We raise our chickens are naturally as possible. We grow a lot of their feed on the farm and we give the chickens lots of herbs and veggies. This natural diet of the chickens is reflected in the taste of the eggs.
Herbs are a very important thing for chickens. They have benefits to feeding just like herbs have benefits for people.
This is a picture of herbs given to a chicken. On this day it included: garlic powder, basil, parsley, and oregano.
The benefits of these herbs as I have found through researching include:
• Garlic: used as a laying stimulant, helps to tell the chickens bodies to prepare to lay an egg, sometimes this helps cox a chicken into nesting and laying instead of exploring and looking for bugs
• Basil: A great source of protein, containing Vitamin K and Iron, benefiting the circulatory and mucus membrane health of a chicken. It has antibacterial properties with is a major immune booster for chickens. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory to help with relief in the stomach from cramps and indigestion in the chicken.
• Parsley: high in nutrients, helps to aid in blood vessel development, and is a laying stimulant. The parsley helps give your chickens a vitamin boost so they can stay healthy and happy!
• Oregano: has anti-fungal properties to help combat coccidia, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flu, blackhead, and e-coli. The oregano is helping strengthen the chickens immune system! When used in the nesting box it is an anti-parasitic.
How do we feed the herbs?
There are a number of ways we feed the herbs, depending on the chickens and the day because weather plays a big part into it. Some options include:
• Adding to the water: This is a simple way especially when its hot out and you want to encourage lots of liquids because of the heat. The chickens think it is a game to peck at the herbs in the water and essentially they get both!
• Put it in their feed: They are already going to eat the feed, why not add some dried herbs to make it easier for you? The chickens will be eating the herbs when they eat their feed making that feed work more for you with the extra help of herbs.
• Fresh herbs given as a free choice for the chickens: you can always give them some fresh herbs in a separate dish to allow the chickens to eat it if they want to. Sometimes a chicken knows what it needs and this is a great way to let the chickens take control of what they are putting in their bodies, eating what they feel they need. Plus fresh herbs is always a treat because what chicken doesn’t like some freshly cut item that smells good? So don’t worry your chickens will be curious and try to eat whatever herbs you give them!
• In the nesting boxes: We sprinkle herbs in the nesting boxes or lay them in it if they work as an anti-parasitic or relaxation for the chickens.
• Freeze them in ice: This is a fun treat for the chickens when it is hot out! Freeze blocks of ice and include herbs and vegetables in them to eat as they peck away at the ice!
How much herbs do I give a chicken?
There is really no right or wrong answer to this. I usually mix up however many herbs I have at a time, I usually use 4-5 herbs at a time, and when I have it mixed up, I divide it up to each coop and feed that amount at the time. I have a lot of chickens though, so this may seem like too much for you if you have a handful or two of chickens. You can always mix up the mixture and sprinkle it on top of the feed each day. I would feed herbs in the same recommended amount as you feed grit or oyster shells to your feed ratio.
Are these the only 4 herbs I can use?
NO! Herbs have so many benefits and each one has a special job to do for the chicken. You can use as many herbs as you want. I hope to blog about more herbs that I use as I feed them to my chickens. I used garlic, basil, parsley, and oregano on this day so they are the 4 that I included in the blog. I use a lot more herbs than just this though! Explore and experiment with your herb garden and chickens.
If you Instagram, be sure to share your pictures of chickens eating herbs, or how you use herbs in the coop and tag @janesthisnthat in the post so we can see it!
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