Want Healthier Chickens? Try Feeding them These Herbs
One of the biggest things that we can do for homestead chickens is to give them healthy food. Even if you are letting them forage on insects, in your garden, or around your back yard, it’s important to supplement and round out their diets. Remember, whatever the chickens feed on will impact what gets passed on to us, so let’s see how we can make their, and our, food sources healthier with herbs.
There is a developing sense that oregano can significantly reduce the spread of many diseases within chicken coops and hen houses. This could be due to the antibiotic properties of this common herb. There are also a number of other nutrients that make oregano the first and most important herb to give to your chickens. All you need to do is place bunches around their feeding area and let them peck at them, or you can also cut it up and incorporate it into their feed.
This is another powerful antibacterial herb, and it has been linked to reducing salmonella outbreaks in organic farms. You can add sage to their feed, or place it where the chickens can peck at the herb. You can also put some sprigs or pieces into their drinking water as well. Sage is almost important as oregano, so it should be a staple herb to give your chickens on a regular basis.
You know about aromatherapy, or how you can have certain herbs in teas to enhance moods, right? Well, apparently chickens benefit from some calming influences as well. Lavender seems to have the ability to help chickens be less aggressive, more relaxed during laying and generally a bit more agreeable overall. Consequently, it can’t hurt to try it out for yourself. All you need to do is place some of the herb in nesting or sleeping areas, and the chicken can peck away or take in the aroma. No kidding. You can also incorporate lavender into their feed as well.
Mint has more practical uses than nutritional benefits. However, chickens will peck at and enjoy fresh mint. The mint can be placed in nesting areas along with lavender in order help to relax hens and promote egg-laying. It can also be placed around hen houses and the coop in order to repel a number of insects who do not like the smell.
Marigold and Comfrey
Marigold petals are another great insect repellent, and they are also thought to deepen the yellow color of the egg yolk as well. Comfrey is an herb that is easy to get and easy to grow. It is a well-known medicinal herb that can be applied to chickens who have wounds. The best way to use this remedy is to make a salve. Just boil the comfrey into a tea before adding some beeswax or coconut oil to thicken it up into a cream. Comfrey has also been attributed to helping promote wound healing in humans, so it may be worth having around.
These are just a few examples of how chickens can benefit from an herb-rich diet. Take some time to research what other herbs can be added to their feed to promote a more nutritious diet. Remember that raising healthier chickens now can translate into more eggs and better, more nutritional meat later. So, if herbs helps, it’s definitely worth trying.