Whether you are new to the world of chicken keepers or a seasoned chicken keeping homesteader, adding herbs to your chickens’ diet is always a great idea. Herbs for chickens are a great way to use leftover herbs in your garden during a good growing season.
Fresh herbs, dried herbs, or even essential oils, offer a nutritional powerhouse and lots of health benefits for your flock.
Herbs For Chickens
Herbs for chickens can be used for respiratory issues, as a laying stimulant, as a natural insect repellent, lower body temperature, and boost your chicken’s immune system to support your backyard poultry overall health.
Many chicken owners follow a 90/10 rule for feeding. Provide complete feed for at least 90% of your chickens diet, and the remaining 10% can be filled with herbs, treats, scratch grains, etc. Some of the best herbs for chickens you could include in your chicken herb garden are culinary herbs. Common herbs like mint, bee balm, and lavender leaves are all wonderful additions.
Herbs For Chickens Nesting Boxes
Whether you are growing your own herbs for chickens, or buying herb mixes, there are a lot of herbs to choose from to help support the health of your flock. Some great herbs for chickens to include in your nesting boxes would be:
The first on our list of herbs for chickens is lavender is a natural stress reliever, which can benefit your laying hens while in the nest boxes. You can add it to your nesting boxes on a regular basis. Clean out your coops, and nesting boxes or refresh them and add more lavender either dry or fresh.
Mint is another wonderful herb to put in your chicken garden for use in your nesting boxes. Mint is a cooling herb that is safe for your flock to eat, and can help lower body temperatures- making it great for helping to keep your flock of backyard chickens cool during the summer. It’s also a great one for lowering stress and calming your birds.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, it was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety.
Catnip is another great herb for chickens that you can place in your nesting boxes. Catnip has a naturally calming effect.
Herbs For a Healthy Flock Immune System
Medicinal herbs are great herb choices for the chicken garden. Many help support respiratory health, are natural antibiotic, and have antibacterial properties. Here are some of our favorite herbs for chickens:
Oregano is a potent herb that is well known for its antibacterial & anti-parasitic properties, oregano is also chock full of vitamins, calcium, & antioxidants. It also supports a healthy immune & respiratory system. You can add it to their food as fresh or dried, or use oil of oregano in your backyard flocks water.
This herb is great for the general health of your chickens. It also acts as an antioxidant and can help combat salmonella. You can add this dried herb to your chicken’s daily feed or give it to your flock fresh.
Thyme can also act as a herbal antibiotic especially equipped to tackle respiratory infections and has antibiotic & antibacterial properties. Adding thyme to your chicken food can give them a great health boost.
Garlic is another great one to use for your chickens. Dried garlic or fresh chopped garlic can be added to your chicken food. Garlic is wonderful for respiratory health and to keep them from getting sick.
Rosemary is great for your backyard flock’s respiratory health and can help ease pain. You can also plant rosemary near your chicken run to help keep away insects.
Comfrey is a great option to include in your herbs for a chicken garden or pantry. This herb will provide your chickens with a vitamin boost because it has high levels of Vitamin B12 and A. This will also give your chicken’s eggs deep yellow yolks. This herb is a great source of low fiber and high protein for chickens.
Cilantro is a great herb for chickens! Chickens LOVE eating cilantro, this culinary herb is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. This herb can strengthen a chicken’s immune system and can help aid bone support. This herb is a great source of antioxidants, and the seeds have been shown to have anti-parasitic properties. This herb is best given to your flock fresh so they can eat it when they choose.
Herbs For Chicken Feed
One great way to include herbs for chickens is by incorporating them into your chicken feed. These potent herbs are a wonderful addition to your chicken feed, these are easy to grow and can be added either fresh or dried to your chicken feed.
This herb is very high in nutrients and will give your chickens a vitamin boost. Parsley can also aid in blood vessel development. You can give this to your chickens fresh so they can eat it as they want, or it can be added dry into their feed.
Marigolds are another great one to include in your chicken feed, they contain natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can make your egg yolks brighter.
Calendula has much the same benefit as marigolds and are great to add to your feed (or nesting boxes) fresh or dried year-round. This herb is known best for its healing properties. It also has high oleanolic acid content and is great for its antibacterial properties and antioxidant properties. Due to Calendula’s yellow petals, the color of your chicken’s egg yolks will be enhanced naturally. Calendula is also another great herb for helping repel insects naturally.
Some other great herbs for chickens to include in your herb garden:
How I Use Herbs For Chickens
We grow a variety of herbs in our gardens during a growing season, so it’s only natural that they find their way into our chicken coop, and chicken’s diet. Depending on the situation, we’ll use herbs in our nesting boxes for their peaceful properties or egg-stimulating benefits. We also will add them to their dust bath area, or as an herbal tea to their water bowls.
4 Reasons To Use Herbs In Nesting Boxes
- Wild birds out in nature use herbs as they build their nests to possibly shield the baby birds from bacteria, so they make a great addition to your chicken nesting boxes. Whether you are using fresh leaves or dried herbs they work wonderfully as herbal remedies for your flock. You can also add them to your chicken’s dust bath.
- Many aromatic herbs act as safe, natural insect repellents and may help drive away flies, mites, or other pests, and keep your chicken coop parasite-free.
- Some chickens like to munch on specific herbs, and certain plants may even act as egg production stimulants making them a great dietary supplement for your chickens.
- Herbs are a great way to make your coop smell awesome and provide your flock with a little “chicken aromatherapy,”.
Using Herbs For Chickens
Using herbs for chickens is a great choice to help support their good health and keep them happy. The use of herbs in and around your coop won’t solve all your problems if your coop is poorly managed, You’ll still need to be wise about how you are cleaning your coop and caring for your backyard flock.
We feed our chickens a high-quality layer feed locally milled, along with allowing them to free range our orchard looking for bugs. They also get plenty of food scraps and garden waste to enjoy.
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