Herbs forum: Herbs for Hens

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Oct 22, 2015 1:53 PM CST
@Mindy03, I noted your comment on another thread about using herbs for your chickens, and thought it might be a good thread on its own. What do you use, and for what purpose?

I tried stuffing a suet cage with various mints and oregano and hanging that under my coop, but my hens largely ignored it. They do love comfrey, and I've planted that just outside the chicken yard for them to nibble on without killing the plant.

A couple herbs I have found they will ignore are ladies mantle, feverfew, nettle, vervain (both regular and blue), and Canadian thistle. These are all growing inside their yard from weedings I have tossed in for them - apparently some had seeds and the hens must have scratch-planted them. I occasionally cut down the nettles and thistles, and they will eventually eat the nettles but not the thistle. I rather like the others, particularly when they bloom, so have left most of these volunteers. It gives the chicken yard a less stark appearance.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Oct 22, 2015 2:28 PM (+)]
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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Oct 22, 2015 3:33 PM CST
Well, I know they like purslane, which is highly nutritious!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
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Mindy03
Oct 22, 2015 4:16 PM CST
Here are some basic ones for hens.

Basil used for mucus membrane health and anti-bacterial
Catnip used to repel insects and as a sedative/relaxant
Ciltrano used to keep fungus at bay antioxidant , bone health. High in Vitamin A for eye health and Vitamin K for blood clotting
Dill used for respiratory health and antioxidant
Fennel used for enhancing reproductive health (egg laying)
Garlic used for enhancing reproductive health and controlling parasites
Lavender used lowering stress, circulatory health and insect repellant
Lemon Balm used to lower stress, antibacterial, and repels rodents
Marigold used to enchance reproductive health
Marjoram used to enhance reproductive health
Mint used in nest box and coop as an insecticide and rodent repellent
Nasturtium used to enhance reproductive health, antiseptic, antibiotic, insecticide and de-wormer
Oregano used as an antibiotic which may help prevent avian flu, blackhead, coccidian, e-coli and infectious bronchitis
Parsley used for promoting circulatory system development , enhances reproductive health and rich in vitamins
Peppermint used to control parasites and insect repellent
Pineapple sage used to promote nervous system health
Rose petals used for Vitamin C
Rosemary used for pain relief, respiratory health and insect repellent
Sage used for antioxidant, helps control parasites
Spearmint used for antiseptic, insecticide, stimulates nervous system and circulatory and brain functions
Tarragon used for antioxidant properties
Thyme promotes respiratory health, antioxidant, antibacterial properties, helps control parasites

Any of the culinary herbs are beneficial to hens.
Mine love comfrey and sage.
.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Oct 22, 2015 5:32 PM CST
Wow what a list. Do you provide herbs free-style for eating, add to their water, or...?? I do put a capful of apple cider vinegar and a clove of garlic in their plastic waterer, and they seem to prefer that to the plain water in their metal waterer.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
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Mindy03
Oct 22, 2015 5:48 PM CST
I just started giving them herbs this year.
Most of my herbs are planted around their pen so I tend to pick some and throw it over the fence as a treat.
Spearmint grows on their side as well as outside but they won't touch it. I cut it back ever so often and put in their best boxes and tge coop.
I am drying some to feed them this winter.
They love pumpkin seeds too.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Oct 22, 2015 6:56 PM CST
I find they like any sort of seed - cucumber, zucchini, squashes - seems they go for those first then eventually get around to the flesh. Can't remember where I read it, but I seem to recall cutting a squash in half and filling the inside with yogurt. I haven't yet tried that, just now remembered it. Maybe whirl some herbs into the yogurt.

During the winter months, I often hang a cabbage off their coop so they get some greens (and a bit of exercise if it's high enough that they have to hop for it).
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
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Chillybean
Oct 29, 2015 4:52 PM CST
This is a great thread, thanks for bringing this up, Deb.

Our chickens ignored the pumpkin seeds, but did eat the smaller squash seeds we put out.

The cabbage is a great idea... I've been trying to figure out what greens to feed them during the winter. We still have some tomatoes in the garden.
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Oct 29, 2015 4:56 PM CST
Mindy03 said:Here are some basic ones for hens.


Marigold used to enchance reproductive health

.


Oh, I have a lot of this around. Our plants thrived. We just discovered they are easy to start in the house (A child's science project) so maybe we could plant more seeds.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Oct 29, 2015 8:02 PM CST
I really know nothing about this and am just jumping in here... but aren't chickens supposed to like (and benefit from) both chickweed and henbit?
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Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Oct 30, 2015 9:21 AM CST
We gave some of our last chickweed to the chickens. They may have finally ate it, but they didn't go after it like they do tomatoes and other things. They take a long time before deciding to eat lettuce.

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