Fast Growing Vine for Chicken Run

stevin(6)November 11, 2011

I'm seeking a fast growing vine that will provide deep shade for my chickens during the summer. The past couple of years I've used a shade cloth that supposedly blocks out 70% of the sunlight but does not provide enough shade to keep my chickens comfortable during the hot months of the year. I have a 12' wide x 18' long x 6' high chain link fence area with chain link panels enclosing the top to discourage hawks & owls from swooping down. The run is attached to the coop and I'm prepared to deal with the vines growing onto the coop.

Can anyone suggest a vine that is not toxic to chickens because they will attempt to eat the leaves and flowers on the vines. A vine that will be able to shoot up the 6' fence and across the 12' wide top and will be able to cover the chicken run within the first year or two. I don't mind planting multiple vines of the same type or even different types of vines for contrast. Some of the vines that have caught my eye is wisteria, honeysuckle, grape & trumpet, but I believe that the trumpet vine may be toxic. I live in Massachusetts so a vine that will survive the harsh New England winters would be great. And I'm also open for a fast growing annual vine that would provide the same results.

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brendasue(6)

Aren't trumpet vines (flowers) hallucinogens?

Honeysuckle I believe is poisonous

I'd go with the grape vines, the chickens can even eat the grapes.

Until the grapes are established, I'd plant peas in the ground in March, and start pole beans a week or two before planting time. Maybe start them indoors in a 5 gallon bucket with a stick then just move the pail(s) near the coop.

The peas will provide shade until june/july then die, by that time the beans will start providing shade, and the grape vines should be coming alive.

A tip on the peas: hallow out a small trench, 2" deep x 2" wide x length of pen, an fill with potting soil, plant peas, and water. This will help germination and will drain better, less chance of the pea seeds rotting in the we spring ground.

Brendasue

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:32PM
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stevin(6)

pardon my lack of knowledge of growing peas and pole beans. but will they actually grow that big? long enough to reach a length of atleast 18' long? if they do, WOW!!!!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:44PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Perennial vines such as grapes or virginia creeper will provide you earlier shade in the summer and last season long once they get established. Just don't cut the vines off in the fall. You will lose sunlight in the chicken run in the winter, but will have plenty of shade all summer.

Annual vines seem to spend most of the summer growing to the point they are big enough to do you any good, then fall arrives and you don't need them anymore.

You might consider putting up a solid roof over part of the run to provide full shade, then leave the rest open for winter sun.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 2:13AM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

I was going to suggest hops, but grapes are probably a better idea.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 9:03AM
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brendasue(6)

Pole beans can grow 10-12 feet high - enough to provide some temporary shade until the other more permanent vines get established. You'd plant a seed or 2 every foot or so along the 18'.

You'd have to plant more than one seed!

Nowhere did I mention they were to be used solo, but instead indicated they would provide shade until the grape (or other) vines became established. And yes, they could cover your 18' long by 6' high temporarily if you planted many seeds along the 18' width then they'd grow 6' high then over 4' or so the top. That would provide shade all day to much of your run depending on the sun's angle. You'd have to weave them through the wire to train them, as you would the grape vine as it grew.

Brendasue

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:22AM
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strobiculate

campsis as hallucinogen? Could someone provide a source for that? Certain plants in Bignoniaceae can cause skin irritation if contact with wood is made, but nothing I've run across cites campsis (trumpet vine). source: Poisonous Plants, Frohne and Pfander.

I'd also question the validity of honeysuckle as poisonous. The most poisonous member of the genus is L. xylosteum, a shrub that would not be considered fir the purpose at hand. Even then, you'd have to eat a massive amount based on body weight, and while I don't know how chickens would respond, most animals only exhibit a slight to general lethargy that wears off in a day or two.

So I guess the question becomes, perennial or annual vine?

hops would work.

So would most any woody vine, of which there are a few.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:20PM
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akaj9(9 Central Florida)

I have had chickens for 10 years with Honeysuckle creating deep shade over it and some through it, and it only took a season or two to really establish itself....the chickens actual will roost on it....If it is poisonous it has not affecting mine, and they keep the perimeter well weeded.....I'll look for a picture....

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:23PM
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akaj9(9 Central Florida)

Trying to post pictures

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:49PM
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akaj9(9 Central Florida)

another one of vine

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:51PM
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stevin(6)

akaj9,
i wouild love to see a picture!!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:53PM
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brendasue(6)

I don't know about the scientific names of the plants. I do know that if it's listed as poisonous or toxic it's not something I'd want around my animals, and I have much more expensive animals than (and including) chickens. I'd much prefer to stick with known safe plants than take a chance.

Below are several links. I love the look of both plants but won't have them on the property because of a potential disaster. Also in reading the links there seems to be some contradictions, so who knows? The nurseries around here don't list if plants are toxic or not so internet lists like these are what I go by, if there's any doubt I don't buy it.

http://www.poultryhelp.com/toxicplants.html
Listed under toxic plants:

HONEYSUCKLE BUSH (Lonicera spp); berries; gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular and nervous systems affected by plant toxins.

TRUMPET VINE (Campsis spp.); leaves, flowers; plant also causes dermatitis.

ANGEL TRUMPET TREE (Brugmansia x candida); entire plant, esp. seeds; nervous system affected by belladonna alkaloids; plant contains hallucinogens.

http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/php/plants.php?action=display

Jimsonweed, Downy Thornapple, Devils Trumpet, Angels Trumpet

Commonly effected: cattle, humans, horses, goats
Plant parts: flowers, leaves, seeds
Toxins: atropine, scopalamine, and hyoscyamine

Honeysuckle not listed

http://www.vth.colostate.edu/poisonous_plants/report/report_detail_1.cfm?ID=408
Trumpet Vine listed as Poisonous

this site states Honeysuckle is (to animals):
http://www.canaryzoo.com/poisonous%20plant%20list.htm

Honeysuckle All, specially Berries Vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy.

This site says Honeysuckle isn't (to people)
http://www.chop.edu/service/poison-control-center/resources-for-families/berries-and-seeds.html

Yet a google search for honeysuckle poisonous lists many cat & dog sites stating it's poisonous the them.

Any thoughts on the links is appreciated.

Brendasue

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 8:31PM
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henhilton(8)

I grow my cucumber vines up the sides of the chicken run every summer. Sure, the chickens eat the ones that grow low inside, but there are plenty for all of us!

I may try the honeysuckle on the west side as a more permanent fix.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:24PM
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akaj9(9 Central Florida)

oh...I may try adding some cucs in the summer...I once grew birdhouse gourds and it was so cool as they all hung down....

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 7:53PM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

I agree on growing grape vines on the chicken run! Japanese beetles love grapes and you can just sweep the beetles with your arm off the foliage right into the chicken run, they go crazy for Japanese beetles. Very satisfying :)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 4:35PM
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mustangsrwild

I highly recommend vining rose bushes. I had some grow up the side of the house 12 feet, around a corner and over the eves onto the roof before I moved. It only took 2 years and I think that with the hardiness and hardness of the vines, plus thorns to repel the varmints, they would work well. Chicks would probably eat the rose hips. Only problem I ever had was aphid infestation, but a box of ladybugs took care of that. AWESOME to watch the little ladies munch down. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 2:01AM
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