Sweet Pea Question

GardenGeisha

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I'd like to plant vining flowers and veggies around my chicken run, which has a plastic mesh fence, perfect for vines to crawl up.

But sweet peas are poisonous. Do you think the chickens would eat sweet pea vines? I'm also considering edible peas, but would they destroy the vines, even if the vines are planted on the side of the fence that is outside their run?

I'm also considering morning glories, but once again they are considered poisonous.

I have read that chickens pretty much stay away from plants that are bad for them.

What do you think? It's about time to get the sweet peas/edible peas in the ground.
 

timberlane

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I tried to plant Hops along the fence of my chicken run. It didn't work out. As soon as it sprouted they ate it. My experience is that they eat almost anything. They ate all the leaves off of my Horseradish that was also close by. They don't seem to bother my herbs other than digging up all around them and exsposing the roots.
 

digitS'

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I am not sure if chickens have any idea about good/bad except for taste.

And even with taste, they are known for killing themselves from "hardware disease." Anyone know why broken glass, nails and screws might taste good?? Also, rhubarb leaves shouldn't taste so great but I had a pullet that seemed perfectly healthy until 1 afternoon when 3 birds found a rhubarb plant and completely ate all of 1 leaf. She died that night . . .

Anyway, boredom is going to prompt some of these dietary adventures, GardenGeisha. I wouldn't put anything in their pen that might be harmful for them to eat - no matter how carefully they seem to avoid it when they are free-ranging.

Could you set up a trellis a couple feet from their fence? I've often wondered why I don't see people talking about chicken pens & low coops between raised beds . . . maybe, people are talking about this, I just haven't been on BYC enuf ;).

Steve
 

lesa

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You can use pole beans. The trick ( and I am sure you know how I learned this..) is to plant the seeds at least 4-6 inches away from the fence they will crawl up. When the seeds are sprouted and beginning to reach- you can help them find the fence. I have also used bird house gourds for this purpose. As long as you plant the seeds on the outside of their area (out of their reach) I think you will have success.
 

so lucky

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I hear lots of people have morning glories where the chickens can get to them if they want, apparently with no ill-effects. I don't know about sweet peas; didn't realize they are poisonous for chickens. I think you may have a few problems when you try to clean the vines off the mesh fence in the fall/winter. Or if it is inexpensive, you might want to discard the vine-covered piece of mesh and put up a new one. I am planning to plant scarlet runner beans at my chicken fence. I will need to make a wire cage cylinder to grow them in till they get above chicken height. I thnk an edible pea sounds good. That way you wouldn't have to worry that it would be poisonous. ;)
 

GardenGeisha

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Interesting, Timberlane. My chickens don't eat my hops, just everything else!
 

GardenGeisha

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Oh, dear. I just remembered that 3 of my chickens escaped the run, and I uncovered the rhubarb this morning. Thanks for the heads up. Back soon!
 

The Mama Chicken

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Here is what I read about sweet peas and chickens, "Lathyrus spp. (CALEY PEA, SINGLETARY PEA, SWEET PEA, VETCHLING, WILD PEA); stems, seeds; nervous system affected by plant toxins."
Now that being said, my chickens eat stuff that is "supposed" to be bad for them all the time (including styrafoam) and have never had any problems.
 

GardenGeisha

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Whew! What a lot of work. Got them back in the run. Esther Mary was eating the neighbor's powdered sugar doughnuts off of the compost pile! Ick! She has a sweet tooth. Good thing I got her back inside. The good news is all 4 of my girls laid eggs today.

Steve. I have noticed chicken pens inbetween the raised beds at Wasatch Community Gardens here in Salt Lake City. That is a great use of space and a super idea!
 

GardenGeisha

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Lesa, That is a great idea to plant the seeds 4-6 inches away from the fence. I will try that! And, yes, edible peas sure make a lot of sense, and I have a lot of those.
 
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