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I was hoping someone may be able to help recommend an Autumn fragrant climbing type plant to go over/around our chicken and rabbit run. At this time of year with the amount of rain coming down it becomes a bit of a bog in some areas of the run and can be a bit smelly.
Most of the plants I have looked at seem to be summer smelling.
Any recommendations greatly appreciated.
This is a big ask Chris! Most fragrant climbers have done their thing, or will be a few more weeks away ( like Clematis armandii which flowers from Jan-March) or winter flowering Jasmine- Jasminum nudiflorum. The Clematis is a twiner so will take over any chicken wire it reaches but the Jasmine is a rambler, growing out between other plants or over fences etc.
If you have the room , plant shrubs instead anywhere nearby like Mahonia Midwinter Sun or Viburnum 'Deben' or 'Dawn'. As many as poss to compete with the ripe aroma of your animals! Hopethat helps!
If you are keeping animals in those conditions you need to address the root cause. The ground, if so wet will harbour germs, hence the smell. I advise you put a very deep layer of gravel and keep the area disinfected daily with an application of Vanodine V18. this is an approved disinfectant for poultry.You might also moving the huts to drier ground to allow it to recover.I have kept poultry for 20 years so I do appreciate your problems.
rabbits shouldn't be smelly at all. Do you keep them in the same enclosure as the chickens? They should be kept separately, as the chicken poo can make them ill. They also shouldn't run around on boggy ground. We usually recommend a more solid floor for rabbit runs, like stone slabs, as they are easier to clean, help keeping the rabbits' nails short, and prevent the rabbits from digging out and foxes from digging into the run. And then grow some grass in pots or trays, which you can swap around when they've been nibbled. When the rabbits are back in their hutch,you can hose down the floor.
With plants you need to be careful that you don't choose one which is toxic for the animals, if they can reach and nibble it. All my climbers are starting to go into winter break now, apart from the ivy, which isn't fragrant and shouldn't be eaten by rabbits.
I would try and improve the living conditions of the animals, and then there should not be any strong smell.
this is just in response to you needing a vine that is fragrant, Clematis terniflora or autumn clematis is a very fragrant vine, I cut it down 6-8 ft in Feb., it scrambles through my cedar. You will have to address the root of the problem and that I have no advice.
Thank you all for your replies, the rabbit and chickens live in close proximity but the rabbit has its own area.
I think its basically time for me to get in and give the place a major makeover! I clean the basics regularly but I'll get in there and give the whole run a good digging and I'll look to get the vanodine and clean it all up.
Thanks for the advice regarding the scented climbers etc as well, I'll look to perhaps mix climbers and poted plants just to help keep a sweet smell as opposed to the general poultry / rabbit / compost smell it tends to have in that part of the garden.
On a side note I was thinking of growing some hops, I know that they won't blossom as such at this time of the year, but does anyone know if they are harmful to chickens if they manage to nibble a few?
Apparently hop flowers have an antibiotic property which is good for the chickens digestive system. Not sure how you can stop them eating the shoots as they come through in the spring unless you plant it next to where they are allowed and train it in. Beware aware Hops are thugs, lovely for a year or two then they take over.If you can cover their run with clear corrugated plastic to keep the worst of the rain out this should help.You could then place a clematis over to provide shade.Chickens are woodland creatures and would feel safer from aerial predators You can dig in Lime to freshen the ground but they need to be kept off it for a couple of weeks. Another product I use is Stalosan F, this is a powder that is mixed in with the bedding and eliminates odours and germs but you should try to clean out the houses at the least weekly to avoid any and problems that can arise . I also use Hemp for bedding this absorbs moisture to a far greater rate than sawdust or shavings and make wonderful compost.
Sorry all you non chicken keepers for the long winded message.