Plants that Thrive + Survive in My Chicken Run - Treats for Chickens

Plants that Thrive + Survive in My Chicken Run - Treats for Chickens

Hi Treats for Chickens community, it's me, Dawn!


It has been trial-and-error {more error} when I've planted anything inside my chicken run and around the perimeter of my chicken coop.  I'm certainly not a green-thumb either.  But, numerous food and herb plants can be planted outside and out of their reach, snipped off and fed to your flock to add variety to their diet.

Plants that thrive INSIDE my chicken run: [yes, you read that correctly. Inside. THRIVE. Not eaten. Not gone. THRIVING.]

  • MEXICAN BUSH SAGE. This is just a damn pretty plant that grows like weed and comes back year after year. 
  • RUSSIAN SAGE. Also grows like a weed. Comes back year after year. Doesn't do much in the sense of shade but is pretty to grow. 
  • PINEAPPLE SAGE aka Salvia Elegans [if you're feeling particularly plant savvy]. Plant it once and it grows again and again and smells so effing good. Provides shade and places to hide.
  • LAVENDER.  Specifically English Lavender. My chickens lay directly on top of all other varieties. You want English Lavender, trust me.
  • ROSEMARY. Go with the bush variety. "Climbing/trailing/creeping" rosemary only becomes a resting place for the flock. They tend to plop down and snooze in the climbing variety.
  • FIG TREES. No need to get picky here. 
  • LEMONGRASS. This plant smells so damn good. Grows upright and you can pull off leaves and add them to your coop and nesting boxes so they smells better. Your welcome.
  • CLIMBING ROSES. At first you need to protect your climbing roses until they are out of reach of the flock. Then it's all good and oh-so-beautiful. Select fragrant varieties as a bonus.
  • TREE ROSES. Save yourself the agony of defeat and go with tree roses instead of bush roses unless of course you like to see the destruction because chickens have zero mercy with bush roses. I highly recommend getting yourself a Neil Diamond. It's smells SO fragrant. 
  • BUTTERFLY BUSHES. These suckers get huge, provide lots of hiding spaces and shade. I think in three years I've watered mine maybe 10 times. 


Here is my chicken run in 2017:


Ahnnd below are two photos of what she looked like in September of 2020. Please remember I am not much of gardener. So all of this grows with little or no additional water [California's long drought season] here in Northern California. I do trim when my green thumb gets itchy, but that is literally it. And these are the reasons I’ve chosen these plants. Easy. Chickens don’t destroy them, and they [the plants] smell good.



Plants to plant in chicken coop


In the photo below: a fig tree, Mexican bush sage, pineapple sage a tiny scrub of lemon grass and I’m thinking an English lavender. The yellow Banks roses are planted on the opposite side of the fence.


Plants to plant in chicken run

I transplanted this pineapple sage (a tiny little scrub bush and look at it now!) from another bush in the yard and it too is growing like a weed.  It's super fragrant and provides shade during the summer.  And that’s Little Miss Hatties Mae’s toosh btw.

Plants to plant in chicken run



Rosemary (two varieties: trailing/creeping + shrub/bush). I was planting these creeping rosemary plants and little miss up-in-my-space thought I needed some help. Which I did, really.  Both varieties are super hardy and I often find hens laying right on top of the low-lying bushes.  Cluck here to read more about Rosemary in my Chicken Run.


Chickens and rosemary

 PS: this is Foghorn. 

chicken coop

Rose Trees - any variety, color or fragrance.  I tried rose bushes and they were a big fail. But this rose tree has been a win-win.  It's a Neil Diamond and the buds and flowers have a pungent, long, lasting fragrance and when the petals run their course and fall to the ground - they don't last long and are gobbled up quickly. Below are Banks Roses, a climbing variety that we planted outside the run for the sake of space. It’s an absolute climbing/traveling beauty. One that I highly recommend.


Roses to plant for chickens


EASY TO GROW ITEMS that I keep out of reach of my flock or they are annihilated in short order:

CHARD/KALE/LETTUCE: plant it and share. Keep it away though or they'll rotitile it in a quick minute.

CALENDULA: this pretty hardy plant grows like a weed and you can clip the flower buds for happy chickens and orange yolks. Calendula literally grows like a weed pretty much anywhere and re-seeds itself yearly.  Chickens can eat the petals fresh or dried to enhance the color of their egg yolks. Calendula is the secret ingredient in Treats for Chickens Nesting Box Blend and Cluck Yea - but I trust you won't tell anyone. lol.

BROCCOLI GREENS: grow the heads for yourself and share the greens with your flock. 

BEET GREENS: Again, you enjoy the plant and share the greens with your egg layers. 

gardening with chickens

Colorful rainbow chard + broccoli greens tucked away in a secret area where the chickens don't have access.

Nasturtium with succulents (hen and chick) nestled in together. Zero care needed for both.  Plus they grow like weeds which ends up being mighty beneficial to me since I don't have a green thumb at all. And, as you can spy....there's eggs in there.  

But before I end my chicken run journey, there is another secret I want to give, especially to you, green thumbs, garden enthusiasts, and horticulturists. When you're looking for an organic fertilizer for the garden, consider taking advantage of the beneficial nutrients found in kelp seaweed. Organic kelp is valued for its micro-nutrients as well as its macro-nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Which are all great for the garden's growth! So, when sprinkling our Cluck's Sea Kelp on the run for your chickens, it won't go to waste. Your garden will be blessed with kelp's nutrients. 

There you have it. Onward to creating your chicken run dreams!


-Dawn, Treats for Chickens  🧡


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Can we kelp you? For more information about domestic fowls, visit Treats for Chickens blog, cluck HERE.
Hungry for more feathered friend wellness? Or looking for garden improvement? Of course you do, because your flock deserves eggs (cellent) treat (ment). For fabulous and healthy chickens, Treats for Chickens recommends certified organic supplement: Cluck'n Sea Kelp
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Let's keep your flock happy + healthy!


Got something to cluck about? Have other suggestions? Questions?
Help fellow chicken parents and leave a comment below!

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  • Thank you for sharing😊 I will use all plants and flowers you suggested when i rework my Run starting 3/1/21. Please don’t cuss it does not go well with your beautiful work Ursula

    Ursula Maria on
  • Thanks I saved your post so I’ll know what plants I can get the most out of and how to go about it thank you

    Delores Scarcella on
  • What zone do you live in I’m in zone 5 ,would love to have plants that are poultry hardy

    Karla Derenne on
  • Hard to see some of your pictures cause they are sideways!
    You don’t have trouble with the chickens rooting around? My nasturtiums etc. were uprooted, in fact my whole flower garden was ruined.

    Sue Fox on
  • I’ve had numerous, rose bushes, rose of Sharon, arbovitus, butterfly bush, multifloral in my run and they decimated them in a few minutes. I replanted and put fencing around them with stone around the bottom of the fencing. I have found that planting wheat grass with fencing over a wood box is great. It limits how much they can reach and allows the grass to regenerate. I can’t free range due to predators so I’m always trying to find things for them to eat and do.

    Lisa on

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