I have recently stumbled across the many benefits of feeding herbs to chickens. Whilst being a firm believer in the positive effect of herbs and natural remedies on the human body I don't know why I didn't investigate the prospect of using them on the livestock sooner.
Having researched the subject to see what was appropriate we started to add herbs to the chickens water and if you keep hens I would strongly urge you to try it too! 48 hours after starting to use Hen Elixir we saw a somewhat dramatic change, the egg on the left is from the same hen as the one on the right just two days apart.
|The Power of Plants|
Two days after starting to give our flock Hen Elixir the size of the eggs they were laying almost doubled and we got TWO double yolkers in one day!
For our Hen Elixir we add 3 crushed garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of ACV and add it to their daily drinking water with a handful of fresh herbs (find what works for you/grows locally and use that, we use Rosemary and Thyme at the moment because they are abundant locally).
Just be sure to let the garlic stand for 10 minutes after it is sliced/chopped/crushed because it is exposure to the air that creates Allicin, which is what we need for the health benefits of garlic to work.
Some of the many benefits of feeding your chickens Garlic are:
- Repels ticks, fleas, mites and lice
- Can act as a natural wormer
- Immune system booster
- Aids in respiratory health
- Controls the odor of manure
Whilst the Apple Cider Vinegar can:
- Balance ph levels in the body
- Creates environment inhospitable to bad bacteria
- Aids in digestive health
- Aids in absorption of calcium and other nutrients
- Results in healthy mucus flow
- Combats coccidiosis
I've now also gotten on to the idea of keeping fresh herbs in the coop for the girls. In nature some birds have been observed to gather herbs for their nests and it is thought that aswell as the various health benefits they provide they also help to repel rodents and mask the scent of any newborns from predators. I've started to add fresh wild herbs to the coop and nesting boxes to help calm and comfort our girls whilst they're laying.
|Thyme, Curry Plant and Rosemary picked fresh from the mountains|
I have just been experimenting with what is available wild locally but I'm now designing what herbs I will grow around the chickens area when we move to our land.
For a great list of the benefits of different herbs for chickens check out Fresh Eggs Daily by Lisa Steele. Lisa recommends the following herbs as her Top Ten for Hens:
Basil – antibacterial, mucous membrane health
Garlic – laying stimulant, anti-fungal, benefits circulation system
Lavender – stress reliever, increases blood circulation, highly aromatic, insecticide
Marigolds – stress reliever, increases blood circulation, highly aromatic, insecticide
Marjoram – laying stimulant, anti-inflammatory, decongestant, improves blood circulation, detoxifier
Mint – insecticide and rodent repellent, antioxidant, aids in respiratory health, digestive aid, lowers body temperature naturally.
Nasturtium – laying stimulant, antiseptic, antibiotic, insecticide, wormer
Oregano – combats coccidia, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flu, blackhead and e-Coli, strengthens immune system
Parsley – high in vitamins, aids in blood vessel development, laying stimulant
Sage – antioxidant, antiparasitic, general health promoter, thought to combat Salmonella
|Herb Lined Nesting Boxes|
|Rosemary Thyme and Curry Plant in Nesting Boxes|
Now even if you are from the school of thought that herbal remedies and alternative medicines are a load of mumbo jumbo I am sure you would agree that happy hens lay better, and having herbs in the nest boxes and coop not only repels insects and rodents but also makes the best aroma in the coop too, so I've started stuffing herbs in to the sides of the coop aswell!
|Rosemary in the coop.|
Now as if that wasn't enough Carly is starting to
realise suspect that I treat the chickens better than her after she saw this:
|Rose Petals in the Nesting Boxes|
Now hear me out! Apart from smelling divine and looking like the chickens are in for a night of romance, the petals are high in vitamin C so I'm thinking of drying some out and adding them crushed to the Hen Elixir too.
Like people, all flocks are different so see what works for you, have fun coming up with concoctions and if nothing else you'll have the best looking and smelling coop in town :)