10 Easy Herbs to Grow for Chickens to Keep Your Flock Healthy
Chickens benefit from herbs like humans, so add these herbs to grow for chickens in your garden this year.
Herbs are versatile and multi-purposeful from adding amazing flavors to your favorite soup to getting rid of an annoying headache. It feels like there is an herb for everything, and recently, I began to dive into adding. few herbs to grow for chickens in my garden.
Even if you aren’t an experienced gardener, you still can grow herbs. Many herbs are easy to grow because they aren’t as picky about their soil requirements and garden conditions. Some herbs are pennies, so if you plant them one time, you’ll harvest them for years to come.
Not all herbs are safe for poultry, so doing your research is essential before introducing herbs to your chickens. Most common herbs are safe for your chickens; some say that coriander isn’t safe, but that’s not an herb that I grow regular.y
If you grow any herbs, chances are they’re on the safe list, but not all have herbal benefits for chickens.
10 Herbs to Grow for Chickens
Often called pot marigolds, calendula belongs everywhere in your property from your herb garden to your chicken coop. I love to plant calendula alongside my vegetables because it helps to repel insects, and it does the same thing when placed inside your chicken coop and nesting boxes.
Growing calendula from seeds is easy, perfect for new gardeners, and they flower from mid summer to mid fall. Growing calendula for your flock has a few benefits, such as:
- When your chickens eat calendula, it gives their yolks a pretty orange color.
- It improves the color and health of your chicken’s beaks and feet.
- Calendula has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, so it can be used to treat cuts and scrapes. It also treats prolapsed vents and helps an egg-bound hen.
Comfrey is an ancient medicinal herb that is known for its ability to heal wounds and cure respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. It’s traditional name is knit bone because it’s said to help heal broken bones.
Not only is this one of the best herbs to grow for chickens, but it also has a place in your herb garden for you as well. Comfrey is beneficial to your chicken flock for a few reasons.
- You can make a comfrey salve to treat different injuries that your flock might experience.
- When fed to your flock, it helps to aid digestion.
Garlic is a plant that too many think is a veggie, but it’s actually an herb. It’s typically planted in the fall and harvested sometime in the following summer.
Garlic is full of medicinal properties for humans and animals. It’s known to be a natural antibiotic, but it is a bit controversial. Some say that garlic shouldn’t be fed to your flock because it contains thiosulfate, which destroys red blood cells.
While garlic doesn’t contain enough thiosulfate to kill your flock, it’s important not to use it daily. The minimum that you should use garlic is once per week with an amount based on the size of your flock.
Here are some reasons you might want to use garlic as a herb for your chickens.
- Garlic supports and strengthens the immune system, acting as a prebiotic for your gut health.
- Since garlic has antibacterial properties, you can use it to improve the respiratory health of your flock.
- When combined with other ingredients, garlic acts as a natural dewormer.
Is there an herb that is more beloved than lavender?
Lavender is known for being one of the most calming and relaxing herb for humans and animals alike. It also has one of the most appealing scents; that’s why you can find so many different lavender scented products in the stores.
Your flock will love lavender as much has you. Here are a few reasons to add lavender to your herb garden for chickens.
- Reduces the stress that your hens and flock experience.
- Lavender helps the circulatory system when your chickens breathe and ingest it. So, this herb helps your laying hens who don’t get up and move around as much.
- It helps to improve the smell in your coop or nesting boxes.
My flock loves mint; I have a few plants in my raised beds that I have to make sure I fence off or my chickens will eat the entire plant. Mint has tons of uses, and it’s so easy to grow.
It’s so easy that it spreads and sprawls across your garden if you forget to harvest it.
There are a few reasons why I love mint as one of the best herbs to grow for chickens.
- Mint lowers body temperature, so if you add it to their water in the summer, it helps your chickens stay cooler in the summer.
- The scent of mint helps your flock calm and relax, so it works great in nesting boxes or dust bathing areas.
- Mint helps to deter insects and rodents because they don’t like the smell of mint. So, you can hang bunches of mint in your coop to help discourage flies. No one likes flies in the coop!
You might not realize that there are TONS of mint varieties you can grow in your garden! I always have peppermint and spearmint, but if you want to get fancy, try chocolate or apple mint – YUM!
If you’re into medicinal herbs, you know that oregano is a powerhouse medicinal herb to grow in your garden. Oregano has strong antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties, plus it’s full of vitamins and supports a healthy immune system. It’s currently being studied as a natural antibiotic to be used in commercial poultry farms!
One of the benefits of growing oregano is that it’s quite easy to grow, but unlike growing mint, you don’t have to worry about it spreading all over the place and taking over your garden.
A few reasons why you want to give oregano to your flock include:
- It helps with a strong respiratory system, and since chickens are known for respiratory illnesses, this is important.
- When fed regularly to your flock, it helps to naturally combat e. coli, coccidiosis, salmonella, and avian flu because oregano strengthens their immune system.
- Oregano is full of antioxidants and vitamins that contribute to the health of your flock.
Most people think that parsley is simply a garnish for your dinner dishes, but it is an actually one of the best herbs to grow for chickens because it is high in nutrients. Your chickens will love it fresh or dried.
Trust me, they love parsley; my flock ate my parsley plants directly out of my herb garden this year!
Giving parsley to your chicken flock has several benefits, such as:
- It gives your flock a vitamin boost and helps increase blood vessel development.
- Parsley acts as a laying stimulant, so your chickens will lay more eggs. This is why it’s best to give parsley free choice to chickens rather than mixed in their feed.
- It’s considered an energetic herb that helps with warming and drying.
Rosemary is a perennial herb that thrives in full sunlight and sandy soil. Chickens love rosemary; I typically grow mine in containers or my flock will find the plants and eat them all while free-ranging.
When it comes to rosemary, it’s a strong medicinal herb, so I suggest not giving it to your chickens on a regular basis. It’s best to use these periodically for health maintenance or if you’re having a pest issue.
A few ways that you can use rosemary with your chickens include:
- Rosemary is a natural pain reliever for your flock, so if you have a chicken with an injury, using a rosemary salve is a great idea.
- This herb improves the respiratory health of your chickens.
- You can use rosemary to repel some insects, but it’s not the best herb for insect repelling.
- If your chickens struggle with digestive problems, then try rosemary.
Sage is another herb that has some amazing health benefits for humans and chickens, so providing this herb to your flock will help act as an antioxidant and improve their general health.
If you want to include sage as one of your herbs for chickens, it offers a few benefits, such as:
- Providing sage to your chickens helps to combat salmonella that might spread in your flock.
Thyme is one of the best aromatic herbs to repel insects because it has such a strong smell. If you hang thyme bundles in your coop or nesting boxes, it helps to keep pests away. Plus, humans enjoy the scent, especially if you grow lemon thyme that has a delicious citrusy smell.
Adding thyme to your list of herbs to grow for chickens is a great idea. It has plenty of uses, such as:
- Thyme acts as an herbal antibiotic that treats respiratory infections, and it also has antibacterial properties to treat other infections.
- If you add thyme to your flock’s feed, it gives them a health boost that they most definitely appreciate.
- Use thyme to create a natural fly spray to keep flies out of your chicken coop. All you have to do is steep thyme in white vinegar for several weeks.
5 Ways to Use Herbs to Grow for Chickens
1. Fresh Eating
The easiest way to use herbs for chickens is by giving them to eat fresh. If your chickens free range, leaving access to your herb garden gives your chickens a simple way to enjoy these plants without you needing to do anything.
If you don’t have free-range chickens, try harvesting some herbs and leaving them out for your chickens to eat on a platter a few times per week.
2. Mixed in Their Feed
Instead of giving your chickens fresh herbs, you also can dry the herbs and mix them into their feed.
3. Hang for Aromatic Benefits
Chicken coops sometimes have a bit of a strange smell, so one way to use herbs for chickens is to hang a bundle of fresh herbs. You also can make a homemade chicken coop spray to help with the smell in the strange smells.
4. Keep Nesting Boxes Fragrant
Try sprinkling some dried or fresh herbs in your nesting boxes to help with the fragrance. Your hens will appreciate the nice scents, and all you have to do is remove the leftovers whenever you clean your nesting boxes or coops.
5. Clean Your Coop
You can make a DIY coop cleaning spray with some of the herbs, or sprinkle them into the bedding to keep your coop fresh. Many herbs have cleansing properties, so try steeping some with vinegar to make a homemade cleaner.
Giving Herbs to Your Flock
Herbs won’t solve all your problems, nor do I think they should replace medications if your chicken is sick. However, I suggest adding a few of these herbs to grow for chickens in your gardens to help keep your flock happy and healthy.
Thank you so much for this wonderful and helpful information. We are new to having chickens and want to be as natural as possible. I really do appreciate this very much.