6 Chicken Friendly Shrubs

If you love chickens and have some roaming around your yard (and gardens), you may be wondering:

What shrubs are safe for chickens?

Is it okay for them to be eating this kind of shrub? 

As I’m sure you have found out they’ll try to eat anything they can, whether you want them to or not. You’re in luck, below is a list of shrubs that are all safe for your chickens, because even gardens that are scavenged by chickens deserve to be beautiful. 

A chicken standing with proven winners colorchoice plants gathered around it


Arctic Fire® Red and Yellow and Arctic Sun® add great color to your landscape in all seasons due to their brightly colored stems that pop in the winter and green foliage with white blooms in the spring.

  • ARCTIC FIRE® Red Red Twig Dogwood

    Arctic Fire® dogwood is a magical addition to any garden, but especially those that embrace a winter display or native plants. It produces tiny white flowers in the springtime, supporting local pollinators first and later on supporting wildlife with little berries. Thankfully it doesn’t support deer, however, as it rarely suffers from browsing damage. This selection is much smaller than the typical option, growing half the size of the gigantic red twig dogwoods you see out in nature. It’s perfect for building up borders, cut flower gardens, or using in drifts to create an impressive display for fall and winter.

    Why grow Arctic Fire® dogwood?

    • Deer resistant
    • Very compact size
    • Supports pollinators
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  • 3D Model
    ARCTIC SUN® Red Twig Dogwood

    A compact version of ‘Winter Flame’, its colorful stems flicker yellow, orange and red across the winter landscape. Fits well into smaller landscapes.

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  • ARCTIC FIRE® Yellow Red-Twig Dogwood

    Arctic Fire Yellow red-twig dogwood was a selection of the native species found here in North America, Cornus sericea (syn. Cornus stolonifera). It has all the same durability as the red-twig dogwoods you might be familiar with, but in a lovely shade of yellow instead! When grown in a mass or as a hedge, its bare yellow branches make an unforgettable view in late fall and all throughout winter. In spring, it’s dotted with groupings of fluffy white flowers, which, if pollinated, turn into bright white berries in late summer or early fall. It’s a great plant for cutting gardens as its stems make a great presence in fall and winter displays. It also enjoys semi-regular pruning, so harvesting stems will not disfigure your plant.

    Why grow Arctic Fire Yellow red-twig dogwood?

    • Great appeal in winter landscapes and arrangements
    • Native to North America
    • Attracts pollinators
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Many types of barberry are all chicken safe, including Sunjoy Mini Maroon®, Sunjoy Sequins®, Sunjoy® Citrus! Another great feature to help deter chickens is that they have thorns, a chicken is not going to want to mess with a plant with thorns.

  • Deer Proof

    Sunjoy Mini Maroon® barberry combines everything you love about barberry –  deep purple-red foliage, super easy to grow, incredible deer resistance – yet takes away the thing you don’t love about it. That’s because Sunjoy Mini Maroon barberry is non-invasive! It’s a truly innovative plant from Dr. Tom Ranney of NCSU. Its naturally compact habit requires no trimming, pruning, or training. Simply plant it in a sunny spot and let it bring season-long color and interest to your landscape.

    Why grow Sunjoy Mini Maroon barberry?

    • Non-invasive barberry won’t spread by seed
    • Dramatic color
    • Easy care and deer resistant

    Sunjoy Mini Maroon habit icon

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  • Deer Proof
    3D Model
    SUNJOY SEQUINS® Barberry

    Sunjoy Sequins® barberry represents a unique new look for this always-popular landscape shrub. In spring, its new growth emerges spotted white, pink, and green. As the summer progresses, foliage matures to green, but new growth follows that same colorful, artistic pattern. When days get shorter and temperatures begin to cool in late summer, the plant begins taking on pleasing pink tones for an amazing multi-color effect. Like all barberries, it is deer resistant and easy to care for. Sunjoy Sequins barberry is on the larger side, making it perfect for hedges and foundation plantings.

    Why grow Sunjoy Sequins barberry?

    • Variegated foliage provides lots of color in the garden or landscape
    • Dynamic display undergoes changes through the season
    • Easy care and deer resistant

    Sunjoy Sequins habit icon

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  • Deer Proof
    SUNJOY® Citrus Barberry

    If it’s low-maintenance color you’re after, Sunjoy Citrus® barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is the solution! This ground-hugging mounded barberry has bright yellow foliage that maintains its color even in full, hot sun. Pair it with something contrasting for an eye-popping effect, or play off the golden tones with white and green for a more subdued look. Thanks to its dense, compact habit, it needs no pruning or special care, and like all barberries, displays exceptional deer resistance.

    Why grow Sunjoy Citrus barberry?

    • Needs no pruning or maintenance
    • Very deer resistant
    • Bright gold foliage all season long

    Sunjoy Citrus habit icon

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TORTUGA® Juniper provides a great low mound of green foliage, perfect for the most difficult locations where you still want some green. 

  • 3D Model
    GIN FIZZ® Juniper

    Superb berry set + supreme durability. It’s the berries that give gin its characteristic flavor, and it’s the berries that make Gin Fizz® juniper extra special. Deep evergreen foliage provides a handsome background to set off the abundant crop of sage green and blue fruits. Conical habit makes this sun-loving, deer resistant evergreen versatile in the landscape.

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  • Deer Proof
    MONTANA MOSS® Juniper

    Lovely texture in a durable groundcover. Montana Moss® juniper brings a refreshing blue-green tone to groundcover junipers. Its moss-like foliage is soft to the touch; its ability to withstand deer, drought, heat, and sun makes it a new go-to choice for those who need tough evergreen groundcovers.

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  • TORTUGA® Juniper

    Tortuga juniper is a super-tough selection of our native common juniper (Juniperus communis) that naturally grows as a neat, low mound of fluffy, jade green foliage. The perfect plant for even the most difficult locations, it tolerates deer, drought, dry soil, air pollution, poor fertility, mountain goats, polar vortexes, black walnut toxicity, sand, rocks, ground hogs, limestone, and road salt, just to name a few challenges. An ideal choice for adding evergreen interest to the edge of sidewalks, the front of beds, or even as a Ground cover.

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Dark Lavender Chiffon®, Blue Chiffon®, and Paraplu Pink Ink® are beautiful pops of color to add to your garden. They benefit from yearly fertilization and your chickens can help by creating and spreading their own natural fertilizer while they free range around this shrub.

  • Blue CHIFFON® Rose of Sharon

    Large puffed flowers would make Blue Chiffon® rose of Sharon special enough, but the rich blue color sends it beyond that. It’s a valuable addition to the late summer garden where it stands out as a specimen or ties the entire space together with other blue-flowered shrubs or perennials. With a tolerance for clay soil, black walnut trees, deer, drought, and heat, it can bring beauty to many tough spots.

    Why grow Blue Chiffon® rose of Sharon?

    • Eye-catching true blue flowers
    • Easy care maintenance
    • Long bloom time
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  • Dark Lavender CHIFFON® Rose of Sharon

    More is better when it comes to rose of Sharon flowers. And Dark Lavender Chiffon certainly delivers more, literally and aesthetically. Its flowers are ruffled and double, providing interest in a way that older single varieties just can’t. These blooms arrive in great numbers and pepper its large habit in the summertime. Each bloom is a mellow medium purple, darker than the original pale purple Lavender Chiffon. Altogether it creates a decidedly exciting, but refined show. It generally grows taller than wide, giving it great utility as a specimen or hedge.

    Why grow Dark Lavender Chiffon rose of Sharon?

    • Fabulous medium purple coloring
    • Ruffled double flowers
    • Useful taller-than-wide habit
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  • PARAPLU PINK INK® Rose of Sharon

    We selected this variety from Minier Nurseries in France for the size of its blooms and its unusual color. Each pure white, satellite dish-like bloom is painted, tie-dye style, with red and pink from the inside to the edges. Abundant flower set, coupled with the bright green leaves, creates an incredible effect in the landscape.

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Whether you are looking for bright white blooms or a pop of color, there are over a dozen varieties of this shrub to complete your garden. Add white with some Yin® or Yang® or maybe some pink with Sweet Talker® or even some with colorful fruit like Glitters & Glows or Brandywine™.

  • BRANDYWINE™ Witherod Viburnum

    Plant Brandywine viburnum (Viburnum nudum) and partake in one of the most beautiful berry displays in the plant kingdom! The show starts in late spring, when it bears clusters of foamy white flowers. Handsome, glossy green foliage carries it through summer. Late in August, the green berries, practically hidden among the foliage, turn ivory, then vivid pink, then blue. Each berry cluster often displays all three colors at once for a truly memorable effect! As the berries change color, so does the foliage, taking on a vivid red that makes the berries seem even more colorful.

    Brandywine viburnum is a North American native species that was selected for its more refined, compact habit (5-6′ tall and wide, versus 10’+ in the wild), and its abundant set of flowers and berries. Brandywine viburnum does not require a different variety to pollinate it, however, it serves to pollinate the variety ‘Winterthur’, in which case both plants will bear abundant fruit.

    Why grow Brandywine viburnum?

    • Uniquely colorful berries in fall: ivory, pink, and blue, often all at once
    • Bright red fall foliage makes the display truly unforgettable
    • Native to North America, with a compact, landscape-friendly habit
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  • SWEET TALKER® Viburnum

    This plant soothes many worries. Sweet Talker viburnum handles many common garden problems with grace. It’s tolerant to heat and salt and resists deer and viburnum beetles. Thanks to its size it works nicely as a privacy hedge or screen. It’s semi-evergreen foliage keeps you entertained and away from prying eyes. Speaking of its foliage, it is actually noteworthy of its own accord. For the most part, it is thick and glossy, but it’s especially lovely in spring and fall when it takes on lovely burgundy tones. These touches of burgundy play well with the sprays of tiny, pale pink flowers that pop up in the springtime. Best yet, those blooms aren’t too little to pack a powerful fragrance. Enjoy this spicy honey scent wherever you’d like – as a hedge, specimen, perhaps even as a limbed up little tree? You decide!

    Why plant Sweet Talker viburnum?

    • Tolerates many pesky conditions
    • Lovely foliage coloring in spring and fall
    • Very fragrant flowers
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  • YANG® David Viburnum

    Yang viburnum is an elegant, compact evergreen hybrid (V. davidii x V. propinquum) that has thick, glossy, bluish-green leaves and showy round clusters of white spring flowers. The flowers are followed by elliptical blue fruit if pollinated by Yin® viburnum.

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  • YIN® David Viburnum

    Yin® – an elegant, compact evergreen viburnum hybrid between V. davidii x V. propinquum that combines the beauty of David viburnum with the heat tolerance of Chinese viburnum. Thick, glossy, three veined, bluish-green leaves and showy round clusters of white spring flowers. The flowers are followed by bright blue berries if pollinated by Yang® viburnum.

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  • GLITTERS & GLOWS® Arrowwood Viburnum

    Better together! You don’t have to worry whether you’re buying the right pollinator for your arrowwood viburnum, because you’re buying two compatible plants in one pot. You’ll get All That Glitters and All That Glows viburnums together so you’re guaranteed to get beautiful blue berries in your garden no matter what. These are smaller than other Viburnum dentatum, so they can be tucked neatly into any spot you could imagine. At the front of the border, in a low hedge next to your driveway, or flanking your front porch steps. When they’re not in flower or covered in bunches of berries, you’ll notice their shiny leaves catch the light beautifully. It makes a great companion to other shrubs with interesting foliage and other native plants.

    Why grow All That Glitters and All That Glows viburnums?

    • Native to North America
    • Berries support wildlife and flowers support pollinators
    • Convenient, compact size
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Such a beautiful addition to your garden and they even come with their own self-defense mechanisms – thorns! Those will help keep the chickens away!

Chicken standing beside a reminiscent coral rose in a Proven Winners Colorchoice white pot
  • 3D Model
    OSO EASY® SUNORITA® Landscape Rose

    A disease resistant rose with a sunny glow. Gold, yellow, and orange colors, to be exact. A sturdy, vigorous shrub rose, it blooms perpetually on a mass of glossy, dark green foliage.

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  • 3D Model

    High performance color! We know we’re not supposed to play favorites with our 300+ shrub varieties, but with Oso Easy Italian Ice rose, it’s hard not to. Big, full blooms sport a lush saturated pink on the outer petals, transitioning to a soft yellow inside. It blooms all summer without deadheading, and you’ll find the color becomes even more intense in autumn. Easy care disease-resistant foliage makes it as easy to care for as it is to love.

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  • REMINISCENT® Pink Rose

    Reminiscent® roses represent a new day for rose lovers, combining the classic beauty and fragrance of old-fashioned roses with modern-day performance. They were developed in Serbia by a breeding team that is devoted to bringing out the best in color, fragrance, petal count, and flower power. Available in North America for the very first time, Reminiscent roses will be the roses everyone’s looking for at their local garden center.

    Reminiscent® Pink rose calls to mind the glory days of roses, with roots that metaphorically harken back to Joséphine’s Malmaison: those big, lush blooms, bursting with petals, pure color, and powerful fragrance. Yet it comes with none of the issues that plague old roses, and it blooms all summer without deadheading. Rediscover what you love about roses!

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2 Bonus Chicken Safe Shrubs

The great smell of these shrubs may attract your chickens, so they might enjoy eating this one a little bit more – but it can still be a beautiful addition to your garden.

  • BABY KIM® Lilac

    Baby Kim lilac has a more dwarf compact habit, darker purple blooms, and does not fade to white. It’s also about half the size, naturally growing as a tidy and appealing little mound. Great fragrance, disease resistance, and landscape performance.

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  • BLOOMERANG® Dark Purple Lilac

    Extend the bloom season of lilacs with this Long blooming variety. Larger than the original Bloomerang®, Dark Purple has larger, more rounded inflorescences. The flowers are very showy and fragrant. It will rest for several weeks after the spring bloom, then flower again from mid-Summer, Fall.

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  • LO & BEHOLD® ‘Purple Haze’ Butterfly Bush

    The uniquely low-spreading, horizontal habit of Lo & Behold® ‘Purple Haze’ butterfly bush makes it ideal for mass plantings. The dark purple flowers arch downward for a distinctive effect. Its flower show starts in mid-summer and lasts until frost, delighting gardeners who love the fragrance and pollinators passing by.

    Why grow Lo & Behold ‘Purple Haze’ butterfly bush?

    • Reliable pollinator plant
    • Easy care regimen
    • Non-invasive

    Purple Haze habit icon

    Add to Wishlist

For more on keeping your plants safe – check out “12 tips to help chicken-proof your garden.”

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Written by
Picture of McKenna


I am new to the gardening scene and love sharing information and inspiration as I continue to learn and grow with my garden. My sunny and small apartment balcony in USDA zone 6 is the current source of my gardening inspiration. I have filled this small space with herbs, vegetables, shrubs, and more as I continue to search for a house to fulfill my gardening dreams. I also will be sharing interesting tips on gardening with chickens as I grew up showing, breeding, and raising them.


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