By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you have a backyard flock of chickens? Would you like to grow fresh herbs for your birds’ enjoyment and to try to improve their health and surroundings naturally?
If so, you’re in the right spot. I’ve kept a backyard flock of chickens for almost ten years. Not only are chickens fun to watch, but they also produce delicious eggs.
By feeding your chickens fresh herbs it can help increase their laying production, keep bugs at bay, and more.
Here are the herbs you might want to introduce to your flock:
Comfrey is a beautiful, large herb with a base of green foliage and gorgeous purple blooms. Not only does this herb add beauty to your chicken yard, but it also could help your chickens.
In some cases, comfrey is good for treating your chickens if they have a minor scratch or skin irritation. It’s also good for helping your chickens’ digestion. If you need an herb that’s beautiful and functional, consider adding comfrey around your chicken run.
If you’ve ever smelled ginger, you know it has a distinct and potent scent. This comes in use when introduced to chickens.
When using ginger with your flock, it helps keep parasites under control in your coop. This herb is also helpful in disease prevention.
Dill is another scented herb that’s functional within the chicken coop. The scent helps to keep parasites at bay.
However, when consumed, dill serves as an antioxidant, is good for your chickens’ respiratory health, is a great source of protein, and helps reduce stress within your chickens.
4. Lemon Balm
If you like to invite bees to your home, growing lemon balm is a great way to draw them. Did you know this herb is also good for your chickens?
Lemon balm serves as an insecticide around the coop. Yet, it’s also a nice source of protein for your flock and can help your birds produce eggs with richer yolks.
5. Bee Balm
Bee balm is another herb that’s frequently grown to attract pollinators. However, this herb can be used to help your flock, too. When introducing bee balm to your flock, it could help with your chickens’ respiratory health.
If you’ve had chickens very long you understand how serious respiratory illness is to them. Therefore, anything that can help them in this area could be a great way to try to maintain your flock’s overall health.
Would you like to feed your chickens something that’s thought to help with their overall, general health? Think of it like a multivitamin for chickens.
Well, cilantro could be the herb. You can add cilantro to their feed, nesting boxes, or water to encourage your birds to partake in this herb and receive the potential health benefits.
Tarragon is another herb that is thought to help chickens with their overall health. I like to give my birds food for particular uses.
However, I also like to introduce things to their diet that’s meant to be good for them overall. Tarragon could be worth introducing to your flock if you’d like to give them a tasty treat that might keep them healthy.
Spearmint is one of those herbs that seems to be good for almost everyone. I grow spearmint because I drink three cups of spearmint tea per day to help with hormone health.
Though this herb may not keep your chickens’ hormones balanced, it can be added to their feed, water, or nesting boxes, as yet another way to encourage good health for your flock all the way around.
Rosemary is a gorgeous herb that carries a delicious fragrance wherever it grows. Not only is this herb nice to look at, but it may serve a purpose with your chickens as well.
It’s thought that rosemary works as a natural way to ease pain within your birds, its fresh scent helps deter bugs, and is another herb thought to help with respiratory health within chickens.
Yarrow is a larger plant that produces clusters of flowers in a variety of colors. Not only is this herb great for adding beauty around your chickens, it’s also useful within the flock.
For instance, it’s thought that yarrow can help reduce stress within your flock, it has antibacterial properties, and is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Anise is another plant that can be used fresh, dry, or you may use the plant’s seeds. The herb produces small blooms which cluster and provide subtle color to their growing space.
Aside from using the herb for looks, it might serve your chickens as a parasite prevention and is thought to help with disease prevention as well.
Thyme is a fragrant herb. If you’ve ever grown it or cooked with it, you know it doesn’t take much to get the job done.
However, should you grow the herb and have more than you can possibly use in the kitchen, use it in your chicken coop. It’s thought to help repel bugs, and it may help your chickens with their respiratory health.
Calendula produces bright yellow and orange flowers. They’re a great way to add charm to your chicken coop, but this is a functional herb as well.
When using calendula around your chickens, it’s thought to help your flock lay eggs with richer yolks. This herb is another way to repel insects from your coop as well.
Do you need an herb that will help keep your chickens healthy and keep parasites under control? If so, fennel might be for you.
This herb is thought to serve as a disease preventative. Plus, the fragrance of this plant is thought to help keep parasites at bay.
One thing I didn’t expect when raising chickens is the number of pests which hang around the coop. No matter how clean you keep your coop, it seems flies hang around. Plus, lice and mites seem to find your chickens as well.
If this is a concern of yours, consider introducing lemongrass to your flock. Its fragrance is thought to help repel insects.
One of the first things I introduced to my flock when I began raising chickens was garlic. I placed it in their water because garlic seems to be good for a little bit of everything.
Most people think garlic generally helps chickens’ circulatory systems. Plus, it contains anti-fungal properties and is thought to increase laying as well.
Sage is another beautiful herb to keep around your herb garden or as part of the landscape around your chicken coop.
Should you decide to keep sage in your nesting boxes, hanging around your coop, or placed in your chickens’ water, it might help boost your flock’s overall health. Sage is also thought to serve as an antioxidant for your birds.
Should you choose to grow oregano, it might be wise to grow it in a container because the plant can easily take over.
However, oregano may also serve your chickens well. When introducing it to your chickens, it’s thought to combat salmonella and bronchitis. Plus, it serves as a way to boost your birds’ immunity.
Mint is another herb that’s best grown in a container because it will come back bigger and better with each passing year, if grown in the right conditions.
However, this herb is also thought to be quite useful when it comes to chickens. The fragrance of the herb may help keep rodents and pests away. Mint serves as an antioxidant, is thought to help chickens’ respiratory systems, and might help aid in digestion.
Many people grow lavender for its beauty and relaxing properties. This herb can share these properties with your flock, too.
Lavender is known for reducing stress, its scent helps to keep pests at bay, and it’s thought to increase blood flow within chickens.
Basil is an easy herb to grow as long as it has rich soil, plenty of bright light, and warmth. This herb is also useful around your chicken coop.
You may place basil in nesting boxes, in your chickens’ food, in water, or hang it around the coop. In return, the herb is thought to help your chickens’ mucus membranes and has antibacterial properties.
Parsley is another common herb many people grow. If you have excess parsley, don’t let it go to waste. Instead, give it to your chickens.
This herb is high in vitamins which serves as a natural boost to your flock. Plus, parsley is thought to increase egg production.
Marjoram is another herb I enjoy as a tea because of its useful properties for humans, but did you know it’s thought to be helpful to chickens as well?
By giving your chickens marjoram, you could increase their egg production. Plus, some flock-owners use marjoram as a natural decongestant for their birds.
You may not realize that marigolds are an herb. However, they produce beautiful blooms and a unique fragrance that’s useful around your garden and with your chickens.
Whether gathering marigolds from around your property or using them in the landscape around your coop, they’re thought to keep bugs away and help reduce stress within your flock.
Our final herb that’s good for your chickens is nasturtium. This plant has a variety of uses within a chicken flock.
To start, the herb is thought to increase egg production. Plus, some use it as a dewormer, insecticide, and as a natural antibiotic as well.
Ways to Introduce Herbs to Your Backyard Flock
Now that we’ve discussed the herbs that could be good for your chickens and their potential benefits, it’s time to discuss the best ways to introduce them to your flock.
One option is to cut the herbs into small pieces and place them within chicken feed. The birds will peck up the herbs as they eat.
Another option is to place herbs in your chickens’ water. The herbs will infuse themselves into the water, and the birds may receive some benefits mentioned above by drinking.
A few other ways to use herbs around your chicken coop is to sprinkle them along the floor of the coop, hang them in bunches around your coop, or place them in nesting boxes.
These methods work best for herbs you’re using as a pest deterrent. However, hens will eat while they’re laying in the nesting box, so by placing the herbs in this location, not only should they serve as a deterrent, but your chickens may consume the herbs and receive other benefits as well.
The same can be said for herbs used along the floor of your coop. As chickens walk, they stop and peck. Therefore, they may eat the herbs beneath their feet.
You now have twenty-five different herbs that could be of use to your chicken flock. Plus, you know how to introduce the herbs to your birds.
Pick out the herbs you already have growing or would like to incorporate into the landscape of your coop. Then slowly introduce the plants to see which options produce the most benefits for your flock.