Herbs in the Coop

Mar 06, 2023

In conjunction with high-quality feed, chicken-friendly plants can be a great accompaniment to the coop. Herbs provide many health benefits to chickens and are affordable and easy to incorporate.
Don’t worry, though — we don’t expect you to grow an entire herb garden just for the coop. After all, a little oregano or rosemary may be just what your morning omelet needs! However, when your plants are past their prime, consider giving them to your flock rather than throwing them out.
Here are four reasons to add herbs to your chicken coop:
  1. Many herbs act as a natural insect-repellant to drive away flies, mites, and other pests from the coop.
  2. Herbs can be a nutritious snack for chickens to peck at, and certain plants may even act as laying stimulants.
  3. Some fresh herbs and plant materials contain antimicrobial compounds that protect chicks from bacteria.
  4. Aromatic herbs will make your coop smell good.
Numerous herbs can be used in or around your coop. Listed below are some of the most common:
  • Oregano — the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb are known to strengthen chickens’ immune systems and guard against common poultry illnesses such as avian flu, infectious bronchitis, and salmonella.
  • Mint — the strong aroma of this herb makes it a natural deterrent to flies, mice, and bugs, and a great air freshener for the coop. It is also known to be soothing to chickens’ stomachs when consumed and can even help reduce respiratory issues.
  • Sage — this herb is nutritional to hens and can help to reduce internal parasites and prevent salmonella. Because of its soothing scent, chickens often love to entertain themselves by pecking at sage that has been scattered on the ground.
  • Lavender — the fragrance of this herb wards off pests and acts as a natural stress reliever which can be beneficial to laying and sitting hens. Lavender also increases blood circulation.  
  • Thyme — this herb contains antibacterial properties and aids in respiratory health. It has an added benefit of a citrusy smell that insects dislike.
  • Rosemary — this herb will help to soothe any pain your chickens may have.
  • Marigold — these flowers are high in phosphorus. The petals, when consumed by hens, contribute to beautiful golden yolks.
  • Chamomile — the fresh leaves and flowers of this herb are a great source of calcium for your chickens. It also kills lice and mites and repels fleas.
  • Dandelion — this perennial herb is packed full of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K and boasts high amounts of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
If you are using fresh herbs, simply pick a handful and put several sprigs in each nesting box. When using dried herbs, crush them up and mix them together in a small container, then sprinkle a little in each box on top of the bedding. There is no specific “recipe” you must use — you can make a dried herb mix from any combination of the above herbs depending on what you have available in your garden. Aromatic herbs can be gathered into bundles and hung around the coop.
Keep in mind that herbs are not a miracle fix for a poorly managed coop. You must still offer your flock high-quality feed and clean the coop regularly. However, adding herbs to the coop can be a natural and fun way to boost your efforts.
For poultry care and garden essentials, visit your local Co-op. Find the nearest location here. For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.

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