by Lisa Steele Last evening on my way down to the barn, I stopped to grab a few handfuls of fresh herbs from the garden as I often do. I just snip whatever there is an abundance of, since all herbs have such great health benefits – to humans and chickens – and put scattered them in the nesting boxes and on floor of the coop.
Not giving much thought to the variety, I just snipped a few unruly plants and tossed them into the coop.
This morning when I let our hens out, I could have sworn the chickens were making pizza in there! Our coop smelled like an Italian pizzeria. I had inadvertently tossed in basil, oregano and parsley – the classic Italian combination.
Coincidentally, that particular selection of herbs is actually very beneficial, in addition to smelling pretty great!
Basil has antibacterial properties and also aids in mucous membrane health. As you may know, chickens are extremely susceptible to respiratory illness, so keeping their sinuses and mucous membranes in top-top shape is extremely beneficial.
Parsley is extremely high in vitamins and aids in blood vessel development. It is also considered a laying stimulant, which naturally is something from which chickens can benefit.
Oregano is one of the most beneficial herbs to which you can provide your flock access. It purportedly combats coccidia, the avian flu, blackhead, salmonella, e coli and infectious bronchitis.
There are many scientific and medical articles written on the subject of using oregano to treat coccidia specifically. Clearly, if even some of it is true, oregano is an herb you will want to grow for your chickens!
Although the benefits of herbs on chickens have not been extensively studied, there is no arguing that herbs do have positive effects on humans and have for centuries.
And they do have the added benefit of refreshing your coop and keeping it smelling pleasant. Although I just went down to collect eggs and now have a craving for pizza for dinner tonight…
Also try lemon balm/lavender or mint/rose petal combinations. I enjoy both those scents immensely, and I hope the chickens do too!
Leave a comment below telling us which herbs you have tried in your coop or nesting boxes.