Many people know how useful herbs can be both for cooking and wellness, but did you know that you can use herbs for your chickens too? Growing herbs for chickens is easy and a good husbandry practice.
Herbs are easy to grow and many of them grow in less than “perfect” circumstances, making them a great way to spruce up your yard and pamper your flock at the same time.
Herbs have many different nutrients in them, and by adding them into your chickens diet, you can help them stay healthy and get those awesome gorgeous yolks that make raising your own eggs so wonderful.
If you aren’t aware of all the good reasons to grow herbs in your garden, check out 5 Reasons You Need To Learn About Herbs.
Growing Herbs for Chickens Is Easy
Chances are, you already have many herbs growing on your propeorty that are useful when raising chickens. And if you don’t, it’s easy to start your own in water from cuttings. Here’s how to start herbs from cuttings.
In fact, I didn’t realize how many of them there were until I read The Homesteader’s Natural Chicken Keeping Handbook by Amy Fewell. I’m a big fan of chicken books, so when I received a free review copy I was happy to page through it.
The book has a lot of great advice for new chicken keepers. I especially liked that Amy includes a glossary of chicken terms near the front of the book. I remember being a new chicken owner and wondering what the heck a pullet was!
However, what I found the most interesting to me personally is the wealth of information on herbs and chickens. I’m vaguely aware of simple things like putting lavender into nest boxes and stuff like that, but this has much more detail. I especially appreciated the section on which herbs to include in your chicken feed.
Here are some of my favorites, and why they make great additions to your flock’s feed!
Basil is super easy to grow. It grows in water and you can propagate it easily from cuttings. I almost always have more fresh basil than I can personally use. Adding basil into your chicken’s feed is a no brainer! It is high in antioxidants, which can encourage your birds to have a healthy immune system.
The king of permaculture wins again! High protein and tons of nutrients, comfrey can even replace some of your chicken’s feed. Bonus features is it’s great for the soil, easy to grow, and attracts pollinators.
I love my dandelions! Dandelions have tons of vitamins, including A, B6, C, K, calcium, and fiber. Don’t kill your dandelions with weed killer, feed them to your birds instead!
Another easy to grow herb! (Surprise! Or not, considering my plant killing proneness). Garlic has antibacterial properties, so many people like to add whole cloves into their chicken’s water weekly. Of course you can add it into their feed as well. Click here for more information on growing garlic.
In Amy Fewell’s book, she mentions letting chickens forage in her mint patch, then letting it regrow for the next year. My chickens have not shown much interest in eating my mint, however that may be a different story if they were fenced in. Given that mint can aid in digestion it’s probably worth giving a try!
Clover has so many beneficial uses as a cover crop, pollinator attractor, and pasture plant that there is no reason not to have it growing on your backyard homestead. It has benefits for the reproductive system, so this is a great one especially if you want to hatch out your own stock! Plus, it’ll save you feed costs.
Benefits of Growing Herbs For Chickens
The herbs listed above are just a few of those that have benefits for your backyard chickens. By adding herbs into your husbandry practices your chickens are more likely to be at their optimal health. You can avoid potential problems and expensive solutions.
Plus adding herbs into your feed will save you money, even if you are buying prepackaged chicken feed. You may not have the space, or even WANT to grow a patch of corn and soy for your birds, but it’s easy to add some attractive herbs around the homestead.
Herbs are an easy way to step up your chicken keeping with very little effort and lots of reward. If you want more details on using herbs with your chickens check out The Homesteader’s Natural Chicken Keeping HandbookThe Homesteader’s Natural Chicken Keeping Handbook.
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