The addition of herbs to a human’s diet adds flavor and health benefits. Did you know that herbs can do the same for chickens?
Many of these herbs are perennials allowing for a one-time investment of a recurring nutritional, medicinal, and immune-boosting food resource.
Have you ever thought about growing herbs for your flock?
Here are five herbs to get you started on that journey.
Mint is so easy to grow, and a must-have for your flock. There are several different kinds of mint, spearmint, chocolate mint, peppermint, and the list goes on. Mint is a wandering plant, so it will spread if not placed in a container or devoured by your chickens. A few plants go a long way, so space them out and be ready for an explosion of plants the next year.
The aromatic smell of mint helps to repel rodents and insects. To get the best rodent protection using mint, plant it liberally around your coop and run. Your ladies will love to snatch a leaf through the fencing, and the rodents and insects will stay away.
The scent also has a calming effect for your flock along with aiding in respiratory health, so scatter leaves in nesting boxes and dust baths.
One of the most significant benefits of mint, however, is it contributes to an increase in egg size, thickening of the eggshell, and expanding overall egg production. Chop the mint and add to the chicken’s feed to gain this benefit along with aiding indigestion.
Basil is another remarkable annual herb in your arsenal of natural solutions. As your chickens eat it, back it pops with new leaves and stems!
Extremely nutritious, basil has loads of protein, Vitamin K, and iron. Hens that regularly eat basil have a deeper orange colored yolk.
Drying basil and then crushing it up to put into feed all year round is a great way to keep the immune-boosting properties prevalent in your flock.
Basil also is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and increases circulatory and health in the mucous membrane area. Chickens deal with respiratory issues, especially in the winter months, so healthy sinuses help in prevention.
Other ways to make basil accessible to your flock are to add it around the outside of the run, hang bunches in the coop, or you could even add a coop window box or two for dinner at any time.
Another great aid in respiratory health is oregano. Plant this perennial herb outside of the run but leave room for it to widen. It doesn’t multiply like mint, but it does increase in width every year.
Oregano is an antioxidant, immune booster, and assists in the battle against parasites. It is also highly nutritious with loads of vitamins and calcium.
Add chopped oregano to feed or steep in water to add to your flocks daily nourishment or hand bunches in the coop for winter enjoying.
Comfrey is a favorite among our fine-feathered beauties, and the benefits are both medicinal and nutritional. This perennial plant would make a great addition around your run or in any spot in your yard where your hens free-range.
Comfrey, also known as knitbone, increases bone and artery growth, as its name implies. It also is a good source of protein, B12, and aids indigestion.
You may have to look a little more for this plant as it’s not a “common” herb, but there are online sources to purchase it.
To round out our favorite herbs is parsley. Just as it adorns plates for garnishment and aids in digestion for humans, it can be a benefit to chickens.
Parsley is a biennial, so replanting occurs every two years, but accessibility in the outer run garden will add some rich vitamins and minerals to the flock’s diet.
If you’re growing it in your garden, it is best to harvest it when the leaves curl, but both the stems and leaves are edible.
The most exciting attribute of parsley for your ladies is that it helps promote egg-laying and what chicken owner isn’t happy about that?
There are a number of herbs safe for chickens and if you’d like to learn more don’t miss the book Fresh Eggs Daily, it’s chock full of herby goodness for your chickens!
Have you started an herb garden for your chickens? What herbs does your flock enjoy the most?