Plant a Chicken-Friendly Garden

Learn how to plant a garden for you and your chickens to enjoy.
Chickens in the Gardens

Chickens in the Gardens

Learn how to safely plant a garden for you and your feathered friends.

Photo by: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Photo by Melissa Caughey

Learn how to safely plant a garden for you and your feathered friends.

If you are lucky enough to keep chickens and enjoy gardening, it is only a matter of time until you begin designing and growing plants with them in mind. Of course, chickens will happily dine on scraps from the kitchen but you'd be surprised at how they enjoy parts of vegetable plants that we normally do not consider consuming. Chickens will happily dine on carrot tops, peels and trimmed ends. They love beet greens and they will devour an entire broccoli plant!

Over the years, we have begun to interlace edible plantings among our perennial gardens. Not only does the foliage add a burst of color, but we love to increase the garden's yield by thinking outside the raised beds. Our chickens enjoy their own garden exploration time with supervision. In fact, we grow an entirely chicken friendly garden right near their coop for them to enjoy. We have planted a small area of grass filled with clover and dandelions. Adjacent to the coop is a garden filled entirely with chicken safe plantings including hosta, coral bells, marjoram, mint, cilantro, swiss chard, raspberry bushes, nasturtium, chives, celery, cabbage, sunflowers and scabiosa.

Chicken Exploration

Chicken Exploration

Chickens add lovely movement to the garden and are incredibly curious.They are wonderful at helping to keep garden pests at bay.

Photo by: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Photo by Melissa Caughey

Chickens add lovely movement to the garden and are incredibly curious.They are wonderful at helping to keep garden pests at bay.

We have mulched this garden with pine wood chips. We find that these wood chips not only provide the same garden benefits as mulch, but they are much easier to tidy up after the chickens have spent time exploring and scratching. Whenever we add new tender plantings to the garden, as a precaution from overzealous chickens, we surround the new plant with chicken wire to keep it safe until it is well established. If left to their own devices, chickens can be devastating to gardens. Therefore, if there are areas where you prefer chickens not roam, it's best to fence them off or try and redirect their interests by tossing a bit of chicken scratch in the opposite direction.

If you are unable to allow your flock to freely wander about their surroundings don't let that stop you from gardening for your flock. Simply snip off tasty sprigs of garden goodies and toss them into the run.

Taste Test

Taste Test

Chickens will try many garden plants. Here one of our favorite hens samples a celery plant.

Photo by: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Photo by Melissa Caughey

Chickens will try many garden plants. Here one of our favorite hens samples a celery plant.

Chicken-Safe Herbs and Vegetables

All of these plants are entirely edible and safe for your flock.

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Wormwood
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Catnip
  • Bay leaves
  • Chamomile
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Marjoram
  • Cilantro
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Bell peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
Keep Reading

Next Up

Family Planting: Herb Border

A herb garden is a feature the whole family can enjoy.

Woodland Garden Design

Transform a shady, wooded area into a lush garden with these creative ideas.

The Nature of Eggs

Celebrate the beauty of eggs.

Why Chickens Roost

When looking for a place to rest, chickens set the bar pretty high.

How to Keep Your Chickens Safe

Pick up some helpful tips on how to prevent attacks from predators.

New Chick in Town

Learn guidelines for introducing fresh fowl to an existing flock.

Animal Diaries: The Chicken

Find out what the stylish chicken is packing.

Chicken Breeds: Barred Rock

This large breed keeps laying eggs even in harsh weather, but don't let its tough look deceive you—Barred Rocks love hugs.

Building a Better Chicken Run

Give chickens room to roam when free-ranging is not an option.

Dig It! Comely Coops

These Williams-Sonoma coops are so adorable, they evoke an idealized playhouse for poultry.