When I started to have chickens, it inspired me to grow an herb garden. Unconsciously in a way I knew this would be healthy both physically and mentally for all of us. Little by little our garden has grown as our chickens have through out the years. As we have seen these herbs thrive and the chickens interact with it we discovered its great benefits. It’s pretty easy to grow and I have it available in our yard for the chickens to munch on when they feel compelled to. Below are the ones I’ve found they love and that grow successfully without much care. The mint especially grew for most of the year and so far has survived 3 freezes!
5 Main Herbs plus Bonus
Mint: Fresh or dried to place on their nesting boxes it acts as a natural repellent against bugs and soothing aroma for the ladies. Also in their fresh drinking water when the summer days get super hot as a way to cool them off as it can lower body temperature. Mint comes in different types that can be used the same such as spearmint, peppermint, orange mint, lemon balm, catmint and catnip. This plant is very hardy has I mentioned mine has gone through multiple freezes and thriving better than ever. It does the best in full sun, well-drained soil and you can air-dry the leaves for winter use.
Lavender: Fresh or dried to place on their nesting boxes to soothe and relax. They give out a wonderful aroma to soothe stress and also acts as an insect repellent. It also loves full sun and well-drained soil. All parts of the plant can be air dried to use through winter. I also dry out branches of it with the flowers to use with sage sticks.
Sage: Fresh or dried to mix into their chicken feed to give rich antioxidants and vitamins. It protects the hens against salmonella and other diseases. It also grows best in full or partial sun. Mine grows along with the mint and does well together in our herb planter box.
Oregano: Fresh or dried to mix into their chicken feed that also gives antibiotic help to fight against coccidiosis, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flu and E. coli. It’s also filled with rich vitamins along with calcium and antioxidants. I plant this as well with the others in full sun. Just need to keep an eye out that the mint doesn’t take over.
Thyme: Fresh or dried to mix into their chicken feed to help with their immune system, it aids in respiratory health. Also acts as an insect repellent when sprinkled around their nesting coop area. This plant also has different varieties of it such as lemon thyme, lime thyme, coconut thyme and pink lemonade thyme. It’s a hardy plant so can also be grown with others just be sure again the mint doesn’t take over.
Bonus – Marigolds: Not an herb but has similar properties of herbs! Acts as an insect repellent when sprinkled along their coop. It enriches the yellow color of the egg yolks and has antioxidant properties along with anti-inflammatory properties.They help in blood vessel growth and skin tissue repair. It’s also a hardy plant that grows in full sun and keeps pesky bugs at bay helping other plants to grow well. Marigolds attract the helpful bugs such as praying mantis and butterflies pollinating plants to thrive.
I created our own planter box, 6×6 feet out of cedar wood and planted all the herbs together. Might want to consider planting the mint separately as it can take over the other plants. A good idea could be planting the mint along the coop but make sure there’s plenty of sun. My chickens have not attacked our herb garden to where it goes obsolete. If you plant enough of it they’ll only munch what they want and leave the rest. There’s plenty of bugs and we give other treats as well so they only take what they need when free ranging.
To keep our ladies and squirrels or any other critters from digging up the soil I’ve placed rocks on top of the soil surrounding the herbs when just planting them. As the herbs grow bigger and hardier you can slowly remove the rocks as you go. And the chickens no longer want to even try to dig up anything because they’ve been accustomed to coming upon rocks.
A bonus for you is you’ll find how meditative it can be and interactive when your chickens come around to hang out with you looking for any bugs while you tend the soil. Hope you get to digging and producing wonderful nourishment for your chickens and yourself!