Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

BYH Project Manager

True BYH Addict
Jul 9, 2012
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Adding some great plants to your garden might be a good addition to your chicken feed. You can save money by growing these plants, as well as feed your chickens nutritious foods. In addition to providing fresh eggs, backyard chickens provide entertainment and a sense of independence. You don't have to spend a lot of money or time feeding those chickens.

In most cases, good quality chicken feed from your local farm supply store is sufficient. It may be beneficial for your pocket and the chickens to supplement chicken feed with plants.

One of the great things about these plants is that you can actually grow them in your backyard. To supplement your chicken feed, you can grow the plants below:

1. Sweet corn​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

Chickens love sweet corn. The ears can be given right from the garden, or you can give them the leftovers after canning. The chickens will also enjoy overripe ears. When the summer heat is unbearable, put a few kernels of corn in a muffin tray, fill it with water, and freeze it before giving them to the chickens.

2. Sunflower seeds​

There is nothing better than growing sunflowers for their large heads and tasty seeds. You can dry them out and eat them yourself, or you can feed them to your chickens. The sunflower heads can be broken apart and given directly to chickens.

3. Pumpkins​

Your family will enjoy some tasty treats if you grow pumpkins in your garden. The seeds will also be enjoyed by chickens. Additionally, the seeds can provide chickens with a natural parasite and worm control.

4. Mint​

Chickens will benefit from mint's natural insect repellent properties. Fresh leaves can also be added to their nesting boxes and coops for a fresh smell.

5. Cucumbers​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

In most gardens, cucumbers already serve as a natural parasite control for chickens. Your chicken run can be made more attractive by adding an extra plant and allowing the vines to climb over the fencing. Fresh off-the-vine treats will always be available to the chickens.

6. Wheat​

Homesteaders can grow wheat even on small plots. One bushel of wheat berries can be harvested from 1,000 square feet, which is enough to treat your flock.

7. Calendula​

One of the best garden companions, this bright yellow-orange flower is another great insect repellent. They are thought to enhance the color of the yolk when sprinkled throughout the chicken run. Tea made from calendula is also beneficial to humans.

8. Alfalfa​

Many homesteaders feed alfalfa to their livestock, as it is highly nutritious and well-loved by chickens. This cool season crop adds nitrogen to the soil naturally and is highly nutritious.

You must harvest and dry alfalfa before it blooms if you want to feed it to your chickens. As the plants mature, digestion may become more difficult. Crops should not be harvested when rain is forecast, since it can damage them all.

9. Cabbages​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

Hanging a cabbage head by a rope in the coop will provide your chickens with a great toy. Pecking at the cabbage heads will provide chickens with a leafy treat while keeping them occupied. Plant cabbages in partial shade of your garden in the fall for excellent results.

10. Chickweed​

In most backyards and open areas, chickweed grows as a short, floppy plant in low "mats" that cling to the ground. White petals with deep notches will cover its tiny flowers. Your flock will enjoy pecking at a tasty, mildly sweet treat if you allow some chickweed to take over an area.

You can also forage chickweed to eat as a treat with your flock.

11. Comfrey​

The medicinal and culinary benefits of comfrey have made it a common herb on homesteads. Your compost pile and soil will also benefit from its nitrogen content. A great source of protein and fiber for chickens, this plant is low in fiber and high in protein! To support healthy yolks, it also contains vitamins A and B12.

12. Stinging Nettle​

Often thought of as a weed, this plant is another common garden plant. Transplanting it to a desirable location may be an option if you have it. It's easy to grow nettles by harvesting seed heads and dropping them anywhere you like. In addition to buying seeds online, you can also find this plant growing wild in your yard.

13. Cover Crops​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

Nitrogen is often fixed in cover crops, soil quality is improved, and moisture is retained. Weeds can also be prevented from emerging with their help. It's also no secret that they are also excellent sources of feed, but you probably knew that! Winter peas, cereal rye, and buckwheat are some popular choices among cover crops.

Plant cover crops before your first frost date if you want to use them as chicken feed. In the spring, these plants will reemerge after dying back in the winter. In the meantime, you can move your poultry net over the crop patch and let your chickens graze there. Harvest can also be carried directly to the chickens.

During the spring, you can plant a cover crop if you forgot to plant one during the winter. You can choose from a variety of plants, such as red clover, alfalfa, mustard grasses, and grain grasses.

14. Sprouted Grains​

When chickens aren't able to access pasture during the colder months, fresh greens are a great source of nutrition. To provide your chickens with more digestible nutrients, you can sprout dry grains and seeds.

The first step is to plant seeds such as peas, corn, sunflowers, wheatgrass, oats, or soybeans. Place them in a drainage-holed container after soaking them in a bowl. Let your chickens enjoy the feast when the sprouts are four inches tall after daily rinsing.

15. Leafy Greens​

In telling you to eat your spinach, your mother had your best interests at heart. Leafy greens are so healthy. Your chickens will love them, too! You can feed your chickens a variety of leafy greens. In particular, they prefer tender greens such as kale, spinach, and chard, but they also enjoy lettuce, amaranth, roach, and spree.

Summer greens can be harvested for chickens, and fall annuals like amaranth can produce seed heads for chickens. In the fall and winter, you can save the seeds to make a great treat.

16. Berries​

Berry berries are antioxidant-rich jewels that chickens will enjoy, and you won't have to run to the store to get them. Berry bushes can be grown at home easily, and if you're lucky, you'll probably find some growing wild in your backyard.

Blueberries & raspberries are good choices for planting. Chickens can graze among the bushes or you can harvest the berries and feed them directly. Make sure you plant thornless varieties of berries if you want them to get every last berry.

17. Broccoli & Cauliflower​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

Everyone - including chickens - can benefit from cruciferous vegetables. Spring and fall are the best times to grow them since they are cold-season crops. Depending on the severity of the frost, you can either harvest the heads for feeding to your chickens or let them tear up that area of your garden. Crowns, stems, roots, and leaves will all be eaten!

18. Garlic​

Adding garlic to your chicken's diet can boost their immune systems and rid their guts of parasites & diseases. Adding garlic to your garden will benefit your chickens in so many ways!

A bountiful crop awaits you once you get started, but it takes time to get going. Once the garlic has been harvested, you can feed it out of free choice to your chickens or you can mince it and add it to their water.

19. Melons​

Your birds will benefit greatly from melon, such as honeydew and watermelon. Even when melons are in season, buying them at the store can be quite expensive. The water in the fruits will keep your chickens hydrated, and you can grow a large patch of melons for just a few dollars.

It is likely that your chickens will not eat the rinds, but they will eat everything else, including the flesh and seeds.

20. Nasturtiums​

Getting started with nasturtiums is one of the best things you can do for your garden if you haven't already. In addition to repelling pests, these beautiful flowers are also beautiful. These plants make excellent companions for a wide variety of garden plants, and some say they are an excellent natural dewormer for livestock and other types of poultry.

21. Peas​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

The chickens can eat any type of pea, including winter & snow peas. They can eat these veggies whole - and they will nibble on the plant too! For a tasty, protein-dense treat, try harvesting a whole batch of peas.

22. Sweet potatoes​

It is easy to grow sweet potatoes because they grow under the ground and don't take up much space. Sweet potatoes are not toxic to chickens, unlike white potatoes, which can be. There are many parts of this plant that they can eat, including leaves, stems, vines, flesh, and skin.

The sweet potato isn't just for those living in hot climates - some varieties can be grown even in cold climates.

23. Radishes​

You can feed your chickens the tops of your radish crop even if you want to save the whole crop for yourself. Make sure you save them some extra root, too, as they'll eat it too! It's recommended to plant several batches of radishes, one every week, until the end of the growing season. That way, your birds will always have fresh radishes available!

24. Beets​

As with radishes, beets can be planted successively. Your chickens will get tons of nutrients and antioxidants from both the tops and roots of this delicious plant.

25. Sorghum​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

Despite not being able to be grown everywhere, if you live in an area where it is possible you will have some happy chickens. Sorghum flour can be made from the grains of this plant, making it a gluten-free baking alternative. Eating grains directly off the plant will provide your chickens with a good supply of carbohydrates.

26. Crabapples​

Crabapple trees are a good choice if you have the space to plant them. Your chickens will love your ornamental crabapples, even if we don't want to eat their fruits. Simply plant a crabapple tree inside the chicken run and watch your hens devour the tiny fruit.

27. Dandelions​

Often considered weeds, dandelions are actually very valuable if you have a homestead. In addition to providing fiber for your chickens, dandelions grow everywhere, so you can scatter seeds in your chicken run so the birds can enjoy the flowers. As a bonus, they attract pollinators as well!

28. Fennel​

Aside from attracting beneficial butterflies and other beneficial insects, fennel plants also make valuable chicken feed. A large, lacy pod of yellow flowers is produced by this herb. Besides eating the insects attracted to those pods, chickens can also snack on the seeds & foliage.

29. Thyme​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

In addition to its antibacterial properties, thyme is also an antibiotic. Chicken health can be improved by this herb, especially during the winter months when your girls are confined more often to their coops.

Thyme can be grown in your herb bed and served as a foraging area for your chickens, or harvested and hung upside down in their coop for a healthy treat.

30. Lavender​

In addition to being an insect repellant, lavender can also freshen the smell of your chicken coop. It will attract your chickens as a snack, and they will feel calmer as a result, as well as keep flies out of the coop.

31. Sage​

For your chicken coop, you can use herbs such as sage to repel flies and pests. It can be fed directly to your chickens or sprinkled on their food. As an antioxidant, it helps prevent salmonella.

32. Oregano​

Humans and chickens alike benefit from oregano's immune-boosting properties. Oregano is currently being studied for its ability to prevent avian flu, E.coli, coccidiosis, & salmonella infections.

The use of this natural antibiotic is even being studied on a number of large-scale poultry farms! Feeding your chickens this herb is a great way to keep them healthy at a low cost.

33. Lemon Balm​

Top 35 Plants To Grow For Your Chickens

As you may have guessed, lemon balm smells just like lemons! Chickens also love it as a treat. Lemon balm can be fed fresh or dried as a treat to chickens, sprinkled on their food, or hung as a toy. Growing up to 18 inches tall, this plant will grow back year after year.

34. Carrot Greens​

The greens will be especially delicious to your chickens, though you can feed them raw carrots as well. Give your chickens all the greens from your carrots if you already grow them in your garden. There's no doubt they'll devour them!

35. Currants​

Getting currants established on your property is similar to growing berries. All summer long, currants will produce fruit for your chickens, providing them with antioxidants and other nutrients. You can make a living hedge fence for your chickens by planting several currant bushes closely together, and the bushes also help attract pollinators to your garden.

Do you have a chicken garden or grow plants for your chickens in your normal garden? When it comes to feeding your flock, which is your favorite?
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Herd Master
Aug 22, 2010
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East Texas
Real good article! I don't have chickens right now, I moved, but will get them again. In hot summers, I froze watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, etc. for chicken popsicles. Chickens are a great way to clean up the garden in the fall or winter, as they will scratch and eat bugs, their larva and eggs.


Herd Master
May 9, 2017
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Nothing better than putting chickens into the veggie garden to clean it up.

I knew one lady that planted comfrey right outside her chickens fence. Her chicken fence had 1x2 holes (so might not work for you depending on what predators you have), so the chickens could reach through the fence to eat the leaves, but they could not reach the roots. This way the plants were healthy and kept growing.