FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Monday, 24 April 2017

Hen Elixir - Herbs for Hens


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
  • Antiseptic
  • 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 :)



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29 comments

  1. Good for you!--the healthier the chicken, the healthier the eggs. I see nothing but benefits from adding herbs.
    As a person who takes ACV--blech! But yea, health benefits galore!
    :D

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    1. I did recently try making some and it didnt go very well hahaha

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  2. Laughing out loud for all the right reasons here - excellent (see, I held back on the dreadful play on words)....Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Replies
    1. We notice a definite difference if we forget to add the elixir for a few days in a row, well worth doing it for the increase in productivity for sure!

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  4. I'd say your hens are definitely living the good life. Don't know how anyone cannot believe the medicinal values and mood benefits of plants and herbs. There's a whole lot of other mumbo jumbo out there that's not natural and is quite detrimental -- that's what folks should really be questioning.

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  5. I was amazed at the difference in the size of eggs, such brilliant results.

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    1. I feel sorry for the hen that laid it!

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  6. Something I've been looking into as well. I've been adding raw ACV to their water but will investigate herbs too

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    1. Garlic is excellent, if you just did Garlic and ACV you'd still get fantastic results :)

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  7. wow!! two different sized eggs!!! amazing..

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    1. so imagine the difference in human vitality when we harness the power of organic herbs ;)

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  8. This is really interesting! Lucky ladies, including Carly!

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    1. If she really behaves herself I will put rose petals in her bed....but she has to drink up her ACV and Garlic water first hahaha

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  9. That's really amazing! I wonder if it would help dogs remain pest free and aid digestion/wellbeing

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    1. NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!
      All alliums are toxic to dogs, garlic, onions etc, please don't try to feed this elixir to a dog it would likely kill them :(

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    2. NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!
      All alliums are toxic to dogs, garlic, onions etc, please don't try to feed this elixir to a dog it would likely kill them :(

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  10. Thank you. I feed my dogs a dry mix that has herbs included by the manufacturer. It has no fillers , pure protein and herbs to aid digestion. I was thinking of more herbs rather than alliums.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting I wasn't sure if you would read my reply or not, I was worried I was too late!
      Sounds like your dog eats better than most people, well done :)

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  11. Oh, I just LOVE this post! I love growing herbs and using them to make infusions and elixirs...using them for the hens sounds like an amazing idea! When I set up my hen coop I will definitely do this! I'll share this info as well. Really excellent!

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    1. Glad you found it interesting :)

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  12. Moll has been doing aroma therapy with the animals at work for the last 3 years - She's got an amazing book about how animals heal themselves with herbs

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    1. can you get her to message me the details? I'd like a copy of that book for sure!

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  13. I was interested to read this as the care of your hens in this way makes good sense. Everyone benefits from happy hens.

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    1. I'm glad you found it interesting Linda, I agree, humans and animals have been using herbs to heal and promote wellness for thousands of years, it makes sense to utilise it today as much as it did back then

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  14. Just catching up! I guess this is rather like the strewing of herbs on the floor which they used to do in medieval times to keep the floors clear of bugs and so on and make the place smell better. Even if it doesn't do any good it cannot do any harm can it and as you say, happy hens has to be a good thing doesn't it and it will certainly make them happy if nothing else. I am sure there are a lot of natural things that we don't know about or have forgotten about so I don't doubt this works well!

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    Replies
    1. one thing it definitely does do is keep pests and insects away from the nests and coop, that in itself is a good enough reason to do it :)

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We are always glad to hear your comments, thoughts and opinions :)

Etsy

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