Gardens and chickens go together like peanut butter and jelly. Similar to how peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, and fall and football go together, gardens and chickens make a lovely pair.
In addition to offering an abundance of free fertilizer and tiling services, chickens are a gardener’s best friend. A healthy garden may also support and feed your flock of backyard chickens.
Many different plants can be cultivated successfully near chickens, and many more can keep your chickens healthy.
Here are some of the greatest gardening advice for raising chickens, along with the top 15 plants for chickens you should know about.
Advice for Growing a Garden That Is Chicken-Friendly
The majority of plants that are good for people to eat are typically also good for hens to eat. If your chickens are already used to consuming commercial feed, you might want to wait to expose them to new plants until they are comfortable grazing on forage.
Consider these suggestions when adding a few new plants at a time and when giving your chickens access to plants or letting them graze directly in your garden.
Recognize Unwanted Foraging Behavior and Be Ready
You will need to put up with some quite annoying behaviors when it comes to grazing if you choose to let your hens walk freely in your garden rather than cultivating plants and placing them in the chicken run.
For instance, hens will pull up and consume young, delicate seedlings as well as freshly sown seeds. Additionally, they’ll create dust baths on the freshly tilled ground.
Even newly formed, immature fruits and some plants’ leaves and blossoms are consumed by chickens.
As a result, you must be cautious about how and when you let your chickens graze in your garden.
Make sure your hens aren’t permitted near the plants until they are big enough to withstand your ravenous birds’ appetites.
Create a Fence
It may seem like a good idea to let your hens walk freely in your garden, but doing so could put them in danger if a predator sees them and decides to attack, or if they decide to explore the garden of a nearby neighbor.
In order to keep your chickens in, it is a good idea to construct a robust fence around your garden.
Aim for something that is at least two feet tall, and bear in mind that some birds with greater flight abilities could be able to navigate short fences as well.
To get the most for your money, I’d suggest purchasing some basic poultry fencing and making something yourself.
Consider using raised beds or separate runs.
Consider constructing a perimeter chicken run around the outside of the garden if you can’t give your chickens free access to the entire space.
Your hens will have access to all the delicacies that grow along the edges of the garden as well as help keep away grasshoppers, slugs, and other pests if you do this.
An elevated bed is an additional choice. If you have smaller chickens, they will frequently not hop up into the beds until lured by a very appetizing-looking slug; in that case, they will hop down immediately.
Only some varieties of chickens will respond well to this tactic, but it is definitely worth a shot.
15 Best Plants for Chickens
Here are 15 of our favorite plants that are good for chickens:
You may produce hundreds of different herbs for your chickens, many of which have potent therapeutic uses.
These herbs will not only make your chickens happy to eat them, but you’ll also notice a substantial increase in their general health.
This perennial plant is a good source of protein, calcium, and potassium. Additionally, it can support good egg production.
Comfrey is the best green to feed hens because it is low in fiber but strong in protein. Similar to the pricey corn-fed hens, the allantoin gives the eggs a beautifully yellow yolk and gives the meat a yellow hue.
This is because of the high quantities of vitamins A and B12.
While it’s possible that your hens won’t take to comfrey at first, you may have more luck if you provide it to them wilted and as your only source of greens.
If you have chicks younger than 8 weeks old, you should probably avoid feeding them this because it’s a little stringy.
Our chickens and ducks love comfrey. It’s high in protein and low in cellulose. Roughly 100 grams per day is manageable, and it has been shown to increase egg production.
Chopping it up or combining it with other cereals and grains makes it easier to distribute. Comfrey will also help chickens gain weight because they can’t produce vitamin B12 on their own.
Insects and worms provide the hen with beneficial microorganisms that aid in the synthesis of vitamin B12.
Only a handful of plants, including comfrey, can synthesize vitamin B12.
It acts as a fertilizer and compost accelerator in the garden. Its roots act as a kind of pump, sucking up nutrients from the soil and bringing them to the plant’s leaves, where they can be used by other plants.
However, it can spread quickly, so it’s best to confine it to designated regions. It’s ideal for use as a carpet beneath rose bushes.
The garden is home to several perennial herbs, including comfrey.
If you’re wondering if you can give your hens comfrey as a treat because you have an abundance of it on your farm, you’re not alone.
Can chickens eat comfrey?
The chickens can benefit from comfrey. Treat your hens with some comfrey leaves. To prevent liver damage in chickens, feed them comfrey sparingly.
Chickens will enjoy munching on comfrey leaves as a treat if you have any growing nearby.
Is it true that comfrey is toxic to chickens?
Chickens can sustain liver damage from eating too much comfrey since the plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
That’s why it’s important to limit the hens’ comfrey intake: too much of it might cause liver damage and other problems.
In light of this, you might be wondering if you should feed your hen comfrey. The chickens can still occasionally be given comfrey, but you should limit their exposure to it.
Can chickens eat thyme?
Thyme is a good food source for chickens. Thyme, like many other herbs, has significant positive effects on health. Its aroma can deter insects and other pests, it helps with respiratory health, and it contains antibacterial and antibiotic qualities.
Perennial thyme requires little care and is quite resilient. My chickens love to dust bathe in it, and it also forms a gorgeous ground cover.
In addition to being slightly acidic, the soil and exposure to sunlight are essential for its growth. It’s actually happier when it’s ignored occasionally.
Since they are so challenging to grow from seed, it’s recommended that you begin with a limited number of seedlings. Lemon thyme, lime thyme, coconut thyme, and pink lemonade thyme are just a few of the many kinds available.
Thyme, like many other aromatic herbs, can keep insects away from your chickens’ nests. Including thyme in your chicken’s feed is quite advantageous because it promotes respiratory health, fights germs, and acts as an antibiotic.
If you steep some thyme in white vinegar for a few weeks, you’ll have a natural fly spray that you can spray generously throughout your coop and feeding area to keep pests at bay.
Thyme has potent antibacterial and antimicrobial capabilities in addition to having a pleasant scent. Additionally, it can help your birds’ respiratory health.
Sage is a great herb to boost your chickens’ general health. It functions as an antioxidant and even lessens the risk of salmonella!
Oregano: Due to its numerous health advantages, oregano is frequently referred to as a “wonder herb.” It is being researched as a broad-spectrum natural antibiotic for use on big chicken farms in addition to its ability to combat e.coli, salmonella, coccidiosis, and avian flu.
Wormwood: Wormwood is a fantastic herb for warding off external parasites. Airborne pests can also be kept at bay by it.
Rosemary: Rosemary also has therapeutic advantages and emits a powerful perfume that can deter insects.
Lavender: Planting lavender for your chickens will probably result in fewer bugs in the area because it is a natural insect repellant. In addition, it helps refresh the air around your coop and calm your birds.
Fennel: This stunning plant not only yields seeds and foliage that promote the general health of your chickens, but it also puts forth beautiful lacy pods of yellow flowers. These flowers draw advantageous pollinators and give your hens access to additional bugs as food.
Mint: Mint works well as an insecticide and a rodent deterrent. Chickens can be fed any mint kind, including catmint, peppermint, and spearmint.
Nettles: If nettles growing in the chicken run are too spiky, chickens may not touch them, but you can always boil them down and feed them to your hens later.
Lemon balm: Lemon balm can reduce anxiety among the flock and perhaps aid in rodent prevention.
Parsley: Parsley is loaded with vitamins and minerals (and is even a rare source of the much-needed vitamin K). It’s a fantastic stimulant for laying chickens as well.
Dill: Dill can be fed fresh or dried and helps to avoid respiratory diseases. You can also just let the plants grow wild in your poultry yard.
Basil: Basil is a well-liked culinary herb that is also excellent for feeding chickens. It has potent antimicrobial characteristics that may aid in preventing sickness.
2. Amaranth Plants for Chickens
A grain called amaranth grows stunning flower spires up to 10 inches tall. Its tall, nutritious leaves are green and purple, providing your chickens’ garden with a stunning aesthetic in addition to considerable practicality.
Its colorful seeds and luscious foliage are full of the nutritious carbs that chickens need.
Can chickens eat amaranth grains?
Chickens can, in fact, eat amaranth grains, though it’s best to prepare them first. It’s not safe to feed chickens amaranth leaves.
Chickens can’t eat the leaves because of the oxalic acid they contain.
If you have access to amaranth grains, you should feed them to your hens immediately.
Amaranth is an annual plant with a cereal-like appearance and typically crimson stems. Because amaranth grains are so packed with protein and other essential nutrients, they are considered a “superfood” in some regions of the world.
Is it true that amaranth is toxic to chickens?
When considering feeding your chickens amaranth grains, this is one of the questions that may cross your mind.
Chickens can safely eat amaranth grains. The grains provide the chickens with a wealth of vitamins and minerals.
Only the leaves contain a toxic substance that can harm chickens, thus they are the only part of the plant to avoid around your flock.
If you intend to feed your chickens something, you need to look into its toxicity level beforehand.
If you want to feed the fed to your chickens, this will tell you if you should.
Are amaranth grains safe for chickens to eat?
Feeding amaranth grains to hens is a good idea. The grains provide the chickens with a healthy dose of protein, fiber, and vital vitamins and minerals.
When compared to other cereal grains used in poultry feed, amaranth grains provide greater protein.
Raw amaranth grains contain an anti-nutrient compound that can prevent the body from properly absorbing the plant’s vital nutrients.
The anti-nutrient compounds in amaranth grains can be removed by heating them before feeding them to hens, allowing the birds to better absorb their nutritional value.
In addition to being a high-protein feed, amaranth grains are also a fantastic source of calcium for the chickens. A small mix of the grains with other feed can improve the calcium content of the treat
3. White Clover Plants for Chickens
In spite of its undesirable status, clover can be found in many outdoor spaces such as lawns, parks, and gardens. It’s a trefoil, too.
The standard form for this kind of short-lived herb plant is three leaves. The unsightliness they bring to carefully maintained lawns makes them a common target of public disdain.
Foraging chickens can benefit from these weeds. Clover is the preferred plant food for chickens. In terms of your birds’ health and well-being, this is a great choice of food.
Protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals can all be found in abundance in clover. Feeding your flock a small number of clover leaves every day can help them get the appropriate amounts of several nutrients.
Can Chickens Eat Clover?
If you want to keep your birds healthy, you should feed them some clover. For the sake of your flock’s adaptation to this abundant weed, you should introduce it cautiously when using it in chicken feed for the first time, despite its appetizing appearance.
Consumption of clover by chickens should be limited, as it may be toxic in high doses. In addition, it is not a balanced meal. A healthy reward like this can be given once or twice weekly.
If you have hens and are concerned that they are getting too much of this perennial plant from their free range, you should remove the plants on a regular basis.
In addition, if you do not want to deny your free-range chickens the pleasure of eating these shiny heart-shaped leaves, then at least make sure they are new and untreated with pesticides. Chemicals used to control pests and weeds can be lethal to birds.
White clover is one of the best ground cover plants you can cultivate next to your chickens since it makes an excellent living mulch.
In addition to being rich in protein, white clover can easily resist foot activity.
After hens have stepped on it and even nibbled on it, it recovers quickly. Additionally, it’s a fantastic strategy to increase their feed.
4. Sunflower Plants for Chickens
Sunflowers are the favorite plants for chickens.
The seeds will not only provide you with a tasty treat, but they are also a fantastic source of nutrients for your birds. Additionally, sunflowers are attractive in gardens and require little maintenance due to their hardiness.
To allow the seed heads to properly develop, you can either cultivate sunflowers inside your chicken pen or outside of the birds’ reach.
Feeding your hens sunflower seeds is an excellent idea. The reason for this is that they are a cheap and convenient way to increase the amount of protein in your chickens’ diet.
Sunflower seeds are not just a summertime staple but also a crucial food source for your feathered friends come fall. They are a simple way to supplement your chickens’ regular diet with the protein they require.
Black and striped sunflower seeds exist, however. You may count on a higher oil content from black sunflower seeds. Black sunflower seeds have an oil content of 40–50% on average.
This is why planting black sunflower seed variants are so important for your hens. You may feel good about feeding these seeds to both your family and your poultry.
Though larger than their black counterparts, the striped sunflower seed only contains about 25% oil. The majority of sales of striped sunflower seeds are made as bird and fowl food.
Sunflower seeds, whether solid black or striped, are a tasty treat for hens. Vitamin B, calcium, and magnesium can all be found in these small seeds.
Sunflower seeds’ magnesium concentration speeds up the process by which your chicken breaks down calcium. Chickens need magnesium because it helps maintain their muscular tone, which is crucial for laying eggs.
A chicken’s immune system can benefit greatly from vitamin B supplementation. This vitamin has a similar effect on the immune system, helping your birds stay healthy. However, calcium is what makes your birds’ beaks and bones so sturdy.
Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein for your chickens. Sunflower seeds contain roughly 26 percent protein. Sunflower seeds are a fantastic nutritional supplement for your flock.
The protein found in these seeds is known to be beneficial during times of adversity, such as the molting process or acute cold.
Sunflower seeds contain anti-aging antioxidants. You should expect your chickens’ immune system to get a boost from the natural antioxidants in these seeds.
Chickens can also benefit from the healthful lipids in sunflower seeds. These beneficial lipids are essential for laying fertile eggs. It makes sense that chickens given a diet of sunflower seeds would lay eggs with vibrant colors, rich yolks, and glossy feathers.
Sunflower seeds are beneficial to hens in many ways, but they should be offered to them sparingly. Keep in mind that hens can come to rely on treats like sunflower seeds to the exclusion of their regular chicken feed.
You can harvest the flower heads once they have bloomed, dry them, and feed the dried seeds to your chickens. They’re a fantastic source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and good fats.
5. Garlic Plants for Chickens
One of the nicest feeds you can give your chickens is garlic.
It offers a ton of other health advantages, including warding off both internal and external parasites, in addition to acting as an extraordinary immune system booster.
You can either mince it up and offer it to your chickens, or you can just let them eat the stalks and bulbs. It is often planted in the fall, so until it is fully developed, make sure your chickens cannot access it.
It’s no surprise that garlic is one of the most popular condiments and folk remedies in the world. But some people and animals, like rabbits, moles, and chickens, avoid it even though it has a delicious flavor and many health benefits.
Does that imply that you should not feed garlic to your chickens?
What Are the Components of Garlic?
Water, carbs, protein, fiber, and fat are the primary components of garlic. Vitamin B, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, calcium, iron, zinc, and pantothenic acid are all present in garlic, and they have a role in the oxidation of lipids and carbohydrates.
Historically, the antibacterial properties of garlic have made it a staple of traditional medicine in several parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe.
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease are just some of the ailments that modern medicine uses garlic to treat.
Lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer, to name a few, are just some of the cancers that have been linked to garlic consumption.
Is it True that Chickens Cannot Eat Garlic?
Contrary to popular belief, chickens may safely eat garlic. The foregoing description of garlic’s chemical makeup suggests your hens won’t have any problems digesting it.
The fact that most chicken farmers use garlic to boost their birds’ resistance to disease is evidence of this. However, there is an element in garlic that may be fatal to chickens.
Can chickens eat garlic?
Garlic may be safely consumed by chickens. You should include Garlic in their diet.
The antimicrobial qualities of garlic can aid your chickens in their fight against many parasites and infections.
Even though hens can consume garlic, it’s best to acclimate them to the smell of garlic first. If not, they will merely pick at it before leaving. No, we really hope that doesn’t occur. For their own good, we hope they’ll consume it.
Incorporate a modest bit of garlic into your chickens’ diet until they become accustomed to it if they begin to avoid it. As an alternative, you may add some crushed garlic to the water the hens drink.
Garlic is a healthy addition to your chicken’s diet, but in excess, the thiosulfate it contains can kill the hens’ red blood cells.
Overdosed chickens on thiosulfate frequently died of anemia and jaundice.
6. Cucumber Plants for Chickens
Cucumber plants provide a rich water source in the form of their fruit. Because they are nearly all water, cucumbers are a refreshing snack on those sweltering summer evenings. Cucumbers are a delicious and nutritious treat that chickens really like.
Why Feed Chickens Cucumbers?
Additionally, consuming cucumber seeds can help ward off those bothersome worms in the digestive tract.
Cucumbers are rich in vitamin K and should be fed to young chickens for optimal health. For optimal health, your chickens need a varied diet, and vitamin K is especially important for growing chicks.
Newborn chicks are more vulnerable to vitamin K insufficiency than adult chickens because their blood contains about half as much prothrombin as it does in a fully-grown hen.
Due to its inability to stop intramuscular hemorrhage, a chicken’s life is in jeopardy when it lacks vitamin K.
Including a cucumber plant in your garden will provide your chickens with a substantial dose of vitamin K, help them stay hydrated in hotter weather, and protect them from intestinal worms.
Your chickens will enjoy eating the fruits in addition to nibbling on the vines (though they may occasionally avoid some of the more bristly kinds).
A chicken would need days to consume an entire gourd! Feeding your hens fresh cucumbers in the summer not only keeps them hydrated, but cucumber seeds can also lessen the risk of intestinal worms.
7. Corn Plants for Chickens
Since corn is a component of almost all chicken feed, producing it, particularly for your birds can be quite beneficial.
The best corn is usually sweet, so you might want to plant one or two rows of it in your yard just for your birds.
They normally won’t eat the cobs, so either dry the kernels or feed the hens right from the ear.
Chickens can benefit from eating corn in moderation. Hens can eat both the kernel and the husk. Commercial chicken feed actually includes corn as one of its constituents.
Both can safely be fed any form of corn, including cooked, milled, uncooked, and corn modified in any way (such as grinding) for use in feeds and the like.
Chickens, like people, can get their nutrition from a wide variety of sources, but they still need to control their portions. Moderate consumption of corn is fine for chickens.
Corn’s yellow color can boost egg yolk production. But if you feed your chickens only corn, it can have negative effects on their health. Your chickens may get obese from eating too much corn.
While maize can be a convenient option due to its inexpensive cost and ability to instantly provide carbohydrates for your chicken, it offers very few nutritional benefits.
If you’re looking to give your flock a quick boost of energy, maize is a good option, but aside from that, it doesn’t provide much in the way of actual nourishment.
Animals that consume more corn than they need to put on weight, due to their high caloric content.
Therefore, having an excessive number of them around can be hazardous to the health of your flock. Your chickens will aimlessly put on weight if they consume an excessive amount of grain.
They can overeat and malnourish due to these nutritionally empty foods. Being overweight increases the risk of illness and health problems for your flock.
8. Dandelion Plants for Chickens
Despite the fact that most people detest dandelions, hens adore them. Don’t use that herbicide on your lawn just yet.
Almost everywhere in the nation is home to this nutrient-rich weed, which can either be farmed or left to grow naturally.
It will flourish for the majority of the summer and grows best in moist soils with some shade.
Chickens can eat weeds like dandelions. Wild weeds like dandelions are actually rather healthy for you because they contain many beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Herbicide- and pesticide-sprayed dandelions, on the other hand, are poisonous to hens when consumed in sufficient numbers. That’s why it’s so important to restrict your birds to eating only dandelions found in protected regions.
Foraging is ingrained in a chicken’s nature, which is in tune with the beauty of the outdoors. Even if it seems strange to us chicken keepers, chickens have an innate understanding of what is safe for them to eat.
Chickens get the greens they need from the many varieties of grass, and the insects they eat can be found in plenty in the grass itself. These are fantastic sources of protein and will go a long way toward satisfying the needs of these omnivorous birds.
In any case, knowing that dandelions are generally acceptable for chicken consumption is useful because they are abundant in the spring and fall and can be picked up for next to nothing.
Those of us who value a weed-free lawn find that dandelions are just as unsightly and annoying to get rid of. Though it can be difficult to get rid of them, chickens can make the process much easier.
Moreover, you can eat a dandelion, and they have many health benefits. Egg-laying chickens require a high calcium diet, and these shells provide that in abundance.
They have a lot of iron, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium, plus they contain a lot of the other vitamins and minerals that you can find in weeds.
One of the best plants you can raise for your hens is beets. They not only mature swiftly, giving you a harvest in just a few short weeks, but they are also incredibly adaptable.
Both the root crop and leafy greens are edible to chickens. Your hens’ blood and digestive system are nicely cleaned by beets, and your birds will consume the entire meal.
Beets, or beetroots, are a type of root vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. They’re delicious raw or cooked, thanks to their sweet and earthy taste.
Beets have few calories but a lot of beneficial nutrients such as fiber and vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and K.
They are rich in nutrients including magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Antioxidants like those found in beets have been shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
There is a wide spectrum of beetroot colors. These come in a wide range of colors, from red (also known as bunching) to bright yellow-orange (table), white, and even purple! They are typically offered with the greens still attached, as they are also edible.
Before giving beets to your chickens, try cooking or boiling them.
Some others even recommend giving their chickens cooked beets as a treat. This is due to the fact that cooked beets are more palatable and healthy than their raw counterparts.
However, there is no harm in feeding your chickens raw food if that is your preference. How you choose to provide for your flock is entirely up to you!
If you don’t care for beets but still want to feed them to your chickens, try roasting them until tender and then adding them to their feed or dusting them over their food as a treat.
In addition, chopping or grating the beets can make them more manageable for picky eaters. This allows them to easily pick up the diced beets and consume them.
10. Berries Plants for Chickens
Chickens enjoy berries much as humans do. Although buying berries regularly might be rather expensive, berry bushes are surprisingly simple to grow.
In fact, somewhere on your property are probably already some untamed shrubs sprouting.
Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are just a few of the berries you may give your chickens, but strawberries are one of the best. These thrive everywhere and typically appear in the springtime.
The entire plant will be consumed by your chickens, but they especially adore the ripe, juicy berries. They will even consume softened fruit.
11. Leafy Greens
All types of leafy greens are really healthful and will be a hit with your backyard flock. The majority of leafy greens can be harvested continually throughout the growing season.
Some solid choices to think about- kale, cabbage, romaine, collards, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Swiss chard develops lush foliage that will quickly satiate your birds’ cravings. Typically, they will pick at the leaves rather than the stem. For this reason, you may frequently cultivate many Swiss chard crops in a chicken coop.
One word of warning, though, when giving chickens leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach: both of these contain minute levels of oxalic acid, which, in large doses, can result in calcium shortage. As a result, you should only occasionally feed them.
Another popular option is kale. It is a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals for your chickens because it is high in calcium, vitamin A, and other nutrients. It thrives in cool climates and will yield numerous crops throughout the growing season.
Like kale, mustard greens thrive in chilly climates. These greens are rich in nutrients and frequently draw insects that your hens will enjoy eating.
Peas are a favorite among hens, and since they grow in the early spring, they will give your birds delectable bite-sized snacks when there isn’t much else around.
Niacin, which your chickens require to grow strong, healthy bones, is found in peas.
You may give your chickens beans, too, just be careful not to give them uncooked dry beans, which can be hazardous because they contain hemagglutinin.
Chickens, in case you were wondering, can certainly enjoy a healthy diet of peas. Peas, in their many forms (raw, cooked, and frozen), are all acceptable to chickens as a source of nutrition.
Chickens love peas because it’s fun to chase after them and peck at them. On top of all that, peas are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals.
Peas are a healthy snack for chickens, but their owners should still limit their consumption. Only in the form of a snack may peas be considered useful. Never use it as a replacement for your chickens’ regular diet.
What are the dietary benefits of peas to chickens?
To put it simply, hens can benefit greatly from eating peas. Both carbs and proteins are present in reasonable quantities. Protein content in peas ranges from 5% to 15%, depending on the cultivar.
To that end, they are a top choice among poultry feeds.
Even more impressive is the fact that peas contain a number of essential elements. The minerals iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and selenium can all be found in abundance. Vitamins A, B complex, C, and K are just a few of the many vitamins that peas are loaded with.
Peas are clearly a potent and beneficial food source for chickens. Peas are an excellent source of calcium, a mineral essential for egg development, and are therefore a staple in the diet of chickens.
However, the vast majority of individuals do not understand that peas are not vegetables. A pod of peas is just another kind of legume. However, this is still not enough. The health of hens can be improved by include peas in their regular diet.
Chickens can benefit from eating peas, but it’s not a good idea to give them too many. In the end, they need to be fed premium pellets.
So long as you cut open the pumpkin for the chickens first, they will eat the entire thing.
Pumpkin flesh and rind also offer a wealth of health advantages. Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic natural dewormer.
Additionally, your chickens will adore the flavor and pumpkins are a great source of beta-carotene and antioxidants.
The Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes cucumbers, melons, squash, and zucchini, includes pumpkins. These vegetables are all great providers of water, nourishment, and deworming properties.
The majority can also be preserved and cured over the winter!
Chickens go absolutely crazy about pumpkins because of how delicious they are. Your chickens may be wary of eating pumpkins the first time you offer them to them. However, once the birds start picking at the pumpkin, it’s game over.
Whenever chickens get a taste for pumpkin, they can’t get enough of it. It’s not uncommon for chickens to eat the entire pumpkin, including the stringy pulp, the seeds, the meat, and even some of the skin.
Nasturtiums are incredibly simple to cultivate from seed and will not only improve the aesthetics of your chicken yard but also help your flock in a variety of other ways.
These plants’ seeds and blossoms are delicious plants for chickens to eat, and they also act as natural dewormers.
Nasturtiums thrive in both garden soil and manmade containers. When planted in mass, the bright flowers really stand out against the sage green of the leaves.
White or cream markings appear on the leaves of some cultivars. The blossoms range in color from a pale white to a deep, vibrant scarlet.
The colorful blossoms can be used to enhance the appearance and mild peppery taste of salads and other foods. The big seeds are similar to capers and can be pickled and used in the same way.
Melons of every kind are adored by chickens. Melons like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and others are available for feeding your flock.
These fruits keep your chickens hydrated throughout the hot summer months.
Watermelon is among the best melons you can cultivate for your hens. Your chickens will eat the entire watermelon you cultivate in your garden, including the seeds, rind, and flesh.
However, they occasionally struggle to break through the fruit’s shell, so you might have to crack open the fruit for them.
Which Plants for Chickens Should be Avoided?
Most plants are safe for hens to eat, and many are even beneficial, but there is a handful that you should avoid growing close to your chicken yard.
Fortunately, hens are rather adept at identifying plants that will be harmful to them and are awful for them.
The majority of poisonous plants will be avoided by them due to their intuition, but not always. There will always be a few chickens who will break this rule.
Because of this, you should avoid planting any of the following plants near coops or in chicken runs, or simply give your hens free access to all the plants you have growing on your property:
- Foxglove (Digitalis)
- Nightshade vegetation (including tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes)
- Oak (the acorns are harmful) (the acorns are toxic)
- Toxic ivy
- Rooster Onions (can affect the taste of the eggs)
What Advantages Do Plants for Chickens Have When Grown Close to Chicken Coop?
You’re still not persuaded that you ought to start a chicken garden, are you? Here are a few advantages of growing plants that are good for chickens.
Greater Variety in Nutrition
The biggest and most obvious advantage of giving your flock chicken-friendly plants is that they will be exposed to more nutrients than if they were only given commercial chicken feed.
Nothing feeds an animal better than Mother Nature herself, despite the fact that the majority of commercial blends are designed to provide all the nutrients your chickens require.
There is no denying that chickens enjoy eating bugs. They also consume insects in all of their phases of development, including larvae, adults, and even eggs.
You’ll discover that by letting your hens graze on plants in an area where pests are a problem, you not only get rid of the pest but also give your chicken a nutritious snack in the interim.
Chickens enjoy churning up the soil, so if you put them in a spot that needs mulching, they will gladly spread the mulch while they scratch for insects.
Don’t spend hours tilling the ground before planting your plants for chickens! Instead, let the hens work for you and earn their keep. If you confine your chickens to one area for a long enough time, they will kill for you.
The majority of people are aware that hens make a fantastic supply of fertilizer. If you let chickens free-range in your garden or on a pasture, they will organically fertilize the soil with their dung.
To avoid having to worry about them scorching your plants with the hefty dose of nitrogen, it is preferable to have them do this a few months before you intend to plant.
Place your compost pile where your chickens can get it if you have one. Your chickens will turn and aerate the compost as they scratch over it in search of bugs and minute microbes.
They will also add the required nitrogen to the pile in addition to oxygenating it for you.
Should I Grow Plants for Chickens?
Each part of your land should have a purpose, according to the permaculture principles that many gardening and homesteading experts promote. This is especially true in the garden.
In addition to consuming more nutrients, free-range hens that are allowed to graze on plants suited for chickens will also assist your garden by doing vital tasks like fertilizing and tilling.
Smaller spaces allow for greater productivity, which benefits everyone.