Jump to content
AndyRoo

Hen-safe bushes

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

We're due to have our garden re-landscaped and the designer wants to surround the new paddock we're having built with a hedge so that it blends more into the rest of the design.

The problem he is having is finding hedges that aren't toxic to hens if they eat them.

Anybody got any ideas as to what might be safe?

Thanks,

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest they don’t tend to eat things that are poisonous anyway.

But CTs ideas are good. Especially hazel as it grows fast. Or holly. Or you could have a mix of native hedging trees and include some fruiting ones that would be great for wildlife too - there are companies that sell them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All good ideas there, and MT is right, hens won't often eat things which are posionous to them.   My best advice would be to buy whips - 1 year old, thin sticks about 2-3 ft high.  They soon catch up with bigger trees and are much cheaper, which is especially useful if you are starting a hedge from scratch.  In our old garden I planted hornbeam (it suited my soil better than beech) and field maple (lovely leaves but fast growing compared to the hornbeam so more maintenance after say Year 5) on one boundary.  On another we had a mix of blackthorn and rose, something vigorous which rambled horizontally for us rather than up, it was possibly 'eglantine' or the sweet briar rose with a good scent, but a rosa rugosa would look good as well.  Personally I wouldn't grow blackthorn, its too thorny (annoying when pruning back), hawthorn is a better bet in my view.  The chooks weren't interested in any of it.  I also had self planted raspberries in the hedges which was useful for birds and humans!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, I'll have a look for these. It'll be a low-lying hedgerow (about 1.5m high max.), as we're having about 15 trees planted, in addition to the few we already have.

If hens instinctively know not to eat poisonous things, then maybe I'll just pick something that looks pretty.

It definitely won't be anything like holly or thorn as I have an absolute hatred of anything spiky having fallen face first into a large rose bush when I was a child. I was absolutely cut to ribbons, and I've hated anything sharp since!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/8/2021 at 7:40 PM, AndyRoo said:

It definitely won't be anything like holly or thorn as I have an absolute hatred of anything spiky having fallen face first into a large rose bush when I was a child. I was absolutely cut to ribbons, and I've hated anything sharp since!

Sorry my first reaction was to laugh 🙈 

Fair enough it was clearly traumatic.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/9/2021 at 8:19 PM, mullethunter said:

Sorry my first reaction was to laugh 🙈 

Fair enough it was clearly traumatic.

It's ok - it's one of those schadenfreude moments. Although my father did cut down the bush shortly after.

He also used to have a holly tree which he ended up cutting down after a similar incident involving my step-mother complaining a lot after she stepped on a multitude of fallen holly leaves.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/10/2021 at 2:07 PM, srd said:

How about one of these packs? https://www.best4hedging.co.uk/rspb-bird-friendly-plants-c263

I don't work for them or anything, I'm just planning to plant one of our borders and will likely use one of those hedge packs. My logic is that if it's RSPB approved then it's very likely to be safe for chickens.

I'll have a look. The new design focuses very heavily on bees and wildlife as it is. It's being planted with nearly all native plants, trees and shrubs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I keep thinking about these hedges - I must miss them!  You could plant a load of bulbs in front to give you a Spring show, and to cheer up the bottom of the hedges which often get quite bare, if you have planted deciduous trees as opposed to shrubs or a thicket-forming hedge of something like laurel.  Snowdrops look lovely in amongst the trunks, as do dwarf daffs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/12/2021 at 10:19 PM, mullethunter said:

I think you can actually get roses with very few thorns!!

Bulbs might work although my chickens ate all my alliums when they popped above the ground two years ago 🙄

My moms alliums are decimated by pigeons and ducks too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lol. With my first lot of hens I was worried sick they would be lying in run legs in the air with rhubarb leaf poisoning. they survived. They are definately devious turn your back and something you value will be mullered to an inch of its life. 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/15/2021 at 6:34 PM, Cat tails said:

What about grasses? 

I've got a feeling from the plans that he wants to put the hedging in and then have grasses etc. on the inside of that to frame it.

Although I am thinking some nice pencil evergreens might be quite nice, mixed in with other grasses and shrubs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are forsythia and hebe toxic to chickens? I planted one of each in the chicken run as they are both tough plants, chickens stripped them so at the moment they are protected by a bit of old omelet run on it’s side so they can get a bit bigger

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience, chickens are very savvy about what they can and can’t eat.  I’ve never heard of a chicken dying from ingesting poisonous plants.  They avoid them.  Not like dogs!  So, I wouldn’t worry.  Personally, I’d be more worried about them eating the hedge and / or escaping through it.  I have chicken wire along the bottom of our hedge to stop that.  Not intended to be predator proof, just to stop them getting through. 

Edited by Patricia W
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...