Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies
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One form of plant protection for free-ranging chickens is plants that have spikes, thorns, or other objectionable physicality. Chickens seem to be able to maneuver around and under these intimidating plants, and they give predators pause in pursuit. An example is a thorny floribunda rose, Rosa. Of course, you, your family, and friends have to be careful of the same thorns when pruning and walking by them.

Suggestions for plants that protect

Some things to consider when planting for protection:

  • Someone is going to have to maintain these plants. Are you willing, or will you hire someone?

  • Often, these types of plants are characteristically invasive. Research, and know what you’re planting.

  • Be specific about what you’re protecting your chickens from, and plant accordingly.

Plant examples that protect

The following plants offer protection to your free-ranging chickens:

  • Bougainvillea: Bougainvillea. Evergreen shrubby vines. Zones 9–11. Thorns for protection. Come in a variety of colors.

  • Cherokee rose: Rosa laevigata. Zones 7–10. The state flower of Georgia. Native Americans widely distributed this plant, which influenced the name. Dense with excessive thorns that are curved. Blooms once a year in early spring with a profusion of large, pure white blooms with a yellow center. Resistant to deer and the usual rose pests. Produces large rose hips. A great barrier and protection rose with beauty.

  • Darwin barberry: Berberis darwinii. Evergreen shrubs. Hardy to Zone 7. Very attractive shrubs with arching branches. Yellow flowers in the spring and edible dark purple fruit, which chickens like, in July to August.

  • Firethorn: Pyracantha coccinea. Evergreen shrubs. Zones 6–9. Thorns to protect. Vibrant orange berries delight from late summer to fall. Chickens like these berries.

  • Roses: Rosa. Roses of all forms with thorns. Climbing roses, ground cover roses, Floribunda roses, wild roses. Rose hips are food for chickens.

  • Sea buckthorn: Hippophae rhamnoides. Deciduous shrubs. Hardy to Zone 3. A good vandal-resistant barrier hedge with dense, stiff, and very thorny branches. It has edible, nutritious, and striking orange berries that chickens will eat.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Bonnie Jo Manion has been featured in national garden magazines with her gardens, organic practices, chickens, and designs. Follow Bonnie at Rob Ludlow is the owner of, a top source on chicken raising, and the coauthor of Raising Chickens For Dummies.

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