Chickens are widely regarded as one of the most well-liked domesticated birds. Meat, eggs, & feathers are just some of the reasons they’re kept. A coop or outside enclosure is the typical housing for a flock of chickens.
Whether or not pine trees present a danger to chickens is a common concern among chicken keepers. In this article, we’ll discuss the merits and drawbacks of housing poultry in the shade of pine trees.
Why it’s a good idea to keep house chickens in pine groves
When temperatures soar, hens can cool themselves in the shade of a pine tree. Overheated chickens are a common problem in the summertime; pine trees offer welcome shade. The shade of the trees provides a cool and safe place for the chickens to rest.
- Predator safety
Chickens can also take refuge in pine trees from predators. Predators like hawks & owls may have a harder time snatching a chicken when there are pine trees around.
Pine trees can also make it harder for predators like foxes & raccoons to gain access to the chicken coop because of their dense foliage.
Foraging chickens can find a variety of delectable goodies in pine trees. Pine boughs, pine needles, as well as other bits of vegetation, can supply essential vitamins and minerals to chickens, and the birds like nibbling on them.
- Natural Setting
Chickens may feel more at home in a setting with pine trees. Chickens are native forest dwellers, and a pine tree forest can provide a suitable setting for them. Chickens can do things like scratch the ground, take dust baths, and peck at things like nature intended.
Problems that arise when hens are kept among pine trees
- Pine needles
Pine needles can get stuck in the chickens’ feet, which is a major problem when keeping hens under pine trees. The stinging needles of pine trees can hurt or even kill hens. This is especially challenging for birds like Silkies, who have feathered feet.
- Acidic Soil
Pine trees have been shown to increase soil acidity. This can hinder plant growth, decreasing the amount of food available for the hens. In addition, acidic soil might cause gastrointestinal problems in hens if they eat too many pine needles.
- Pinene sap
Pine tree sap is notoriously sticky and challenging to wash out of clothing and feathers. A chicken’s ability to fly or keep warm may be compromised if it has sap on its feathers. In addition, if a chicken eats sap, it can lead to gastrointestinal problems.
- Cones of pine
Pine cones are a popular chicken treat, but they pose a serious hazard if swallowed. A pine cone, if swallowed whole by a chicken, could get stuck in its esophagus.
You May Also Read:
Mitigating the disadvantages
- Maintain a clean coop
It is essential to maintain a clean chicken coop to avoid issues with pine needles and sap. Sweep the coop frequently to remove pine needles and other debris which may have blown in.
- Provide a balanced eating plan
A diversified diet is especially vital for hens if the soil underneath the pine trees is just too acidic for plant growth. Vegetables, fruits, as well as other delights can be added to their feed to round out their nutritional intake.
- Reduce overhanging limbs
Reducing the lower branches of the pine trees can protect the chickens from getting pine needles lodged in their feet. This will also facilitate chickens’ freedom of movement among the tree canopies.
- Check on the hens every so often
Chickens should never be left unattended in an area with pine trees. This will allow you to keep an eye on them & make sure they aren’t eating too many pine cones or needles. Help prevent a more serious problem by removing the sap from a chicken’s feathers if you see any.
- Create a barrier
You may want to install a barrier to prevent pine needles and other trash from entering the chicken coop. Covering the coop with a tarp or plastic sheeting or erecting a fence around the pine trees are both easy ways to achieve this.
- Make available various perches for roosting
Chickens may seek out tree branches at night as a safe haven, but pine trees might not have been the greatest choice. Perches or branches less apt to have sap or needles could be provided as alternate roosting locations.
There are pros and cons to raising chickens under pine trees, but if done right, your hens will have a comfortable and secure home. Pine trees can make a yard safer for chickens to roam and forage in by blocking the view of potential predators.
Pine needles, acidic soil, & sap can all pose risks, so it’s crucial to be aware of them and take precautions. Chickens can do well under pine trees if special attention is paid to them.