DIY Herbal Chicken Snack

Have you seen our chickens lately? Oh my gosh - I arrived home from four days in Tennessee to giants!!! I couldn't believe how much they had grown in that short amount of time. Next Wednesday, we'll be able to move the girls outside into their new coop. Are you ready to see it? Me, too! There are still some finishing touches to be made before the big reveal, and we are so happy that we have another week to prepare before the ladies move their tail feathers right on in. 

Our girls are becoming more and more used to us, not fearing us picking them up as much, though I'm still struggling to get them to follow me when I call them. If I just walk away, they seem to follow out of curiousity and probably a bit of fear in the unknown. We've been having a fun time taking them outside and analyzing what their choices might be in where to go. For the most part, they seem to just stick together no matter where they go, and if one chicken gets separated from the flock, she'll start to cry out. It's a very specific, high pitched chirp that basically says, "Where are you?! I'm lost!" 

I'm trying to figure out why there are so many tutorials on training your chickens to free range because so far, our flock just stays in the same place. I am sure as they get older, they'll become more curious!

As we move away from chicks and onto growing birds, there's still a bit more time before our chickens start laying. Chickens reach their full maturity at about 24 weeks old, varying on the individual. That's also about the time that they start laying eggs. For us, that will be around July or August. I cannot wait! Until they reach that age, chickens are supposed to eat a different type of feed called Grower Feed, which has all of the nutrients they need to grow healthy and big.

There's nothing wrong with a little treat every now and then, right?! As I experiment with treats and supplements for our chickens, I am hoping to at some point start making my own grower feed that I can give them once or twice a week. With my experimentations, I have been giving them different herbal mixes. Having an herbal medicine cabinet comes in handy when you read that your chickens can eat all the fresh or dried herbs that their little hearts desire! I whipped up a couple of different mixes for my chickens and found their favorite mix. Different herbs are related to different health benefits. 

  • Oregano is a great natural antibiotic. It can help hens combat e.coli, coccidiosis, salmonella, and avian flu by helping to strengthen their immune systems. 
  • Lavender is a great way to keep your coop smelling fresh and clean. Hang dried lavender near nesting boxes or somewhere in the coop to prevent any stink and also to keep bugs away.
  • Chamomile helps to repel fleas and acts as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic. It can help to calm birds and detoxify their systems.
  • Sage can act as an antioxidant and as a general health booster in chickens. This herb is thought to seriously help prevent salmonella. 
  • Bee Balm added into your chicken's daily diet can help improve respiratory and digestive tract health. It can also help to calm laying hens as well as act an antibacterial and antiseptic to prevent any bugs or bacteria from entering the nesting boxes.
  • Mint of any kind is extremely beneficial for hens. Adding fresh mint to their nesting boxes can keep mice and bugs at bay, and it can help to calm down laying hens. If you decided to feed your chickens a type of mint, it can help to cool down their body temperature, which is helpful in hot summer days. Try freezing it in ice cubes as well!
  • Marigolds (Calendula Petals) are really wonderful for chickens and nesting boxes, as I keep reading, because they prevent other animals and critters from entering a specific area. We will be planting marigolds around our garden to keep out rabbits and deer. When chickens eat marigold petals, they will have vibrant orange egg yolks, beaks, and feet!
  • Thyme aids in respiratory health and has antibiotic and antibacterial properties, which can help to repel insects. 

RECIPE (For One 64 oz Jar) | 

  • 1 cup lavender
  • 1 cup chamomile
  • 1 cup peppermint
  • 1 cup oregano
  • 1/2 cup thyme
  • 1/2 cup sage
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1/2 cup rosemary
  • 1/2 cup spearmint
  • 10-20 drops essential oil (lavender, chamomile, peppermint, eucalyptus, etc)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and move into a 64 oz mason jar with an airtight seal. Store in a dark place, such as a pantry or coop, and free from intense heat or drafts. 
  2. To use, sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup over chicken feed, nesting boxes, or the ground to give your girls a tasty treat! If you are sprinkling in a nesting box, use 1/4 cup per box!

My girls love this mix so much! It is so fun to watch them peck around and discover what their favorites are. Sometimes I sprinkle it in with their feed and shake it up to intersperse the herbs. It works out really well that way so that they have some variety in their diet. I am excited for the day we move them into their coop, and I can hang dried herbs from our garden inside and sprinkle their nesting boxes with our herbal mix. 

If you don't live near a place that sells bulk dried herbs, I always love purchasing herbs through Mountain Rose Herbs. They have really great prices and stock! (:

xoxo Kayla