The Big List of Chicken-Safe Plants for Your Flock

Finding out which plants are chicken-safe and not toxic can be challenging. Find the best chicken-friendly plants to grow around your coop.

A golden chicken with a shrub with pink flowers in the background.

If you’re a chicken owner or considering adding these delightful creatures to your backyard, you may have wondered which plants are safe and beneficial for them. Well, wonder no more! In this post, I have curated an extensive list of plants that are not only chicken-safe but also offer various benefits to your feathered friends. I’ve got you covered with colorful flowering plants, foliage that hides less appealing areas, and even herbs that your chickens can prune.

So, let’s dive into this comprehensive guide and make your chicken coop a haven of greenery and nourishment for your flock. And if you’re looking for top-notch coop plans to decorate with greenery, Easy Coops has you covered!

The following plants are appropriate and worry-free for the areas where chickens roam. The list tells you the zone the plant grows in as well as if the plant is annual or perennial. Some annuals can be overwintered as perennials in warmer climates.

Tip: Introduce a ‘Chicken Salad Bar’ in your coop! To enhance your chickens’ well-being, consider planting a small, raised garden bed filled with chicken-safe herbs and edible plants directly in their coop. You can protect the roots from being dug up by installing hardware cloth over the top before the seeds sprout. This not only provides a natural and enriching environment for your feathered friends but also offers them a diverse array of nutritious greens. Opt for herbs like basil, mint, and parsley, and include some chicken-friendly vegetables like kale and Swiss chard. Not only does this ‘salad bar’ contribute to their diet, but it also promotes natural foraging behaviors, keeping your chickens happy, healthy, and entertained.

Plants marked with an asterisk (*) have medicinal properties for chickens.

Chicken-Safe Floral Plants

If you have been looking to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your chicken’s enclosure, incorporating floral plants into the surrounding landscape is a wonderful idea. These carefully selected floral plants not only bring vibrant seasonal colors but are also completely safe for your feathery friends. Imagine the beauty of Bee Balm, Black-Eyed Susan, or the delicacy of Petunias adorning the area around your coop, creating a visually pleasing and harmonious environment for both you and your chickens.

These chicken-safe floral plants provide a delightful touch of nature that can bring joy and tranquility to your backyard.

Bee Balm 3–9 Perennial
Begonia Annual
Black-Eyed Susan 3–11 Perennial
Coreopsis 3–9 Perennial
Calendula Annual
Daisy 5–8 Perennial
*Dandelion Annual
Day Lilly 4–8 Perennial
Echinacea (Coneflower) 3–9 Perennial
Impatiens Annual

*Marigold Annual
*Nasturtium Annual
Orchid 6–8 Perennial
Petunia Annual
Sunflower Annual
Thistle 3–10 Perennial
Velvet Nettle 3–10 Perennial
Violet Annual
Zinnia Annual

Bright red nasturtiums with green leaves.
Your chickens will love eating both the leaves and the flowers of nasturtium plants.

Chicken-Safe Foliage Plants

If you find yourself desiring some year-round foliage to conceal those less appealing areas around your chicken yard, worry no more. These carefully selected chicken-safe foliage plants are here to come to the rescue. You can create a serene and cohesive backdrop, hiding any imperfections and transforming your chicken yard into a lush oasis. Enjoy the beauty of nature while providing your chickens with a safe and comforting environment.

Coleus Annual
Hens & Chicks 4–8 Perennial
Hosta 3–7 Perennial

Lemongrass Annual
Yucca 4–11 Perennial

Young green hostas with yellow edging starting to unfurl.
Hosta leaves are a very good source of minerals for your chickens.

Herbs to Plant For Chickens

When it comes to growing herbs for your chickens, it’s a win-win situation. Not only do many herbs offer numerous health benefits for your flock, but they also thrive with regular trimming, becoming even bushier and more abundant. And who better to do the trimming than your feathery companions themselves? By allowing your chickens to indulge in a little herbal snacking, you not only save time and effort but also provide them with a source of entertainment and enrichment.

Basil Annual
*Catnip 3–9 Perennial
*Lavender 5–10 Perennial
*Lemon Balm 4–11 Perennial

*Mint 3–10 Perennial
Oregano 5–11 Perennial
Parsley Annual
*Rosemary 6–10 Perennial

A closeup of lemon balm.
Lemon Balm has antibacterial properties and is also a great all-natural rodent repellent.

Chicken-Friendly Vines

Not only do vines offer a refreshing shelter from the summer sun, but they also gracefully die back in the winter, allowing sunlight to penetrate. Picture this: lush grapevines or hops cascading along the sunny side of your run, creating a living, green canopy that adds visual appeal and provides a cool retreat for your feathered companions. While your chickens enjoy the shade, you can appreciate the natural beauty and the potential harvest of grapes or hops that these vines offer.

Black Eye Susan 10–11 Perennial
Bougainvillea 9–11 Perennial
Grape Ivy Annual
*Nasturtium Annual

*Rose 3–11 Perennial
Swedish Ivy Annual
Virginia Creeper 3–9 Perennial

A pink vining rose with dark green, thorny foliage.
Roses and rose hips may cleanse blood toxins and act as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent for chickens.

Chicken-Safe Shrubs

When it comes to free-ranging your chickens, it’s natural to have concerns about the safety of certain shrubs on your property. While plants like azaleas and rhododendrons can indeed pose risks to your flock, many shrubs are perfectly safe and can bring beauty and functionality to your chicken-friendly landscape. These chicken-safe shrubs provide a valuable balance between creating a visually appealing environment and ensuring the well-being of your feathered companions.

Bamboo 5–9 Be sure to plant the non-invasive variety!
Butterfly Bush 5–10
Dogwood 3–8
Fig 7–9
Forsythia 5–9

Gardenia 8–10
Hop Tree 4–9
Juniper 3–9
Lilac 2–9
Palm 8–11
*Rose 3–11

A closeup of deep purple lilac flowers.
Chickens consuming lilacs may have a reduced parasitic load.

Shade Trees for Chickens

Having trees in your chicken’s environment shouldn’t be a cause for concern regarding the fruit, nuts, and leaves that might drop from them. In fact, it’s a hidden benefit! Your chickens will eagerly clean up the fallen debris.

Ash 2–9
Citrus (all) Keep in mind that too much citrus may cause weak eggshells because it affects calcium absorption.
Crab Apple 3–8
Dogwood 3–8
Elm 2–9
Eucalyptus 8–10
Fig 7–9
Guava 9–12
Hawthorn 4–7

Hop Tree 4–9
Madrona 6–10
Magnolia 5–9
Manzanita 8–11
Palm 8–11
Papaya 9–10
Pine 2–9
Redbud 5–9
Sassafras 4–9
Willow (Goat/Pussy/Weeping) 2–9 (depending on species)

Hawthorn tree branches covered with reddish orange berries.
Hawthorn berries are a wonderful treat for chickens.

Remember that just because a plant is “safe” does not mean it will be safe from hungry chickens. Be sure to check out this comprehensive list of poisonous plants for chickens if you are worried about a plant already located on your homestead. If you have a suggestion for a plant that should be listed here, let me know in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

While chickens have a natural instinct to avoid consuming toxic substances, they are not necessarily aware of which plants are poisonous. It is important that you provide a safe environment by familiarizing yourself with the potential dangers of poisonous plants and taking precautions to prevent access to them.

Absolutely! Adding plants to your chicken run can have numerous benefits for both your chickens and the overall environment. Plants provide shade, visual interest, and can even offer edible treats. However, it’s essential to choose non-toxic, chicken-safe plants and ensure they are securely planted or protected to prevent your chickens from uprooting or damaging them.

No, chickens should not eat weeds that have been sprayed with herbicides or any kind of chemical treatment. These substances can be harmful or even toxic to chickens. It’s important to ensure that any weeds or vegetation your chickens access are free from chemical treatments. Alternatively, you can manually remove weeds or opt for organic weed control methods to create a safe and natural grazing environment for your chickens.

Chickens are natural foragers and may eat plants in your garden if given the opportunity. While some plants can be beneficial and safe for chickens to consume, others may be toxic or cause damage to your garden. To protect your plants, consider using fencing or barriers to keep chickens out of specific areas or designating a separate space where they can freely graze without causing harm. Additionally, providing a balanced and varied diet for your chickens can help reduce their desire to feast on your garden plants.

If you need more information on raising backyard chickens, be sure to check out my most popular resource, Backyard Chickens 101: Everything you need to know about laying hens. Also, be sure to discover how herbs can help treat common chicken ailments.

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A collage of chicken-friendly plants.

By incorporating chicken-safe plants into your coop and surrounding areas, you provide a visually appealing landscape and a nourishing and beneficial environment for your chickens. From flowers to foliage and herbs, this big list offers a range of options to enhance their well-being. So, go ahead and create a chicken paradise with these safe and thriving plant choices!

Which chicken-safe plants are your favorites to grow in and around your coop, and why? I would love to hear your thoughts and insights on creating a vibrant and beneficial environment for your feathered friends. Share your experiences and recommendations in the comments below.

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  1. We have California poppies coming up everywhere. Are they safe for chickens? I make tea with them to help me sleep, but what about chickens?!! I never see them listed on pro or con lists!

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      California poppies contain isoquinoline alkaloids and are toxic to chickens in large quantities. An occasional peck won’t hurt them, but they shouldn’t be intentionally fed to them.

  2. If the hawthorn berry SEED is deadly poisonous to humans, wouldn’t that also be considered poisonous to chickens?

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      Hawthorn seeds are toxic to humans, but they haven’t been found to be toxic to poultry or wild birds. Their digestive tracts are nothing like ours, so we can eat things they can’t and vice versa.

  3. Hi I was wondering why you have Virginia creeper on both the good & bad list for chickens?

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      I would consider it safe because of the sheer quantity a chicken would have to consume to get even remotely ill. The people that assembled this list of dangerous plants were extra cautious in my opinion and experience.

  4. Hi,
    I’m new to having chickens and would like to landscape their run, so fun!
    I’m glad to see that you have Juniper on the safe shrub list, but when I followed the big list of poisonous plants link, Juniper is also on that.
    Can you clarify if there are certain varieties that belong on each list?
    I’m really hoping to add some winter interest and snow barrier.
    Thank you Melissa.

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      I considered it safe because chickens can’t possibly consume enough of the berries (the “toxic” portion) to be harmful. While technically toxic, it couldn’t possibly hurt them.

  5. Philip Candice says:

    This is an interesting article. Can you tell me if Holly berries are also OK for chickens? Thanks!

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      Although toxic to humans and most pets, they are safe for chickens in moderation.

  6. BrandiAnn Mills says:

    This list is amazing, but I did notice that you had Day Lilies on your safe floral plants. On other lists, I have seen that all lilies are toxic to chickens. Which list is correct?

  7. Gerardo P says:

    Hello! You have juniper listed as a safe plant here on the page, but the backyard chicken page has it listed as toxic. Which one is it?

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      The leaves are actually good for chickens as they are high in antioxidants. The berries are high in sugar, which can cause stomach upset if large quantities, but chickens are highly unlikely to eat enough to reach this point. It’s sort of like how apple seeds have arsenic, but an adult human would have to eat hundreds of apples in one sitting to be poisoned.

  8. Is the fruit of the Chocolate Vine ok to feed to chickens?

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      I believe it is.

  9. Carole Shanklin says:

    Is African spinach safe for chickens to eat? It also goes by the name Malabar. I have a vegetable garden very small but Malabar grows great and I eat it so I would think you’d be safe for the chickens.

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      I believe it is, but I’m not 100% certain.

  10. Do you have to cage the plants every year – regarding perennials? Or once they are established just let them go?


    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      If they overwinter at a decent size, the chickens seem to leave them alone. If they die back completely, I usually toss some netting over them until they get established.

  11. Elizabeth Wooten says:

    Can you feed chickens red hot poker? Many different birds feed on them but I want to be sure.

  12. I found that my chickens love the forsythia bush I planted in the middle of their area. It gives them a shady place in summer but it’s flimsy enough that predators can’t perch on it to pick off the flock. With all the fertilizer they provide, it has grown very well.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I found this article while searching to see if forsythia was ok for my chickens to eat. They love the spent blossoms.

    2. I like your post.I think i will try rooting some forsythia next spring for my chicken run for some added shade. I’M going to keep it potted because it multiples like crazy!

  13. Hi. I think you are great & I wish I could do what you do. Can you please let me know if any of these plants are ok for chickens to eat? Heliotrope, Hyacinth, Lily of the Valley, Solomon’s Seal, Butterfly Ginger, Daphne, Sweet William Nicotiana, Sweet Woodruff, Woodland Phlox, Wood Hyacinth & Four O’clocks.

    Thank you

    1. solomons seal is fine, lily of the valley is toxic. I have woodland phlox and lily of the valley and solomons seal in my yard and the birds don’t touch what they know Is bad. if your chickens are not bothering them, then dont worry about it. they will ignore it. mine perch under a burning bush which is toxic for them to eat . they use it for shade and safety from hawks.

  14. Andrea Mehrer says:

    Hi Again,
    Please introduce Azolla, to the group. It’s actually a pond or aquarium type plant that does many things including being used for feed, fertilizer, and bio fuel!

  15. Do you know if this list is inclusive to most livestock?
    Any help would be great! My friend has a horse, goat. chickens, bunnies, and guinea pig!


  16. Are evergreens safe for chickens to eat? I want to put a tree in their run. Thanks terri

  17. Waphle_Stomp says:

    You haven’t listed any berries.

  18. Angela Faulk says:

    Would this list be the same for ducks?

  19. Kellye R Lomeli says:

    I would love a printable PDF version of these lists.i print up a lot of stuff and keep it in page protectors on a binder just for my birds.

    1. claudette J Poole says:

      All you have to do is copy and paste on a blank word doc and then print

  20. seeing / finding it? Is there a list of harmful and or Deadly Plants for Chickens as well?

    Thanks everybody!


  21. Donna Benner says:

    Is there anything I can put around my gardens to keep roosters out? We have to that come into our yard and they have my flower gardens destroyed.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      I don’t, I’m sorry. I think a perimeter fence might be the only way to keep them out.

  22. Katherine says:

    What does the asterisk connote?

      1. Heather Kyseth says:

        Does this list apply to ducks as well? Thank you!