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Chicken Proof Plants - or not

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As a keen gardener, when I get the time, I thought I would post my observations about the devastation chickens can inflict on your precious plants. Our two free range in an area about 60 feet by 60 feet, we have a small area cordoned off for us! I am sure the density of chickens greatly impacts the level of ‘damage’.


The plants that suffer the most damage from scratching seem to be those that are flat to the ground, for example any ground cover such as hardy geraniums or aubrietia.


Of the plants I have, these have been scratched back:

Hardy Geraniums


Lilies (where they flop on the ground)

Hostas – low lying leaves

Primulas and primroses, although these are recovering and nice new leaves growing




Plants that have been eaten:

Rhubarb leaves




Ox Eye Daisy



Plants that seem to be chicken resistant:

Hosta do not get eaten


Hardy geraniums do not get eaten


Michaelmus Daisy


Ivy (ornamental)





This is in addition to shrubs which seem to be able to hold their own. To help the plants and give them a chance, I have constructed little barriers of the rigid plastic netting (about 1cm square) and secured them in place with small bamboo stakes woven through the netting and stuck in the ground, which seems to work – stops the scratching and puts some of the tasty leaves out of reach.


The chickens have cleared a lot of the undergrowth and overgrown plants so have helped in that way. They have also ‘found’ a couple of plants I thought I had lost, so it is not all bad.


This may all be chicken–dependant as ours do not seem interested in dandelion leaves so may not like plants that other chickens do, I would be interested in anyone else’s observations.


By the way chickens are great for de-mossing your lawn, although the short term looks leave a lot to be desired!

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Different Chickens go for different plants, too, you will find. Also, they will get less fussy as you give them less to peck at. Ours destroyed the hostas after a period of ignoring them. They also had a real thing for our banana plants and were very amusing jumping up at the leaves trying to take chunks out of them. Ours seemed to love raspberry cane leaves too!

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