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

When to Plant Garden Mums

Want your garden mums to survive winter? Learn tips for planting fall garden mums to help them return next spring.

Garden Plants and Flowers

Learn how to discover which plants underscore and help define a specific garden design style.

Top 5 Plants for an Organic Garden

An organic gardener uses native and drought-tolerant plants to create a wildlife-friendly garden.

Choosing Plants for a Sensory Garden

A specially planted sensory garden heightens the experience of all of the senses, rather than concentrating primarily on sight.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants.

How to Plant a Cactus Container Garden

Yee-haw! Turn a container into a desert landscape by filling it with prickly cacti and other succulent plants. 

How to Plant in Gardening Containers

To ensure that plants in gardening containers grow and perform as well as possible, you need to plant them properly.

How to Plant an Herb Container Garden

Herbs have been grown all over the world for centuries for their flavor and healthful benefits. Learn how to plant an herb container garden.