Herbs are amazing for chickens, and chicks love them to! I rip them up with my fingers or chop them so that way the chicks can eat them easily, because they’re to little to eat full sized ones yet! It seems like basil is a favorite, but they love anything green, it seems. Believe it or not, the herbs can actually help your chicks become healthier throughout their lives, and the chickens love them! I started giving my chicks herbs when they were three days old, but just to look at, not to eat. Showing them makes them more intrigued when they’re brave enough to try one! Then when they turned a week old I started to chop up some herbs and give it to them in small amounts. After all, they need to be filling up on their feed so they can grow!
*I’m not a vet or chicken expert, but I have to say that I’ve done a lot of research on what to give my chickens and the full breakdown of herbal benefits from a lot of chicken bloggers, so I hope you learn a thing or two! This is a list of herbs that I’ve planted and grown for my chickens, but there’s so many herbs that can be used, just do your research!
Herbs for the chicks:
- Basil: Aids in respiratory health and high in protein (It’s a flock favorite)
- Mint: Supports good feather growth as it’s full of protein and vitamins, and serves as a good insect repellent. It also spreads, so keep in mind to plant it in a large area.
- Oregano: One of the best herbs to give baby chicks and grown hens as it prevents and can help treat Coccidiosis. I personally have about three plants of it because I use it so much!
- Garlic: Great for immune systems (and it doesn’t taint the taste of eggs)
- Sage: Helps to fight Salmonella in chickens, good health booster
- Rosemary: Insect Repellent, feather growth, respiratory health
- Parsley: It’s easy to find, good for blood vessel development, and is full of vitamins
- Spearmint: Full of protein for strong bones and healthy feathers
- Thyme: Good for respiratory health
I have a ton of planters scattered around my yard, along with herb bushes around my house. I use herbs for teas, cooking, and the chickens, so having enough is important! also built the popular Pintrest idea of a raised garden bed in your chicken run. The lid is made the lid out of chicken wire so that way the herbs can grow through the holes easier. The idea is that when the herbs poke through the wire, the chickens can eat them. Otherwise the chickens will tear up the roots and plants, so protecting your plants is important! I planted Spearmint, Basil, two Oregano, Parsley, and Lemon Thyme in it, but have a rosemary bush in the run as well. I also have Thyme, Lavender, Mint, Peppermint, and Sage in herb planters, along with more of the herbs I planted in their run. I bet Lowes and Tractor Supply loved us this year!
Of course, what you feed your baby chicks and chickens is personal preference, I find that chickens who are exposed to grasses, weeds, and herbs have vitamin rich eggs with darker yolks, and are also healthier. I haven’t had health issues from my flock since I went natural, whereas before I defiantly had some issues, but I’m not necessarily saying that going natural was the fix. It’s something I believe in, and I think that knowing where your chickens treats, feed, grass, and herbs come from and what they do for your chickens is important, just like knowing where your food comes from as well. I like knowing that my chickens are now laying better eggs than commercial egg farm chickens, and that they are happy. Next time you buy eggs from the grocery store, crack one next to your free-range or grass and herbs eating chickens. Your chickens will likely have a darker yolk, depending on how good of a layer they are. I do agree that since not to much study has been done on herbs, but taking what they do for humans and observing on chickens has made a change in the way backyard chicken keepers feel. There’s so many blogs on natural chicken keeping, so pulling facts from them has made it easier for me to understand what I’m writing about.
*Again, I’ve thoroughly researched everything I’ve written about, and I really believe herbs have many super powers. We use them in cooking, and we cut them up for our chickens, so they have a two way benefit.
Dancing With Chickens