grow plants vertically within the coop area.
When selecting plants for your chicken run, make sure they are safe for consumption by poultry and do not contain any toxins or harmful chemicals. Additionally, monitor any new plants you introduce carefully to see how your flock responds to them before allowing free access.
Overall, incorporating beneficial plants like garlic and mint into a backyard chicken’s diet is an easy way to boost their health and wellbeing. Not only do these herbs provide natural protection against parasites, but they also promote a more natural environment for your flock to thrive in.
Plants for Shade and Shelter
Suggestions for Plants
When considering which plants to incorporate into your chicken run for shade and shelter, there are several options. Sunflowers are a great choice as they can grow quite tall and provide ample shade.
Raspberry bushes also work well as they grow quickly and the dense foliage creates a cozy hiding spot for chickens. Other options include grapevines, elderberry bushes, and even small fruit trees like dwarf peach or cherry.
Tips for Planting
When planting these types of plants in the chicken run, it’s important to consider placement carefully. For example, if you’re planting sunflowers, place them on the west side of the chicken run so that they block the hot afternoon sun.
If you’re planting raspberry bushes, leave enough space between each plant so that the chickens can move around comfortably without getting scratched by thorns. Another tip is to plant these types of plants in clusters rather than rows.
This creates a more natural and varied environment for your chickens to explore while still providing ample shade and shelter from predators or harsh weather conditions. By incorporating plants like sunflowers and raspberry bushes into your chicken run, you’ll not only provide important protection from the elements but also create a more diverse and visually appealing environment for your feathered friends to enjoy.
What Not to Plant
While planting in a chicken run can be beneficial for both the chickens and their owners, it’s important to know which plants are harmful or toxic to the birds. Here are some plants that should be avoided:
Nightshade plants include tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. While these vegetables are safe for humans, they can be harmful to chickens if ingested in large amounts. The leaves and stems of these plants contain solanine, a toxin that can cause diarrhea and vomiting in chickens.
Rhubarb is another plant that should not be planted in a chicken run. The leaves of this plant contain high levels of oxalic acid, which is toxic to chickens. Consuming rhubarb leaves can cause kidney damage or even death in birds.
Other Plants to Avoid
Other plants that should not be planted in a chicken run include avocado, chocolate, and caffeine-containing plants such as coffee or tea bushes. All parts of avocado trees contain persin which is toxic to chickens while chocolate and caffeine have similar effects on them as humans.
Overall, it’s important to research any plant before planting it near your chicken run. Keep an eye out for any signs of illness or discomfort among your flock after planting new vegetation nearby.
Tips on how to maintain the planted area in the chicken run
Now that you’ve planted some new vegetation in your chicken run, it’s important to keep it healthy and thriving. The good news is that maintaining a backyard garden for your chickens is fairly easy.
To start with, make sure to water your plants regularly, especially during dry and hot weather conditions. Chickens can scratch up soil around plant roots and expose them to the sun, which can cause them to dry out quicker than usual.
Another way to protect plants from scratching chickens is by adding a barrier such as chicken wire or even rocks around their base. You can also try adding a thin layer of mulch (such as straw or wood chips) around the base of your plants, which will help retain moisture.
Pruning and Fertilizing
As with any garden space, pruning is crucial for maintaining healthy growth. Trim back any dead leaves or branches on your plants – not only does this make them look better but it also keeps them healthy by removing diseased areas that could spread throughout the plant. Another important aspect of plant maintenance is fertilization.
You don’t necessarily need to buy expensive fertilizers – simply composting chicken manure will provide nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. Just be sure not to add too much fresh manure at once since it can burn plant roots.
Suggestions for incorporating plant material into coop bedding
In addition to maintaining plants outside of the coop area, there are ways you can incorporate fresh herbs into coop bedding as well! Adding things like dried lavender or dried chamomile flowers in nesting boxes has been shown to reduce stress levels in laying hens and even help prevent mites and lice. Chickens also enjoy fresh greens like clover or comfrey added to their bedding – just be sure to remove any wilted plant material so it doesn’t attract unwanted pests.
Not only does this provide an enjoyable treat for your birds, but it also adds a layer of insulation to their bedding. By following a few simple maintenance tips, you can keep your chicken run garden lush and healthy for both your birds and the environment!
Recap of the benefits of planting in a chicken run
Planting in your chicken run can provide a variety of benefits for your feathered friends. Not only can it improve their overall health by providing them with essential nutrients, but it can also provide shade and shelter, which is essential during hot summer months.
Additionally, many plants have natural properties that help deter pests such as mites and fleas. Planting in the chicken run is also an inexpensive way to beautify your yard and create a more natural environment for your chickens to live in.
Final thoughts on how to create a healthy environment for backyard chickens
Creating a healthy environment for your backyard chickens involves more than just providing them with food and water. It also means paying attention to their living conditions and taking steps to ensure they are comfortable and happy.
By planting various types of vegetation in the chicken run, you’re not only improving their diet but also creating an environment that encourages natural behaviors like scratching and pecking. However, it’s important to research which plants are harmful or toxic to chickens before introducing them into the coop area.
In addition to planting vegetation, providing fresh water, cleaning out the coop regularly, offering ample space (at least 4 sq ft per bird), and ensuring adequate ventilation are all steps you can take towards creating a healthy home for backyard chickens. Remember that each bird has its own unique personality; some may prefer nesting boxes while others enjoy perching high up off the ground.
Planting vegetation in the chicken run is an excellent way to improve your birds’ health while simultaneously beautifying your outdoor space. Whether you choose clover or sunflowers or something else entirely different altogether – there are many different options available that will benefit both you and your feathered friends!