8 Top Vines to Grow on Your Chicken Coop

March 13, 2017

I love gardening with chickens. It has been something that I have enjoyed immensely over the years. One of the most beneficial ways to maximize your space in the garden is to think vertically by adding climbing vines. This gardening trick allows you to make the most of the garden space that you have available. The perfect often overlooked place to consider growing vines is on your chicken coop. Vines provide your chickens shade, a bit of protection for aerial predators and a tasty snack that can be foraged through the run. Today I’m sharing my top 8 perennial and annual vines that are chicken safe, hardy, and delicious for both you and your flock. 

All of these vines can be staked and trained to grow where desired. To help train the vines, you can attach them in place with zip ties, garden ties or even old cut sections of panty hose. Trellises near the coop can also come in handy.

My chicken coop has a metal trellis on the left side growing flowering nasturtium and blackberries.

Chicken Friendly Vines

Grapes– Perennial, Hardy, Slow growth, Sun

Grapes are a wonderful addition to any garden. They are easy to grow and require just a simple pruning each year. Fruits can be fed to the flock or enjoyed by you. You can also make jellies, wines, and even raisins. One large sturdy vine can live up to 50 years and bear almost 20 pounds of grapes during the growing season. The new tender leaves are also entirely edible. I love to make stuffed grape leaves when the timing is right.

A young grapevine is seen growing across the back of the chicken run.

Hops– Perennial, Hardy, Rapid growth, Sun

Hops can be an invasive vine and does well  controlled in a large planter. Like mint, if not minded, it will invade your entire garden. The stems and leaves are typically avoided by the chickens because they are slightly prickly. They grow quickly and abundantly and you can try your hand at home brewing with the hops cones after the flowers had passed. Hops are not toxic to chickens as they are to dogs. They may also have some added health benefits that includes natural prevention again Clostridium.

Climbing Honeysuckle– Perennial, Hardy, Rapid growth, Sun/Partial Shade

I love honeysuckle because it is incredibly heat tolerant and attracts pollinators as well as hummingbirds. The blooms of colors vary upon the variety that you decide to plant. You can also make new plants by rooting the cuttings. They typically bloom from Spring until summer. Try sharing some cuttings with your friends so they can grow plants of their own.

My flock finds nasturtium irresitible.

Nasturtium– Annual–easily reseeds for next year, Rapid Growth, can tolerate some shade

This darling plant’s flowers are some of my favorite edibles. With blooms ranging from reds, yellows and oranges, they taste have a peppery like capers. The leaves are also edible too. They grow rapidly and easily reseed throughout the growing season. They are definitely a flock favorite and one of my favorite ways to dress up summer salads.

Roses– Perennial, Hardy, Slow growth, Sun, some can be disease prone, requires more care than other plantings.

Who doesn’t love a beautiful rose? I simply adore roses but they can be a bit difficult for the beginning gardener. They tend to require more care than other plantings including regular fertilizations as well as pruning. However, the rewards of growing roses on your chicken coop can be breathtaking. Select climbing varieties. Depending on the climbing variety you chose, you can expect a mature rose bush up to 6 feet wide and 20 feet tall. Some varieties are also deer proof.

Gourds– Annual, Hardy, Rapid growth, Full Sun

There are so many wonderful gourds available to us. I particularly love the ornamental varieties. Drying them while on the vine in the fall is a sight to see! There are also ways to transform ornamental gourds into birdhouses. I love that! It is best to plant your gourds from seed sown directly into the ground. The seeds can take a bit longer to germinate, so don’t fear by gently “roughing” them up a bit with some fine sandpaper and giving them a soak overnight before planting them in the ground. Soon enough, you will discover your chicken coop covered in a beautiful labyrinth of vines.

Peas– Annual, Rapid growth, Sun, Can get 2 crops per season

Sowing seeds is easy and one of the first crops you can plant in cold weather. They always remind me of spring. Direct sow them into the soil around the coop and protect them from hungry chickens. Some of my favorites are sugar snap peas and snow peas. Let their delicate tendrils hold the vines in place and harvest the peas when they are ready. You will find yourself picking peas every few days in the height of production. Once the pea plants are done, remove them and restart the growing process late summer into fall.

Cucumbers– Annual, rapid growth, Sun

One of the first plants I recommend to new gardeners are cucumbers. They are simple to grow and the vines and leaves are a bit prickly to help curtail the flock from nibbling. Cucumbers will amaze you by flowering and growing both inside and outside the run. Be sure to harvest them early, as the longer they stay on the vine, the larger the seeds inside grow often requiring seed removal prior to enjoying. Try them picked fresh from the garden, sliced with salt and pepper and placed in a bit of red wine vinegar with a splash of water. It’s a favorite summer side dish in our house. For a fun twist, try growing Mexican Gherkins. They look like mini-watermelons and they taste like a cross between a cucumber and touch of lemon. They are a bit tart and simply perfect to pop in your mouth on a hot summer day.

My friend, Deb’s chicken garden.

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28 thoughts on “8 Top Vines to Grow on Your Chicken Coop”

  1. I’ve always grown pie pumpkins on the south side of my chicken run. The pumpkins are small, so can easily hang from the fencing. The vines grow quickly and the large leaves provide excellent shade for my run during the hot months. Get a pack of Sugar Pie seeds and see for yourself!

  2. Before ever building a hen palace one must lat galvanized heavy duty wire mesh on ground. It must overlap the building by some 6 inches all around. Now you can build what you want in timber and wire. i have small mesh wire on runs as sparrows used to both steal food and upset hens when they found it impossible to fly back out. I used black wire and you can still see the hens better through this strong mesh. I insulate the sleeper cabin, floor, ceiling, walls and inside of door. I use warm wall 3 inch deep sheets of poly and set hardboard over that so no mess pecking. i set egg layer boxes not on the sleeper cabin but close by in the outside run. No sleeping in boxes no mess and keep cabin warmer. i give 7 sq feet per bird exercise in runs top floor and ground lever down a ramp, well used. In summer they are free range half days but if we are working in gardens they have all day at leisure with us. I keep buff Pekin Bantams in small flock of 10. so when the drift across my trimmed lawns it looks like a fire brand over a bowling green lawn. we love them as pets and they lay even in winter. i start on growers mash and corn at night before bed. Now on top level layers mash .I cook small potatos in winter add oats and barley and beef stock to feed them dried off with layers mash dust gathered each day from base of feeders.Olive oil in dog food they love as treat.It has to be real meat though.we grow most of what we eat and can feed cooked Cob corn to them in Summertime. They love nibbling nastushium plants so i do grow many around their home as they do hardly any damage in the leisure gardens and not much more in veg garden. Turned land over with forks always there with us for earth worms and bugs we know are danger to a garden. they are show stock and look it and i sell pairs each year in feather. When you have nine hens going fully broody at once no other choice but to sort out chicks and sell what we cant hope to keep. i charge little but to pay for feed. I did sell one pair for 45 euro as for showing the man drove from Holland to me in rural Latvia. as he had just one photograph on hens from me. Took him 3 days each way.

    • Wonderful! I hope these ideas help you get off to a great start. If you are on social media, tag me and share a photo with me. I’d love to see your chickens and garden.

  3. Do you know if tangerine trumpet vines are okay for chickens? I just bought one for my chicken run, because the lady at the gardening store recommended it. She said her turtle eats hers, so she figured it’s fine for chickens too.
    Now I’m home and checking the internet, and some posts say they’re toxic.
    Do you know by chance? I don’t want to hurt my girls, but I need to plant something right away to help protect them from the coming Arizona sun.

    Thanks in advance!

    • I do believe that it could be indeed detrimental to your flock. I would advise against planting it where your chickens might ingest it.Why not try growing grapes? Check out Vitis vinifera. I think they might make a better choice.

  4. Thank you for your ideas! I do think people should be careful with the Honeysucle vine as several are considered invasive in NY state. I do not know about other places.

  5. Loofah! A friend gifted me some seeds and I got one seed to take (out of 3-4 seeds). It grew rapidly over the entire run, bloomed constantly so it looked beautiful (my bees worked them comstantly!), provided shade, and bonus- the chickens LOVED the squash when they were around 6-8 inches long (think squishy cucumber/zuchini). I harvested about a dozen loofah in the fall too. I’m located in southern gulf coast MS and it grew with very little care in a sunny location.

    • Yes, sweet peas are toxic. That is a flowering plant aka Lathyrus odoratus. The varieties I have recommended are for the vegetable garden are varieties of Pisum sativum both of which yield “fruits”.

  6. What a story. I have one very similar. Something dug into the guinea house and killed all but one. Lavie slowly became friends with the chickens, although they didn’t like her at first. When we got a dozen more (yes 12!) we put Lavie in with them. SHE WAS NOT HAPPY! When the new group was settled in we turned them loose. Lavie returned to her chicken friends. They seldom intermingle and have separate housing.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.