Greenery in the chicken run

We have talked a lot lately in the comments about trying to get some greenery in a chicken run. I have tried lots of things but everything gets stripped by the girls to the level they can reach which is why I give them greens every day.

However I thought I would just show what greenery they do have in their run. The huge hypericum was in this spot already when we built the run but had greenery down to the ground. It was lovely for the girls to hide and scratch underneath. Gradually they stripped it to the height they could reach.

We then added the metal table which the girls love to sit on and more recently the wooden shelter. They have now used these to stand on and further strip the greenery until it’s become a standard hypericum.


It looks a bit sad now but I am trying to hang on to anything green in the run and they still like to sit underneath it and continue to peck at any growth they can reach.

Pink rose

This rose was on the outside of the run before we extended it so had already grown tall. The girls love the petals when they drop from the flowers.

The pink rose from the other side of the gate

Large shrub with white flowers

The girls have stripped this shrub to a standard shape too.

Large shrub with mauve flowers

This shrub has grown so much that it’s bursting through the weld mesh. The girls have been able to strip it ¬†from this corner perch so again there is no greenery lower down.

It’s proved impossible to have any greenery at a lower level but I still think it’s good to have some plants in the run to provide interest and shade and the extra leaf that can be reached from time to time.

The outside of the run

The shrub with the mauve flowers is bursting through the weld mesh blending the run into the garden.

The girl’s dandelion and mint garden

The mint has rather taken over the dandelions. I have picked the dandelion leaves for the girls and now need to leave them to regrow. I read that chickens will eat mint but now find that my girls don’t like the mint which has meant that the dandelion leaves have been harvested and the mint has been left to take over.

At the moment I am giving a mix of spinach and spring greens because the girls love the spinach but it goes so quickly then they move on to the greens which last most of the day.

This is really the best that I can achieve by way of keeping some green in their run but they never go without greens. I do my best to keep them as happy as possible.

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4 Responses to Greenery in the chicken run

  1. Marion Pharo says:

    As I have said before, the chickens I see, don’t have any thing likeyour girls.Most don’t
    even have a perch let alone greenery.

    • I guess I am feeling a bit defensive at the moment because of the comment that my run is barren. I know he meant well but I also know that I have done everything in my power to make my girls environment as good as it possibly can be. I do find it upsetting when I see runs with no perches because I know how much my girls love to perch.

  2. David Anderson says:

    You do really well by your girls, Carol. It is the same with mine: shrubs are stripped as far as they can reach. I have a corner of my garden, not accessible to the hens, where fuscia grows in abandon, and it has gone through the fence onto an old road behind the gardens; at the moment, I am able to cut them sprigs of fuscia daily and, following an idea I got from you, I buy turf every 4 weeks, which they love. I have last year’s Christmas tree in the run, lying flat, and they love to get insects/spiders which seems to appear overnight. It also serves a good purpose with the turf, however, in that I cover some of the turf for 2 or 3 days with the tree, preventing them from stripping it, then rotate the tree, meaning the turf lasts longer. We all do the best we can.

    • Thank you for your support. I think anyone keeping chickens will know how hard it is to keep anything growing. We all try to pick up ideas from each other. Covering the turf with the Christmas tree is a great idea. I usually cut the turf into sections and hold some back but you can’t do that for too long or it goes yellow and then they don’t want it. They are never without greens though, one way or another.

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